IN WIN Fanqua Review

jlqrb - 2009-11-30 19:49:27 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: jlqrb   
Reviewed on: December 13, 2009
Price: $75.99

Introduction:

IN WIN might not be the first name that comes to mind when you are looking for a new computer case, but they are a company that has been around since 1986 and since their introduction onto the scene they have become the leading provider of enclosure solutions to system integrators worldwide. IN WIN is also not just limited to the computer chassis market, they also produce power supplies and digital storage devices. In the last few years IN WIN has also been collecting a few awards for their products such as the 2008 iF product design award, 2009 red dot design award and just last month the IN WIN Maelstrom case was awarded the highly coveted OCC Silver award. So even though they might not be the first company that comes to mind for computer cases, they have a long history and a more than a few quality products under their belt.

Today we are going to be taking a look at the new IN WIN Fanqua. The Fanqua is designed to be a computer case that includes enough features to make demanding users happy and still come in at a very affordable price. IN WIN has named the case after six important features that they have incorporated into the design of the Fanqua. These features are Fan, Airflow, Neat, Quality, User-friendly and Affordable. When you look at some of the features the case offers you can really see that IN WIN has stayed true to the idea of Fanqua. The case includes four fans of which three are 120mm fans and the fourth is a huge 220mm LED fan found on the side panel. The case also includes dust filters, bottom mounted PSU, CPU back-plate access, tool-less design, a nice look and still manages to come in at $75. Putting the Fanqua in such a low price range could position the case to become quite a hot seller and even give some popular sub $100 cases a run for their money.

 

Closer Look:

The Fanqua comes packaged in a large cardboard box. On the front of the box you see an image of the Fanqua surrounded by flames. Next to the image of the case IN WIN poses the question "What does Fanqua stand for?". Below the question they give the answer and an explanation of how the case has included the features of Fan, Airflow, Neat, Quality, User-friendly and Affordable. On the side of the box you get a list of the features and specifications of the case with a few images showing off some of the selling points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fanqua comes secured in the box with two Styrofoam inserts on each side and surrounded with a thin plastic cover. The accessories included with the Fanqua consist of installation screws, standoffs, an extra rear expansion cover, two fan power adapters and the installation guide.

 

 

 

With the Fanqua out of the box we can now move on and get a closer look at the case.

Closer Look:

With the case out of the packaging the first thing i noticed was the large 220mm side case fan. The fan has LED lighting and its inclusion in a budget case really sets the Fanqua apart from other manufacturers in the same price range. On the panel next to the fan is a small black switch which is a toggle switch that can turn the LED light on the fan on or off. The side panel that houses the fan has a metal mesh design which gives you a limited view into the case. The mesh will allow for good airflow but the holes are quite large which might not prevent dust from getting into the case. This could quickly become a problem as it does not take much time for dust to build up. The other side of the case is pretty simple. It has a indented groove that works as a handle to help remove the panel as needed and a small vent at the bottom for airflow. The front of the case has a stylish appearance with drive bay covers extending down to the bottom of the front bezel. Each cover starts with the top nearly flat with the front panel and extends outward near the bottom; this gives the front a sort of shingled look to it. The back side of the case is gray in color and has the usual rear I/O expansion access areas and a 120mm exhaust fan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The front panel on the Fanqua is plastic and sits above the top bay cover. The panel has a power button, reset switch, power and HDD activity lights, two USB 2.0 ports, HD/AC 97 Audio jacks and an e-SATA port. IN WIN has added their name to the front panel, but did so in a way that is not distracting or overly flashy. Behind the front panel on top of the case is the top 120mm exhaust fan that helps prevent any hot air from storing at the top of the case. The top exhaust fan has a fan guard over it, which gives a nice look to the case.

 

 

The front bezel comes off by pulling at the bottom of the plastic panel and requires a good amount of force to get it off. Once removed you get a view of the front expansion bays of the case. The internal bays are covered with a thin metal layer that is attached to the inner front portion of the case. To remove the metal layer that covers the bay you must snap them out of place by bending them outward. With the metal layer out of the way you still need to remove the plastic bay cover on the bezel. This is done by pushing in on the flaps at each end that hold it into place and with these out of the way, a 5.25" drive will now slide into the bay. The top internal bay has an included 5.25" to 3.5" adaptor that mounts a floppy drive and the included adaptor also has the ability to fit a 2.5" drive. This will allow for the installation of either a single SSD or floppy drive. If you are installing a floppy drive you will need to remove the inner part of the top bay cover, as this will allow the front of the drive to slip though to give you access to the drive. Below the bays is a 120mm case fan that brings in cool air from the front of the case to cool the hard drive area. The plastic covers have a thin dust filter included in them to prevent dust from entering from the front of the case.

 

 

 

Now that we have had a good look at the outer portion, we can now take a look inside and installing some parts.

Closer Look:

With the side panels off of the case you can see that the Fanqua has a clean and simple internal layout. You also get your first look at the motherboard tray, which supports both standard ATX and Micro ATX motherboards. IN WIN has decided against using the regular motherboard mounting system and instead uses one where the motherboard standoffs are a part of the motherboard tray itself. There are nine bumps across the motherboard tray with screw holes in each one that line up to fit ATX sized motherboards. For Micro-ATX you will need to use the extra included standoffs and screw them into the motherboard tray where needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The internal drives bays are located at the upper front part of the case and can support up to five 5.25" drives and one 3.5" drive. Each bay has its own tool-less rail that holds the drive into place. The rails are secured by simply placing the metal inserts into the screw holes on the drive and turning the locking clip to a vertical position. To remove the rail you turn the locking clip horizontally and pull it out, which loosens the drive allowing it to be pulled out from the front of the case.

