Inside the BitFenix Shinobi Window MidTower
First, a minor complaint, I personally am not a fan of thumb screws to hold on side panels as they tend to kill my thumbs to unscrew them but this being a budget case they make perfect sense. Now that I got that off my chest, once you do remove them, the panels slide back and pop off very easily to give you full access to both sides of the motherboard tray and drive cage. The interior is the same matte black finish as the exterior following the current trend in cases. I love that manufacturer are doing this from the factory as it really makes the inside have a clean professional look that tends to be more important on a windowed case such as this Shinobi Window. Running my hand around the inside of the case I am happy to report all edges are smooth with a tight fit and finish.
The first thing I noticed when I took the side panel off is the tool-free drive cage. More and more manufacturers are going to this type of mounting system over all those tiny screws with some doing it better than others. The drive cage is riveted in place with 3x 5.25” bays and no less than 8x 3.5” bays.
They also included an adaptor so you can either mount a floppy drive or other 2.5” device and have it fill one of the 5.25” bays to the outside of the case or you can use it to hold your SSD. The clever part is this adaptor can either be used with the outside bay panel off for external items or with the panel on for internal only items like that SSD.
The tool free mechanisms to hold in your ODD and HDD are very straight forward. For the 5.25” bays you simply pinch to open and push to snap closed. For the 3.5” bays there is a knob you twist to unlock and pull off the bracket then insert your HDD put the bracket back on and twist the knob back to the locked position. The 5.25” bays are one sided meaning you do not have to pull off the back cover to insert your ODD.
Unfortunately the 3.5” bays require you to have both sides of the case open to twist off the brackets. This is not that inconvenient but does require extra steps to add or change HDD.
While I love the tool free design the 3.5” locking mechanisms leave a lot of wiggle room for the HDD which will undoubtedly translate to HDD noise as they vibrate in the cage. Neither the 5.25” nor the 3.5” bays have any type of rubber dampening as part of the mounting solution. Something for you to consider if you are trying to make this a silent build with the Shinobi Window.
There is plenty of space between the back of the case and the drive cage allowing you to put in a video card as long as 11.8” which should be enough for the majority of cards on the market today. Just be aware that this means that you cannot have a HDD in that 3.5” bay behind the GPU to get that room. With a HDD installed 9” is about the longest GPU that the case can handle but with 8x 3.5” bays this should not be a problem.
The motherboard tray in the BitFenix Shinobi Widow is non-removable but they do have a massive 13cm x 12.5cm hole behind the CPU mount to give you easy access to mount any type of cooling solution with the motherboard installed. Personally I never had much use for the removable motherboard trays since you still need to make all the SATA and power connections and that has to be done when it is inside the case anyway. Another make your life easier feature is the motherboard tray comes stamped with a guide that tells you exactly where to insert your standoffs based on what form factor motherboard you are installing. No more hold the motherboard over the tray and line up the standoffs with the other hand.
I also noticed another trend BitFenix is following is very good cable management solutions built right in. There are several generous size holes passing through to the back of the motherboard to run your cabling. While these do not have the fancy grommets of the higher end cases they still took the time to roll the steel back to make soft rolled edges that will not cut into sensitive cables. BitFenix even took the time to punch out tie anchors all over the back giving you no excuse not to tidy it up and improve that air flow. You will also see all of the cables coming from the top I/O panel are nicely encased in a black rubber sheathing keeping the interior nice and neat.
Moving around to the back side you will notice there is more than 2cm of clearance behind the motherboard tray to accommodate even the largest 24 pin ATX cables. This space behind the mother board tray another one of those features that used to be reserved for only the most expensive cases but they went ahead an included it in their design of the Shinobi. Just because this is their budget line BitFenix is including a lot of features showing us they are serious about giving you top value for your hard earned dollars.
Finally BitFenix made air flow a top priority by including a front mounted 120mm intake fan and a spot for a second one with filter covering both inlets. There is also a back mounted 120mm exhaust fan to move that hot air out of the case. In order to maximize airflow they give you the option of mounting another 120mm bottom fan, dual 120mm or 140mm top mounted blow hole fans, and the already mentioned 120mm over the GPU slots. All of these fan mount points allows you to decide to have either a positive or negative pressure case to suit your preference. Seven fans can create a lot of airflow and a lot of noise but it is great to know it is there if you need it.