In Win Dragon Slayer Review

ajmatson - 2010-07-18 10:24:47 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: August 19, 2010
Price: $86.99

Introduction:

When it comes to designing a powerful gaming system you always prepare for the most beastly components. There are the high power processors, use of a massive number of hard drives, and the ever gigantic video cards. To have the power you need during those long LAN party gaming sessions, you need to go all out, leaving no component unturned. With those high powered components, you need to have a really big computer case to house them all in, right? Not anymore. In Win has come up with a design to “slay” the larger “dragon” cases, showing that you can have a machine that is lightweight and powerful enough to take on the beasts. This design is called the Dragon Slayer and is a force to be reckoned with.

The In Win Dragon Slayer takes what you would normally associate with a large full tower and packs it down into a mATX form factor with a few tricks up its sleeve. The most impressive feature is that it can house two, yes I said two, full sized video cards such as the ATI Radeon HD 5870 or the NVIDIA GTX 480 - up to 12.6 inches long. That is not all - the Dragon Slayer has several other top notch features packed away in its chain mail sleeve, so how about we dive right in and see what it is all about.

 

Closer Look:

The Dragon Slayer comes packaged in an interesting box. There is a design of a Dragon swooping down towards a knight, breathing deadly fire. The knight slays the dragon, winning glory. The In Win Dragon Slayer is modeled after a fierce knight, which we will explore more in depth as we go on. The important information needed before purchasing is printed on the sides of the packaging. On one side are the specifications on the chassis, including the supported hardware, and on the other side are some of the highlighted features including compatibility with two full length graphics cards, tool free design, and uncompromising thermal performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dragon Slayer is well packaged, which keeps it from being damaged during shipping. Once the chassis is removed, you can get a feel for the medieval design that In Win has chosen for it. Included with the In Win Dragon Slayer are the user guide, screws and cable guides, and the tool-less rails for the drives.

 

 

Now that everything is unpacked, let's take a better look at the outer features.

Closer Look:

As I mentioned earlier, the In Win Dragon Slayer is modeled after the medieval knights, hence the Dragon Slayer name.  Looking at the Dragon Slayer, the first thing I noticed was the huge mesh screen that covers the majority of the left side panel. This to me looks like the chain mail that knights used to wear for protection, with this resembling the protection from heat by allowing cool air to freely flow. You can also attach four 120mm intake fans to the side panel, to increase the amount of cool air over your hot components. On the right side there is a small mesh cutout to aid in ventilation. The top of the chassis has a huge 140mm exhaust fan to vent out the hot air created from the CPU and other components. Since warm air rises, this will quickly expel the hotter air and allow cooler air to fill the space. At the bottom of the case there is the cutout for the power supply intake fan. This ensures cool air coming into the PSU and being exhausted out of the rear of the chassis, as long as your PSU is setup this way for cooling. There is also a dust filter to that covers the PSU intake area to keep the air and your power supply clean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is one external 5.25" bay and one 3.5" bay at the top of the chassis for a DVD burner and possibly a media card reader. Under the top bays is where the front panel connectors and buttons are. The front connections consist of a speaker and mic port, two USB 2.0 ports colored black, and one USB 3.0 port colored blue. To use the USB 3.0 port you must have a motherboard with USB 3.0 support and an available USB 3.0 port on the motherboard back I/O panel. Under the ports are the switches and system LEDs. The reset button is the small slim button directly under the power switch and between the LEDs. To push it you must use something small like a flat head screwdriver, which will make it a real pain to push in a pinch. For the system LEDs, there are two - a blue one on the left and an amber one on the right, which flashes for hard drive activity. In the middle of the case there is the In Win logo, which glows a bright blue when the system is turned on. Be prepared, the blue system LED and the logo are very bright and can light up a room on their own.

