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  • Liquid_Static - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    Disappointing to say the least. It seems like it's been a long time since we've seen any REAL innovation in the desktop case market, and frankly this was a step backwards. Although I do like the smaller size, the way it was implemented here (at the expense of temperature and noise levels) is not necessary or acceptable. Reply
  • Kaihekoa - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    Check out the Corsair Carbide Air 540. It's been receiving great reviews everywhere, has great thermal performance, immense functionality and versatility, and looks mean. There isn't much room for major innovation in a product whose function is to hold your components, but the Corsair case separates your heat-producing components from your PSU, 5.25" drives, and all your cabling/wiring and then blows a lot of cool intake air across your CPU/GPU. Really I think the last time there was a major innovation in cases was the Silverstone FT02, but Silvertek has abandoned the 90 degree inverted motherboard principle in its latest Fortress & Raven enclosures. Reply
  • Liquid_Static - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    I have a Corsair 500r, and I love their enclosures, however even they were getting stagnant up until the Air 540. I'd certainly consider one if I didn't have to worry about where I was going to find space for the cube in my dorm room... Reply
  • ggathagan - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    What areas of innovation would you expect to see?

    I'm not being snarky; I'm asking seriously.

    I see comments like this fairly often with full ATX case reviews, but I don't see where there can be much innovation.

    At a minimum, any ATX-capable case will have to accommodate:
    an ATX motherboard, a decent size CPU fan/heatsink, a full size PSU, a fairly long GPU card, a single optical drive and a single hard drive of any size. Now add the space necessary to provide decent air flow from the case fans.

    To me, it seems that the need to accommodate the above severely limits what can be done with the design.

    Kaihekoa mentions compartmentalization; Apple, Antec and others have been doing that for some time, with varying amounts of success.

    Others have discussed changing the number of 5.25" and 3.5" bays, but that's not really innovation.
    Once you decide that you need to make room for even a single optical drive and a single hard drive of any size, you now have a fair amount of empty space that might as well be used for additional drives.

    M-ATX and ITX form factors allow case makers to be more creative (FT03-MINI comes to mind), since users are focusing on minimal size and expect to give up some of the above for the privilege.

    There are only two things I could imagine doing:
    Taking a Fortress FT-02 and cutting off the drive bays to reduce the depth of the case.
    There's enough room in front of the expansion slots to allow for a single 3.5 drive and a slim-line optical drive.

    Similarly, creating an ATX version of the FT03/FT03-MINI

    Lastly, the bottom line for any manufacturer is profit.
    Any product they make must be sold in enough quantity to pay for itself.
    For the ATX form factor, I have difficulty believing that there's a large enough market to justify the effort
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - link

    I would point to the new Mac Pro if you want to see innovation. The core machine is a beast and the design is 10" x 6", basically an over-sized coke can. No 5.25" drive in that thing, no 3.5" drive either. Two GPUs and up to 12 cores for the CPU. Can the PC market do the same? Probably not without giving up important values such as open designs, but the answer isn't to keep doing the same thing. mITX is a pretty good platform, we just need more innovation around the form factor. Much more can be done to make the essential MB + CPU + GPU + SSD combo more integrated and streamlined. Reply
  • fluxtatic - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - link

    Innovative? Arguably. A disaster in a real-world environment? Probably. Expansion is pretty well Thunderbolt only, so the good looks (if you find fancy garbage cans attractive) will be wrecked by the cable running to a snarl of external drive bays, HDD enclosures, etc. Might not be a big deal for the sorts that actually need a Mac Pro, but I'd just as soon not drop half again the money on what I'd need to make it useful (storage, etc, from massively expensive TB accessories). Reply
  • ioconnor - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - link

    What areas of innovation would I like to see?

    1) Separate area to store the extra cables for the power supply, motherboard, etc.. For the extra screws. For the zip ties. For the manuals, instructions, and software. (It's always nice to store the windows OS CD with the computer it goes with.)
    2) Super large slow moving fans.
    3) Detachable L-plate the motherboard and cards attach to. So the L-plate is put on the desk, motherboard and cards are attached, then the L-plate is put back in case. The L-plate should be easily, under 5 seconds, removed or installed into the case.
    4) The case should be made of thick aluminum and no sharp corners. Things should be spaced nicely so those of us with huge hands and arms can still work comfortably. Without tools.

    Those are just some of the things that come immediately to mind. I could go on though.
    Reply
  • 1Angelreloaded - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - link

    So you basically want a case from Mountain Mods for cheap. Reply
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - link

    ggathagan: The sum total of innovation in ATX cases over last 10 years has been to move the PSU from the top of the case to the bottom. Both Silverstone and Lian Li have experimented but I have issues with the build quality of both.

    Obvious areas of potential innovation:

    1. Turning PSU 90 degrees for better cable management. (Lian Li have tried this)
    2. Noise dampening for optical drives
    3. Proper cable routing on back side of motherboard tray
    4. Some thought applied to cable routing for hard drive cages, maybe all fed of a single molex.
    5. Given the weight of some GPUs some form of support - again I think Lian li have tried this

    Heck: it is only in last 3 years that fan filters have become standard
    Reply
  • lwatcdr - Friday, July 26, 2013 - link

    Optical drives are not long for this world.
    There is a real limit to what you can do with a case. The big change I would like to see is in the power supply I would like the cables to come out the left hand side of the power supply so you can run them right to the back side of the motherboard tray. Then relocate the fan from the bottom to the front of the power supply. This would allow you to mount the drive bays in front of the power supply on the bottom and have the PS draw air over the drive bays. This would allow room long video cards and water cooling in the front of the case and maybe the top as well. Of course I would like to see a new SATA connector that supplies power as well so you only need one cable going to the drives.
    Reply
  • 1Angelreloaded - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - link

    Innovation, is a relative term to the user, some feature some users find attractive are to some a nightmare or not pleasing, to me while thumb screws are nice and fast, they are unsightly on a case, and all I can say is "Since when did we become that lazy, to not use a screwdriver?". Moot point but I'm waiting for a Case manufacturer to have a prefabricated modular case that doesn't have industrial designed segments, and doesn't cost an arm or a leg like MM or Caselabs. there is a distinction to what can be considered "Premium" or "Ingenuity" and in the PC world I have to say form and function is a must otherwise companies like LaCie would have went the way of the dodo. We need a new version of mainstream and Enthusiast parts, and a definitive separation of the two. TBH the whole x79 sandy-e is way behind on features of the native chipset and even with Ivy-e being released for the socket its simply not practical for the pricepoint while on the mainstream z77 and z87 you are stuck with onboard graphics that you pay for but can't use without taking a hit on your fps. I diverge from the point sorry, Cases are very very similar in that respect the only definition between the 2 different market segments is price and features we should have, that should be a no brainer simply are not there yet, or are in overpriced cases in which your better putting your money elsewhere, like people have done before no ssd drive cage, no problem that's what Velcro is for. Reply
  • techxx - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    That is a shame. IIRC though, there are supposed to be some new Mini-ITX cases from them on the horizon. Full ATX cases just don't make sense to me anymore anyway! Micro-ATX should be the largest form factor on the market now, with Mini-ITX being the norm. Reply
  • RagnarKon - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    While I do welcome innovation in the mini-ATX and especially the micro-ATX market... ATX cases absolutely make sense to me. On my main system I have every PCIe slot filled (except the one blocked by the GPU cooler) and I'm not even running an SLI setup.

    Also, I am disappoint BitFenix... I had high hopes.
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - link

    I would agree with everything techxx said with a small exception that he probably assumed wasn't needed be explicitly said. Is there a place for ATX cases? Sure, I plan on using ATX for my home servers for the foreseeable future. However, the world doesn't need another ATX case. What we need are many more mITX and mATX designs. Reply
  • techxx - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - link

    There will always be that 0.01% of users who require a full-ATX case while the remaining 99.99% would be more than adequately covered with a mini-ITX or micro-ATX case. Unless you have 3-way SLI or a ton of PCI devices (which makes you even rarer), m-ITX and micro-ATX pack one hell of a punch nowadays. Reply
  • Aeolus98 - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    It seems like what they're trying to do is to keep the case looking streamlined, with no unevenness on the sides, so that dictates a (fairly) standard in through the front, out through the back and top. It's a great design when executed properly, even with no gpu fan vent, like the HAF or the antec 1200. They should have put more fan space on the front and bumped it up from 2x120mm to 2x140mm to provide a bit of airflow. I don't really see your point about price, though, with the second 120mm on the front it could possibly be on par with something like the antec 900 series, while that costs a bit more OTOH. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    Why do you only have 2 comparison systems for the full fat test? Looking at the NZXT 530 review from a few days ago there are several others that could've been added to help fill the table out. Reply
  • kelstertx - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    Not everyone uses multiple 2-slot-wide video cards and makes monster systems with 4 drives that need 3+ fans to cool. This case would be perfectly fine for 90% of the systems I end up making for friends and family -- those only get a single 120mm fan, and it's rare that they even have standalone video cards. Yes, the price does need to come down a bit, and someone looking to load this thing to the hilt might do better to look elsewhere, but keep in mind that the gamer market is a small percentage of the market, compared to all the people who just do email, web browsing, and facebook stuff. So I'd say a "miss" for high power gamers with unlimited budgets... but a nice looking and totally usable, albeit slightly expensive case that would be more than fine for everyone I know personally. Reply
  • JDG1980 - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    Any modern ATX case of reasonable quality will cool a single-GPU system. The question is why you should buy the Ronin instead of, say, the Fractal Design Define R4 (which is about the same price and much quieter, with better thermals) or the Antec GX700 (which costs only $59 and bests the Ronin in everything but idle noise levels). I'm just not seeing the value proposition here. Reply
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - link

    I'm with you on your build style. Keep it simple and inexpensive. What doesn't follow is why you would use this case. For something without a GPU it seems like an small mATX and mITX would be perfect. Reply
  • 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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