IN WIN Maelstrom Reviewairman - November 16, 2009
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Many sizes of computer cases are available today, from many different manufacturers. Currently, mid towers dominate the market due to their convenient size and general affordability. Other common case sizes that can be found are the SFF (small form factor) cases that are great for LAN party-goers in need of something portable, or perhaps a home theater PC that has space requirements. On the opposite side of the spectrum, at least in home computing, full tower cases are large, spacious, and preferred by a large chunk of computer enthusiasts. The main selling point of these large cases is simply the amount of room that they have - with the ability to house a lot of hardware and to remain cool due to the large amount of volume. In this review, I will explore a full tower case from IN WIN, named the Maelstrom. Originally based out of Taiwan, IN WIN was founded in 1985 and plunged straight into computer chassis manufacturing. Since then, the company has established branches in the USA, Japan, and the UK. Having won several design awards, I'm looking forward to evaluating the Maelstrom and seeing how it performs.
The Maelstrom is packaged in a glossy black cardboard box. The front of the box shows a quarter-faced picture of the case with the text "Ready to sweep across the world" written above it. The left side displays a table of its specifications, including dimensions, material, and other information, while the right side shows some of its selling points; exquisite and durable paint job, superb expandability, as well as about four others. The rear of the case is similar to the front, except it only shows a side profile picture of the case, with more features listed across the bottom, almost like icons.
Inside the box, the case can be found inside a plastic bag with two large chunks of flexible styrofoam on each side. I like packaging that uses this styrofoam, as the other types are brittle and can break while trying to remove the product, making repackaging a little tougher. On top of the packaged case is its manual, which includes information about the case in many different languages and has simple installation instructions. At the bottom of the box, after removing the packaged case, a bag can be found containing the usual screws and standoffs, as well as two 4-pin molex to 3-pin fan adapters. Accessories also include the toolless hardware tray that holds all the "rails" for the optical drives and hard drives, and a 5.25" to 3.5" adapter tray. These two trays are actually found already mounted inside the case, and not in a separate box.
On the next page, I will begin to tear down the case and look at its internals, as well as how the working components function.