In Win X-Fighter Review

Compxpert - 2009-04-13 19:26:00 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Compxpert   
Reviewed on: May 7, 2009
Price: $105

Introduction:

One of the toughest things to do when building a new rig is picking out a case. When choosing components, it's important to keep their price in mind, but it is often hard to get a good looking case that isn't too pricy. This is where In Win comes in with its X-Fighter case. Of course there are many other factors when it comes to getting a good case. Not only must a case look good, but it does need to offer some great cooling options as well. This case does not disappoint in either category. It sports a front intake 120mm fan, as well as a 120mm rear output fan. Not only that, but In Win also added its VGA Turbo Cooling system, which sports two 80mm fans to cool your video card(s). On the topic of video cards, how well will certain cards fit in this case? Video cards are getting longer and longer, so hopefully there is room in this case for any card to fit.

 

 

 

 

Closer Look:

I'll admit I was a bit skeptical of it at first, but upon looking it over, I would have to say that In Win did a good job of making this case look flashy, but not too flashy as many of these type of cases can seem. I am a big fan of side panel windowed cases or ones with a more basic design, but In Win somehow made its setup appealing. The first thing you see on this box is a fairly clean front with the case depicted, as well as the name and series.

 

On the rear of the box it depicts the case with the side panel off. It also shows some of the features the case has, as well as gives you a sneak peak as to what is inside this little beast. The left side of the box lists specs, as well as some of the features it has, while the right side lists off all the specific features of this case.

 

 

Once I opened the box I was greeted with the front panel of the case. The bottom and top of the case were wedged between two pieces of foam insulation to protect it from harm.

 

Closer Look:

Aside from the fins on the left and right of the front, the front grille, the feet of the case, and the red on the side panel, this case is black. As already stated, this case comes with two 120mm fans and two 80mm fans, which, all things considered, is a pretty good setup for the case. On the front of the case is a LED panel that lights up in cool patterns, which according to the side of the box changes based on power supply usage. The side panels are secured with clips that hold them in place and are a bit hard to get off and on. Sometimes I had to apply a little bit of force to get the panels to close the whole way.

The left side panel features an adjustable vent on the side that, aside from looking cool, can control the amount of air going into the case. The opposite side of that panel has a duct for your cpu cooler, but of course this might not work for every cooler out there. On the front there is space for a total of four optical drives and two floppy drives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top portion of the case features two USB ports, two eSATA ports, a FireWire port, and of course audio. The power button is a rather large LED display, which lights up based on your hard drive and PSU. Behind the handle-like thing that the power button is stuck to is the reset switch and, oddly enough, a hard drive light that is bright enough to be seen reflecting off the inside of the handle. Unlike some of the newer cases, this one still sticks to the old method of having the PSU up top as opposed to down below. This case also includes two ports in the rear for water cooling tubes should you desire to add in a water cooling setup. The rear of this case features seven usable slots for PCI/AGP/PCI-E or whatever else might use a rear slot.

 

 

Closer Look:

In Win states that "the X-Fighter is designed after spacecrafts from the [Star Wars] films" and the description certainly fits. If an X-Wing and a Tie-Fighter had a baby, and the baby was a case, it could very well look like the X-Fighter. This case is capable of housing standard ATX and mATX motherboards. So let's open her up and see what's inside, shall we?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The inside of this case is surprisingly spacious and by the looks of it, the fans on the side could definitely move a lot of air on your video cards. I could find nothing wrong with where the video cards would end up being installed. In fact, the hard drives go in the side of the case so they create no interference with the fans. What is even better is In Win's focus on tool free design. The front and rear fans can be removed without any tools and the front fan even sports an insert to prevent dust from getting into the case. The case even has tool free solutions for installing expansion cards. You'll also notice that the board even has built-in standoffs for installing your motherboard, so you usually won't even have to worry about any additional standoffs. The case also has a lot of nice nooks and crannies for wire management.

 

   

 

 

You'll discover one of the great features of this case when you remove the front panel. Inside is a tray containing your tool free drive installation parts, keeping them organized in one place. However, this doesn't work if you needed the fourth 5.25" bay for something else. Additionally, the front fan is easily removable and contains a dust filter. The case looks rather nice after it's all together. I did have to remove the VGA cooler in order to get into it enough to put the componets in, otherwise it would tend to get in the way. Now let's see how it performs.

 

 

Specifications:

Case Size:

Mid Tower

Material:
0.8mm SECC Steel

External Drive Bay:

5.25" x 4 3.5" x 2

Internal Drive Bay:

3.5" x 5

Front Ports:

eSATA x 2, USB2.0 x 4, IEEE 1394 A (FireWire), HD/AC" 97 Audio

Dimensions ( H x W x D):

18.5" x 9.4" x 22.4" 470mm x 240mm x 570mm

M/B
ATX, mATX

I/O Expansion Slots:

7 PCI/AGP Slots

Power Supply:

ATX 12V, PSII

Thermal Solution:

Smart-3D UniDuct™ 12cm Ceramic Fans at Front & Rear Panels VGA Turbo Cooling System with 8cm Side Ceramic Fan x 2 Support Water-Cooling

Safety:

Meets RoHS, CE and FCC Class B Requirement

Security:
Padlock loop for padlock

 

Features:

Information courtesy of In Win @ http://www.inwin-style.com/en/pd/pd_detail.asp?IW_PD=PC%20Case&PD_Class=AL-13%20Series&PD_N

Testing:

When testing the In Win X-Fighter, I gathered temperatures for the processor, chipset, and hard drive, both when idle and at full load. I used a combination of HWMonitor and RealTemp to probe for temps. For applying load I used Prime 95, HDTune, and Folding@Home to stress the CPU/chipset, hard drive and video card respectively. I left the computer idle for 15 minutes to record temps and left it at load for 15 minutes and recorded temps.

 

 

Testing System:

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

Lower is better

 

The X-Fighter stands up pretty well against the competition and only loses in the chipset area and a bit in the video card area. On the flip side, it has pretty large gains in the CPU and hard disk areas. Overall, I was amazed at what this case could do for how quiet it is.

Conclusion:

When I first got this case I was a little skeptical of its design. The case looks visually appealing and does not disappoint in performance either. Overall installation was fairly easy, however I was not able to use the tool free solution for expansion devices with my video card. Apart from that, everything went together smoothly. It does however sometimes require a bit more force to get the panels on. Another major thing (or at least what I thought of as major) was the fact that hard drives are installed with the cables facing outward. However, in the end this does not really matter since the VGA Turbo Cooler covers over this, preventing you from seeing them anyway. I thought it was great that the front panel LED connector wires came bundled together, making them easier to manage. As with a lot of mid tower cases, it was hard to fit the video card and power connectors in, but they do fit. Overall this case performed well, but while it has some pretty good things going for it, some of the bad outweigh the good. The tool free solutions for drive installation weren't  as secure as other tool free designs I have seen. In addition, the system securing the side panels could wear out over time. While it is nice to not have to use screws to secure them, since they are plastic they could potientally break off after extended use.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: