BitFenix Ronin Review

Conclusion

BitFenix Ronin Review

 

Conclusion

With it's large window all black styling, Soft touch finish and native water cooling support the BitFenix Ronin appears to have it all covered.  The Devil they say is in the detail though so let's delve a little deeper.

Certainly on the small side for a mid tower at 205x483x505mm the Ronin is no less imposing.  It is perhaps though it's slim 205mm width that limits the maximum fan size in the front to 120mm.  With only one fan included in this position you may wish to add another if you're going to be running a high overclock or are overly concerned about temps.  All that said, the fan you do get in the front is in fact one of the excellent Bitfenix Spectre fans as opposed to the all to common OEM units seen in a great deal of other manufacturers cases.

With 6 x 3.5"/2.5" bays there's plenty of storage.  As optical drives are beginning to die a death there's no longer a need for oodles of 5.25" bays.  The 3 x 5.25" bays provided should be more than enough for a bay res, fan controller (for none is included) and if you absolutely have to a good old fashioned optical drive.

In these days of monster GPUs it's absolutely essential that any modern PC case worth its salt can hold a Graphics card the size of a surf board.  With the upper drive cage removed you may lose 3x3.5" drive placements however the max GPU length is upped from a very reasonable 310mm to a more than generous 420mm.  Looking at the rest of the interior, when it comes to space BitFenix appear to have become proponents of the Japanese "Lean" principles.  Although the case is small it's not cramped on any way, there's just enough room for everything with nothing left to spare, so no wastage.  And no wasted space means no wasted materials and therefor cheaper production costs and a lower retail price.  This approach has been carried through to the oft neglected rear of motherboard area.  20mm of space isn't a great deal by modern case standards, however 22 well distributed cable tie points mean this space becomes more than enough as cables can be routed exactly where they are needed as opposed to having to be bunched together around available tie points.

While on the subject of space, we've seen many a larger case that does not offer native water cooling support.  By means of off-set bolt holes and the fans mounted in the roof space, rads of up to 50mm thick can be used even with tall RAM.  If you have low profile or even more normally proportioned RAM where the top of the RAM is no higher than 34mm from the surface of the motherboard then a push pull set up is certainly on the cards.  BitFenix also provide holes in the roof for 140mm fans.  Like the 240mm fittings the screws have a 15mm spacing so theoretically a 280 Rad no thicker than 40mm could be placed in the roof.  We say theoretically as there are likely to be end tank clearance issues with the rear of the 5.25" bays, still, that's what the Dremmel was invented for.  If water cooling's not your thing then take solace in having 170mm of clearance for a honking great CPU tower heatsink of your choice

Turning back to aesthetics, BitFenix have realised that opinion is very much divided between those who love to have a massive case window and those that would rather limit the scope of the window to merely presenting the "sexy" part of the interior.  To answer this BitFenix have developed the Stealth Cover.  Essentially an L shaped piece of contoured carbon fibre effect plastic that is clipped inside the case in such a way as to mask off the drive bays and PSU areas of the interior.  We suspect this will something of a Marmite feature, but whether you like it not there's no denying it does its job well.

So far so good then, but as we said at the beginning, the devil is in the detail and we're not OC3D with no good reason.  The BitFenix Ronin does have a few areas where things could be improved.  Whether these are important to you is up to you.  Firstly we feel that in a case with such a large side window that is obviously making a feature of showing off the interior it's a bit of a bad decision not to garnish the 3 cable management holes with rubber grommets.  The similarly priced Ghost and the Raider both have grommets, and they don't even have "look at me" windows, making it quite hard to follow BitFenix's logic.  We're also a bit disappointed that the tint and texture of the side panels aren't better in keeping with that of the soft touch coated roof and front.

At a smidge under £70 the Ronin drops right into the heart of enemy territory.  It's up against some pretty stiff competition, and not only from its own team mates in the shape of the Raider and the Ghost, the latter of which also supports roof mounted 240mm rads.  Basic flavours of the stalwart CM690 II can also be had for less than £70 with more advanced models costing a bit more, again with native water cooling support in the roof, albeit without quite as much room to play with.  If you're into sleek and silent then both the Nanoxia Deep Silence and DS2 also have native water cooling support, with the original DS1 offering both roof and front rad options.  The real thorn in the side of the Ronin though has to be the Arc Midi V2.  Admittedly it'll set you back a fiver or so more, but it water cooling's you're thing and you're looking to mount some seriously thick rads with low speed low noise fans then it can offer what the Ronin can't.

