In Win Matrix Review

damian - 2009-03-11 17:03:16 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: damian   
Reviewed on: April 8, 2009
Price: $109.99

Introduction:

Are you the type of person who enjoys watching movies in the comfort of your own home? Maybe you have a sweet looking 30" display or one of those nice expensive projectors? Having a beautiful display is one of the most important features, but in addition to that  you also need a well suited case to house the different components such as a Blu-Ray player, large storage for your multimedia and a low profile graphics card capable of unleashing quality HD content. People prefer small form factor chassis that can easily fit inside a cabinet, while others simply want something that won't take up much space. Whatever it may be, there are a variety of cases to choose from, and today we will be looking at an offering from In Win. In Win specializes in high quality chassis and definitely has some cases that are really able to catch the eye. Hopefully this will summarize the In Win Matrix, a small form factor case built for micro-ATX motherboards that just might be the solution for your next home theater PC.

Closer Look:

The packaging for the In Win Matrix is sleek, stylish and does a great job at showing off the exterior of the case. The front of the package shows off the front of the case and reveals the different features of the case. It also sports the infamous In Win logo and motto. The back of the package has the specifications of the case and continues sporting different angles of the case, and yes, the sides of the package show multiple angles of the case as well. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you open up the box you get a glimpse at one of the sides of the case surrounded by styrofoam to help protect it during its shipping phase. What really stands out though is the trusty installation manual, you will definitely want to hold on to it.

 

 

With the case you receive the aforementioned installation manual, a bag of assorted screws and standoffs, and a power cable for the included 300W power supply, 

 

The case also comes wrapped in a plastic bag to prevent any unwanted or accidental scratches.

Now let's take a closer look at the case itself.

Closer Look:

The In Win Matrix comes with a simple white and black paint job that should blend in smoothly with the environment. The front of the case has two covers; one that covers a drive bay and another that covers the systems ports. To the back of the case you will notice quite a bit of ventilation as well as a small gap in the bottom for any wires to pass. The left side of the case also offers ventilation with two air vents and comes with a removable dust filter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The back panel can be swung open to reveal the motherboard I/O panel, expansion slots, and the included 300W power supply. This panel can be removed by pressing down two hinges that are located at the bottom of the case. 

 

 

The front of the case has a single drive bay and multiple ports for USB connectivity, a headphone and microphone jack and a Firewire port. The bottom of the case also has a hidden 3.5 inch drive bay.

 

 

The case also comes with four rubber grommets that prevent scratches and help reduce vibration.

Closer Look:

By removing the side panel you will see the drive bay that lies just above the CPU air duct. The drive bay can be detached by removing one screw and removing the two hinges that are located at the other end of the drive bay. The front panel of the case can also be removed by unlocking three hinges at the end of the panel. Covered by the front panel is the main system header that includes the HDD LEDs, power LED, power button and reset button.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can remove the drive bay by removing one screw and lifting it out of its place. Believe it or not, you actually have quite a bit of space to work with once the drive bay and air duct is removed.

 

 

Installing the hard drive is a simple task. In Win included a cage that can be slid in and out for easy installation. Just above the hard drive lies a 60mm fan.

 

 

Included in the case is a generic 300W power supply that should be more than enough for an HTPC. Upgrading the power supply might be a challenge though as there isn't much room for a larger unit. Read up and measure twice before upgrading units.

 

 

With the power supply located at the bottom of the case and the 24-pin power connector located near the expansion slots, cable management isn't at its finest in this scenario. There isn't much room for unused connectors to be stored so be prepared to bust out the duct tape, if you're into that sort of stuff.

 

Specifications:

Case Size:
Tiny Tower Chassis
Material:
Pearl metallic-painted plastic panel SECC ECO Streel

External Drive Bay:

5.25" x 1 3.5" x 1

Internal Drive Bay:

3.5" x 1
Front Ports:
USB2.0 × 4, IEEE 1394 A (FireWire), HD/AC' 97 Audio
Dimensions ( H × W × D ):
13.6" × 5.9" × 13.7" 346mm × 150mm × 347mm
M/B:
mATX
I/O Expansion Slots:
4×Full Height PCI/AGP expansion Slots
Power Supply:
SFX 12V, 300W
Thermal Solution:

Intel Mt. Jade Ref. Design, Partition Plate Cooling Tech(PPCT), 8cm Fan for HDD

Safety:
Meets RoHS, CE and FCC Class B Requirement
Security:
Padlock loop for padlock

 

Features:

Simplicity Theory: With beautiful lines and a simple design, the Matrix works well in contemporary and traditional spaces. The innovative Matrix offers a smart installation concept and enables a creative and practical approach to chassis design.

