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BitFenix Shinobi Window ATX PC Chassis Review

  1. Introduction
  2. Specs, Packaging and Accessories
  3. External Impressions
  4. Internal Impressions
  5. Installation Impressions
  6. Conclusion

Bitfenix is a new company making PC Chassis compared to the other guys but they have been working in this field for a long time. Bitfenix caught my eye when I saw few of the video unboxing. Now their PC Chassis is available via few of their dealers, lets take a look at what they have to offer and where to they stand.

Today, its the Bitfenix Shinobi Window.

Before we continue, there’s Shinobi Window and Shinobi- which doesn’t come with Windowed side panel with a 120mm fan mount, a 120mm fan on the front and the tool-less 3.5″/5.25″ clamps. Other than that, the basic dimensions and the front panel are the same.

The case comes in a standard cardboard packaging. You can see it clearly indicates whether or not you’re getting a Shinobi/Shinobi Window. Moving on…
Nothing out of the ordinary: the case is protected with a plastic bag and couple of Styrofoam blocks.

Other than the usual screws and standoffs, Bitfenix provides bunch of cable ties, a set of 4 case feet, security lock attachment. Case feet are not attached on the case by default. The adhesive tape on the feet are from 3M.

The left side panel has a black tint acrylic sheet with a 120mm mount. The rest of the panel is plain-Jane matte black finish.

The front panel has meshed vents on the sides of the panel and goes through the top panel. The rear panel is where 120mm fan is mounted by default with an option to install a 92mm fan. There are 2 rubber grommets provided. The case comes with 7 PCI slots and you can mount the power supply on the bottom.

A part of top panel has a mesh for the fans, also that’s where you’ll have all the necessary front panel connectors and Power/Reset Buttons.

From the left, there are 4x USB 2.0 ports, Speaker and Mic jacks with the usual Power/Reset button. It would be nice to see a USB 3.0 ports being provided in this day of age especially since newer motherboards are coming with USB 3.0 headers.

The panel on the bottom has 2x 120mm vents- first one from the left is for the power supply’s fan and second one with screw mount is for a fan should you need to install one. Both vents come with air filter. As you can see, the case feet is installed.

The front and the top has “soft touch” on the surface. It’s not rubber, more like a smooth finish feel on the front and the top panel (Reminds me of MX510. No, not I am not referring to MX518). Feels good. There’s also enough on the top panel to put any of your external drives or other devices.

Starting from the sides, You can mount 3x 5.25″ drives (out of which one of them mounts a tray to mount a SSD drive) with 8x 3.5″ drives. Speaking of The mounting tray, as shown in the picture, you can not only install the 2.5″ SSD drive, but in its place it looks as if you can mount a 92mm fan as well. Not really sure why, since there isn’t any meshed vents on top of the case that can let the airflow to be pushed in or out- or through the HDD cage.

Shinobi Window by default comes with all the secure clips with 120mm fan on the front by default, with an option to mount one more fan for the fronts. I would have liked to see 2x 120mm fans on the front, especially since you don’t get good fans. Speaking of fans, the case uses Bitfenix “BFF-SCF-12025kk-RP”, these have “fluid Dynamic” Bearing which are known to run quiet at high speeds with lesser vibration. The fans come with 10 blades and rated 52CFM @18dBa. These fans are very silent and you can feel they push a lot of air. These are not one of those lower-than-average ball-bearing with not a really good quality bearings (and lubrication) fans that certain manufacturers for a certain types of case bundle. Its safe to say its one of those “high quality” fans and spending about 3 weeks gave me a good impression. I wished that since they didn’t provide a USB 3.0 connectors, it would have been fair enough if there were 2 fans on the front. I prefer non-LED fans with matte-finish blades. In my experience I can clean those easily compared to glossy transparent blades that LED fans come with, like my XLF-F1253 that I use with Thermaltake Big Typhoon.
I am not really a fan of CPU cut-outs, mostly because I always recommend people to install the processors on the socket properly, then heatsink (especially the after-market) and the memory sticks before mounting it on the case. Not really an issue with AMD sockets as pins are on the processors, but when it comes to Intel, I’ve seen a lot of people not able to mount the processor and the aftermarket heatsinks properly, thereby ending up unequal pressure between the heatsink and the processor- and hence you end up with the thermal paste being smudged all over the processor’s IHS. I am not saying CPU cut-out is a bad thing, but I would recommend being safe even if you think you can do it.

But that’s why I would like to get a hands-on a removable motherboard tray.

The case can accommodate ATX form factor motherboards with long cards as the space between the PCI slots till the HDD is about 12.5″ and depth from the motherboard tray till the side panel is 7″. The cable management holes are about 3″x 1″. Although they don’t have grommets, I feel that if a cable management is filled with cables turn out to be an obstacle. Too thick grommets require to push the cables to the other side once you have most of the cables through it- and grommets that are aren’t really thick have a habit of loosing grip on the motherboard panel, thereby grommets tend to come of its place. Maybe by max edges on the holes should be smooth enough- or just have a rubber ring around it. The re-routing hole next to the PSU mount is 3.5″x 1.5″ so extra space does help to re-route 24pin ATX cables, 4/6 pin cables for the board and graphic cards and also re-routing the un-used cables to the back of the motherboard panel.

There’s a screw to hold down the 2x 120mm fan filters. This is the first I am seeing anyone doing it but it makes more sense. You will need to remove the front panel and the top panel to remove/clean/install fans and the the front fan filters. There isn’t any fan filters on the top. The USB 2.0 and audio (Mic/Speaker) header are about 30″ long whereas front panel power/Reset/HDD Activity/power LED headers are 27″ long.

The best way to check the potential of a cable management is by mounting everything that you have. The following components are used:
Processor+ Motherboard AMD FX-8150+ Asus 990FX Sabertooth
Memory Kingston KHX1600C9D3P1K2/8G
GPU Asus EAH 6950 CUII
Audio Card Asus Xonar DX
Primary Storage Kingston HyperX 120GB SSD
Secondary Storage Western Digital 300GB Velociraptor
Western Digital 1TB Green Edition
Western Digital 320GB Blue Edition
Power Supply Corsair TX750

Although all the unused cables are easily re-routed and tied down easily, there is a mess due to the long GPU and the 3.5″ drives. Do note that Asus EAH 6950 hogs in 3 PCIE slots (11.7″X 5″) and requires 2x PCIE power connectors- so its pretty good keeping such design in mind. but I will appreciate if the HDD bays could have been right angled and use sliding rails to mount the HDD drives- this way the SATA connectors can be re-routed on the other side and all the HDD bays can be used. Then again, the depth might end up to be increased or else its just not going to be easy to secure the right side panel. For what its worth, If you’re having a 10inch long MID end GPU, you should be able to install all the HDD with ease.
Also I believe its best if the cable management hole next to the power supply are bigger than other holes as that’s where almost all the cables are routed through. There are lot of cable tie clips on the back. Towards the right of the side panel, the space between the rear panel of the motherboard tray and the right side panel is about 2cms. and the space between the HDD cage and the right side panel is 4 cms. Cable tie clips are provided in areas that are really required.

A little bit of issue I had was when I was installing the standoffs for the first time- and that’s when the brass standoff’s secure nut came was useful. So its more of a necessity at first rather than just another tool that you might not use.
Comparison photos: Bitfenix Shinobi and Corsair 500R

Before we go ahead, comparing a BitFenix Shinobi and 500R (or a 400R) isn’t fair but my intention is not to compare them, but just to give you an idea of where this case stands compared to a bit taller ATX form factor cases.

The reason I am doing this is because putting and doing cable management on BitFenix Shinobi has been a good experience. Its a case that can accommodate a lot of hardware with a lot of space to mount HDD drives (do note that the space between 2 HDD drives is about 1cm) The “good experience” is pretty much comparable with such cases like the 500R and the 912 advanced I’ve evaluated few months ago. Suffice to say, Bitfenix is one of those “its bigger on the inside” cases.

True to its name, Shinobi Window is a very well built case that looks ordinary from the outside but the internals are great to work with, with 2x 120mm fluid bearing fans and much-better-than-Coolermaster Elite Series tool-less clamps with space enough to accommodate power supplies with annoyingly large and thick cables with large GPUs. Something that Lan Gamers would like- or else if you just want a decent case that does the job. There is a premium difference Shinobi and Shinobi Window, as mentioned before, the non-window version doesn’t come with Windowed side panel with a 120mm fan mount, a 120mm fan on the front and the tool-less 3.5″/5.25″ clamps. Smooth surface on the front and on the top is more like an icing on the cake should you choose to purchase it.

Shinobi Black Shinobi Black Window Shinobi White Window
Rs 3,900/- Rs 4,750/- Rs 4,750/-

Shinobi non-windowed would have smashed up NZXT Gamma and Source 210 (Non-Elite) real good if was under Rs. 3,000. Shinobi Black Window, on the other hand, should have had 1 more 120mm fluid bearing fan on the front and/or 2x USB 3.0 front panel ports provided.

BitFenix reminds me of NZXT in a lot of ways, difference is that BitFenix is stepping up real fast compared to what NZXT has taken few years to rise up. Its a very good case to work with and if it wasn’t for the price/USB 3.0 ports and/or a fluid bearing fan- I don’t see why would 1 not give it 5 stars all the way.

India U.S. U.K.
Rs. 4,750/- $ 78.72 £ 49.30

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