NotAMacPro

zillatron

Trash Compacter
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Dec 5, 2015
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onedansopinion.com
Hello!

I mentioned here that about 15 years ago, I ditched PC's and Windows and switched to the Mac (a 12” iBook!) and OS X as my every day driver, I also switched to consoles for gaming.

At PAX 2014 I was totally overwhelmed to see just how much had changed in the world of PC’s during my self-imposed exile. Probably the most striking change was quality - no longer the realm of mostly ugly beige and only sometimes black boxes, grey power supplies, messy cables and worst of all loud rigs.

Reinvigorated, I embarked on an adventure of investigation to build a gaming rig. My last PC was built in an Antec Aria. it was extremely...snug, I had some SFF heritage to build off!

The goals I set for the build were:

- Handle any game I could throw at it, at 1080p for gaming on a TV.
- Living room level quiet
- ITX preferred/can't take up too much room
- Component flexibility, leaving options open for water-cooling or full size GPU/PSU.
- If it was going to be in the living room (and being a Mac user), it couldn’t be ugly.

Enough babbling…onto the parts list!
Case: BitFenix Prodigy Mini-ITX White


Case add-ons: Cat (Dax), Window side panel, Black Mesh front panel with red trim

PSU: Corsair AX760i
Motherboard: MSI Z97I Gaming AC mITX
CPU: Intel Core i5 4960K (OC: 4.0Ghz)
Disk: Crucial MX100 512GB
RAM: Kingston HyperX Fury 2x8GB 1866Mhz DDR3 - Black (OC: 2133Mhz)
GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming 4G

Cooling:
Corsair Hydro H100i
Corsair SP120 Red LED x2
Corsair AF140 Quiet Edition
Corsair AF12 Quiet Edition White LED x2
Corsair Commander Mini

Other stuff:
Corsair K65 RGB Keyboard
Corsair Sabre RGB Laser
CableMod C-Series AXi Cable Kit Black/White
Black with white LED replacement power button that seemingly everyone uses :)

And now, some photos:
  • H100i and AX760i from Amazon, Dax doing border import inspection.


  • <old man> Back in my day, PSU's came in cardboard boxes and where all the same shade of grey. Now they come in pretend velvet bags! </old man>


  • My wife approves.


  • Dax - Chief PC Build Operations Officer


  • The Prodigy PSU cage is pretty snug for a beefy unit like the AX760i


  • This revision of the case has a more sensible cutout in the cage than the original...


  • All my pre-purchase measurements checked out. AF140 exhaust fit with a couple of mm to spare from the rad and hoses.


  • What I *didn't* account for was the length of the hoses. Ideally I would have mounted the rad with the hoses at the front...but the front intake AF120's ended up being a little too thick. Thankfully it wasn't a build-ending-event.


  • Black heat spreaders on the Kingston RAM were a good match. Also a little preview of the replacement PSU cables :)


  • Had to drill the existing cutaway out a little to fit the back of the new power switch though the inside panel. I ended up swapping the original side panel with the vented side panel with no switches or ports for aesthetics and one less bunch of cables to run inside the case. I made the mistake of thinking I'd be able to remove the switch after the hole was drilled to solder on the wires...I was mistaken. Many fingers were burnt in the attachment of these wires.


  • Most of the hardware installed, this was the moment I realised the slightly-smaller-than-I-realised window was going to be totally consumed by the GTX 970.


  • Let the cabling begin! Closer look at the CaseMod cable replacements...summary: really nice.


  • It lives!...with dummied in cables


  • After the first few months of running with the GTX 970 fans taking up the whole side window, I figured I wanted to actually *see* more of the stuff inside the case and that the card would run cooler with the vented panel right next to it anyway....so...I sorta pulled all the cables out to start over.


  • Swapped the side panels around and convinced myself that I'd never actually be happy with the cabling, so this is 'done'.


  • Much better view from this side of the video card!


  • Inside of the case runs quite cool even under load, so using interior air exhausting though the rad works really well...looks good too :cool:


  • Front panel illumination looks cool though the mesh.


  • Finished product.


That's a wrap! The Prodigy is a great, if a little big, mITX case if you're looking to dip a toe into the PC building waters. It's flexibility is it's strength, giving you plenty of options for expansion and water-cooling if you're that way inclined.

I'd probably classify this as a semi-SFF build, living in a small apartment with limited space and 2 gamers (and 2 TV's...and 2 Xbox's...you get the idea) it's worked out to be slightly bigger than I was after. Planning has started on squishing this build into the positively petite Raijintek Metis. Build log coming soon!

Dan
 
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CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Bronze Supporter
Nov 1, 2015
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Ooh a Prodigy. That takes me back. That's a great build you have. I bought one myself because I liked how it looked like the Mac Pro tower, and I even painted it silver. I bet the Metis build would look even better.
 

zillatron

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Dec 5, 2015
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onedansopinion.com
Ooh a Prodigy. That takes me back. That's a great build you have. I bought one myself because I liked how it looked like the Mac Pro tower, and I even painted it silver. I bet the Metis build would look even better.
Thank you! I admit that the top and bottom handles looking like the old Mac Pro pretty much sealed the deal :p

Can't wait to get started on the Metis :cool: Looking forward to hearing ideas on how to keep the thing cool haha
 

iFreilicht

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Feb 28, 2015
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I'd probably classify this as a semi-SFF build, living in a small apartment with limited space and 2 gamers (and 2 TV's...and 2 Xbox's...you get the idea) it's worked out to be slightly bigger than I was after. Planning has started on squishing this build into the positively petite Raijintek Metis. Build log coming soon!

