Introducing the BitFenix Ronin

I've been championing BitFenix as a stellar brand for builders on a budget (hooray alliteration) for some time now. Cases like the Shinobi are attractive options in their price bracket, and the Merc series enclosures are almost unbeatable for the money. There's also the incredibly popular Prodigy, a case BitFenix has had a hard time even producing enough of, that helped bring enthusiast level mini-ITX performance to market at a very reasonable price.

In the midst of these successes, BitFenix is releasing the Ronin, a more standard ATX enclosure with a couple of interesting wrinkles. Superficially it looks pretty similar to the Shinobi, but BitFenix has made a few changes internally and raised the price accordingly. The problem with the Ronin is unfortunately that at $99, it prices itself largely out of BitFenix's prime real estate and worse, it has a hard time justifying its existence alongside superior (and less expensive) options in BitFenix's lineup. That's before heavyweights like the Antec Eleven Hundred hit sales and get to $99 or less.

BitFenix Ronin Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25"
Internal 6x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 1x 120mm intake fan (supports 2x 120mm)
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 2x 120mm/140mm fan mounts
Side -
Bottom 1x 120mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 7
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 170mm
PSU 220mm
GPU 310mm with drive cage / 420mm without
Dimensions 8.07" x 19.02" x 19.88"
205mm x 483mm x 505mm
Special Features USB 3.0 via internal header
Supports 280mm radiator in top
Interior component shield
Modular drive cage
Price $99

Not every case needs to be a giant, powerful cooling monstrosity, and the Ronin is definitely on the small side for full ATX cases. It's not even necessarily the number of fans included, it's the quality and placement of the fans themselves, and the way the airflow is engineered. Yet with these considerations, it's hard not to feel like the Ronin is a little bit light for a $99 enclosure. BitFenix has up to this point offered pretty healthy value with their cases, but $99 for a case with two 120mm fans and a side window is hard to justify.

In and Around the BitFenix Ronin
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  • kmmatney - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - link

    I agree. I have a factory overclocked video card, and a "reasonably" overclocked i5, and I get plenty of cooling with a single, slow 120mm fan. While my case just has 2 120mm fans, I only use one, and keep the other unused for a spare (and to keep the system extremely quiet). I will say the price is a little high for this case, though. I think anyone buying this case would be using a single video card, so it would be more useful to test with that. Reply
  • twtech - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    As soon as I saw what the inside of it looked like, I knew the cooling was going to suffer. There's no room for airflow. I wonder what the thermals would be like with just one graphics card. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    The standard test is done with a single 560. Only the full fat has dual GPUs (580s). Reply
  • GprophetB - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    THE BOWL IS BACK Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    This is them creating a slightly more expensive case to sell the other cases. They make this product to hit those people who look at $99 or greater cases. Then anyone who reads a review sees they should go back to the more prevalent, cheaper cases, which they do.

    It's like advertisement for the entire brand because everytime someone goes to read about this product as it's in the running, they're going to see someone saying, "Hey, go check out Shinobi instead."

    Bam, Shinobi sells. It's savvy.
    Reply
  • fluxtatic - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - link

    Reminds me of some of the Dell Optiplexes at work. That's not a good thing. Reply
  • ShieTar - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - link

    Can anybody explain to me why Bitfenix would not include 2 140mm fans for the top slots? They do include them for the Shinobi XXL, and they do a great job of moving alot of air through the case, especially when combined with both front and bottom intakes. So why skip the 5 bucks on fan cost, and cripple the case in the process? Do they just expect everybody to buy their own fans anyways? Reply
  • Minion4Hire - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - link

    Dustin, I'm very confused. You're recommending the Shinobi over the Ronin solely because it's cheaper? But the Shinobi's thermal performance isn't really much better. It's only advantage is a 120mm side mount. If someone intends on installing two beefy graphics cards as you've done here (which you did not do in the Shinobi review) I can't imagine they're going to have a much better time in the default configuration which is otherwise identical to the Ronin.

    The Ronin looks like a prettier Shinobi. I just don't feel it's a fair performance comparison to make when you tested the Shinobi with only a single GPU. If anything I would think - assuming only one GPU - that the Ronin would perfom similarly to its spiritual predecessor.
    Reply
  • samsp99 - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Looking at the photo above, I thought it was of smoke showing the airflow in the case. Which makes me think - hey how about doing photo's of the airflow, particularly for cases with a window. Reply
  • werver - Saturday, July 27, 2013 - link

    I was very suprised about the difference in test results of the Ronin between Anandtech.com and Computerbase.de. They write: "Bitfenix succeeded to get a very good balance between noise levels and temperature". How is such a difference possible? Reply

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