The Ronin is by no means a bad case, far from it.  However, our standards are high here at OC3D and the Ronin just fails to meet the grade when it comes to the coveted Gold award.  Second step it is then for a well earned Silver. 

            

Thanks to BitFenix for the Ronin on review today, you can discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums. 

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Most Recent Comments

15-08-2013, 04:25:27

tinytomlogan
A Warrior without a Master. The New Ronin from BitFenix appears a force to be reckoned with.

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...055342833l.JPG


Continue Reading

15-08-2013, 05:48:00

SPS
Look at that lovely big clear side window.

15-08-2013, 06:32:23

Feronix
Quote:
Originally Posted by SPS View Post
Look at that lovely big clear side window.
That gets covered up for a big part by that stealth cover

Thanks Gary! I'll read this later today.

15-08-2013, 07:37:13

xbournex
the stealth cover and its support bar can be completely removed.

15-08-2013, 07:52:13

Feronix
Quote:
Originally Posted by xbournex View Post
the stealth cover and its support bar can be completely removed.
But then you're looking at grommet-less cable management, which doesn't tend to look very good, usually

15-08-2013, 11:53:29

UkGouki
wondering if the ronin window panel will fit on the shinobi mid tower they look the same size.. and if so ill buy one!!

tbh i really like the look of this case for the window panel alone but like you said in the review i would likly go for a nanoxia or even a ghost if i was to buy a new chassis any time soon :-/

16-08-2013, 11:54:13

Greenback
Tbh I think they would of been better skipping the stealth cover and getting grommets

17-08-2013, 16:28:51

G-Dubs
Whether you like the large window or not is a personal preference, personally I prefer it with the large window and without the stealth cover, but the point is it's nice to have the option. What I'd would like to see is a stealth cover that fits to the window itself, a very thin sheet on the exterior surface of the Perspex that is contiguous with the plane of the metal case side, perhaps held in place from the interior side of the window with small magnetic pads. That way it wouldn't stand out so much. Maybe you could even cut your own shapes???

24-09-2013, 05:41:45

amex
Hello,
In the build section of this review, you said 'please dont' install a 120mm fan on the bottom of the case just in front of the PSU. why? does it suck dust in from the bottom or something? always which way do you recommend the PSU fan to face?

Thanks

24-09-2013, 07:07:36

Feronix
Quote:
Originally Posted by amex View Post
Hello,
In the build section of this review, you said 'please dont' install a 120mm fan on the bottom of the case just in front of the PSU. why? does it suck dust in from the bottom or something? always which way do you recommend the PSU fan to face?

Thanks
Cause fans in the bottom of a case look tacky and aren't really good for anything. If you lack front intake, then maybe it's time for a new case all together.

It doesn't matter which way the fan faces, a PSU is not really going to run hot. When you do mount it fan-up though, your 8 Pin CPU cable might be just too short. If you mount it fan-down, you can't put your PC on high carpet and you have to clean the dust-filter every now and then.

24-09-2013, 17:14:43

G-Dubs
I'd echo what Feronix has said with regards to the PSU position and add that if you're mounting your PC on a hard surface such as a desk then the PSU can quite reasonably be orientated with the fan facing down, this will also bring the majority of the cables closer to the lower cable management hole on a case. If you're putting your case on carpet then don't do this for reasons already given. All that said, some prefer the aesthetics of having the PSU fan visible inside their case and it could be argued that this cuts down on noise particularly in "silent" builds.

With regards to the lower fan mount on cases, A great many people, myself included just think it looks Fuggly. There's nothing wrong with it as such other than it up sets the aesthetics of a nicely brought together build.

Building a PC is more than just lobbing together the component parts as quickly as you can and hitting the power button. It should be a work of art, something you should be able to look at and admire, and if it's a really good one, it should give you a little fizzy feeling in your underpants.

26-09-2013, 18:33:10

amex
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feronix View Post
Cause fans in the bottom of a case look tacky and aren't really good for anything. If you lack front intake, then maybe it's time for a new case all together.

It doesn't matter which way the fan faces, a PSU is not really going to run hot. When you do mount it fan-up though, your 8 Pin CPU cable might be just too short. If you mount it fan-down, you can't put your PC on high carpet and you have to clean the dust-filter every now and then.
Thanks Feronix,

I have just bought a Ronin and recieved all the parts so will start the build today.

27-09-2013, 04:50:25

G-Dubs
Quote:
Originally Posted by amex View Post
Thanks Feronix,

I have just bought a Ronin and recieved all the parts so will start the build today.
Enjoy the build and be sure to post in the project logs section.
Reply
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