Under the hood
Remove the side panels, and the first thing you'll notice is the black paint job on the internals. Not all budget cases match interior colors with the exterior, making the Shinobi look particularly clean and professional. A couple of other things stand out: the bottom-mounted PSU bracket and an ample number of internal 3.5" drive bays (eight in total) that should satisfy all but the most hardcore hard-drive hoarders.
The 3.5" bays are of the tool-less variety. They don't have mounting holes for 2.5" hard drives or SSDs, though. The Shinobi can accommodate a single 2.5" drive if you fasten it to the included 5.25-to-3.5" bay adapter, but then you'll lose your floppy drive.
Installing optical drives in the 5.25" bays doesn't require tools, either. The mounting hardware isn't very elegant, but it gets the job done.
The motherboard tray has a modern layout with the obligatory cut-outs for cable management and the CPU heatsink retention plate. The cable routing holes don't have protective rubber grommets like those in higher-end enclosures, but the steel is rolled over and blunted to protect cables from damage. There are also punched-out tabs all over the backside of the tray that allow cables to be easily zip-tied into place. It's nice to see cable management becoming more than just an afterthought in mainstream enclosure. During the build, I had no trouble tucking cables away behind the motherboard tray. Less cable clutter inside the case means better airflow and a nicer view through the window (if you can peer through the tint).
Like the NZXT H2 we reviewed a couple of weeks ago, the Shinobi only offers about an inch of clearance between the motherboard tray and side panel. The narrow gap can make hiding large wads of wiring a bit tricky, and that's without acoustic foam on the side panels. If you want to add a layer of sound-dampening material, you'll have to be careful not to snag or tear it on cabling squeezed behind the mobo tray.
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