Bitfenix Shinobi XL Review/ Mod

Discussion in 'Extreme and Water Cooling' started by Creekin, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. Creekin

    Creekin (Taking a Break)

    Jun 21, 2003
    Welcome to the 4th instalment of my new 138 part special series

    "Better know your Bitfenix cases" :Pirate:

    Todays contestant is the "designed for wc"
    Shinobi XL

    Click to view full size!

    available with
    and without window
    i have the windowless one, which gives me something to dremel! :D

    the main features from the blurb
    So basically this case is designed and marketed as a wc case, hence why i put it in here not OC&HW.

    It can take a 360 rad in the top and in theory, another 360 in the front OR a 240 on the floor.
    it is very similar in design to the 800D imho but alot cheaper and lighter :thumbup:
    while i love the soft touch finish, i find this front panel a little plain, and it could def do with some more airflow for the front rad posi.

    Click to view full size!

    with the front panel removed u can see how devices sit in the drive bays
    the locking mechanism is a push and slide button and works well for odd's but not so well for my res and aquaero they needed screws, but removing the stock lock was easy as.

    Click to view full size!

    and again around the back is business as usual

    Click to view full size!

    top grill with 4x usb3 and "super charge" port which has a SATA power plug (not molex :thumbup: ) and just delivers power, not data, to devices to charge them "upto 5 times faster".....

    Click to view full size!

    backstage had plenty of room for all this lot and the side panel just clipped in at the front and closed up easily

    Click to view full size!

    the build quality of the chassis and cover panels is top notch as per the other cases i have reviewed.
    really solid even with all the extra bits removed it had very little flex and no rattle :thumbup:
    as an air case its pretty stock standard, normal mobo mount, bottom psu and hdd rack under the 5 way odd bay.

    the hdd rack is screwed top, bottom AND to the mobo tray!
    and it can be unscrewed and rotated 90deg or removed entirely to make room for MOAR RAD!!!!11111 :D
    i decided to leave it in and in the stock posi, across the case as i find it better for airflow and cable routeing, but the whole point is its up to you.
    the hdd trays themselves are simple plastic jobbies with pegs that go in the screw holes, pretty standard stuff, but does the job nicely
    all 7 of them can also take an ssd and the case also comes with a 5.25 to 2.5/3.25 tray.

    Click to view full size!

    while on optional extras that are currently sitting in the bottom of my box not in their posi's is a pair of fan filters for the bottom 2x120 fans, these clip in with small plastic pop rivet type plugs and there is also another one for the psu but it slides in from the back of the case.

    I decided to retire my Vento case :upset: and transfer the contents to the Shinobi XL
    this worked well for me as the vento was way too small, and the hdds and psu had to be external, the exact same rig fits nicely in this case with room to spare and the only diff is the rad in the top is a 120.3 where previously i had a 140.3

    Click to view full size!

    thats one of my few gripes with this case, i would have preffered to have seen 140 rad support as well, while its nothing a dremel can't fix. that would kind of defeat the purpose of buying this case in the first place imho.
    it was really nice for once to have a case i can just bolt wc kit into with no cutting and filling!!! :D :D :D

    Having said that,
    the wc compatibility was not as good as i hoped or expected.....
    the gap at the top for the rad is only 80mm, the avg normal size rad thickness is 55mm and the avg fan is 25mm, leaving a grand total of 0mm clearance!
    let alone space for fan grills, silicone gaskets or even bolt heads...

    I prefer to mount my fans to the rad, then the rad to the case, its alot easier to do and works best imho.
    But that was impossible in this case sadly. Even with no silicone or grills there wasn't quite enough clearance for the mobo to fit. and 2 of the bolt heads hit a heatsink on my mobo, even with those 2 bolts removed it still wouldnt go. :(

    Strangely i was able to mount the "other" way with the fans sandwiched between the rad and case. the rad was still hard up against the mobo but this time it fit, and the bolt heads are out the top so not an issue. :D
    this is alot more difficult to install though as u need to hold the rad and fans in place while fitting the bolts..not impossible but not as easy as it should be.

