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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  • colinstu - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Happy with my Antec P280.

    Good cases do exist out there, just gotta look at the right companies (cheapies like In-Win isn't one of them).

    Corsair 650D was looking like a nice option too, but the side window was a turnoff (I'm not into them these days) and it cost more money so I ultimately went with the Antec.

    The Fractal Design Core 3000 I'd go with if I wanted to cheapen it up some more, and the NZXT Source 210 if I wanted to really cheapen it up. I used this NZXT in a friend's build recently too and I was quite happy with it (and so is he).

    There's dozens more nice cases out there... but these 4 are my top easy picks (4 different price points) with getting a well featured case that doesn't look fugly.
    Reply
  • peterfares - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    I too have an Antec P280 which I bought for the same reasons. When I was 14 I loved cases like this one with windows and lights. My next build really toned it down and my latest case finally did away with all the useless and annoying lights and windows. I can't stand any lights or noise now, I even put electrical tape over the bright blue power and HDD LEDs on the case. I may just unplug them next time I open it up. Reply
  • Belard - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    I've built a system with a P280... great case.

    I would LOVE to see a mini-version... designed to hold a single 5.25 drive, 4x 3.5/2.5 drives...

    I'm still on my Antec P120, which is a smaller and doorless version of the P180. The P280 blows away the P180. Its not as ENGINEERED as the P180 with its air-chambers, drive cages, etc.
    But its (A) Lighter (B) Cheaper (C) Easier to work on (D) USB 3.0.

    My son has lights in his case (blue and red), also lets me know easily that his PC is on. I do like a little blue to glow from real air-vents, but nothing that lights up the room.
    Reply
  • colinstu - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    Hey, on the topic of "mini" P280s... would a "Fractal Design Define Mini" be up your alley?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Looks like an awesome option.
    Reply
  • ssj4Gogeta - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    "I can't stand any lights or noise now, I even put electrical tape over the bright blue power and HDD LEDs on the case. I may just unplug them next time I open it up."

    Haha, for some reason I pictured you as a robot running around saying "Kill all lights... kill all lights".
    Reply
  • ypsylon - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    That people still are interested in cases like this one. Steel and plastic. Brrrr... I know that aluminum is usually more expensive, but easily you can find good alu case around same kind of money. Try alu once and you will never go back. Simple as that. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    What, like Lian Li or Cubitek?

    Aluminum is HIGHLY overrated.
    Reply
  • Flying Goat - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Who in their right mind calls a case "GRone"? Did anyone even try to read that phonetically? Reply
  • randinspace - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Larry the cable guy came to mind. Reply
  • sesante2000 - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    I could understand if this case had something unique or special to offer, But no, It's just ugly.
    Finding a good case that suites ones style and function is just as hard as finding the right motherboard to match.
    Cases like these perpetuate the nonsense that "gamer" cases have become.

    If I walked into someones house and saw this I would think they just didn't know any better.
    But they should, as they are building their own PC.

    But who am I to judge?
    I mean, This is the lowest common denominator in custom PC cases.
    Reply

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