When BitFenix first entered the case market, it made sure the company got noticed – we might have found the Colossus a little lacking when it came to cooling, but the crazy lighting system was more than enough to turn our heads. Following it up the Survivor, another large mid-tower with a unique design, we began to wonder whether BitFenix could actually do “normal”. We were proved wrong with the Shinobi, a more traditional budget case which unfortunately came to market at the same time as the excellent Antec 100. BitFenix clearly thought the design had potential, however, as it has revamped it into the full ATX tower that is the Shinobi XL.
Click to Enlarge - The Shinobi XL is embiggened version of the Shinobi
It might have the same outward appearance as its little brother, but the Shinobi XL is aptly named – standing over half a metre tall, it’s more than enough to trouble smaller desks. The soft-touch finish and minimalistic styling will seem instantly familiar to anyone that’s tried a BitFenix case before, although it will need to impress with its build quality and cooling in order to justify its £130 price tag.
From the front, the matt black exterior is fairly plain, with only a silver BitFenix logo and some mesh styling to mix things up. It’s completely covered with a soft-touch plastic that’s much classier than either the matt or gloss plastics we often find on cases, including the five external 5.25in drive bays which leave plenty of space for optical drives or bay reservoirs. There’s also a 3.5in adaptor included in the box to mount for smaller fan controllers or card readers into a 5.25in bay.
Click to Enlarge - A sleek and smooth front fascia is combined with a well-featured front panel
The roof-mounted front I/O panel is filled by four USB 3 ports, along with two 3.5mm audio jacks and the usual power and reset switches. A fifth USB port only provides power, as BitFenix has designated it a Rapid Charge port. Powered by a SATA power connector, it can charge a USB device faster than using a regular USB port. If your smartphone or MP3 player is constantly running out of juice, this could be a useful inclusion.
Click to Enlarge - A large side panel offers a good view inside
A mesh grille covers the roof fan mounts, into which BitFenix has installed a single large 230mm fan. Alternatively, you could swap it out for three 120mm fans, or remove the top cover to install a full thickness triple fan radiator. There are four pre-cut water-cooling holes above the motherboard I/O plate on the rear of the case, saving you the trouble of breaking out the Dremel for an external setup.
Dimensions (mm) 245 x 557 x 570mm (W x D x H)
Material Steel, plastic
Available colours Black, White
Front panel Power, reset, 4 x USB 3, 1 x USB 2 power only, stereo, microphone,
Drive bays 5 x external 5.25in drive bays, 7 x internal 3.5in/2.5in, 1 x 5.25in to 3.5in drive bay adaptor.
Form factor(s) E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Cooling 1 x 230mm front mounts (fan supplied) or 3 x 120mm front fan mounts (fans not supplied), 1 x 120/140mm rear fan mount (140mm fan supplied), 2 x 230mm top fan mounts (fans supplied) or 3 x 120mm fan mounts (fans not supplied), 2 x 120mm bottom fan mounts (fans not supplied)