IN WIN Maelstrom Reviewairman - November 16, 2009
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The front of the case is relatively simple, as it has no buttons, lights, or I/O. Instead, those are found on the top of the case. The front has two green "bars" that run horizontally on the lower half of the case, to add a simple accent. They have no other function, and have a removable warning label on the top one to let the user know that they are not handles, as the front bezel is not attached strong enough to hold the weight of the case. At the bottom, a 120mm intake fan can be seen through the bottom "drive bay" covers. With close enough inspection, the top drive bay cover has a middle section that can be removed and used with a 3.5" drive. Behind this cover, from the factory, is the removable 5.25" to 3.5" tray adapter. Turning the case to view its right side displays the massive 220mm intake fan and the mounting holes that allow the panel to hold up to six 120mm fans instead of the included 220mm. All the mounting gromets are rubber, so that they may help minimize noise caused by vibration in the fans. Checking out the rear of the case shows a 120mm exhaust fan, seven PCI slots, two large areas of perforations to allow heat escape passively, four holes for external water cooling loops (which are capable of fitting 3/4" OD tubing), and a spot for a bottom-mounted power supply. The left side of the case shows the plain side panel, and not much more.
As stated above, the top of the case is where the I/O ports, lights, and buttons are located. This is a nice location for when the case is on the floor, where the user does not have to reach all the way over, sometimes to the other side of the case, to turn on the machine or use a USB drive. I definitely like this feature. The I/O ports include four USB, one Firewire, and two e-SATA, as well as audio out and mic in. The top also houses an included 120mm exhaust fan, with room for one more 120mm fan. Between the two creatively designed fan vents is a stamped IN WIN logo. On the bottom of the case, a vent can be found directly below the power supply's location. This can be found on practically any case and helps keep the PSU cool, due to a lot of the power supplies with fans on the bottom where it may be obstructed by the bottom of the case.
The front bezel pops off easily by only having to squeeze one of the tabs on the inside of the case. With the front of the case off, you can see that there are no wires or any electrical connections at all associated with the front bezel. There is no fan filter specifically associated with the front 120mm intake fan because the drive bay covers themselves (which have a fine plastic mesh) act as dust filters. These covers are removable everywhere on the front panel, even though the three spaces at the bottom do not have the ability to hold any external drives.
Now that I've taken a look at the outside of the case, it's now time for me to start checking out the internals and get the hardware installed so that it may be tested.