360 Degrees Visual Effect:The Matrix was designed to hide any sign of complexity, creating a non-obstructive 360-degree visual effect.

Back to The Basics:The stunning pearl white finish helps define every line and corner against the geometric design of the chassis.

Smart Cable Management:The back panel of the matrix opens up concealing cluttered cords and ports, giving the Matrix a contemporary look.

Partition Plate Cooling Technology (PPCT): The Partition Plate reduces back draft to efficiently streamline airflow in a unilateral direction; providing exceptional thermal performance.

Volume VS. Size: Don’t let its small size fool you. At just 12.5 liters volume in size, the Matrix rivals larger chassis when it comes to thermal and acoustic performance. The Matrix is able to accommodate standard components, supporting four full height VGA cards and creating a small and quiet environment.

Excellent Thermal Solution: A 6cm fan helps keep your system cool and provides an efficient thermal solution.

Removable Mesh:The thermal vent on the side panel comes with a removable mesh screen to prevent dust from clogging any part of the internal structure of your chassis.

 

All information courtesy of In Win @ http://www.inwin-style.com/en/pd/pd_detail.asp?PD_Name=MATRIX

Testing:

In order to properly test the In Win Matrix I will gather temperatures for the processor, chipset, and hard drive during their idle phase and load phase. To record idle temperatures I will leave the computer running for fifteen minutes with little to no stress whatsoever. Next I will simulate a load using Prime 95 with small FFTs (Fast Fourier Transform) and HDTune simultaneously for thirty minutes. I will be using the latest version of HWMonitor to help monitor temperatures. Ambient temperatures during testing were 22 degrees Celsius.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

I was quite surprised with the results. I expected both the CPU and chipset temperatures to skyrocket at least in to the high 60s. For the limited space and fans the case has, it performed exceedingly well.

Conclusion:

When I first received the In Win Matrix case, I had some doubts. I expected it to be a pain to get the computer up and running using this case. But once the case was taken apart, everything went well with some minor setbacks. I was confused as to how I was suppose to completely disassemble the case. The side panel would not come out and I didn't want to force it out. Out of frustration I accidentally did apply force and what do you know, the side panel finally slid out. It might take some effort, maybe more than other cases, but you need not to worry, the material used for this case is above average. The only place it does lack is with the front and back panel, the plastic hinges can break easily. Installation couldn't have been easier; with the power supply already installed, all that was left was the motherboard, hard drive, and optical drive. There were a couple of problems I ran into during installation though. For starters, I was not able to install the included fan. The motherboard's system connectors (Power Switch, Reset, HDD LED, Power LED) blocked the fan's access. I thought this would really hurt in the long run since the computer would be running without a case fan but I was wrong. As you can see from the graphs, temperatures were either at or below the safe zone. The last problem I had was trying to get a video card installed. I tried installing my old 3850 but the positioning of the expansion slots and motherboard was a no go. I'm sure a low profile card could fit though.


Overall, I was pleased with the features as well as the cooling performance. It certainly has the potential and the look to serve as an HTPC rather than a gaming chassis. I say this because In Win's website has this case classified as a "gaming" chassis. I just can't see how though. It might just be me, but for one, 300 watts isn't going to cut it in my book. Even for the average gamer a quality 400W would be the minimum, in my opinion. Second, size is definitely an issue, limiting the form factor to m-ATX standards can be dealt with but ruling out most aftermarket coolers is another thing. You would have to look for coolers that are about the same size as Intel's or AMD's stock cooler or look for a small design heatsink. Though it may be described as a gaming chassis, it can still be the perfect solution for an HTPC or an average home or office computer.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: