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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CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - linkHow did you decide "they" look bad ? Or did you ?
Flunk - Friday, March 8, 2013 - linkLast time I put together a computer I bought a Lian-Li PC9-F for $89. That case looks great (to me) and is light, well built and well designed. Considering that you can now get a case that is roughly as good as a premium $300 case from 10 or so years ago for a fraction of the price really drives down the prices on lower end cases.
A case like this looks positively overpriced by comparison. This thing shouts out "cheap" from the rooftops and it's $69. Maybe in 2002 that would have been a good deal, but not today.
There are a lot of better cases out there in the same price bracket.
CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - linkPlease point a few out, thanks.
sulu1977 - Friday, March 8, 2013 - linkWhy is USB 3.0 connectivity even an issue for a case? It's just a blank, empty case for heaven's sake. A USB port could be USB 1, 2 or 3 depending what wires you connect to it from the motherboard. So of you attach cables from USB 3 headers to all the ports then all the ports should be USB 3. Or am I missing something?
smitty123 - Saturday, March 9, 2013 - link"So of you attach cables from USB 3 headers to all the ports then all the ports should be USB 3. Or am I missing something?"
obviously you are missing something,
you need the latest ports so they'll have the necessary metal connections. USB 3.0 has more connectors in it to transfer faster.
They are backwards compatible because it was designed that way, but not forward compatible, unless you can see in the future? heck the weather guy can hardly tell what's gonna look like tomorrow lol
So no, you can't have just usb 1 or 2 ports anymore and make them usb 3, they just don't have the connections.
i'd go with 4 USB3.0 ports at the front. you can't have just 2 ports side by side, the Gen 3 keys are too wide.
Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, March 9, 2013 - linkAlso, each motherboard header is for a pair of ports. So when the case only has one port attached to a line, but uses one of the motherboard headers, you've basically given up a port because the case designer was a cheapskate.
lwatcdr - Saturday, March 9, 2013 - linkI was going to say that they should got 2 3.0 and 2 2.0 USB ports because we all know that there will be some motherboard that will not wake from sleep when you wiggle a mouse or hit a key on a 3.0 port. Except that why would you plug your mouse or keyboard into the front ports. Yea your right 4 3.0 ports is the way to go.
I just do not get the one 3.0 port, it seems like the worst solution. If there where none then you could just get a 3.0 card reader/ 3.0 ports that fit into a drive bay. With one 3.0 port you give up one of the 3.0 ports on the header.
CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - linkBecause the eggheads pretend they have multiple usb3 devices they need to connect al at once - it brags proud monied mega geek to whine about it.
Plus, once the ponce reviewer spews his crap, the lemmings repeat like parrots - you know how when you teach something to mthe rubes about you, several week sor monts later they repeat it to you excitedly as if they just thought it up...
At least the parrots read that part, and squealed out the agreeing whine.
Sleepingforest - Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - linkSo, you're saying that there's no way I'd want to, say, back up my computer to a USB 3.0 external hard drive, use USB 3.0's higher voltage to charger my phone, and upload my camera's contents at the same time? Because those are all concievably concurrent needs.
In fact, I could say you are elitist for thinking we need any front panel USB at all--a single back panel USB 1.0 was enough fifteen years ago. Why not today?
CeriseCogburn - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - linkYou're backup should be plugged into the back, readily available, so you aren't moving it and destroying it.
Your cellphone has a charger, and it's slow off a computer, and you have no outlet that isn't overloaded right there?
Your camera - not likely you have a usb 3.0 cable for your camera, you idiot.
Three strikes you're out...
You were saying... ? " Yes, I agree with you Cerise, you have a brain, a very big one and you think it through instead of being a dummy with a big mouth and far too willing to use it."
Oh, that's what you were saying. Good little boy, good boy.