 

 

On the bottom of the case there are two more 5.25” removable bay covers. Behind the covers is the drive cage for the 3.5" hard drives and an associated cooling fan. The cage can be removed completely if not in use and up to two 5.25” devices can be put in its place if needed. When the front cover is removed, you can get a better look at the inner design. The next pictures show the two top bays, the cables for operation, and the two front cooling fans. The main cooling fan is a 140mm intake fan and the drive cage has another 80mm intake fan. At the rear of the chassis there is the motherboard I/O panel cutout, five expansion slots, a 90mm exhaust fan, and three cable cutouts. The two cable cutouts above the exhaust fan are for passing water tubing from an external unit into the chassis. The third cutout above the I/O panel area is for the USB 3.0 cable to pass through and plug into the motherboard.

 

 

 

To make use of the front panel ports and switches, there are several cables and leads that need to be utilized. The blue USB cable is used to extend USB 3.0 support to the front; there is a two-wire Molex plug used to provide the power to light up the In Win logo; there are the front panel switch and activity header leads, one USB 2.0 header lead for the two USB 2.0 ports, and the audio header leads for the mic and speaker ports.

 

 

Now that we have taken a good look at the outside of the Dragon Slayer, we can open the case up and look at the inner workings.

Closer Look:

After removing the side panels, you can get a good overview of the construction design of the In Win Dragon Slayer. The case is completely blacked out, complementing its mysterious glow. To provide contrast, the plastics of the chassis are colored yellow, which really makes them stand out, which, in my opinion, is done in a pleasing way. For a small mATX case there is a lot of room to work in and add those larger graphics cards. This will also help with air circulation, which will reduce overall temperatures of the components. The motherboard tray is not removable, but there are many cutouts for routing cables and keeping the case layout clean for airflow. There is also a large cutout for access to the rear of the motherboard. This helps with maintenance of the heat sink, allowing it to be removed and replaced without having to remove all of the components and the motherboard itself. There is also a good amount of room between the motherboard tray and the right side panel for cable routing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the top front of the case, there is one external 5.25” bay and one external 3.5" bay. For smaller hard drives and SSDs there is also one internal 2.5” available, in the form of mounting tabs. Just slide the drive in place and screw in the right side and you can place your small drive out of the way. Under the top bays, there is the front 140mm intake fan we that saw earlier designed to suck cool air in and blast it over the hot components. Below the main intake fan is the hard drive cage. The cage occupied two 5.25” bays which can be removed and optical drives put into its place if desired.

 

 

 

 

The 3.5” hard drives are installed into the removable hard drive cage at the bottom of the chassis. The cage can accommodate up to three full sized hard drives using a near tool free design. You have to screw the rails on to the drives and then slide them into the cage. There are robber grommets on the rails for the screws, which reduce vibration noise during operation. Next is another look at the 80mm fan that is used to cool the hard drives. If the fan is not wanted, you can remove it by taking out four screws holding it in. One hidden gem is that you can also fit another 2.5" drive in the cage without the need for a 2.5” to 3.5” converter. There are four screws holes on the bottom of the cage where you screw them into the bottom of the 2.5” drive to keep it in place. This allows you to have up to three 3.5” drives in the cage, or two 3.5” and one 2.5” drive installed.

 

 

Toward the rear of the case, there are two cooling fans designed to exhaust the hot air out of the system. At the top there is a 140mm and on the rear next to the motherboard back panel cutout there is a 90mm fan. For the five expansion slots, there are quick release tabs for a tool-less lock and unlock of your expansion cards. The locks can be removed with a quick release lever, allowing the whole unit to come out in one piece. Out of the five expansion slot covers, only one is able to be removed and replaced. The other four are held on by small tabs and once they are removed they cannot be put back later if you are no longer using that space.

 

 

 

The PSU sits at the bottomon the Dragon Slayer. This allows the power supply to draw cooler air from under the case, keeping the internals cooler than if it was pulling warm air from the inside of the case. There is a removable dust filter to protect the power supply from becoming dusty.

