In Win IW-R300 3U Server Chasis Review

ajmatson - 2010-04-05 11:39:44 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: April 28, 2010
Price: $254.99

Introduction:

When it comes to a chassis for your computer, there are many that you can choose from, including small form factors, mid towers, and gigantic full tower cases. These cases are great, but what if you want to save space or have other needs, such as for a file server. Sometimes tower cases are not feasible for every project and this is where rack-mountable cases come into play. Almost everyone I know has some type of file or backup server, and most have multiple ones placed all around their rooms. With a rack-mounted solution, all the computers can be placed in one location, making it easier for managing and maintenance. Being a student, I have several servers that I run for my studies and have found that rack-mounted cases have served my needs tremendously, allowing me to place powerful hardware in an easily-managed case. However, there are some drawbacks to rack-mounted cases; inadequate cooling and, depending on the size of the case, the hardware that can be placed in it. Unlike tower cases, which come in SFF, mid tower and full tower dimensions, rack-mounted cases come in Units. The smallest unit is a 1U case, then there is 2U, 3U and the big daddy 4U, which is the equivalent of a full tower design. Today, we are going to be taking a look at a 3U case from In Win, the In Win IW-R300.

 

Closer Look:

When the IW-R300 arrived, I was very impressed with how well In Win packaged it to prevent any damage. The case was sealed within two thick boxes and had foam inserts surrounding the case, which kept it from being dented or scratched. This is a plus in my opinion because it shows the care that went into getting the case to me unharmed. In the box was the case itself and the accessories box. The accessories box contains everything that is needed to get the case up and running with little effort. The accessories that are included are the power cord, the motherboard screws and stand offs, the hard drive screws, the slim optical drive mounts, and even the IDE optical drive converter, which is a nice addition so you do not have to search for one that will fit as you often have to do with rack-mounted cases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the IW-R300 server chassis out of the box, we can get a better look at the design. As I mentioned above, the case is a 3U design, which means it takes up three units of space in a server rack. The case is 19" wide and 19" deep with a 3U height of 5.25". It is constructed of SGCC Steel and weighs 18.75 pounds when empty. The IW-R300 uses a tool-less design for the cover, which allows for easy removal for maintenance and upgrades while in the rack. To remove the cover, just press in the two black tabs with your thumbs and slide the cover toward the rear of the chassis. On the front of the case there are two 5.25" drive bays, one 3.5" drive bay, and a slim optical drive bay. There is also the power and reset switch, as well as the two USB ports and a slew of notification LEDs - power, hard drive activity, LAN status, and emergency. As with towers, the expansion slots are located in the rear. The IW-R300 supports up to seven full size expansion cards. Since the In Win is rack-mountable, there are the rack mount ears that stick out from the sides of the case. The handles make it easier maneuvering the chassis inside the rack, but there are no rails included with the chassis, so they must be purchased separately. For the price, I feel the rails should have been included, especially since they are fairly hard to obtain.

 

 

 

Now that we have seen the design, let's take a better look inside and see what the IW-R300 is all about.

Closer Look:

With the cover taken off, you can get a better look at the room we have to work with in the IW-R300. The chassis supports ATX motherboards up to 12" x 9.6" and CEB (Compact Electronics Bay - for dual processor motherboards) up to 12" x 10.5". You can also see the seven expansion slots spaces, as well as the two spaces for optional 60mm exhaust fans. I was surprised to have seen that the two 60mm fans were not included since cooling is a big issue with rack cases and the price for them is minimal compared to the price of the chassis. The single fan on the front of the case is not enough to cool the chassis by itself, in my opinion. The power supply gets installed by the top of the motherboard. The In Win IW-R300 supports both single 2U power supplies and redundant 1+1 power supplies, so you can choose whichever fits your needs best. This particular review sample came with a single 2U 500w power supply, which we will take a better look at later in the review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to storage, the In Win IW-R300 has you covered. Above the power supply cradle, there is a space for a 3.5" hard drive, as well as to the front left side of the case above the storage area for the power supply cables. Then, in the center, there is the drive cage that holds more 3.5" hard drives, for a total of five. Above the hard drive cage is the space for the slim optical drive to get mounted and the PC board for the switches and LEDs. To the front right of the case, there is an external 3.5" bay for a floppy drive, although you could put another hard drive there instead, if needed. There are also two 5.25" external drive bays for optical drives or expansion, such as a hot swap drive cage, which could mount up to three more 3.5" hard drives. For cooling the drives and the case, there is a single 80mm x 25mm fan, manufactured by San Cooler, which has a maximum airflow of 42.40 CFM, with a static pressure of 0.1930 in H2O, and a maximum noise level of 34.00 dbA.

