Assembling our test PC inside the Shinobi was a simple task, thanks to the well placed cable routeing holes and the ample amount of room behind the motherboard tray. Even the fat 24-pin ATX cable fitted easily in the gap between the tray and the side panel, meaning we avoided all the grunting, straining and swearing that occurs when we’re trying to force the side panel onto a case without much room behind the motherboard tray.
Unfortunately for the Shinobi, the results we garnered from our thermal testing weren’t great. With just a single 120mm exhaust fan, the case produced a peak CPU delta T of 60o
; a poor result that's much hotter than those from other cheap cases such as the Antec One Hundred
and the Xigmatek Utgard
GPU cooling was disappointing as well, with the GPU hitting a Delta T of a whopping 49o
C. This is the worst GPU cooling result we’ve yet seen with our current test kit, which means that the Shinobi sits last on our GPU test graph.
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The problem is that the graphics card simply isn’t receiving enough air, due to the solid nature of the front panel and the lack of any side ventilation. Granted there are the two meshed channels, which allow in some air, but it’s clearly not enough, at least not without a fan sat behind them actively pulling air through them.
The solid side panels also count against the Shinobi here, as a graphics card can usually draw in some air through the side fan mounts, which are usually open. That said, while the solid side panels may have resulted in the Shinobi struggling thermally, they did have some benefits in terms of noise. The case was very quiet throughout testing, mainly because there simply isn’t much in the way of venting from which the sound can escape.
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The BitFenix Shinobi is a good looking, if slightly plain case. Granted it’s a little short on features but that’s always going to be the case at the more affordable end of the market. Its internal layout is good too, as building a PC inside the case was a breeze and it also proved good at keeping our test system quiet.
The one gripe is its graphics card cooling, as the chassis clearly doesn’t allow enough cool air into this area of the case. Adding a front intake fan will improve this, as this will push air directly where it’s needed, but that will add to the cost of the case too. Similarly populating the rest of the case's fan mounts will also likely see cooling improve, for a rising price.
The Shinobi's windowed version looks to be a stronger option, as it’s bundled with an extra front intake fan, as well as a side window to show off your build, and it retails for only £7 more. However, the Antec 100 looms large over every case at this end of the market, and with its excellent thermal performance and superior features (if not aesthetics), this remains the budget case of choice.