 

 

Finally, we have the shot of the system installed. Notice how much room there is with the full size graphics card in place. One thing I would like to point out is that with the compact size of the case, there is limited room for the CPU heat sink. I was not able to install our standard test heatsink, the Noctua NH-U12P SE, because it was too tall. Instead I had to use a low profile heatsink, the Thermaltake ISGC-400, to keep from hitting the side panel. If you install the optional 120mm fans on the side panel, you will have to be extra careful about choosing a CPU cooler.

 

Now that we have seen the In Win Dragon Slayer in all of its glory, how about we get into the testing?

Specifications:

Case Size:
Mini Tower
Material:
0.6mm SECC
Drive Bays:
1. Option 1: External 5.25” x 3,  3.5” x 1,
Internal 2.5” x 1
2. Option 2: External 5.25” x 1, 3.5” x 1
Internal 2.5” x 1, *3.5” x 3 or 3.5” x 2, 2.5” x 1 (*Converted from 5.25” x 2 )
M/B Form Factor:
Micro-ATX
Power Supply:
1. ATX 12V
2. PS II
I/O Expansion Slots:
PCI-E/PCI/AGP Expansion Slot x 5
Front I/O(Ports):
USB 3.0 x 1; USB 2.0 x 2; HD/AC'97 Audio
Thermal Solution:
14cm Fan at Top and Front
9cm Fan at Rear/8cm HDD Fan
Optional 12cm Side Fan x 4
Water-Cooling Hole Ready
Dimension(HxWxD):
430 x 196 x 426 mm (16.9” x 7.7” x 16.8” )
Security:
Padlook Loop / Kensington Slot

 

Features:

 

All Information courtesy of In Win @ http://www.inwin-style.com/website/pd/pd_detail.php?iw_lanid=0&iw_name_id=465#

Testing:

To test the In Win Dragon Slayer I will be taking some temperature readings on the CPU, GPU, chipset and hard drives. These temps will then be compared against another mATX case as well as a bit larger gaming case to see how it holds up and if the design makes the difference it needs. To simulate loads I will be running Prime95 small FFTs for the CPU and chipset, HD tune for the hard drive, and FurMark 1.8.2 for the graphics card for one hour. To monitor the temperatures I will be using AMD Overdrive for the CPU and chipset, HD Tune for the hard drive, and FurMark's temperature monitor for the video card. All of the cases will be using their stock default fan setup that comes in the package. No additional fans will be added keeping the tests fair. All of the components will also be run using their stock voltages, speeds, and latencies to keep anything from interfering with the scores.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Cases:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surprisingly, the In Win Dragon Slayer did quite well - especially with the CPU, chipset, and hard drive temperatures. I attribute this to the number of cooling fans running and the openness of space inside the case. When these qualities are paired with the mesh side panel, cool air has an easy way to get into the system and cool the parts.

Conclusion:

The In Win Dragon Slayer is a pure joy to build with. For the size of the case, there is a lot of room to work with and the design does very well keeping the components temperatures down. In reviewing the chassis, I could not really find anything that I did not like about the design and operation. It is a solid, well made case that does what it is supposed to do and does it well. When compared to another mATX case, the Dragon Slayer danced circles around it. The temperatures were vastly improved. Even when it was paired against the Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced, the Dragon Slayer held on strong and even coming ahead in parts of the temperature tests. From the flexibility of the optical and hard drives to the massive amount of potential cooling, this chassis is a real winner especially for the price.

The only qualm I had with the design was with the reset button. I was in the middle of running the computer when I needed to perform a hard reset, which is when I met the hard to push button. It is buried under the power button and recessed so far I had to use a flat head screw drive to push it. This makes it hard to reset if the occasion arises. Other than this little drawback, the case was a dream to use. For those of you that are looking for a great case - for a mATX based system, this should be at the top of your list. Just consider the thought of showing up at your next LAN party with your compact system running a six core processor and two HD 5870 graphics cards in CrossFireX, all tucked into your powerful, but light, chassis.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: