When you’re planning a new system build, sometimes a common mid-tower chassis just isn’t enough. If you’re planning on something big, with large radiators, huge graphics cards, monster size power supplies and more, then you’re going to need a big chassis! Fortunately, BitFenix has got us covered, with their Shinobi XL, a feature packed full-tower that should fit virtually any hardware you can think of.
As the name would suggest, this chassis is similar to the BitFenix Shinobi, the XL obviously defines that this is the extra-large version of the original, giving you even more room to play around with for your new build.
BitFenix is one of the most recognizable chassis brands on the market, having had huge success with several chassis over the years; such as their Prodigy and Colossus series. I’ve been very impressed with their products in past reviews, so I’m expecting great things from the Shinobi XL.
The XL is very capable, with room for a vast range of air and water cooling solutions, E-ATX and XL-ATX motherboards and all the popular BitFenix extras such as FlexCage, SofTouch and more!
I have the windowed edition at my disposal today, which features a huge side panel window. What’s interesting is that the window held into the panel with plastic push-click pins, this means you can easily take the window out of the panel. While this won’t be something your average user will need to do, it’ll no doubt please chassis modders.
Both the left and right side panels are made from thick steel and held in place by a pair of thumbscrews at the back.
The chassis is quite wide, but certainly proportionate to its height. There are two strips of ventilation, one down each side. The front panel has also been treated to that lovely SofTouch coating, which gives the Shinobi XL a sleek and rather stealthy appearance. Finally, we’ve got a staggering five 5.25″ drive bays! Not sure who needs that many, but they’d be great for converting to hot swap drive bays.
Around the back, you’ll find four rubber grommets at the top, a 120/140mm fan mount, with a 120mm fan pre-installed, nine expansion slots and the PSU cut-out; the PSU cut-out alone should give you some impression of the scale of this chassis.
The top panel has a large ventilated section, as well as two strips of ventilation near the edge; matching the design of the front panel.
The main I/O section has four USB 3.0 ports that are fed by dual USB 3.0 headers on the interior of the chassis, there’s even a high-power USB charging socket; perfect for charging your tablet/phone.
There are four large with rubber grip base and three washable dust filters on the base of the chassis. The PSU filter slides out, while the other two clip into place, which are great for anyone planning on mounting a radiator in the base of the chassis.
With the side panel removed, you can see that the interior of the chassis, as well as all the fittings and fixtures, are finished in the same stealthy black as the exterior. There’s a large CPU cooler mounting cut-out behind the motherboard (even if it does look small in comparison to the rest of the chassis) and a good selection of cable routing grommets around the motherboard area.
Crammed into the top of the Shinobi XL, you’ll find a 230mm fan; perfect for pulling excess heat out of your system while maintaining low RPM.
There’s a huge amount of space in the base of the chassis for a high-end PSU. You can fit a 120mm fan in the middle, or two 120mm fans or a 240mm radiator if you remove the hard drive bays.
There’s seven tool-free 3.5″ drive trays, all of which support 2.5″ drives when using the included screws.
The five 5.25″ drive bays come equipped with tool-free drive locks on the left and right sides of each bay.
Each of the expansion slots comes fitted with reusable ventilated covers, thumb screws and there’s also a slight cut-away to the left side of the chassis to allow easy access with your screwdriver.
The pre-installed 120mm fan in the rear. Combined with the 230mm fan in the top of the chassis, exhausting heat from your system shouldn’t be a problem.
There’s a huge amount of space behind the motherboard for cable management. This will no doubt please enthusiasts who want to fit a huge amount of hardware, but it’ll also please the lazy, as you could easily stuff excess cables out of sight.
There’s a few cable tie loops to help you keep things as neat and tidy as possible.
In total, you’ll find one large rubber grommet at the bottom, three to the right of the motherboard and another three across the top.
The top panel can be lifted off easy enough, giving you access to the vast range of fan and radiator mounts in the top of the chassis.
Behind the front panel, there’s a clip-in mesh dust filter and another pre-installed 230mm fan.
The Shinobi XL may be huge, but it’s very easy to work with. All of my components fit without any issues and while I’ve fit a fairly big system inside it, there’s obviously room for something a lot bigger.
The Sapphire R9 270X graphics cards I’ve installed have a massive 308mm cooler design, but there’s still room to spare without having to remove the hard drive bays; great news for anyone wanting to install multiple high-end graphics cards.
There’s a huge amount of clearance above the motherboard; you’ll have no issues installing a good size radiator here.
The side panel gives a very uncompromising look at the interior of the chassis, so there’s certainly some motivation to have a tidy looking build.
The Shinobi XL can be purchased from Overclockers UK for £104.99, while the window edition I reviewed today is £129.95. This is obviously expensive, but when you consider the grade of system it is designed to house, it’s likely going to be one of the cheaper components of your build. It’s priced alongside the CM HAF 932, NZXT Switch 810 and Thermaltake T81, to name but a few, all of which are similar spec and size full-towers, so it really boils down to which best suits your own taste.
The Shinobi Window XL is an incredible chassis, designed for extreme performance systems that have no room for compromise. If you’re planning on building an ultra high-end gaming rig or workstation, you’ll find this chassis be well suited to the task. It’s capable of housing a high-end water cooling setup, with radiators in the top, front, back and bottom of the chassis. Air cooled builds will certainly benefit from the high-quality pre-installed fans and there’s certainly room for even more fans if you needed extra airflow. The chassis is equipped with dust filters on all major intakes and the thick panels will go a long way to reducing any excess noise and vibration from your build.
It’s a great looking chassis, not only in terms of general design, but also thanks to the stunning SofTouch finish on the front and top panels. Even for a huge chassis, the black panels manage to give it a somewhat understated look, although only about as understated as a tank would look if you painted it midnight black.
Chassis modders will love what’s on offer here, as the storage bays are full removable and there’s a huge bank of 5.25″ drive bays, no doubt well suited to front panel water cooling reservoirs and fan control devices. The side panel window can be popped out, allowing for easy modification and there’s more room behind the motherboard than you’ll typical find on most chassis.
- Huge amount of space on the interior
- Room for multiple high-end graphics cards
- Extensive radiator and fan mounts
- Three high-quality fans pre-installed
- Capable of holding vast amounts of storage devices
- Spacious cable management space behind motherboard
- Dust filters on all major intakes
- Removable side-panel window
- SofTouch finish on top and front panel
- Rock solid build quality
- 2.5A charging port
- Dual USB 3.0 headers (4 x USB 3.0 on front panel)
“The BitFenix Shinobi Window XL may be big and expensive, but it’s certainly impressive. If you’re planning on building an enthusiast grade system with no compromises, then you’ll be very happy with how capable this chassis is.”
Thank you Overclockers UK for providing us with this sample.