Date: March 9, 2006
Author(s): Drew Smith
Not everyone wants to pay over $100 for a cool looking case. The Ninja 2 from XG packs a lot of features and functionality into its cool frame. Let’s take a look and see if this case is worth even the budget price point.
Are you looking for a case with great style but are on a tight budget? Today we are taking a look at a case from the folks at XG, which is a division of MGE. Their Ninja 2 case boasts a mix of cool styling with functionality and affordability. Let’s take a dive and see how it fares.
The XG line of PC cases is built upon a heritage of popular styles that began with the Viper, Sidewinder, Ninja and Quantum. Now, that tradition of gaming case excellence and value continues with the launch of the highly anticipated Dragon, next versions of Viper, Sidewinder, Ninja and Quantum, and the new Serpent.
I was impressed by the look of the Ninja 2’s packaging; it’s a simple black with the case name and ninja star logo in chrome lettering. That just says â€œcoolâ€ to me. Even though I am not here to review the packaging for this case, I have to mention the carrying handle on the top of the package. That handle comes in handy, both before and after installation. Since installing the Ninja 2 I have taken my computer to a few friends’ houses and I use the original box the case came in to carry the computer from place to place. The box provides cover from the elements and the carrying handle easily supports the weight of both the case and components inside, making it ideal for gamers on the way to LAN parties. After I finished admiring the packaging, I actually opened the box and looked at the case itself. I have to say for a budget case it looks pretty sweet. We have received the silver model for review.
The Ninja 2 has smoother curves and less aggressive styling than the original Ninja. The clear side panel of the original ninja has been dropped in favor of a mostly solid side panel stamped with the Ninja Star logo and a mesh covered air vent opening. I would have preferred to see either the clear panel stay or perhaps to have fan mounts on the opening to provide better cooling because the mesh is very restrictive to air flow. The stamped ninja star logo on the side looks nice but it could have been better accentuated by just adding paint or something to make it stand out more. When looking at the proper angle, the logo almost disappears.
Nothing to mention on the opposite side of the case just a flat metal panel as it should be. One thing that should be mentioned about the side panels of this case is that they are pretty flimsy and will bend very easily. Flush mounting them back on the case once removed is very challenging. In order for me to properly re-install the panels I had to lay the case on its side and use my forearms and hands at the same time to press the panels into and hold to make sure it stayed in position until the thumb screws were in places. This is a bit inconvenient and could be solved by using another material or tougher construction for the side panels.
The front of the Ninja 2 case sports a gun-metal ninja star, a few blue LED’s (blue is the color for all of the case color choices) and several ventilation slash openings with a lighted fan behind them to draw cold air into the case. The door of the Ninja 2 has a very handy feature; it has an opening at the top 5.25â€ drive bay to allow you easy access to a CD/DVD drive. This design provides a lot of convenience for people who like to set their burners to burn a disc while they go about doing other chores. So when the disc is done burning, the drive can open without bashing into the case door. This design does have one flaw that kind of bugs me, the top drive bay is too far away from the motherboard for my IDE cable to reach it. I would have had to go purchase a new cable in order to use this feature. This case is in no way going to lose points for this, because I have short IDE cables.
The back panel of the Ninja 2 case is pretty much standard and an ample amount of expansion slots are provided for user convenience. There are only two issues I have with the back panel. The first is there is only one fan opening if this case is going to marketed to gamers this is not good. With the restrictive mesh on the side panel and only one fan opening in the back cooling may become an issue during extended gaming periods or overclocking. Another fan opening would help improve air flow and lessen the cooling issues with this case. The second gripe I had with this case was the plate to cover the motherboard ports (serial, parallel, USB, and audio connectors), the audio connector openings on the plate are arranged vertically and the connectors on my motherboard are horizontal, which equals it won’t fit, this is not the problem.
The problem comes when you try to remove the plate, it is held in there GOOD. I tried to remove the plate by hand almost bending other portions of the back panel, which is also not good. Finally I abandoned the feather touch approach in favor of a more aggressive and technological strategy. I grabbed my trusty rotary tool and high speed cutter bit and cut the welds that were holding the panel in place. This panel should not have to be removed with such force because every motherboard can differ in design and layout. Either bend other areas of the case or get the power tools, your choice.
Installing the components in the Ninja 2 was as simple as it could get. There were no issues in the install, once the back panel issue had been resolved. All the drives fit into their places and there were no issues with fittings (door not closing after drives in place, etc.). The wiring and cables provided in the case are clearly marked for easy installation of any computer setup. There is also plenty of space in the case to move and hide excess wires out of the way, not only to provide less restricted airflow but also to provide that clean well organized look (in case you happen to go buy a clear panel for your Ninja 2). This case also provides the user with a removable mother board tray for even easier installation. The power supply included with the Ninja 2 is a 400 Watt generic model and helps make this case an even better deal. For a case that looks good and won’t break your budget, with a price tag of $49.00, you can’t beat it.
The Ninja 2 is a very sturdy case and performed very well in testing, the only difference between the Ninja 2 and the Logisys Case-51 I was using was a 1 degree rise in ambient case temperature and a 2 degree rise in CPU temperature. This has my ambient case temperature moving from 27 degrees (Logisys Case-51) to 28 degrees (MGE Ninja 2). My CPU temps also rose slightly going from 32 degrees (Logisys Case-51) to 34 degrees Celsius (MGE Ninja 2). This rise in temps is not a major concern but it may be for a serious overclocker or gamer who pushes their machine, and its components, to their thermal limits. If you are doing anything with your machine that will put a serious load on your computer and thus raise temperatures significantly, I would suggest modding this case with another fan or purchasing additional cooling accessories.
In conclusion I really liked the Ninja 2 case from MGE. It has really nice styling for being a budget solution. Installing components and working inside the case is very easy, and you definitely can’t beat the price at only $49.00. The issues discussed during this review, the back panel cover, the rather flimsy side panels, and the cooling issues are easily and cheaply fixed. I recommend this case for any entry level user who would like to build their own rig and wants to add a touch of style, without dropping a lot of cash.
This case is a one stop, inexpensive solution for any entry level user. For its very good points and minor negative points I award the Ninja 2 case from MGE an 8 out of 10 rating on the Techgage scale. The Ninja 2 has a lot of good points but there is a little room for improvement.
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