BitFenix Shinobi XL Full Tower Case Review

Verdict and Conclusion

I have to lead off by saying that I love the monolith type industrial sci-fi “black box” look. It makes me happy.

All in all the BitFenix Shinobi XL makes me happy, it has the wonderful looks as well as a lot of room inside, a customizable 3.5″ drive rack and much more.

The fans the case come with move a solid amount of air with a fairly low amount of airflow noise. The front fan is woefully short on intake area however and there isn’t any sort of fan controller involved. Now it’s not like anybody said there was, but in this price range I’ve come to expect some sort of fan controller. It may be a personal problem.

The HDD trays are super easy to remove and install in the case and do an excellent job of damping mechanical HDD noise. They’re annoying to install a mechanical HDD into however.

The cable management options are excellent, there is a ton of room behind the motherboard tray (~32mm! That’s a bit over 1.25″ for the Imperial people out there), I had no issues at all getting the case side back on despite running two PCIe cables, the CPU power cable and the ATX24P cable back there. The top slots are a bit narrow, but narrow beats nonexistent!

 

 

The paint and plastic finish on the case really does feel quite silky. To test the fingerprint resistance I messed with it for a while and then let my kids poke it. Clean hands won’t leave fingerprints, if you just finished eating a taco no paint is resistant enough to prevent fingerprints. The Shinobi XL did better than many though.

The USB3/USB2 wires/plugs are an amazing idea that I’m really surprised nobody else has come up with or used, it’s brilliant.

The USB charge port I have mixed feelings on, being able to supply 2.5a is great for quick charging but I would prefer to be able to use the port as well. This may be because I don’t have anything to make use of the fast charging abilities.

The four USB3.0 ports are nice to see, most motherboards won’t support all four but having the capability is a plus.

Value wise this case is in the middle of the road, at an estimated price of $150 it isn’t a fantastic deal, but finding a case with this many water cooling options and cable management options for less would be a good trick.

 

ShinobiXL-installed-ThroughWindow1

 

The motherboard standoff installation tool is a nice perk, it works great and makes installing standoffs a lot easier.The optical bay tool-free bits work well, they aren’t my favorites but they’re up towards the top of the list.

The Power and HDD LEDs are intense, whether this is a pro or a con is for you to decide. If you’re the creative sort you can always add a resistor to make them dimmer. The color of blue is very blue, I like it.

The crossthreaded screw on the PCIe covers did not please me.

This case really is built for water cooling, you can fit radiators all over the place, there is plenty of room up top (though you may not be able to route the CPU power cable through the top slots if you have a top rad) for a 360mm radiator, a 240mm will fit in the front at the cost of some 3.5″ bays, and I think another 240mm will fit on the bottom if you take the 3.5″ cage out completely. That’d be a bit excessive, but having the option is nice.

The side window is huge, if you’re into side windows you’ll like this.

 

I’ll summarize a bit, the above is a lot to read. We’ll start with the pros:

  • Huge, monolithic even. I like the looks a lot.
  • Tons of room inside for drives and/or water cooling.
  • Excellent cable management options.
  • Four USB3 ports and the best USB cables I’ve seen.
  • 2.5 amp USB charging port.
  • 3.5″ drive rack can be rotated to face any direction.

 

There are cons too:

  • Needs more front panel air intake area in my opinion.
  • Cross threaded screw on the rear PCIe covers.
  • HDD trays proved difficult for me to install a HDD into.
  • Side panel window attracts dust and animal hair impressively.
  • No fan controller, as a modern case with a $150 MSRP I’d like to see some form of controller.

 

All told I like this case quite a bit, it isn’t perfect but nothing is. It’s certainly very worthy of consideration if you’re in the market for a full tower case. I give it a solid 8.9/10 rating.

 

SCORE

8.9/10

 

fk-recommended

 

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ShinobiXL-interior-overview

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