 

 

The bottom three 5.25" drive bays house a removable hard drive cage that can hold up to three drives. The cage must be removed before any hard drives can be installed in it, this is not an issue though, as the cage is easily removed internally or from out of the front of the case. To remove the cage you need to take the bottom three tool-less rails out and then slide the cage in the direction you choose.

 

 

The CPU back-plate access area is quite large on the Fanqua and should be able to fit multiple socket types. My ASUS AM3 motherboard happened to fit nicely, which allowed for full access to the back-plate.

 

 

The Fanqua uses a tool-less mounting system to secure expansion cards into place. The expansion access areas come covered with a non-reusable metal cover. This means when you remove the cover it cannot be put back into place. This can be a major annoyance if you change out expansion cards often. Below the rear expansion area is the bottom mounted power supply area. This area has two stand-offs on the sides that will create some room between the PSU and the bottom of the case to improve air flow. There is also a filtered air vent that will also improve airflow and at the same time prevent dust from getting into your power supply.

 

 

The 120mm fans included with the IN WIN Fanqua use a 3-pin header and runs off 12v and draw 0.32A. While researching the fans I found that they are ARX DC brush-less fans, but there was not too much to go on other than that. The large 220mm LED side intake fan states that it is a 12v fan with a 0.23A draw.

 

 

Once I had all of my components in, the Fanqua was quite cramped and with no cable management there was little that could be done. Unfortunately cable management was not the only issue I ran into during installation. While installing my graphics card, I simply could not get the card to fit while the rear I/O expansion tool-less bracket was in place. Once the bracket was removed from the case I was able to fit my graphics card in, but I was not able to reinstall the tool-less bracket to secure the graphics card, as the locks on it were just too big for the dual slot design of the GTX260. The next installation issue dealt with the hard drive cage. Once the motherboard was placed into the case, the SATA ports blocked the HDD cage from being removed from inside the case. This is not a huge issue, but if you need to remove or install a hard drive, you will need to remove the front panel each time to do so. Securing the hard drives into the cage was also a bit of an issue as it was a tad awkward to get the screws into their proper location. Once you finish installation though and power up the system, the LED lights come on, which gives a nice look to the case.

 

 

Now with all of my components in we can move on and start to test the cooling performance of the Fanqua. I am interested in seeing how well the 220mm side case fan performs against other cases with less cooling coming in from the side.

Specifications

Case Size
Mid Tower
Material
SECC Steel (0.6mm )
Dimension (HxWxD) 456 x 225 x 480 mm
Power Supply PS/2
I/O Expansion Slots
7 Slots

 

Thermal Solution

1. Front HDD 12 cm Fan*1 (Max. support 12 cm Fan*2)
2. Side cover 22 cm LED Fan with LED switch*1 (Support 12 cm Fan*2)
3. TOP 12CM FAN*1
4. REAR 12CM FAN*1

 

Drive Bays

1. up to total 9
2. External 5.25” Drive Bay: 5 or 2
3. External 3.5” Drive Bay: 1 (Converted from one 5.25” drive bay)
4. Internal 3.5” Drive Bay: 3 or 6
Front I/O
1. HD/AC' 97 Audio
2. USB2.0 × 2
3. e-SATA*1
M/B
1. ATX
2. Micro ATX

 

Features:

 

Information courtesy of IN WIN: http://www.inwin-style.com/website/pd/pd_detail.php?iw_lanid=0&iw_name_id=147#

Testing:

For cooling the IN WIN Fanqua case uses a push-pull method, with a front 120mm intake fan bringing in cool air and two 120mm exhaust fans to remove the hot air at the rear and top of the case. The fact that you get one intake and two exhaust fans is an impressive feature for a case coming in at under $80, but IN WIN has also included a 220mm side case fan for extra cooling performance. This should be enough to keep all of your internal components at a good temperature range, but the case could be held back due to the cramped cables reducing airflow. Of course, the only way to really know the cooling performance of the Fanqua is to put it though some stress testing and see how it holds up to other cases on the market. For testing I will be using programs such a prime 95 for the processor and HD Tune for the hard drive, then I will read the temperatures with HWMonitor.

 

 

Testing System:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The IN WIN Fanqua really surprised me. The fans managed to keep my internal temperatures low and not produce a lot of noise in the process. Even without cable management the Fanqua performed nearly as well as the NZXT Tempest EVO and in most instances there was only a degree or two difference separating the two cases.

Conclusion:

The Fanqua case really comes as a mixed bag. It has great cooling performance, quiet fans, CPU back-plate access, looks good and comes in at an attractive price point. On the other hand, installation can be difficult, the case quickly becomes cramped, the front panel has to be removed for HDD installation and the rear I/O expansion covers cannot be reused. All of this makes for a hard decision when it comes to a recommendation for the case. I guess the question is, 'do you spend a lot of time upgrading your components and working inside your case?' Or, 'do you install your parts, close it up and use it for long periods of time'? If you lean more toward the latter, then this case could be a great option for you and even save you some money over similar cases with similar features. If you are more like the first option though and often find yourself working inside your system installing the latest and greatest technologies on the market, you might be better served with a case that is easier to work in. Looking back at the qualities that IN WIN based the case on, you can see that they did a good job incorporating Fan, Airflow, Quality, and Affordability, but the case could use some improvement in the areas of User-friendly and Neat. Overall though, the Fanqua is a good case with a low price and one you should take a look at if you are in the market.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: