BitFenix Shinobi XL Case Review: Something is Lost in the Processby Dustin Sklavos on June 26, 2012 2:40 AM EST
Introducing the BitFenix Shinobi XL
We've had a remarkably heavy backlog of cases in house in desperate need of review over the past couple of months, and one of the standouts has been BitFenix's Shinobi XL. We were generally pretty pleased with the original Shinobi when we first reviewed it. Seventy bucks for a solid budget enclosure with great styling was a killer deal, and the enclosure itself has a lot of room to grow for the budding enthusiast. As it turns out, the Shinobi has been a pretty big hit for BitFenix. Big enough, in fact, that they decided it needed to go...bigger.
And so it did. BitFenix released the Shinobi XL earlier this year, but reviews for it have been fairly scarce and even a little bit dismissive in some cases. We have an opportunity here to rectify that and determine if the newer, larger Shinobi lives up to the legacy of its little brother, or if BitFenix has lost some of the magic in enlarging their budget design.
It's most definitely bigger. While the Shinobi was a standard ATX case (and a fairly small one at that), the Shinobi XL is all-in, with nine expansion slots and able to support XL-ATX motherboards. While it shares a lot of the design language of its predecessor, the larger scale allows two of the fans to be upgraded to 200mm parts. I'm not sure bigger is necessarily better, though.
|BitFenix Shinobi XL Specifications|
|Motherboard Form Factor||Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, XL-ATX|
|Drive Bays||External||5x 5.25” (incl. one 5.25"-to-3.5" adapter bay)|
|Cooling||Front||1x 230mm intake fan (supports 3x 120mm)|
|Rear||1x 120mm exhaust fan (supports 140mm)|
|Top||1x 230mm exhaust fan (supports 2x 230mm or 3x 120mm)|
|Bottom||1x 140mm intake fan|
|I/O Port||4x USB 3.0, 1x USB (power only), 1x Headphone, 1x Mic|
|Power Supply Size||Standard ATX|
|GPU||13.1" / 334mm|
22.44" x 9.65" x 21.93"
570mm x 245mm x 557mm
USB 3.0 connectivity via internal headers (included USB 2.0 adaptor cables)
Support for dual 360mm radiators and one 240mm radiator
Unfortunately I don't have a weight statistic for the BitFenix Shinobi XL other than "it's heavy." The chassis really is in many ways just a giant Shinobi, with a steel frame and then the soft-touch plastic finish. What's also a bit alarming is the price tag: at $159, the Shinobi XL is more than twice as expensive as its predecessor, making it an unusual heir to the Shinobi throne.
As a bit of good news, though, BitFenix cases are now finally available on NewEgg. I'm actually personally really happy to see this, as it both raises the profile of BitFenix and also makes more widely available what I consider some of the best budget cases available.