BitFenix started a cult-like following with its first original Prodigy Mini ITX computer case when it was first introduced in 2012. The original Prodigy back in 2012 was M-ITX form factor only, but that did not stop custom builders and Modders alike from changing the inside of the spacious case to accept even larger motherboards and custom water loops, the list goes on. After all the case had plenty of room to build in and people took that room and filled it with innovative ideas and parts creating a high demand for the little Cube Cabinet and custom parts to modify it more. BitFenix has now retooled the old case to accept some of the customer’s ideas and expanded to the bigger Micro-ATX form factor and has added 3 more PCI slots for a total of 5 PCI extension slots for SLI and Crossfire. The “Prodigy M” as it is named is a reaction to the amazing success and a few failures of this ground breaking small-cube like computer case.
Scandinavian by nature, this case is made very smartly and efficiently, but not cheaply manufactured as other economy cases have been known to be. At the very reasonable cost of $60.00 USD you can be sure that you are getting your money’s worth with all of Fractal Design cases including the smaller Core 1500 version that we review here and now. The Fractal Design Core 1500 has all the features of the bigger cases with the same type of hard drive mounting systems that most, if not all of Fractal Design cases including the wire management access holes that are uniformly placed with very smooth edges, but you will not find any rubber grommets covering these holes within this particular model which is one of the ways Fractal Design has saved money including the smart use of the same hardware over the entire product line.
The NZXT NOCTIS 450 is a mixture of engineering and modern art; sharing an internal frame that we have come a custom to find with the more familiar S340 and H440 in addition adding to that mix a completely different outer shell design theme. The NOCTIS 450 is like imagining a Phantom and a H440 metamorphosing together into a completely different mixture of look and style, but still keeping that similar inner engineering that we have come to enjoy with NZXT sharing of innovations of Custom Computer Case Modders around the Globe.
Most of the cases that I have seen and reviewed this year have usually been what I personally refer to as cookie cutter cases. Meaning that most are generally all alike in build placement and engineering except for one or two exceptions that make that particular case unique, but the Silverstone FT04 is a case that defies this rule of case making. The Silverstone FT04 still has to follow the usual JEDEC Rules for conformity to the E-ATX form factor but past that is where it all changes to pure uniqueness. This Silverstone case defies most of the usual configuration standards and sets itself apart as being a “Case all its own”.
Now with the In Win 707 Gaming Black case we now see has a more conventional style and high build quality that is reminiscent of the older days both in construction and constraints that were there before and here now. The $139.00 price tag of the current In Win 707 Black Gaming case would have been $179.00 or more back in 2009 but times have changed and the case makers are doing their level best to keep cost down but sacrificing build quality is not in this one except for the plastic ODD door in the front. The rest is heavy duty steel, great paint, features and flexibility to make a huge server case or a minimalist gamer case. There is room for an extremely fat double CPU Server motherboard or an E-ATX or ATX regular sized motherboard.
While Fractal Design is a relative newcomer to the computer case industry it has been a phenomenal success. With help from master Modders and Case designers from Fractal themselves they have achieved a popularity status that most case companies that have been around much longer have lusted over from their inception.
The Z11 NEO is what the Greek word “NEO” suggest. It’s “a new or revived form of” the earlier generations of the Zalman Z11 series of case that have been very popular for quite some time. While the Z11 has been around for a while the Z11 is a much better improved updated and redesigned NEO looks better and gives more with a price that in earlier days would have cost a builder three times what this case costs now. What really sets off the Zalman Z11 series is the puff out serviceable gills on the sides that make it look like a stealth fighter bomber or a high dollar Lambo theme case. The case has a cockpit like window on the side that makes it even more appealing in a man vs. machine sort of way. The Z11 NEO in big letters on the side harkens some back to the days of the older Zalman LQ-1000 Z machine series that made it look serious on anyone’s work space. The branding lets onlookers know that your computer is something different than the average everyday work a day business machine. Having the Z11 NEO is an Artistic statement as much as a very well built case, so let’s take a look at what the NEO brings out in the new and revived version of the Zalman Z11.
In the simplest terms, an Aegis is a shield of protection to the heart of the warrior that wears this protective armor. This is a very fitting picture of the theme of this case from BitFenix. The BitFenix brand made mini computing a cool and universal way of life for many builder’s taking advantage of the newer smaller and magnificent new M-ITX and Micro ATX computers that have the same relative power of its bigger ATX counterparts with the BitFenix Prodigy Line of machines. In a way they invented the way to put together full custom looped water cooled Monster and stuffed it nicely into a small chassis that not only worked great but looked even better. So many flavors and mods have been commercially developed for that little chassis that could and now the people at BitFenix are at it again with the BitFenix Aegis Micro-ATX computer case.
Even, now I am almost sure that there are a few Antec 900 user’s out there reading this review on the internet right now. It has been Newegg.com’s Most Sold computer case ever in history and has been on the number one spot of the Electronics’ Billboard Charts of production cases since its inception almost a full decade ago. Now 9 years have passed and sure there have been lot of Antec cases since then but nothing to rate or to make history like the Antec 900, but Antec has a new Economy case called the Antec P70. I really don’t think that this case is going to make history like its grandfather but he is quite a case of it’s own.
Okay lets stop accentuating the negatives, because there are some good parts as well. For the compromises you do make you get a nice looking case that has a really nice mirrored finish emblem two fully autonomous USB 3.0 Ports and some small amount of foam on the inside of the panels to keep them from vibrating to the heartbeat of your hard drives for $50.00. The engineering is really neat as the whole top panel can be completely removed to easily build inside. Don’t worry, there are no mention of the 10 screws that hold the top cover on, in the manual, but if you are fortunate enough to have read this review or you figured out on your own why they used Phillips head screws to hold the top panel instead of rivets, then you can remove them quickly and effortlessly and replace the top back on after the build is completed.