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)
Internal 7x 2.5"/3.5"
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)
Side -
Bottom 1x 140mm intake fan
Expansion Slots 9
I/O Port 4x USB 3.0, 1x USB (power only), 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Clearances HSF 181 mm
PSU 200 mm
GPU 13.1" / 334mm
Dimensions 22.44" x 9.65" x 21.93"
570mm x 245mm x 557mm
Special Features USB 3.0 connectivity via internal headers (included USB 2.0 adaptor cables)
Support for dual 360mm radiators and one 240mm radiator
Price $159

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.

In and Around the BitFenix Shinobi XL
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  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    I've thought about it a few times. It's just a matter of one of the case manufacturers being crazy enough to let me come up with something. ;)
  • romany8806 - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    Hey Dustin, I enjoy your reviews more and read them more thoroughly than any others on Anandtech, despite not currently being in the market for anything you've covered.

    I don't suppose you have a CM690-II in your review backlog do you? I'd love to know how my case compares with those that have gone through your new test suite. If you have any anecdotal experience to share I'd be happy with that.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    I wish I did, but for some odd reason CoolerMaster stuff can be a bit hard to come by around here and I don't have any business requesting new kit until I've cleared out my (massive) backlog.

    So unfortunately no anecdotal experience, but just from looking at it I'd expect it to perform comparably to Antec's 1100, albeit probably a bit louder.

    I sincerely appreciate the kind words, though. The internet breeds negativity, so it's always nice when someone chooses to put something positive out there. :)
  • Darkhynde - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    I have to agree with his high opinion of your reviews. It saddens me to hear that the Cooler Master stuff is hard to come by as I am in the early stages of researching parts fro a new build I want to by myself for my birthday in about two months and had my eyes on the Cooler Master HAF XM. My current case is an OLD OLD OLD Thermaltake Kandalf circa 2003 that has served me well through my last two or three builds since then.

    Out of curiosity, just what do you consider massive when you mention this massive backlog of yours? Can We get a ballpark figure of how many cases are in your backlog?

    One other question. What do you do with the cases once they are reviewed and the data recorded for future use. Do you have a room stock piled with cases or do you ship them back to the vendor that supplied them?
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    Right now my backlog is about six cases deep, so basically about two months worth of reviews. Also keep in mind that as new cases are released, they get moved to the front of the line, so unfortunately when something is sitting at the tends to sit at the back for a long time, potentially indefinitely. I do my best to keep up on my workload, though, and maintain contact with the vendors.

    And also keep in mind that, as you've seen, cases aren't the only thing I handle around here. They keep me busy. :)
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    Silence, slave! Back to work! [Cracks whip]
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    Yes sir! Right away sir!
  • xaviergzz - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    "as the case is capable of supporting a cumulative 1080x120mm of radiators"

    what does that mean???

    1080x120mm...1080mm X 120mm ...3 three foot long rad???
  • Galcobar - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    The key phrase is "cumulative."

    Dustin's not explicit about the location of the radiators -- as far as I can read -- but if fan mounts = radiator mounts, then three 120 mm x 120 mm across the top, three across the front, two on the bottom and one at the back.

    120 x 9 = 1080 mm. So nine radiators, 120 mm wide, lined up would produce a 3.5-foot-long radiator.

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