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Pros: This is a mini (very small) ITX mother board and this was my first build in this format.
The PCB is solid. The daughter board is attached well. It has more features than some will fully use. It has enough PWN MoBo connectors for the ITX format cases I looked at. It is worth buying; just bought another one.
I am not greatly concerned about how pretty a component looks; I'd rather have a mounting point for another case fan than a side window. Please see Cons and Other Thoughts.
The egg was docked because of RMA tribulations. Electronics do fail. This was my third MoBo failure since the mid 1990s; it happens.
Cons: The MB USB 3 connector might be in the way of other components. A case speaker would be nice at this price point too. The PCI slot lock is flimsy. The daughter board is close to the rear fan and in my case it fit okay.
The sordid tale:
After stripping down the MoBo and testing everything but the CPU, I contacted ASUS Tech support on-line. They sent me directly to the RMA site. After three RMA forms (the third was the only approved one) and numerous telephone calls I received advanced replacement authorization. From there on everything went smoothly.
The shinning light is that almost 45 day obscenity was Justin. I have to believe the others tried to help. Yet, I kept getting new people getting involved and overridden by the next new people.
Yes, they replaced it. Yes it took forever and they do not honor their own deadlines. It was the worst time since I had to prove to Microsoft their update corrupted my system.
Other Thoughts: I hope ASUS contacts me. They need to improve the RMA process. Worst case was the guy that hung up on me when I tried to confirm the shipping address to send the defective unit to. The best case was Justin who actually explained what was needed and how to get it done. Somebody needs to give him a raise.
Case - Bitfenix Prodigy with optional mesh front panel and a Silverstone rear dust filter
Mother board - Asus Z87 I - Deluxe (Just replaced under warranty)
PSU - Seasonic X 650
CPU - i5 4670 Haswell 3.4 GHz
RAM - G.Skill Ripjaw DDR3 (PC3 106666) 2 X 4 GB sticks
OS HD - Samsung 840 EVO 120 GB SSD
Storage HD - Western Digital Velociraptor 1 TB HD
Optical Drive - Pioneer SATA Blu-Ray burner
Cooling has been upgraded and configured for positive pressure
Corsair H80i with fans changed out to -
2 X Noctua 120 mm NF-F12 PWM fans in push pull configuration
Front case fan replaced with -
BitFenix 230 mm Spectre Pro
Rear case fan replaced with -
Noctua 140 mm NF - A14 PWM fan
A closing thought. I like this MoBo enough to risk ASUS' customer service again and bought another one.
This review is from: BitFenix Spectre Pro All Black 230mm Case Fan
Pros: It is a fan. Not a PWM fan. It was selected based on size and CFM moved.
It does what I paid for and moves air. It is the front case fan in a BitFenix Prodigy case.
Cons: It is the loudest fan in this system: 2 120 mm Noctua fans to replace the ones on a Corsair H80i, a 140 mm Noctua case fan rear mounted and this one on the front.
It is the loudest fan in this system. It is a bit short of features like a Noctua but nothing that cannot be figured out.
Other Thoughts: The fans were selected to create a positive pressure air flow fir this case. They did.
Just wish it was not so loud, It can be heard in the next room in the wee hours. If there were room or for the next build it should be great with a fan controller.
Pros: I am from the larger the case the better school and this was my first build in this format.
The build this case was used for was designed the wrong way. It was a gift and the user wanted a blue case. My painting skills are limited to buying a can of spray paint and the reviews on all the other blue cases left me cold. The rest of the system components were selected to fit in this mini-ITX case.
Some reviewers did not like the handles and reported issues with them. Mine were fine. These handles also keep the case up high enough to insure good air flow to the PSU. Even with cats and a dog there are no stability issues.
Building in this case was a breeze; solid construction and easy to remove parts. Just about everything that could be removed for this build was at one point or another. The case was easy to work with and not one skinned knuckle; my hands are big. The biggest problem I had building in this case was the cat walking through it when I was working.
The included fans were probably adequate for use in an air-conditioned pet free environment. They are sitting unused. Cooling (see other notes) was upgraded to a positive pressure configuration with an all in one liquid CPU cooler. The CPU cooler is configured push / pull and is seated in the top of the case.
To facilitate cooling the custom front panel was used. It is of the same high quality as the case.
Here is my bottom line
My system is about five years old. It has been upgraded and I plan on using it until the CPU dies of old age. Depending on what CPU and mother board options are available then, the BitFenix Prodigy case is a viable contender. This case is that good.
It is well designed and well constructed without sacrificing being able to work inside it. If they ever build a full size tower as good as this case I’ll buy it.
Cons: With the H80i in the top the Bly-ray burner is to big to properly fit in the case. The space between the back of the bracket and the H80i fan is insufficient for the cables. The bracket had to be modded to properly fit the burner so the cables were not in contact with the fan.
But in fairness I could have gone with a single 120mm fan in the top and vented the CPU cooler out the back. That would have left room for the 5 ¼” bay without modding. I just didn’t like bending the hoses that much.
Not really cons more a building note and a disappointment.
• Based on reviews I went with a short PSU. Other builders report being able to force a full size ATX PSU in there. I just do not like forcing parts.
• Modular cables are a good idea. It gets tight in there very quickly and if you are air cooling your air flow will be impeded.
• Also (see other thoughts) the shorter PSU cable kit is very useful.
Considering how well constructed this case is, the removable top cover didn’t leave enough space for proper re-seating with the water cooler in place. It fits back on but is just barely not flat and I hate feeling like I am forcing parts.
Other Thoughts: Based on reviews, recall this is my first mini ITX build, this case is supposed to be on the large size for this format. That may be a consideration if you are building a mini ITX based system.
This build was a gift for a user whose primary usage is to surf and email. With that in mind some of the parts are clearly overkill. The system is being used in an area without air-conditioning and where the ambient temperatures commonly are in the 90s during the summer. It is also dusty and there is pet hair so positive pressure air flow and dust filters* were a must; it will be me maintaining the system.
• Case – BitFenix (blue) Prodigy with the BitFenix (black) custom front panel and Silverstone FF132B dust filter*.
• Mother board: Asus Z87I – Deluxe
• CPU: i5 4670 3.4 GHz – system will not be over clocked
• RAM: 8 GB of G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR 3 1600 sticks
• Graphics card: None
o Even with everything else in this case it still has room for a graphics card – just pay attention to its length.
o I used the CPU’s native graphics and that was a pleasant surprise.
o Samsung 840 Evo 120 GB
o WD VelociRaptor 1 TB
• PSU: Silverstone ST55F – G 550 Watt (because it would fit without forcing.)
o Next major system cleaning I’m upgrading to the shorter power cable kit.
• Optical Drive: Pioneer Blu-ray Burner DBR-209DBK
o Corsair H80i
o BitFenix Spectre Pro 230mm case fan – front case fan replacement
o Noctua NF-A14 140mm case fan – rear case fan replacement
o 2 X Noctua NF-F12 PWN 120mm case fans – H80i replacement fans
Cooling and dust control were a very large consideration when selecting parts for the build. With an ambient temperature of 101 degrees F the component temps were only a few degrees above ambient.