BitFenix Shinobi XL Review

BitFenix Shinobi XL Review

BitFenix Shinobi XL Review


It seems as though the XL has already been around so long, so many of you have been patiently waiting for its official UK release. Well today with a lovely exclusive UK window of opportunity its now time for OC3D to pass its judgemental eyes across the BitFenix Shinobi XL! Has it been worth the wait, can the watercooling support really be that good for that much money...? All questions that will be answered in our video review!


MaterialsSteel, Plastic
Color (Int/Ext) Black/Black
Dimensions (HxWxD)570 x 245 x 557mm (ATX Full Tower)
Motherboard SizesMini-ITX, mATX, ATX, XL-ATX
5.25” Drive Baysx 5
3.5” Drive Baysx 7
2.5” Drive Baysx 8 (using 3.5" drive bays and 5.25" adapter)
Cooling Front1 x 230mm (included), or 3 x 120mm (optional)
Cooling Rear1 x 120mm (included), or 1 x 140mm (optional)
Cooling Top2 x 230mm (x 1 included), or 3 x 120mm (optional)
Cooling Bottom2 x 120mm (optional)
PCI Slots9
I/O1 x SuperCharge™, 4 x USB 3.0, HD Audio
Power SupplyPS2 ATX (bottom, multi direction)
ExtrasSuperior watercooling support, FlexCage™, SofTouch™ Surface Treatment, filtered intakes, tool-free drive locking
Maximum CPU Cooler Height181.1mm
Maximum Expansion Card Length334mm (with HDD cage) / 487mm (with HDD cage removed)
Maximum MB Tray Clearance (rear)32.5mm

Video Review


My oh my what a complicated one this will be. Its an epic case there is no doubt of that and it smashes in at an awesome price point of just £119.99 at SpecialTech so what do you get for your 120 hard earned British pounds? Well watch the video if you want the ins and outs but we will skim over the basics here.

The internals are essentially a Colossus with 360mm radiator support in the roof and in the front, but they have decided to make the case XL-ATX compatable and have added an extra PCI slot in the back to make this possible. Trouble is by doing this the extra room needed for the PCI slot has basically been lost from the roof and this means reducing the possible radiator thickness that you could use now up to a maximum 55mm thickness + a normal sized fan. For a case that's heavily aimed at water cooling this in my eyes is fail. The Colossus supported a 60mm thick rad but this now doesn't. Sad times. Its the same story in the front, there's acres of room there but the cut out in the optical bays just isn't big enough and limits radiators to a maximum thickness of just 50mm + a set of normal fans. If structural rigidity was an issue here simple move able support rods could have been moved / removed at the users discretion depending on their own needs.

For a mass market case we also feel that not having any HDD support when using the front mount for a radiator is also a massive oversight considering the space in the floor of the case. It actually comes down to a choice with the single optical bay above a 360mm rad mounted in the front to a HDD or and optical drive.... We would always favor the HDD but we are fully aware many of you still live in the dark ages and insist on an optical in your rigs!

Airflow to the front radiator is also ~very~ limited with an increase of 4c on our basic system during some brief testing that will only be made worse the more heat you put into the rad. Seeing as the external plastics is basically a body kit we think it would have been a much better idea to make the front panel thicker and have added some ventilation slots down the sides to have allowed the rad to breathe a little easier. Talking of the externals it would have also have been a master stroke to have been able to fit fans underneath the roof grill (outside of the main chassis but underneath the roof grill panel) as it is there are some roof beams that completely block this and this is yet another area that could have easily been addressed to make this case that little bit better.

This may all seem negative but we wanted to bring its little flaws to your attention, because from an engineers point of view all these issues could have been quickly and cheaply rectified to have made this case an absolute no brainer. Sure the basic styling will not appeal to everyone but the case was so close to being perfect on the features department its beyond Frustrating. Its still very much worth its gold award but let it be known BitFenix that it only *JUST* got it. If you had put a little more thought into this case we would have been shouting from the roof tops as one of the best water cooling cases to ever been released. As it stands now its just another good case that should be an option on a short list rather than your only sensible option.

So close yet still so far. Im off for a cry!


Thanks to BitFenix for the XL on review here today, you can discuss your thoughts in our forums.

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Most Recent Comments

15-03-2012, 11:35:09

i like.... i like alot.

i may be using these for my future farm-dronesQuote

15-03-2012, 11:47:13

Hope sometime soon i can finally replace my antec 300! Quote

15-03-2012, 11:50:17

I am a bit disappointed in this case to be honest.

It is a decent case, but, it looks cheap, the frame is really thin and it looks a bit weak, the "dust filter" or should I say pointless mesh on the front is poor.

I don't want it to sound like I am slagging BitFenix off or anything like that, I actually like BitFenix, but the quality and features of this case are lacking compared to cases that cost just a bit more, or even around the same price. The lack of those few extra mm for full sized rads is a big let down as well, if it hadn't been for that, the quality and lack of features could have been overlooked a little due to it having great radiator support. With no real place for a drive bay res or your HDDs with a rad in the front, little room for mounting a pump and a cylinder res, it lets its self down.

The customization options are it's saving grace, really, being able to customize it and choose the window of your choice is good. But it doesn't really make up for the bad points, in "my" opinion, the case is a Silver award at best.

If you are looking for a watercooling case, then I would spend the extra £30 and get the Switch 810, and i'm not just saying that because I have one, but because for that extra £30 you get a lot more. Quote

15-03-2012, 13:17:28

I have to agree with SieB here, for the potential it has to be so good, it falls short in so many ways.

All the little problems add up to a big one and it loses out on tough competition, not only from the Switch 810, but in that price range from the CM Stormtrooper as well.Quote

15-03-2012, 13:20:25

King Damager
Solid review, I think personally I prefer this to the 810. I know the 810 has a few more features, but this is slightly more of an empty shell, and therefore I can see plenty of customisability options there I understand why people may want the 810 over this, but yeah, I'd say it depends what you want on which one to choose. I'd imagine looks can play a part in this as well. Not to mention it's at a cracking value at the £30 less. Taking a Dremel to that roof support bar wouldn't be too bad an idea, and same with the optical drive issue...

I have thought about the HDD mounting, with a bit of modification, you could mount your HDDs on the back of the motherboard tray if it's 30mm gap?

I have to agree the lack of suppport for full size rads is a bit annoying, but an Alphacool in the front and an SR1 in the top (I've seen some sites offering to ship cases with SR1 pre-installed). Or a 240mm in the bottom would be a possible idea.

Also, Black and Gold - JPS, Black and Gold, New Renault xD Wish they're were more colour options for gold though - sleeve, watercooling etc...

Oh, and you have a close relationship with BitFenix, not NZXT (42 minutes around about)

Anyway, solid review


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