BitFenix Ronin Mid-Tower Case

BitFenix is a fairly new name to the enthusiast case market, however their cases have been getting a lot of attention as providing great cases for budget builders.  Their main focus is on building high quality enthusiast grade cases, offering a multitude of features while keeping the price down.  The case that we are looking at today from BitFenix is called Ronin.  Ronin features a dark, stealthy design with wide hardware compatibility to suit your ever changing gaming rig. Micro-mesh strips provide additional ventilation, while the large window side panel with innovative Stealth Cover allows you to show off your hardware you want or hide away the parts you don’t.

Ronin Full View

The BitFenix Ronin is a mid-tower case, measuring 205 x 483 x 505mm (WxHxD).  For those looking for alternative color options, the Ronin is only available in black.  Externally, it has many common features with three 5.25" drive bays, a large side panel window, and a front I/O cluster that includes both USB 2.0 and SuperSpeed USB 3.0.  Internally, it features six 3.5" drive trays, room for a standard ATX motherboard, support for extra long video cards and other enthusiast grade features.  Like most cases, the Ronin comes with a 1 year warranty.

Ronin Internal Side

The BitFenix Ronin is sold under part number BFC-RON-300-KKWSK-RP and can be found at Newegg for $99.99 plus $9.59 shipping. For right around $100 online, the Ronin has some advanced features going for it; one feature is the Stealth Cover.  It covers up the drive bays and the power supply area, so all that can be seen through the side panel window is the motherboard.   Not only does this allow the motherboard and video card to be seen through the window, but it also provides a layer of depth to the view.  I can see this being an easy mod to give the case a little personality.

Ronin Top Bezel Removed

BitFenix takes cooling options into consideration on the Ronin.  With room for 6 fans, 2x front, 2x top, 1x back, 1xbottom, air cooling options should be more than sufficient; keep in mind that BitFenix only provides two 120mm Spectre fans with the Ronin.  For CPU air cooling, maximum CPU cooler height is 167mm, enough space for even the Prolimatech Megahalems.  However, if liquid cooling is your cooling method of choice, BitFenix has that covered as well.  Under the top bezel, there is room for a 240mm liquid cooling radiator.  Another liquid cooling option is an external solution, with two ports in the back for the tubes.

BitFenix Ronin Features:

 
BitFenix Ronin Specifications 
Materials SofTouch, Plastic, Steel
Colors (Int/Ext) Black/Black
Dimensions (WxHxD) 205 x 483 x 505mm
Motherboard Sizes ATX, mATX, mini-ITX
5.25” Drive Bays x 3
3.5” Drive Bays x 6 (3 + 3)
2.5” Drive Bays x 6 (using 3.5" trays)
Cooling Front 120mm x 2 (1 included)
Cooling Rear 120mm x 1 (included)
Cooling Top 120mm x 2 (optional) or 140mm x 2 (optional)
Cooling Bottom 120mm x 1 (optional)
PCI Slots x 7
I/O 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, HD Audio
Power Supply PS2 ATX (bottom, multi direction)
Extras

Stealth Cover, SofTouch™ surface treatment,
filtered intakes, tool-free drive locking

Model Number BFC-RON-300-KKWSK-RP
Note LED lighting not included. Sold separately

Now that we know a little about the BitFenix Ronin, let's take a closer look.

Bitfenix Ronin Case Packaging

Ronin Packaging Front

Nothing much to see on the front of the box, the Bitfenix logo, and their website.  The box is a plain cardboard box, no colorful pictures or fancy retail box.  On the front of the box some shipping damage has occurred to the front, something punctured the box on the left side of the Bitfenix logo.

Ronin Packaging Back

The back of the case present a pictorial of the the features that the Ronin has to offer.  While unnecessary for purchasing the case online, in a retail setting it provides enough information to get a user interested.  Some additional shipping damage can be noticed here, it looks like something heavy was put on the top of the box and crushed it a little, as well as the corners were a little crushed.

