George Carlin used to have a bit where he said houses where were you kept your junk and when you got more junk you just put it in your house and when the house was full you just got a bigger house. The same thing can be said of PC cases. You start out small, motherboard,, video card, hard drive, optical drive, a few USB ports, a fan or two for cooling and you’re all set. Then you start adding second hard drives, a bunch of USB devices, a second optical drive and you need more space and thus a bigger case. By now you’re asking where am I going with this and if this is just another incoherent rant by a dork on a website but the point I’m trying to make is that the Ninja 2 case by MGE Corporation is a pretty good starter house for those looking to store their computer stuff.
The Ninja 2 is the entry level case in MGE’s new XG line of cases. The Ninja 2 measures 190 X 420 X 440mm and contains 10 drive bays (four external 5.25” bays, two external 3.5” bays, and four internal 3.5” bays). The blue case we received has a nice silver stripe across the front but MGE also sells black and silver and a silver and black units. I really liked the blue color of the case and the unit has a really nice finish to it. It’s not a high-shine polish to it but kind of a subdued plastic finish that is actually carried over to the metal side panels. Most people would consider this a bad thing but in this case it’s actually a good thing as it’s not something you see every day. It’s certainly a step or five above your standard beige case.
The front is dominated by a large door that takes up the top three quarters of the case.. I’ve never been a big fan of door cases as they make it a pain to get to your optical drives but the Ninja 2 gets around this by have a slot in the top of the door that allows you to access the top drive bay even when the door is closed. This is a nice feature even if you don’t have a matching faceplate for your CD-ROM drive as the beige of most drives will blend in with the silver stripe to some degree.
On the bottom part of the door is nice silver four edged ninja star. It’s a little design touch that gets carried to the side windows but on the front it looks like your normal logo without being garish or over the top. Below the door is a v-shaped cut-out with three blue LED’s. Rounding out the bottom of the front of the case are two buttons (reset and power) with their own internal LED lights (hard drive activity and power on respectively). The buttons blend in with the front of the case when it’s off so you really won’t notice them unless you are looking for them.
On the right side of the case towards the front bottom is a cluster of ports including two USB ports, two audio ports (headphones and microphone), and a firewire connection. The location may be problematic for some (especially if you have the case on the right side of your desk and have to stretch the cords across them but it’s still nice to have the front I/O ports as it’s not something you see on a case this inexpensive.
As I mentioned earlier the left panel is dominated by a much larger version of the ninja star logo from the front of the case. The center of the star is actually a 3 inch diameter mesh covered circle which allows for greater air flow into the case. The back of the case sports a slot for an 80mm of 92mm fan (not included with the case). The rear fan cover does look a little restrictive so if you want to increase airflow out you might want to cut it out and replace with something a little more open air. The back also shows off the 400W power supply that is included with the case. Both side panels can be removed using the thumbscrews on the back of the case. Kudos to MGE for not cheaping out and going with standard screws on the back of the case.
Installing your “stuff” into the Ninja 2 is a fairly painless as the system does come with a motherboard tray. You will have to remove the back panel of the case to get at the tray though as it is screwed into the frame of the case. The motherboard tray is a little different than other trays I’ve used. Instead of screwing the board on brass stations which are screwed into the the tray you actually screw the motherboard directly to the tray using slots that have been “punched up”. To avoid shorting out the motherboard you will need to place covers on the punch up holes the punch ups that you don’t use. Given the layout of the board I had I didn’t’ need to use them but I’m not a real big fan of this system as a lot of people might gloss over this step and short out their motherboard.
After punching out the back IO panel I re-inserted the motherboard tray and began putting together the rest of the system. Installing the DVD drive was just a matter of sliding the drive into the top slot and screwing it to the rails. Installing a hard drive was a little harder as the case does not have any rails for the drive, rather just a series of screw holes in the vertical supports in the front of the case. The included power supply is solid and provides enough power cords for more than a basic system (1 SATA plug, FDD connector, and five four prong plugs). If you’re going to have a lot of items in the case you might want to consider buying another power supply or a few splitters as there really aren’t enough connections for a lot of gear (especially if you have a high end video card that requires two connectors). MGE did a nice job of combining the power plugs of the front fan and the power plugs for the LED into one standard prong so that it only takes up one of the valuable connectors. This of course means that your stuck with the included multicolor 80MM but it does a serviceable job so no real worries there.
Hooking up the front I/O ports and buttons to the case was also pretty easy as MGE actually labeled the cables with clear, easy to read labels. After that wrapping everything up I slid the side panels back onto the case and ran into my first snag. The Ninja 2 uses very lightweight steel for the side panels and consequently the panels tend to flex a lot which makes re-installing the panels a little problematic as the side panels tend to flex a bit. They really could have used a cross beam or two on the sides to help make them a little more rigid as they are a bit of a pain to get back on.
Turning on the system revealed the case in it’s full glory. The front LED’s look great and help the overall look of the case. The LED’s are very bright since they are aimed upward you do get some light bleeding through the top of the door. It looks nice to me but it is something that not everyone may be a fan of.
All in all the Ninja 2 is a pretty solid entry level case, especially as the case is in the $40-$69 price range. The case is fairly solid and looks really good once you’ve got it put together. While a lot of high end modders and people with a lot of gear will want something a little more feature rich but if you want a solid case to put your stuff in then you will want to include the Ninja 2 on your short list of cases to check out.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Hi, my name is Charles Husemann and I've been gaming for longer than I care to admit. For me it's always been about competing and a burning off stress. It started off simply enough with Choplifter and Lode Runner on the Apple //e, then it was the curse of Tank and Yars Revenge on the 2600. The addiction subsided somewhat until I went to college where dramatic decreases in my GPA could be traced to the release of X:Com and Doom. I have been a Microsoft Xbox MVP since 2009.