Introducing the In-Win GRone

It's been a very long time since we've had an In-Win case in house for review. In fact, the last one we checked out was the BUC, an affordable enclosure that was able to hit just the right balance between silence and performance for its price class. The BUC was and remains a reasonable value for end users who want a flexible case and don't mind the slightly gaudy aesthetic, but today we have In-Win's recently launched GRone.

The GRone is poised to be one of In-Win's flagship enclosures, an E-ATX-capable case with a built-in fan controller, attractive if understated LED lighting, five large fans, and a wealth of features even beyond those. Yet it also comes with a substantial asking price of $160, which puts it directly up against some serious competition from vendors like Antec, Corsair, and SilverStone. This is around the price point where we stop making trades between acoustics and thermal performance and start demanding both. Does the GRone fit the bill?

My gut instinct with the GRone is admittedly not a great one. I'm inclined to take aesthetics off the table for the most part; cases that look like the GRone does have a tendency to split audiences into "love it" or "hate it" camps, and many users simply don't care what the case looks like as long as it performs well. Yet the sheer abundance of plastic on a $160 case is disconcerting, though that unease is staved off somewhat by the substantial amount of features In-Win has crammed into this design.

In-Win GRone Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, E-ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25”
Internal 1x 5.25", 8x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 2x 140mm intake fan (1x internal 140xmm intake fan); all support 120mm
Rear 1x 140mm exhaust fan (supports 120mm)
Top 1x 140mm exhaust fan (supports 120mm), 2x 120mm/140mm fan mounts
Side 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount (behind motherboard tray)
Bottom 2x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 8
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic, SATA hotswap dock, two-speed fan controller
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Clearances HSF 170mm
PSU 200mm
GPU 13.5" / 343mm
Dimensions 22.13" x 9.65" x 23.35"
562mm x 245mm x 593mm
Weight 26.5 lbs. / 12kg
Special Features USB 3.0 connectivity via internal headers
Removable drive cages
Integrated two-step fan controller
Support for 360mm radiator in top of enclosure and 240mm radiator in bottom
SATA hotswap dock
Price $160

In-Win is probably most anxious to catch your attention with the tremendous number of fans included; five fans are nothing to sneeze at, and it's interesting to see how the "behind-the-drive-cage" fan has caught on in recent months despite the fact that I'm not really sure just how effective this decision is. The two-step fan controller is worth paying attention to as well, though, as is the SATA dock integrated into the top of the enclosure. SATA docks aren't uncommon, though I personally would still like to see card readers integrated into more case designs since they're absolute bog standard on notebooks these days.

In and Around the In-Win GRone
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  • randinspace - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    It IS big. Reply
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Lets start with the obvious, the front is ugly. They have taken the original Centurion Stacker and then made it a bit bigger and ugly.

    Sure it takes EATX motherboards which is useful for those that need that level of power and flexibilty. But other than that what does it actually do better than cases designed 5 or 6 years ago.

    There has been no thought applied to this case. Lets take some obvious ideas for improvement:

    1. If a case is designed for that many hard drives why is there no hot swappable ability?

    2. Similarly for that many hard drives it would be nice to see some thought applied to cable management and power distribution to the hard drives

    3. If the cases is intended for air cooling then cable management is vital - where is it?

    Antec 280 may not be my favourite case, but they thought about what market to go for and designed a case to meet that market. Fractal Design produces nice cases, with features thought through for a particular market (esp water cooling). Heck I even like Lian li for trying different things, even if they do not come off. And, despite some doubtful quality control issues, I own a Silverstone TJ07 and am about to buy the TJ08E.
    Reply
  • Skidmarks - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Although I haven't seen it in the plastic & steel yet, judging it by the pics it looks like a dreadful mess to me. Reply
  • rickon66 - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    As an Antec fan, 1100 still overall best buy. Reply
  • angrypat - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    It does seem to be in fashion for cases to be overdone and scifi comic book like, I would rather have understated looks and form following function. And no damn doors or hinged covers, if I want to open an optical drive or access a usb port I don't want to open a door first. The question I never see asked is why so few cases have an SD card reader, much more useful than a front ESATA port; storage for laptops, tablets, phones and cameras. Rear expansion slot mounted fan controls suck, very inconvenient, and they are tossed in with many cases. As for myself, I build a pc, then may tweak occasionally but I am not constantly working in it, after 40 plus builds no case has really annoyed me to work in whether it was $20 or $100. The delivery people beating the crap out of them on the way to my door is another matter of course! Outside of a media center case I don't see any reason to spend more than $100 unless you want to show off. Cooling fans can always be added or changed, run off the mobo or a fan controller. The most important thing is to know what you are building; gamer, media center, office, everyday web surfer or a serious number cruncher etc. Reply
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    The reason door and covers are used is they provide a clean look for the front of the case. Because case manufactures insist on putting 3 to 9 external 5.25" bays in the case they have to cover them up so the case doesn't look like crap. I agree, get rid of the door as they just require more case depth. Instead, just don't have any external bays and it's a win/win.

    They don't put a SD card reader in the case because it's like putting a VHS deck or DVD drive in a TV. Remember those? Why build a piece of dead tech into the case itself? I still have a 10 year old Lian-Li case as my main workstation. I'm sure glad they didn't build a zip drive in it. The days of sneaker netting data from phones, cameras, tablets, etc are long gone. If you still have a few devices you must do it with, that is what $5 USB card readers are for.
    Reply
  • bwcbwc - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    I take it this should be pronounced "groan"?

    Unfortunately I fall into the hate it camp at least based on the front panel aesthetic - it looks like a prop from the original Battlestar Galactica. Other design choices are less "groan" worthy, but as you say there are other companies in this price range with alternatives I find more appealing.
    Reply
  • Solidstate89 - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    The GRone case? Are you kidding me right now? Who in marketing thought that would make a great name? Reply
  • MeanBruce - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Buy a man's chassis, the Corsair 650D was $161.99 a couple days ago on Amazon free shipping no tax. Stand Up Boy! Reply
  • Bonesdad - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    If you like the way this case looks, there is something wrong with you. Reply

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