Ronin Box Sides

The sides of the Bitfenix Ronin present very basic information.  On one side, the only thing to note is the barcode with the model number.  The other side, not only do you get a small view of the Ronin, the specifications are also listed.

Ronin Packaging Interior

Inside the box, the Ronin is packed in a plastic bag, and protected by two large Styrofoam blocks.  There is a reason this is the most common method of packing a case, it works.  The shipping damage that was seen on the outside of the box, none of it reached the case.

Ronin Accessories

Bitfenix makes sure everything is included to successfully complete the build.  A thorough user manual, 5.25" to 3.5" drive bay converter, a fan filter for an optional front intake 120mm fan, and cable ties to make sure everything is tidy.  Plenty of screws are included to secure the components, along with a removable security tab for the side panel.

Ronin Exterior Impressions

Ronin Full View

The BitFenix Ronin is only available in black, with the BitFenix logo being the only non-black item on the case.  The top edge of the case is rounded and gives it a nice transition from the front bezel to the top.  The entire front and top bezel are coated in their SofTouch material, giving it a smooth rubberized feel.   Along the right and left side of the front and top bezel is a wire mesh to allow some additional airflow.

Ronin Front Panel

The front bezel is very clean with a minimalistic design.  At the top, the 5.25" drive bay covers are smooth and are designed to look like a part of the case.  Below the 5.25"  bays is an area which has been ventilated with many holes.  Down near the bottom, Bitfenix has placed their logo with a nice chrome like finish.  One of the features of the Ronin, is swappable wire mesh edging, this runs down the right and left side of the front bezel.  The wire mesh ends abruptly at the bottom, while at the top it is rounded which gives a nice smooth transition to the top panel.

Ronin Front Bezel Removed

Removing the front bezel requires a pull from the bottom of the panel, it was on really tight; more effort was needed to remove the bezel than I'm used to.  With the panel removed, the 5.25" drive bays can be seen, the first one is ready for use, while the other two have a guard in place that needs to be removed.  Below the 5.25" bays are the two 120mm intake fan mounts, one 120mm fan is included.  If you look closely at the filter on the 120mm, you might notice that it is screwed to the fan.  This will make it secure, but will also be a pain to remove to clean it.

Ronin Front Bezel Close-Up

Taking a closer look at the inside of the front bezel, we can see the 5.25" bay covers snap into place.  The bezel will need to be removed in order to remove the covers.  The edge of the bezel, we can see the wire mesh strips, there are little tabs of the mesh that would need to be un bent in order for the mesh to be swapped; it's really easy to do.

Ronin Top Panel

The top of the case the mesh strips continue from the front panel, giving it a smooth continuous look.  Like the front, Bitfenix has made these easy to remove.   The rest of the top panel is vented to allow airflow if necessary.

Ronin Front I/O

The front I/O cluster includes the common features, two USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, Headphone, Microphone, power button and reset button.  I would have preferred to have four USB 3.0 ports rather than this split.  Granted it might raise the price of the case a little, but it would be worth it for many.  Including a USB 3.0 internal header to USB 2.0 internal header would've given users the option for their case.

Ronin Top Bezel Removed

The top panel is easily removed by pulling from the back of the case.  Once it is removed, we find a large hole at the top of the case.  Here up to a 240mm water cooling radiator can be installed, or if you prefer to stay with air cooling, either two 120mm or two 140mm fans can be installed.  Additional space is provided for cable management both at the front of the case and at the back.

Ronin Left Side Panel

The right side panel has a large window to allow seeing the internal components.  The window is extremely reflective, which I don't care for, however that is a personal taste.  Bitfenix has installed a Stealth Cover, which hides the power supply, 5.25" and 3.5" drive bays.  This is a nice idea, and making it easily removable for those that don't care for the look makes this a nice value-add feature.  In addition to it hiding some components, it also provides a unique layered view through the window.

