Friday, 13 December 2013

In Win GT1 Review

Since the foundation of "No Review Left Behind" I was lucky enough to be able to review a few computer cases that really stood out because of their good quality, both the Antec GX700 and the Corsair Obsidian 750D surpassed my initial expectations and received very positive reviews overall.
This time around my initial expectations for this Mid-Tower were not as high simply because there was less information online regarding the GT1 from In Win, thankfully now that I've had the chance to test it out for a few weeks I can safely say that it has surprised me in a very positive fashion.

After opening the cardboard box I quickly noticed how well compartmentalized all the included accessories come, it's just a minor detail of course but this sort of attention to tiny details is something that you rarely see at this price range ($50-$70). Every different type of screw and/or standoff comes tucked inside separate plastic bags, all of them labeled to further reduce the tedious process of sorting all of the necessary "extras".
Bundled with the GT1 you will find your typical user manual (very detailed), 11x MB screws, 10x HDD screws, 4x PSU screws, 1x Stand-off socket, 1x speaker, 3x MB standoffs, 3x cable ties (reusable), 24x anti-vibrations 3.5 HDD protections and finally 20x cosmetic hexagons for your front panel.
As you can probably see in the list I elaborated above, almost anything that you can possibly need to set up your precious components inside the GT1 is included, showing off once again the attention to detail that I had already mentioned previously.

While there are 2 distinct versions of the GT1 available for purchase, one black and one white, the one we will be reviewing today is the black version.
The case visual design in itself seems to draw inspiration from a car, a theme that works well, making the GT1 look unique without being too over the top, if you're looking for something a little bit more elegant, then I advise you to look elsewhere.

In the front panel you will find enough room for 3x 5.25'' optical drives, located above them are your typical 3.5mm microphone and headphone sockets and 1x 3.0 and 2x 2.0 USB ports. This is probably the biggest mistake that In Win made when designing the GT1, including at least two 3.0 USB ports seems something basic in this day and age.
The removable front panel also hides two slots for 120mm fans, one comes included with the case, unfortunately the dust filter that also comes included only covers one of the slots, a strange decision by In Win, a slightly taller dust filter would really set the GT1 apart from the competition.
Regarding the side panels there's not much to say, the right one is plain and the left one has a very large acrylic window with the In Win logo on it, in my opinion the window is actually too large since it shows the HDD cages, this is a matter of opinion of course, I'm sure lots of system builders out there like to show off their hard drives and ssd's.
The top of the case has enough room for 2x 120mm fans, sadly there's no fan included here. What comes included with the GT1 though is a fan speed controller with 2 settings, Turbo and Silence, this is definitely something not usual at this price range and will probably weight heavily when deciding between the GT1 and some other case. That's not all though, there's also a SATA EZ-Swap port on the top of the case that allows you to quickly connect a hard-drive without having to actually open the side panel and messing around with the cables, this is amazing and in my opinion very useful indeed, almost making up for the lack of a second 3.0 USB connector.

The back of the case is pretty standard, one 120mm red fan comes included which is nice, when working in tandem with the fan from the front panel it provides a decent air flow right out of the box, something to keep in mind for those of you who don't have a lot of patience to mess around with that sort of thing.
Above the fan you will find two rubberized holes for water-cooling, below the fan your 7 typical expansion slots are present, unfortunately only one of them has a reusable cover, below that you will find the space for your power supply.
Finally moving to the bottom of the case you will find four tall plastic feet, a great way to guarantee that your power supply and bottom 120mm fan (not included) always have enough room to intake lots of cool air, I'm glad to see that both of these intake spaces are protected by removable dust filters.

Inside the GT1 you will quickly discover that there is plenty of room behind the motherboard tray to hide your pesky cables, unfortunately you will also notice two "rookie" mistakes, the first one being the lack of rubber covering the cable-routing holes, this is a big deal especially in a case where all the components are on display thanks to the side-window. The second mistake is related to the 8-pin connector, while there is a small space on the motherboard tray that I believe is intended for it, the dimensions of said space are just ridiculously small, personally I could not make it work so I ended up passing the cable through the front of the motherboard instead.
Aside from the two miscalculations I mention above, In Win did a terrific job with the GT1 interior design, the HDD cages are well placed and constructed in a way that allows air to flow from the front fan(s), the top cage is also removable, allowing extremely long graphics cards to be installed with no problems at all.
Another cool feature that is quickly noticeable is the tool-free design of the top and front fans, they don't require a single screw in order to be installed which is always something nice to see, unfortunately this also means that you're limited to 120mm fans. A quick note to mention that the fan from the back and the one from the bottom of the case still require screws.

Final Thoughts
At the time of this review the GT1 price fluctuates between 50 and 70 dollars, finding a better option on the market in this price range is not an easy feat, the case from In Win is a sturdy and solid solution for those who intend to build a reasonably cheap, air-cooled machine without having to make too many sacrifices in terms of features or visual design.

The Good
-Visual design
-Lots of space
-Tool-Free design
-Lots of extras
-Front panel allows customization
-Lots of dust filters

The Bad
-Non-Rubberized cable routing holes
-Lack of space for 8-Pin cable
-Only 1 dust filter on the front

Thanks to In Win for providing the review sample