In Win Dragon Rider Review

Compxpert - 2010-12-10 14:40:02 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Compxpert   
Reviewed on: December 29, 2010
Price: $159

Introduction:

There isn't a single case out there that is exactly like another. Every case has its own upsides, and in some cases downsides. Cases are bought for looks especially and for many other reasons as well. When looking for a case, what features do you find important? I know for sure any good setup needs cooling and any good case at least needs to have good internal airflow. A case is not simply just a shell to protect your components - it must also keep them cool. Today I have for review a rather well-featured case from In Win. I must admit - each successive In Win case I have gotten has impressed me more and more with the features brought to the table and the Dragon Rider is no exception. The Dragon Rider comes standard packed to the limit with fans. Provided are a 200mm side intake and one 120mm fan for every other panel on the case including the top, front, and side panel opposite the 220mm side intake. All in all included are 4 fans. Of course, the list of features runs a lot further but this would just run on if I put it all in here, so read on.

Closer Look:

Not only is the case well featured but from the get go, it is well represented on the box, which features rather good cover art of a Knight and Dragon as well as the case its self nestled in the bottom right hand corner. Next up though is the back of the box, which shows just the case by itself but from the other side which shows the 120mm side LED fan. Next up is the side of the box displaying the features and last up is the side of the box depicting the table of specifications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon opening the box we are greeted by the front of the case which has been put in back first. On top on the left and right you can see the package of screws and hardware as well as another bag which contains something else very special to this case. As with some cases this one is sandwiched in between two pieces of foam packing material and it has been put inside a bag.

 

 

There is plenty yet left to see so why not move on and take a closer look.

Closer Look:

Starting with the left side panel, we seem to have a 220mm LED fan. However, what is more interesting are the grommets surrounding the mesh on the panel, as these allow for 120mm fans to be secured to the panel and allow up to six to be installed. Moving on to the front of the case the first thing I notice is how many bays are in the case, which is a total of five. Not much else to see on the front, as our Front I/O is located on the top panel of the case.

More eventful however is the right side panel which also bears a fan. The fan is also an LED fan like its 220mm counterpart. As you can see on the back however, those are the extent of the LED fans that come equipped in the case. Since this of course is a full-tower case, we have the ability to have more expansion slots and here we have eight. This means if you have a tri-sli or tri-fire setup you can fit dual slot cards in every PCI-E slot on your motherboard. As seen with some Gigabyte boards, unless you have eight rear expansion slots you won't be able to use the lower-most PCI-E 16x slot. Like most cases seen on the market as of late, this one features a bottom-mounted PSU design.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have a close up shot of the water cooling capabilities of the case. Here we have four grommets installed in the holes allowing you to run tubing in and out of the case. Next up is the top panel of the case. Here on this panel we have our final fan to introduce which is another 120mm fan. This makes for a total of five included fans one of which is 220mm and the rest are 120mm. Lastly we have the bottom of the case which has a vent if you wish to mount your PSU fan-side down. Also here are the feet which can be rotated around to where ever you need them.

 

 

So far this case is pretty impressive, but trust me - it gets better yet.

Closer Look:

Now we finally have our first look at the inside of our case. Everything seems well placed and the case is capable of even housing an E-ATX board. The only case I remember last reviewing with that capability was the ThermalTake Element V case. Of course it wouldn't be all that great of a case if there wasn't a hole behind the motherboard tray for easy access to heatsink or water block brackets. Without this you would have to pull the motherboard in order to access the back-plate. The case of course is outfitted with several tool-less solutions one of which is a very well constructed one for securing rear expansion devices. Here we have the spot where our PSU goes and a fan filter should you choose to mount it fan-side down. Sadly if that is something you do, you'll have to remove the PSU to clean this filter as the PSU sits directly on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another great feature is the sheer amount of 3.5" drives that can be installed, which is six. As with the rear expansion slots the drives install using a tool-less solution. Next up we have a look at the inside of the 5.25" bays and our tool-less solution holder. The front panel is easily detached when needed which you need to do if you have to remove the tool-less storage holder. Last thing here is a view of the case without the front panel cover installed.

 

 

 

Behind the motherboard tray is quite a bit of space. Not only that but the sheer amount of access between the interior of the case and the area behind the motherboard tray is amazing. During installation of the components I had no trouble routing all cabling behind the tray or getting the panel to close afterward.

Next up we have a shot of our top panel connections which consists of 2x USB 2.0, 2x SuperSpeed USB 3.0, IEEE 1394, microphone, Headphone, and dual eSATA. Now we have a closer look at the rear case fan. Nothing exists in specification for any of the fans so all I can say is they are either 120mm or 220mm if it's the side panel intake fan. Next up is the front 120mm fan which like the rear is not an LED fan.

 

 

 

Last of all the 120mm fans not yet pictured, is the top 120mm fan. Moving on we have a shot of the right side panel which has a 120mm LED fan, which sits behind the heatsink back-plate of the motherboard. Apparently In Win intends for this to help cool the CPU. Next up is the left side panel with the 220mm LED fan. Also take notice the foam insulation on the inside which was last seen in the review of the In Win IronClad case. The insulation is supposed to help with internal sound dampening. Here we have a shot of the one side of the tool-less solution holder which is currently showing the 5.25" holding sliders.

