HardwareCanuck Review Editor
- Feb 26, 2007
<object width="640" height="360"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/qgHR0HHlQaU?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/qgHR0HHlQaU?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="360" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>
BitFenix may be one of the newest kids on the block within the enclosure market but they’ve quickly become a player that’s respected for good build quality, fair pricing and innovative features. Their newest product, the Shinobi XL, retains the Shinobi mid tower series’ iconic design but it has upsized to full tower status. In keeping with BitFenix’s award winning philosophy of offering gamers the best possible bang for buck, the XL comes in at only $149 despite being a full tower chassis that boasts items normally found on more expensive competitors.
From the outside, BitFenix’s Shinobi XL retains the iconic, minimalistic design from past models without sacrificing rigidity or build quality. Five optical drive bays have been included which are paralleled by two meshed venting strips, resulting in a limited amount of airflow being delivered to the large 230mm front intake fan. Along with the top, the whole front panel is fabricated out of plastic which has been finished with a soft touch coating. This adds a slightly rubberized feel to this area and also tends to minimize flex, acting like a reinforcement layer. Unlike some other cases in this price range, the Shinobi XL doesn’t include a side window.
The front panel connectors (with an integrated peripheral charging USB port) are placed at the top which can become problematic in some height limited situations. However, their position allowed BitFenix to retain a clean, sleek fascia design. The top panel also provides a meshed space which has support for a triple radiator should you decide not to use the included 230mm fan that’s been mounted here.
The Shinobi XL’s interior is an all-black affair that features plenty of space to work in but that was expected considering its status as a full tower chassis. There is enough length to allow for graphics cards of up to 13.1” long and BitFenix has even included the necessary mounting locations for XL-ATX motherboards. As with many other cases, cable management grommets are everywhere inside the Shinobi XL which makes cable routing behind the motherboard extremely easy.
Unfortunately, even though a massive number of hard drives or SSDs can be installed (up to seven) their tool-less mounting brackets don’t work all that well. You’ll constantly find the drives slipping out of position if the Shinobi XL is moved. BitFenix has also designed the hard drive cage so it can be completely removed or rotated ninety degrees but neither of these is easy to accomplish.
The Shinobi XL’s back section has more than enough room for cable routing and there are a number of conveniently placed clamps to help things along as well. There are some quality issues the grommets but those can be easily overcome with careful installation.
All in all, the BitFenix’s Shinobi XL looks like a strong entry into the full tower case market. However, there are some speed bumps along the road for perfection so make sure you watch our full video review before making a decision to buy the Shinobi XL.