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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  • 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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