In-Win GRone Case Review: Do Features Make the Caseby Dustin Sklavos on September 18, 2012 12:01 AM EST
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.