    I was also only able to mount it with the ports to the front as this pic shows, u can also see the gap to the mobo is EXACTLY the same as a fan

    Click to view full size!

    here you may be able to see that the clip on the 8 pin is being pressed by the rad, sry for crap pic, was hard to get the flash in there

    Click to view full size!

    they did mention that a slim rad fits, but imho that just doesn't cut it in a case of this size that's advertised as being 360 rad compatible, that should cover all rads or at least the most common ones.
    I used an SR1 360 and i also tried a TC PA 120.3 which was the same thickness but a bit longer, it "fit", but due to the old TC fan spacing could only be bolted with one set of fan holes, no problemo :thumbup:

    the other minor non issue i had was connecting a bay res to the top rad
    with the ports at the top and so close to the front this was not as easy as i expected.
    also as the res and rad ports didnt quite line up i had to come up with something tricky from my box'o'fittings :leet:
    most ppl wont have these available and i struggled to find another way to link rad to res without a metric fuckton of tube.

    heres what i came up with

    Click to view full size!

    20mm extension/rotary 45/10mm extension/rotary 90/ adjustable sli/temp sensor :wired:

    Click to view full size!

    it fits goddamit!!! :D

    tbh i think the guys at BF have done an excellent job on the design, but i think they have failed to test this with an actual wc loop, and have guesstimated the 80mm gap from the width of a rad and a fan......
    i have spoken to them about this issue and asked if they installed wc, but didnt get an answer to that particular question..... :Paranoid:

    a few more small problems i ran into with regards to rad mounts
    while the front does have room for a 360 and there is already a hole cut in the bottom of the ODD bay to allow the rad to fit.
    it takes up the bottom 2 bays, and the top rad with the ports to the front also takes up 2 bays...if u want to link the rads directly thats all the odds gone.

    and installing a rad on the front means removing the hdd rack, so essentially no where to mount hdds.
    i have seen ppl mount a pair of ssds on the "back" of the odd bays.
    but i think if the hdd rack could be moved back a bit closer to the psu then a rad and hdds could both fit..but could foul with long gpus.

    while it could take 2x 360s you could not also use a bay res
    and would need to DIY hdd mounts
    a front 240 would save 2 odd bays but still loose the would a floor 240.
    but u cant have both, they would clash, actually on 2nd though a pair of 240s would fit IF u mounted the front one off the top 2 fan mounts and left the bottom fan hole free.
    the other problem with the front rad mount is the front panel has very little in the way of a grill, only 2 thin strips down each side which are mainly decorative and gap at the bottom which is a handle for removing the panel

    so i would be concerned about airflow to a rad there, and indeed to hdds
    the single floor fan between hdds and psu is a good idea.

    To sum up i really have to agree with OC3Ds conclusion, and strangely the quote that BF post on the shinobi product page
    sry for the wall'o'txt, but tbh i find this case very frustrating, it could have been a tj and 800d killer imho esp for the price! but for a few minor design flaws

    1) the front panel needs mesh opening

    2) the hdd rack needs to be even more flexible, either pushed back enough to allow a rad in front and still clear a long gpu, or split in half so that a short rack could fit under long gpus.

    3) and most importantly the top rad gap to mobo needs to be increased by at LEAST 10mm, preferably a bit more...
    dropping the XL atx mobo support and dropping the whole mobo down the 2 extra pci slots would do the trick :thumbup:

    the issue with the hdd rack made me choose between MOAR rad and hdds....a pc aint much good without at least one drive.

    not that i usually score cases, but i so wanted this to be at least a 9/10 but if pressed i would at best give it 7.5 "Creeks" :thumbup:
    Good but not Great!™

    Big thanks to Lester from Bitfenix and Altech for supplying the case
    and to Koitech for the SR1 360, monsoon res and aquaero 5 :thumbup:
    Despite the minor issues i am very happy with it and def recommend it :leet:


    Click to view full size!

    the price and weight comparison to an 800D came up in another thread so i weighed it empty, 10.7kg :thumbup:
    and the price..
    exactly HALF that of an 800Douchebag with the same rad support :thumbup:
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  2. GAM

    GAM Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Newcastle, Australia
    Good one Creekin. :thumbup:

    Nice review... informative and objective.
    Looks like a good WC case but shame about the front panel's lack of airflow, lack of versatility with 3.5" hard drive cage and radiator dimension limits as you've pointed out. It looks the goods but and at a great price ($'s) range? $171-175 at Koi's...

    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  3. Hood

    Hood Member

    Apr 12, 2008
    They tell me cremation works quite well on a Vento! R.I.P.

    Would have been nice to have the option of a shiny finish rather the soft touch, i guess that is their calling card.

    Certainly not a bad box considering the price tag.

    Looks like the back stage need a tidy up, some roady has been a bit slap dash!
  4. IMtech

    IMtech (Banned or Deleted)

    Jul 1, 2011
    Cheeseland, France
    Great Review! Nice to see you got it going! :thumbup:
  5. OP

    Creekin (Taking a Break)

    Jun 21, 2003
    cheers mate :thumbup:
    u know me, i call a spade a shovel!
    i warned bitfenix of that :Pirate:
    yeah awesome price, esp compared to an 800D which i think is fair as it holds about the same rig.

    good to see Kois finished his site upgrade, last time i checked was just monsoons listed.....
    looks good doesn't it Gam? *hint hint* :p
    i was thinking more mythbusters style... *BOOM!* :D
    he'd just finished a 6 month tour with AC/DC give him a break man! :lol:
  6. brayway

    brayway Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Dun - New Zealand
    Not a bad case,
    with the money people save on the case, they can now spend it on more watercooling :lol:
  7. Scottymag

    Scottymag Member

    Oct 28, 2009
    that is actually not bad :D would hate to carry it around all the hdds and water -.-
  8. OP

    Creekin (Taking a Break)

    Jun 21, 2003
    yeah it weighs a ton with the hdds installed :wired:

    i just bought a NAS yesterday and pulled the hdds out of the shinobi to put in it.
    which means i now have room for MOAR RAD!!!111
    stay tuned :thumbup:

    also the guys at BF just linked me this build from sweden :leet:
    and i made their fb page :D
  9. tunksy

    tunksy Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    nice review mate and nice loop, cute doggy too:thumbup:
  10. walker_2003

    walker_2003 Member

    Jan 15, 2003
    what a case, might upgrade the 800D to one lol
  11. WishBone17

    WishBone17 Member

    Nov 21, 2002
    Dundas (Sydney)
    great review Creekin. I have to make an effort to come over your rape dungeon and look at this in person.

    & I def agree about the front could do with more airflow.. i think its time to do what you do best and ...........


    I mean Dremel the front!
  12. [ELLiPSiS]

    [ELLiPSiS] Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    Newcastle (2285)
    Nice Review Creekin!

    Ive been tempted to get the 800D for a while now but the price was a little off putting.
    This case on the other hand fits right the budget right though. Cant wait to get my hands on one :D
  13. OP

    Creekin (Taking a Break)

    Jun 21, 2003
    the butchering begins :Pirate:

    ODD bay had to go

    Click to view full size!

    to make room for MOARRAD™

    Click to view full size!

    technically the odd bay could have stayed, the 120.3s fit inside it, i took it off to fit a 140 in the front, but couldnt get the ports to line up :( and also wanted all the fans to match, so went with dual 360s instead
    top rad is an sr1, front is a TC, so i was damn lucky that this worked :leet:

    Click to view full size!

    Click to view full size!

    Click to view full size!

    the ports on the 2 rads didnt line up perfectly, was off by a few mm, but nothing a good ol KL adjustable SLI couldn't handle :thumbup:
    now to decide which of my 4 spare res and 2 spare pumps to use :confused:

Share This Page