Ronin Back Panel

The back panel shows what we can expect from the inside.  A 120mm rear exhaust fan, two liquid cooling ports, 7 expansion slots, and a bottom mounted power supply.  At the top (or left side in this picture) there is some room to grasp to remove the top panel.

Ronin Right Side Panel

The right side panel is plain, nothing to see here.  Held in place by two more thumbscrews, and a little handle at the back to help removal.

Ronin Bottom Panel

The bottom of the case is another area that is usually pretty boring.  Four feet are pre-installed to provide space for airflow to the power supply, and the optional 120mm bottom fan.  There is a large filter that covers both the power supply and optional bottom fan.  What is a little different here is the bottom fan filter is held in place by four magnets.  While this is an interesting method of keeping it in place, looking at the design of the filter, the case will need to be tipped (or picked up) in order to remove the filter for cleaning.

 

Ronin Internal Impressions

Ronin Internal Side

With the side panel removed, we can see the interior of the case.  However, the Stealth Cover hides some important components.  What we can see is that the interior has been painted to match the exterior.  The Stealth Cover has a carbon fiber look to it, however that doesn't show up very well in the pictures.

Ronin Stealth Cover Removed

Removing the Stealth Cover is done by pulling in specific spots.  I would be careful when removing the cover, I felt like it was going to break, so I collapsed the locks from the inside before pulling too hard.  Nothing major, just a word of caution.  Once removed, we can see the three 5.25" tool-less drive bays, and the six 3.5" drive trays.

Ronin 3.5" Cage Removed

To provide for maximum space for the extremely long video cards, Bitfenix has opted to allow the removal of the middle 3.5" drive cage.  By removing the Flexcage, the maximum video card size can go from 12" to 16.5". 

Ronin 5.25 Tool-Less Clips

The 5.25" drive bays are tool-less implementing a simple locking mechanism.  Pressing in the right spot will release the latch, to close, simply press it back close and it should latch, securing your devices.

Ronin Fans

The front intake fan is the Bitfenix Spectre fan, model BFF-SCF-12025KK-RP.  It is rated for 1,000RPM, and provides 43.5CFM; noise level is low at less than 20dBA.

Ronin PSU Area

The Ronin has a bottom mounted power supply, which has become very common.  Like most cases, Bitfenix has installed rubber feet to alleviate vibration noise.  There is a large vented area below the power supply to provide outside air to the power supply.  On the bottom of the case is also a spot to install a 120mm fan.

Ronin Back Panel Internal View

Nothing surprising about the back panel, the expansion port covers are held in place by thumbscrews, and directly above them are two liquid cooling ports if you have an external liquid cooling system.  A 120mm rear exhaust fan is installed by default, it is a no frills model with no LED's.  This Spectre fan is the same model as the front intake fan, BFF-SCF-12025KK-RP.

Ronin Motherboard Tray

Taking a close look at the motherboard tray, we find the usual suspects.  A large hole in the motherboard tray to allow installation of CPU coolers that need access to the back of the motherboard.  The motherboard mounting holes are labeled to make installation easier.  Also, making things easier a couple of the motherboard risers are pre-installed, these are notched to go into the mounting holes to make sure it is properly aligned.  At the top of the motherboard tray, there are three cable routing holes, two are meant for the motherboard AUX power, while the third is used by the front panel I/O cables.

Ronin Back of Motherboard Tray

With the right side panel removed, the back of the motherboard tray is pretty uneventful.  There is a large raised H area where Bitfenix could have put a SSD mount.  Instead, the only thing to really see here is the 22 cable tie locations, there is no reason not to secure your cables and keep things clean.

Ronin Hardware Installation

Ronin Complete Install

With everything installed, we can step back and take a look at how a completed build in the Bitfenix Ronin looks.  With Mid-Tower cases, there typically isn't a lot spare space, and the Ronin is no different.  Having the SATA cables on the edge of the motherboard, with the Stealth Cover bar there it would be rather difficult to connect the SATA cables, however removing the 3.5" drive chassis made it fairly simple.

Ronin Completed Install with Panel

To give you an idea what a completed build looks like without the Stealth Cover, we can see a portion of the power supply, the 5.25" bays, and 3.5" drive bays.

Ronin Stealth Panel Build

With the Stealth Cover in place, the view is drastically different, we can no longer the power supply, or any of the drive bays.  What we can still see is typically the most important part of a system.  The motherboard, CPU cooler, and the video card.

Ronin Complete Build

With the side panel in place, the Stealth Cover gives it a unique look.  Not a spectacular view, the highly reflective window will show fingerprints pretty easily.

Ronin Hard Drive Installation

Installing the hard drives in these trays was probably the best feature on the Ronin.  Usually trays are a little difficult to get drives in place, since these slide apart installing a hard drive was a breeze.  Pull the tray apart, put the drive on the tray and line up the screw holes.  Finally, squeeze the tray back in place.  Nothing to it!

ronin_install_mbback

With the motherboard in place, we can see the back of the tray at the cable routing options.  Not much was done to clean up all the cables, this is just how it came out once the install was completed.  With all the wires, the back panel slides into place without any issues from the cables.

Ronin CPU Cooler Hole
The bottom holes for the CPU cooler mounting is near the edge of the hole in the motherboard tray. 

Ronin CPU Hole Fit

Installing an aftermarket backplate can be difficult in the Ronin.  Installing a Zalman CNPS9900, the backplate would not go into place as it should once the motherboard is in place.  I would have to uninstall the motherboard to get the plate on correctly.  Removing the bottom mounting bolts, placing the bracket in place, then replacing the bolts allows the bracket to go in place.  However, the bolt covers to keep it in place can not be installed now.  The hole needs to be a little bigger to accommodate more motherboard brackets.

BitFenix Ronin Final Thoughts and Conclusions

Ronin Full View

Overall build quality of the Ronin, meets what we have come to expect from BitFenix.  It is a solid PC case and should work flawlessly for years.  The SofTouch coating on the front and top bezel gives it a nice look and feel.  The design of the Ronin features a smooth look without being flashy.  The Flash is left to the side panel where the Stealth Cover gives it a bit of a mystery since it covers parts of the build.

Ronin Stealth Panel Build

One of the features that caught my attention was the swappable mesh strips.  If I was purchasing the Ronin, I would have taken that they had different colors of the mesh available.  However, after contacting Bitfenix they don't.  I had visions of doing an easy mod to the case by swapping the mesh for a different color (rather than painting it myself), to give it a little color.  

The BitFenix Ronin arrived with 2 120mm fans, which are rated for  1,000RPM, and 43.5CFM.  With these ratings, they are not going to push a lot of air for two fans to significantly cool the system.  It would probably be a good idea purchase a couple more fans to increase the airflow should the design of the Ronin be to your liking; there is room in the Ronin for up to six fans. I'm not a fan of screwing the filters to the front intake fans, while they won't move, the filters will be overly difficult to clean.

Completing the build inside the Ronin was a little tough but easily manageable. Connecting the SATA cables was difficult with the Stealth Cover bar, however removing the 3.5" chassis made that easy.  Installing a CPU cooler support bracket shouldn't be difficult with the cutout in the motherboard tray, however there were minor issues installing the Zalman CNPS-9900 cooler.  There is plenty of room under the top bezel to install a 240mm water cooling radiator.

With a price tag of under $99.99 plus shipping, the Ronin offers a lot for that price.  The SofTouch surface treatment, Stealth Cover, removable 3.5" drive chassis, 1 year warranty and a number of cooling options.  Purchase a few extra fans and cooling won't be an issue or go for water cooling.

Legit Bottom Line:  If the looks of the Ronin appeal to you, there are no major showstoppers to the Ronin.  The Stealth Cover provides a cool and unique look to a completed build.