Assembling the In-Win GRone

As it turned out, the In-Win GRone was about as easy to put together as I expected and a nice change of pace from the spate of Mini-ITX enclosures I've been testing lately (and more due soon!). In-Win has all the holes in the motherboard tray for the appropriate mounting standoffs, and most of the design is toolless. In fact, installing the motherboard tray is about the only time you'll need tools; that, and installing 2.5" drives into the sleds (as is typical).

Honestly, installation was mostly uneventful. I'm very fond of the toolless mounting mechanism In-Win uses for the optical drives, but the observant reader will note the presence of four mechanisms despite only three external 5.25" bays. The top one is covered by the I/O, but I don't see why a resourceful builder couldn't install an adapter cage and either a 3.5" drive or a pair of 2.5" drives in the top bay. In-Win uses pegs that pop out slightly; you remove the bay cover by squeezing the indentations and then slide the drive into the case. Push the pegs back into the mounting holes of the optical drive, and you're done.

The drive trays are also par for the course. There are pins in the sides to allow 3.5" drives to snap into them securely, while one of those pins needs to be removed in order to install a 2.5" drive, which screws into the bottom. Personally I wish the 2.5" drives were centered in the tray as they are on newer Corsair cases, but it's a minor complaint.

Expansion slots are handled by thumbscrews, and there are extrusions around the power supply bay to line up the PSU.

Where I think things start to go a little bit south is in cabling. Simply put, the routing holes seem designed only to acclimate E-ATX builds; the main motherboard power lead was stretched pretty much to its limit, as were the PCI-e power leads. The fans also, somewhat contrary to what the instructions say, appear to be intended to be daisy chained. Each one has a 3-pin male and a 3-pin female lead, and all of them are then connected in this way back to a single 4-pin molex lead that then connects to the power supply. I don't think this is a bad idea necessarily, but it forces you to route cables above the motherboard instead of behind the tray. What's more puzzling is that the side panel above the motherboard is extruded, while the panel behind it isn't, making the case harder to close up than it needs to be.

Ultimately the In-Win GRone was fairly easy to build in, but users looking to use anything smaller than an E-ATX board or even a more robust ATX board are liable to find cabling to be a bit more difficult than they'd like. I feel like they could've designated more space behind the motherboard tray as well as enlarging the cable routing holes. I appreciate the healthy amount of headroom above the motherboard that makes the AUX 12V lead easy to connect, but it wouldn't have been too difficult for In-Win to make better allowances for smaller motherboards if for no other reason than to increase the case's flexibility.

In and Around the In-Win GRone Testing Methodology
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  • mattgmann - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Good article. My commentary is simply on the state of computer cases?

    It just seems that 99% of the "performance" cases out there are styled to appeal to a 14 year old boy's fantasy of some type of sci-fi prop.

    Lian-li and Silverstone seem to have stopped making sleek aluminum cases with decent finishes. At least, they're not what they used to be.

    There are certainly some custom chassis companies out there, but they've sacrificed pretty much all aesthetics for performance. They're certainly high quality, but utilitarian to say the least?

    Is anyone making good cases with solid, sleek modern designs? I'd like to see some cases with nice finishes too. NOT airbrushed pictures of chicks riding dragons! A good paint/powder coat job can do wonders for a case.

    Anyway, rant over. I'm just hoping someone at a major company will hear enough requests and hire some designers who don't dress like the cast of "Tokyo Drift".
  • vincentlaw - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    The Corsair 550D has a rather understated design actually, and Anandtech has a review of it. It's basically a black slab, with no obnoxious lighting or windows, and a nice textured paint job.
  • Omega215D - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Along with Corsair's Carbide, Lian Li, Silverstone cases there's Fractal Design and A few Antec cases.

    My CM 690 is pretty conservative as well.
  • Operandi - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    I agree this case is supremely stupid looking. Oddly enough Inwin do make some very clean looking cases. They are usually pretty light on features but they are very, very well built sadly they are not marketed toward the performance user. Instead we get these gaudy “gamer” cases that look like a prop from Starship Troopers.

    I have to disagree with your Lian Li comment though. Their modern cases are vastly superior to their old ones. All my high-end builds go in Lian Lis.
  • StevoLincolnite - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    But I liiiike Starship troopers! D:

    Personally I liked the styling of the old silver Thermaltake Xaser 2 cases, think I might have one somewhere...

    Before my current case (Corsair Vengeance C70) I had an Antec Dark Fleet-85 that would light up like a Christmas tree, never again. :P
  • Samus - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    I agree, even lan boxes/gaming PC's should look professional and not like they're designed by a 14 year old. I'm in my 30's and all Silverstone cases appeal to me, along with many Lian-Li cases. Just about everything else is styled like a bad joke.
  • Belard - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Antec 280. Its a slick and business like version of the Antec 1100. Check it out. Its a great case to work with.

    Yeah, the $100 Antec 280 and 1100 are a better deal.

    In-WIN is a good company... they have made some very interesting and good cases for many many years... only in the past year or so have they made themselves public.
  • just4U - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    I like cases with a window in them (im 43!) but like the rest of you I am not into the childtoy design of some cases. I've found that the Corsair 600T is probably the best modern design (look wise) i've seen in years.. I also like the Storm Scout from Coolermaster and several of Antecs more modest cases (the one, three hundred, & Sonata)

    I was hopeful with the new lanboys that came out.. thinking yeah a modern take on the old one.... then I saw them and wanted to cry. Right now I am running thru some of Silverstones MATX cases... their quite stylish.. and the builds when complete look really sharp but their not the type of cases you want to fiddle with internals when your done. (alot of us I think.. change out parts all the time..)
  • Belard - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    HAHAHA! Silly old man!

    A friend of mine bought the 600T... Its a good case. I tell friends and clients to pick what rubs them the right way. I do quite a bit of research myself and look at the construction, air-filter access, air-vents (I don't care for TOP vents), size, etc - as each build may require a different case. I got a $65 case on sale for $35 that was perfect for a client - but not something I would want... even thou its looks very good with brushed metal look ALL around.

    I'd really love to see an mATX size version of the P280... as I prefer my PCs on the desk, not the floor... but still look good.

    PS: I'm 42 :) But I'm in my 20s at heart and health (usually) - I still play 3DShooter games with some of the best.
  • db4williams - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Fractal Design's ARC Midi. I built my system using the ARC Midi and I will say it is simply amazing! It looks great, has great cooling capacity, and it's water cooling friendly! Fractal Design hit it out of the park with it's design IMO.

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