In and Around the In-Win GT1

I don't want to start the review on such a down note because it's important that In-Win get a fair shake, but the styling on the GT1 is...problematic. The inspiration from racing cars isn't awful, but a case is not a car (or a box of ammunition for that matter), and unfortunately the GT1 turns into the kind of ostentatious case design that even old stalwarts like Thermaltake are starting to move away from. This isn't the ugliest case I've ever tested (that's a dubious distinction reserved for the Cougar Challenger), but with limited exception I think most of you will agree the GT1 isn't going to win any beauty contests.

The front of the GT1 features the I/O cluster at the top, above three 5.25" drive bays with mesh covers, and then an unusual mesh intake design on the front. The odd-colored honeycomb is meant for user customization; you can add or remove the red rings as you see fit. Unfortunately the lights that surround the I/O at the top are blue LEDs; dim ones, but those lights are also intended to be connected to the IDE activity lead and I can see them getting disconnected in a hurry.

In-Win continues the auto and honeycomb motif on the top of the enclosure. There's an indented SATA hotswap bay that sits behind the power button, reset button, and fan control. The fan control is a single switch that shifts between "Silence" and "Turbo" modes, and as you'll see later, it's more than a little bit clunky.  There's a massive window with an In-Win logo on the side panel, but both panels are extruded. I appreciate the symmetry, at least; extruding the panel behind the motherboard tray improves space for cable management at least.

Remove the thumbscrews from the two side panels and pop them off (they use the dreaded notched mounting system) and you can get to the meat of the GT1. There are a few interesting things going on in here. First is that the mounting stand-offs are extruded from the motherboard tray, which will make mounting our test board much easier. Second, the cabling channel is surprisingly narrow, as are the routing holes, and this does cause some problems down the road. Third, the case's existing wiring routes fan lines beneath the motherboard. I don't think this is a particularly bad idea, it's just unique. Fourth, there could've been support for seven drive trays in the cages, but In-Win only includes six, and opts not to notch the set of rails below the top two trays.

Gallery: In-Win GT1

The reality is that some of the design choices in the GT1 are really smart, and others are baffling. Features have basically been left on the table for reasons I can't understand (but are likely related to cost.) There's space for a seventh drive sled in the case, but they simply don't include it. They could've gone with two USB 3.0 ports and just forgone USB 2.0 entirely, but they didn't. When we get to cabling, you'll see how they cut corners on the fan controller, too.

Introducing the In-Win GT1 Assembling the In-Win GT1
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  • lwatcdr - Friday, March 8, 2013 - link

    So you can only use three 3.5 drives instead of four in a sub $100 case? Still not worth a ding.
    Now only one USB 3 port is a fail.
  • ggathagan - Saturday, March 9, 2013 - link

    So what would you fill that space with?
  • Grok42 - Sunday, March 10, 2013 - link

    I couldn't agree more. I've done some research for a future article I'm writing and it's shocking how little diversity and experimentation is going on in the computer case industry. 95% of the cases on the market are just like this an ATX case trying to be everything to everyone and then dumping LED lighting on top of that. It's obvious no one with any sense would buy this case for anything but a gaming rig but they don't even optimize for that. Will some want to have a combined NAS and gaming rig? Sure, but it isn't 95% of the market. Give us choice.

    BTW, the worst offense this case makes is including 3x 5.25" external bays. Most builds don't include legacy optical disks anymore but even those that do have no use for 3 of them. Outside the extremely niche use of hot swap bay inserts the is absolutely no use. Some might say bay coolers but they are just admitting they bought a case with bad cooling.
  • Director12 - Monday, March 11, 2013 - link

    "..and maybe two 4Gb HDDs in RAID 1 for data."

    Wow, that would give you, like, a whole 8gb of storage! That's just crazy, NO ONE would ever need that much storage.
  • DanNeely - Friday, March 8, 2013 - link

    I have to wonder if In-Win managed to get its hands on a bunch of IO panels left over from the earlier, run a cable out and plug into the back, generation of cases really cheap. Someone trying to dump its inventory of junk before it becomes completely obsolete might be willing to offer more than just 1 or 2 dollars to get rid of it.
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, March 8, 2013 - link

    I have to admit the letters I and U on the front of the case are the most disturbing parts of the design's style. I can understand that In-Win wanted to include an I but where on Earth did they come up with the U? It's like they wanted to place a W there but didn't managed to quite fit it in place. It just comes off as odd looking and rather out of place.

    Aside from that...curse you Dustin for bemoaning the notched side panels! :) Okay, I do understand that pulling machines apart is made a little easier with a hinged latch. The Dell Optiplex and Precision workstations I have on the office enterprise network make access a simple matter. However, sales of individual cases are typically to builders who either make computers for home users or who are the end home users themselves. System surgery isn't frequent for any single desktop in a home and the few moments spent pulling the side of a case off or putting it back on isn't a big deal unless the panel doesn't fit properly. Even then, what's a couple of seconds of time in even a once a month teardown to clean out dust bunnies amount to over the life of any given enclosure? I just don't see it as something that should draw any ire and after a certain price point is reached, is hardly worth more than a mention.

  • dawp - Saturday, March 9, 2013 - link

    those can be changed to whatever you want or completely remove.
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - link

    He wants a W but we won't ask why...
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - link

    I am on top and U are underneath me - pretty obvious dude !
  • karasaj - Friday, March 8, 2013 - link

    And who the hell decided they looked good??

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