 

 

 

Now on the flip-side of the tool-less solution holder we have the 3.5" sliders. Some case manufactures are still thinking of those of us who have maybe have a 3.5" external device such as a internal card reader or even a floppy drive. In Win has graciously included a external 5.25" to external 3.5" bay conversion caddy just for this purpose. Finally we move onto the hardware and packaging seen on the first page. Hardware is hardware, though more importantly is what is in the other bag and pictured next. I'm sure you've run into this problem in a build where you simply cannot hide away that 8-pin CPU power cable because it won't reach if you do. For the first time, at least to my knowledge, a case manufacturer has included two extension cables.

 

 

 

Moving on to the last part, we have a close look at what is inside the hardware bag. Included of course are several screws some of which are provided for the PSU, motherboard, and some even specifically for mounting fans on the left side panel. Also included are some zip-ties, a speaker, and some clips to use to manage wires.

Last but not least we have to show the finished product with everything installed. The case only has one small downfall. After I got everything in and attempted to close the left panel I was unable to, due to the 220mm fan coming into contact with Thor's Hammer. Being that I had to have the panel on, the fan had to go, which means it will be tested without it. If there was a little more clearance, it could have fit and I couldn't even fit a 120mm fan in the space between the panel and heatsink. So if you happen to have a tall heatsink, you might not be able to get it together with the 220mm fan installed.

 

 

So one little hiccup but the case did wonderfully in every other aspect so far. How well will it stack up in testing? Let's find out.

Specifications:

Case Size:
Full Tower
Material:
1.0~0.8mm SECC Steel
Dimension(HxWxD):
556 x 239 x 578mm (21.9” x 9.4” x 22.8”)
Power Supply:
1. ATX 12V
2. PSâ…¡ Size and EPS
I/O Expansion Slots:
PCI-E/PCI/AGP SlotX8
Thermal Solution:
1. Rear 12cm Fan x 1
2. Front:12cm Fan x 1
3. Top:12cm Fan x 1 (Maximum Supports 12cm Fan x 2)
4. Side:22cm LED Fan with switch x 1 (Maximum Supports 12cm Fan x 6)
5. Water-Cooling Hole Ready
6. 12cm LED Side Fan
M/B Form Factor:
1. E-ATX(12"X13")
2. ATX
3. Micro-ATX
Drive Bays:
1. External 5.25'' x 5
2. Includes FDD Cage x1(5.25'' converted into 3.5'')
3. Internal 3.5''x6
4. 2.5” x 1
Front I/O (Ports):
1. e-SATA×2
2. IEEE 1394A×1(FireWire)
3. USB 2.0 x 2
4. HD/AC’97 Audio
5. USB 3.0 x 2

Features:

All information courtesy of In Win @ http://www.inwin-style.com/website/pd/pd_detail.php?iw_lanid=0&iw_name_id=484&iw_pd_id=13

Testing:

Testing is probably the most important aspect of comparison between cases. You can compare features all day but what it really boils down to is how well it performs. For testing I ran a set of Idle tests and Load generating tests to show how well the case cools the CPU, GPU, HDD, and Chipset when Idle and under load. For the CPU and Chipset load tests I used Prime 95 in blend. I ran this test and every other test for a whole hour after which I record the temperature. For testing the load on the HDD I used HdTune and for the GPU ran Folding@Home. For each idle test I allowed the computer to idle for a whole hour before recording the temperature. Of course with any temperatures, lower is better.

 

Testing System:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm not really surprised. In fact I expected this case to go toe-to-toe with the competition and in some cases it beat half or more of the cases in the test pool. It probably could have done a bit better in the GPU temperatures if only it had the 220mm side intake fan. The hard drive test is where it truly shined, where only three cases of the entire test pool managed to beat it.

Conclusion:

Overall, the Dragon Rider proved to be quite an impressive beast. It came with similar features seen in other full-tower cases but it even managed to present some never before seen features, again at least as far as I've seen, such as the 8-pin CPU power extension cables. Of course it also featured the largest number of fans I have seen included with any case. Expandability is definitely not a problem for this case as you can install up to six additional 120mm fans provided you have the interior space to accommodate them all. It only had one downfall in that the amount of space between the left panel and motherboard tray just isn't quite enough to contain a large heatsink and still have a fan in the left side panel.

Other than that, the case provided many other great features such as tool-less solutions for 3.5" and 5.25" devices as well as for the rear expansion slots. The addition of USB 3.0 in the front makes this case exceptional if you should happen to have USB 3.0 support on your motherboard.  If you are looking for a case with some interior space and great expandability features like the ability to add fans or even E-ATX support then this is the case for you. In Win really upped the bar when it comes to wire manageability and spared no expense in offering spaces and places to route cabling. If you want one however, it might be a little hard to find at the moment. It does appear however to be offered on In Win's eStore for a reasonable $159.99.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: