Assembling the In-Win GT1

In-Win's GT1 gets to be the first benefactor of our shiny new testbed motherboard. Our old Z68 micro-ATX board ran into a serious problem: it wasn't splitting CPU PCIe lanes to the second PCIe x16 slot for SLI, which is the "next level" of testing. Even though I tried just as hard as I could to find another comically undersized board to install in our enthusiast cases, unfortunately I had to get a full ATX board that would be more representative of what users might build with. Rejoice, my year of spiting readers complaining about the micro-ATX board is over! (Actually, you guys were right. The added flexibility of using a micro-ATX board wasn't worth the downsides. Mea culpa.)

Because In-Win included motherboard standoffs effectively extruded from the motherboard tray, installing our new test board was actually a very simple affair. They do include additional standoffs if you're using a smaller board like the previous test board, though. Wiring the motherboard was also easy enough to do, but In-Win includes two power LED leads: one for three pin spaces, another for two, instead of just splitting the positive and negative leads.

The toolless drive installation also went absolutely swimmingly. For 5.25" drives, the toolless clamp is secure and the bay shields themselves pop in and out easily enough without being frustratingly loose. 3.5" drives fit snugly into the trays; the trays themselves are a pretty sturdy plastic with exactly enough flex, and pins snap into the side screw holes of the drives. 2.5" drives can be bottom-mounted to the trays, but In-Win also includes two dedicated installation points for 2.5" drives. The second is in the bottom of the case, beneath the last drive tray, but the first is actually at the bottom of the top drive cage. There are two wedges that slot into the side screw holes of the 2.5" drive; you angle the drive in, then screw in the other side, and it's held into place securely. You do have to remove the left panel of the cage first, though; that's held in place by a single screw.

Mounting the power supply went easily enough, but when we get to the expansion cards we see another place where In-Win cut costs. The expansion slots are covered by perforated steel instead of actual slot covers, so once you pop 'em out, they're open for business forever unless you buy some aftermarket covers. The steel In-Win used for the case is actually pretty damn sturdy, too, and I was surprised at how much force I had to apply to eventually remove the covers.

Where installing our testbed into the GT1 goes haywire, though, is the cabling. There are a couple of major problems going on here. First, there's no routing hole for the AUX 12V line, so you'll have to run it across the motherboard. Second, the routing holes that feed into a channel around the motherboard aren't just small, they're actually already mostly occupied by the case's leads.

The third problem is the biggest, in my opinion. Our review unit came with all the fans and fan controller connected incorrectly. The fan controller used in the GT1 isn't like the ones I've seen in other cases; it's a single three-pin lead connected to a molex adapter, and if you plug the chain of fans into the wrong side of the sequence, all the fans just run at full speed. That's exactly how the GT1 shipped to me, and if it hadn't dawned on me after a deep and restful sleep to go back and recheck the connection order, this review would be missing an entire set of results and the fan controller declared bunk.

Putting together the GT1 was ultimately fairly easily, but was heavily marred by the cable routing issues and the incorrectly-assembled fan control. I will tell you that with both video cards installed (along with everything else), this case gets cramped in a hurry, but that's to be expected from a mid-tower.

In and Around the In-Win GT1 Testing Methodology
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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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