Dan

Yes that's how I'd classify it as well. How's the MSI board working for you? Haven't seen to many people use it yet, but its layout is a bit different from what you regularly get (RAM all the way to the front).

Really interested how you'll move all that to the Metis, especially the massive rad :D

I like the look of the front panel, certainly fits with the interior.
 

zillatron

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Dec 5, 2015
43
26
onedansopinion.com
How's the MSI board working for you? Haven't seen to many people use it yet, but its layout is a bit different from what you regularly get (RAM all the way to the front).
Performance wise it's been great. Can't really complain about the layout in a case like the Prodigy you aren't really restricted at all. Certainly nothing more than any other ITX board.

The orientation in the Metis will be interesting with the RAM all the way at the edge next to the PSU. The upside (I think) will be the ATX power connector will end up on the bottom of the case rather than between the RAM and the PSU which I'm betting would be a nightmare cable run.

Really interested how you'll move all that to the Metis, especially the massive rad :D
Me too! haha I'm not sure that particular rad will make the cut, but I'll surely try! :p

Initially I think i'll switch back to full air cooling but I'm spending a lot of time investigating options for a 120mm rad on the rear intake for (to start) the CPU. I have some other ideas...but the jury is out until I actually get my hands on it Xmas day :)

I like the look of the front panel, certainly fits with the interior.
Thank you! :cool:
 

LooseNeutral

Trash Compacter
LOSIAS
Jul 3, 2015
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You chose the one case that had >.> some mac fanatics it a tizzy.. lol. Not me. Then there was the sff crowd that got up in arms about..>.> THIS IS NOT SFF. Again, I personally didn't give two shits.

Love what you're doing with this and has fun. Sub'd
 
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Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
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May 9, 2015
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Indeed, the PowerMac and Mac Pro most prominently had the handlebars, but what it's really about is the all-aluminium high precision design with efficient and simple layout with that Apple tactile feeling when you open or handle it. The Prodigy has none of that.

I still like your build but it doesn't have much to do with the PowerMac and Mac Pro though.
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
SFF Workshop
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I'll explain my earlier comment: Back in the days of LOSIAS and SFFreview, we hated the idea of the Prodigy (i think at least 2 podcasts ended up being mostly us ranting about it!) because it was so big. Over time though, we saw it for what it really was, a stepping stone to true SFF. So many users went from ATX to the Prodigy/Colossus/Phenom to a proper small case.
 

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King of Cable Management
Sep 26, 2015
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I do find the mods where a full-size ATX board with multiple GPUs is crammed inside a Prodigy as being interesting.
 

zillatron

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Dec 5, 2015
43
26
onedansopinion.com
I'll explain my earlier comment: Back in the days of LOSIAS and SFFreview, we hated the idea of the Prodigy (i think at least 2 podcasts ended up being mostly us ranting about it!) because it was so big. Over time though, we saw it for what it really was, a stepping stone to true SFF. So many users went from ATX to the Prodigy/Colossus/Phenom to a proper small case.

That's exactly it, I guess the main reason for posting this retrospectively is so you can see how I got here...which is the start of an actual SFF build rather than the end of a semi-SFF-build :)
 

jØrd

SCSI for life
Digital Seppuku
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I'll explain my earlier comment: Back in the days of LOSIAS and SFFreview, we hated the idea of the Prodigy (i think at least 2 podcasts ended up being mostly us ranting about it!) because it was so big. Over time though, we saw it for what it really was, a stepping stone to true SFF. So many users went from ATX to the Prodigy/Colossus/Phenom to a proper small case.

IIRC that situation led to Bitfenix stating that whilst the case was mITX compatible it was not SFF. Also IIRC they resisted being straight up about it because marketing & sales. Dont take this as gospel though, it was some time ago & my memory may be inaccurate / patchy.
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
SFF Workshop
Editorial Staff
Moderator
Jun 19, 2015
3,519
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sff.network
IIRC that situation led to Bitfenix stating that whilst the case was mITX compatible it was not SFF. Also IIRC they resisted being straight up about it because marketing & sales. Dont take this as gospel though, it was some time ago & my memory may be inaccurate / patchy.
I do believe that we may have something to do with Bitfenix effectively removing SFF from their marketing ;)
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 1, 2015
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I do find the mods where a full-size ATX board with multiple GPUs is crammed inside a Prodigy as being interesting.

I once had my hands on the Asus Z9PE-D8 WS board. With some interior modifications, but keeping the external dimensions the same, the board size of 13"x12" would fit exactly inside the case. It would have been a rare attempt to do a dual CPU build in the Prodigy, but I just came short of all the parts I needed :p
 
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King of Cable Management
Sep 26, 2015
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I once had my hands on the Asus Z9PE-D8 WS board. With some interior modifications, but keeping the external dimensions the same, the board size of 13"x12" would fit exactly inside the case. It would have been a rare attempt to do a dual CPU build in the Prodigy, but I just came short of all the parts I needed :p

That's the sort of stuff this forum is about...shoehorning in systems into relatively small cases. Too bad you couldn't get everything for it.
 
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