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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  • 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".
    Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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..)
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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. Reply

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