In-Win GT1 Case Review: Fighting an Uphill Battleby Dustin Sklavos on March 8, 2013 9:00 AM EST
- Posted in
Introducing the In-Win GT1
If you've ever looked at a builder's guide for a desktop system on any major tech site (including this one), you've undoubtedly noticed that the first thing to get cut to make room in the budget is the enclosure. It's not hard to see why; as long as a case keeps things cool enough and runs quietly enough, for the most part it's doing its job. It's only when you look at the greater ecosystem of cases that the real sweet spot of the market ($99-$139) becomes more apparent. What this means, though, is that the sub-$99 market is very competitive, and when you start hovering between $50 and $70, it's downright brutal.
That competitive nature has forced manufacturers to get creative about fitting feature rich cases into lower price tags, and one of those cases is on hand today: the In-Win GT1. The GT1 features a hotswap bay, USB 3.0 connectivity, a semi-modular drive bay, and fan control, and comes in with an MSRP of $69. There's potential for this case, but does it offer enough to beat the incumbent in this bracket, the $10 cheaper Antec GX700?
I hesitate to say "amusingly," but it's the word appropriate for how I feel about this: amusingly, the one place you almost always have to make a sacrifice in this market is aesthetics. The Antec GX700 is a stellar performer, but it's not much of a looker. The In-Win GT1 threatens to fall into the same trap and may only appeal to a specific type of user. In-Win's strapped the bulk of features in the GT1 to a case that's inspired by racing cars.
|In-Win GT1 Specifications|
|Motherboard Form Factor||Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX|
|Drive Bays||External||3x 5.25"|
|Internal||6x 2.5"/3.5", 2x 2.5"|
|Cooling||Front||1x 120mm intake fan (supports 2x 120mm)|
|Rear||1x 120mm red LED exhaust fan|
|Top||2x 120mm fan mount|
|Bottom||1x 120mm fan mount|
|I/O Port||2x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic|
|Power Supply Size||ATX|
|PSU||160mm with bottom fan / 220mm without|
|GPU||270mm with drive cage / 408mm without|
18.7" x 8.3" x 19.3"
475mm x 210mm x 491mm
|Weight||12.5 lbs. / 5.6 kg|
USB 3.0 via internal header
Dual-mode fan controller
Removable drive cage panel
Toolless drive installation
SATA hotswap bay
In-Win seems to have saved most of their scratch by only including two fans, which isn't unusual for this price range. More disappointing is opting to use 120mm fans instead of 140mm ones; Fractal Design in particular has been putting this foot forward and really, as far as fans go, bigger is usually better. The GT1 doesn't have the room for a 140mm exhaust fan, but it really should've fit one as an intake.
Unfortunately, In-Win also tags what's fast becoming one of my biggest pet peeves in case design: odd-numbered USB ports. I hate the idea that they might have omitted a second USB 3.0 port just to save a buck or two on manufacturing, and it's indicative of an old style of thinking that just doesn't fly on American shores. Designers need to realize that something like this can actually seriously hamstring a case's chances in the market; remember that Antec's GX700 features two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports.
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lwatcdr - Friday, March 8, 2013 - linkSo you can only use three 3.5 drives instead of four in a sub $100 case? Still not worth a ding.
Now only one USB 3 port is a fail.
ggathagan - Saturday, March 9, 2013 - linkSo what would you fill that space with?
Grok42 - Sunday, March 10, 2013 - linkI couldn't agree more. I've done some research for a future article I'm writing and it's shocking how little diversity and experimentation is going on in the computer case industry. 95% of the cases on the market are just like this an ATX case trying to be everything to everyone and then dumping LED lighting on top of that. It's obvious no one with any sense would buy this case for anything but a gaming rig but they don't even optimize for that. Will some want to have a combined NAS and gaming rig? Sure, but it isn't 95% of the market. Give us choice.
BTW, the worst offense this case makes is including 3x 5.25" external bays. Most builds don't include legacy optical disks anymore but even those that do have no use for 3 of them. Outside the extremely niche use of hot swap bay inserts the is absolutely no use. Some might say bay coolers but they are just admitting they bought a case with bad cooling.
Director12 - Monday, March 11, 2013 - link"..and maybe two 4Gb HDDs in RAID 1 for data."
Wow, that would give you, like, a whole 8gb of storage! That's just crazy, NO ONE would ever need that much storage.
DanNeely - Friday, March 8, 2013 - linkI have to wonder if In-Win managed to get its hands on a bunch of IO panels left over from the earlier, run a cable out and plug into the back, generation of cases really cheap. Someone trying to dump its inventory of junk before it becomes completely obsolete might be willing to offer more than just 1 or 2 dollars to get rid of it.
BrokenCrayons - Friday, March 8, 2013 - linkI have to admit the letters I and U on the front of the case are the most disturbing parts of the design's style. I can understand that In-Win wanted to include an I but where on Earth did they come up with the U? It's like they wanted to place a W there but didn't managed to quite fit it in place. It just comes off as odd looking and rather out of place.
Aside from that...curse you Dustin for bemoaning the notched side panels! :) Okay, I do understand that pulling machines apart is made a little easier with a hinged latch. The Dell Optiplex and Precision workstations I have on the office enterprise network make access a simple matter. However, sales of individual cases are typically to builders who either make computers for home users or who are the end home users themselves. System surgery isn't frequent for any single desktop in a home and the few moments spent pulling the side of a case off or putting it back on isn't a big deal unless the panel doesn't fit properly. Even then, what's a couple of seconds of time in even a once a month teardown to clean out dust bunnies amount to over the life of any given enclosure? I just don't see it as something that should draw any ire and after a certain price point is reached, is hardly worth more than a mention.
dawp - Saturday, March 9, 2013 - linkthose can be changed to whatever you want or completely remove.
CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - linkHe wants a W but we won't ask why...
CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - linkI am on top and U are underneath me - pretty obvious dude !
karasaj - Friday, March 8, 2013 - linkAnd who the hell decided they looked good??