 

 

 

For the leads on the In Win IW-R300, there is everything you could need - a USB 2.0 lead that powers the two front USB 2.0 ports, power button lead, reset button lead, power LED lead, HDD LED lead, warning message LED lead and two network interface activity leads, if your motherboard or network card supports it. For security there is an Intrusion Detection Switch, which, if your motherboard supports it, will sound an alarm if the cover is removed, alerting you to tampering with your hardware.

 

 

With the case examined, let's take a look at the power supply that juices this beast.

Closer Look:

We received a 500 watt 2U single power supply with our review sample, to provide the juice to the In Win IW-R300 server chassis. The power supply is manufactured by 3Y Power Technology and is 80 Plus Bronze Certified for efficiency. The power supply is longer than a normal power supply, but the width and height are reduced to fit into a server case. There is an 80mm intake fan that provides air flow over the components and helps in removing hot air from within the case and exhausting it out the rear. To get a better view of the internals, I have cut the warranty sticker so you can get a look. I recommend that you never open a power supply, as not only does it void the warranty, it also poses a danger. Inside, you can see the cooling fan and the power supply goodies, including the capacitors and the cooling fin. There was not much information about this power supply, but I did find out that 3Y Power Solutions is part of the FSP Group, which we have seen before at CES 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the connections on the power supply, you have a nice variety. There is the main 20+4-pin ATX power connector, an 8-pin CPU power connector, a 4+4-pin CPU power connector, two 4-pin Molex wires with three connectors and a floppy connector on each, and two SATA wires with two SATA power connectors on each, as well as two more floppy connectors. I was kind of disappointed that there were only four SATA power connectors in total since there are slots for five hard drives. Also, if you have a SATA DVD drive, then that leaves you with only three SATA power plugs for drives.

 

 

 

With everything put back together and the components installed, here is the complete system. I chose an mATX board for more working room and better air flow.

 

Now that we have the case set up, we can put it to the test.

Specifications:

Model Number IW-R300
Standard EIA-RS310D
Motherboard Form Factor ATX (12" x 9.6"), CEB (12" x 10.5")
Dimensions (DxWxH)
482.6 x 482.6 x 133.4mm (19" x 19" x 5.25")
Drive Bays
External: 5.25" x 2, 3.5" x 1,
Slim CD-ROM/DVD-ROM x 1,
Internal: 3.5" x 5
Power Supply Form Factor: Single, Redundant 1+1
Indicatiors
Power Status, HDD/LAN Activity LEDs
Front Control Panel
Power ON/OFF, System Reset, 2 x USB 2.0
Security
Intrusion Switch
Cooling Fan
1 x 80*25mm front fan.
Optional: 2 x 60*25mm rear fans
Slot Openings
7
Riser Card
N/A
Material
SGCC
Sheet Metal Thickness
1.2mm
Net Weight (Chasis Only)
8.5 Kg
Gross Weight
16.2 Kg
Cubic Feet
4.51 feet³
Packaging Dimension(D x W x H)
692 x 633 x 294 mm
Reference Container Info (Single Packing)
20': 189pcs
40': 378pcs
40'H: 420pcs

 

Features:

 

All information courtesy of In Win @ http://in-win.us/products_server_case_series.php?cat_id=2&series_id=9&model_id=247

Testing:

With this being the first rack-mounted server chassis that we here at OverclockersClub.com have reviewed for the testing portion, I will be running the same tests that we run on tower cases but the comparison case will be a tower-style mini case that I have been using for the exact same components that will be installed into the In Win IW-R300 rack chassis. Doing this will give us a nice idea on how the same components installed into a rack-style case will affect the temperatures that build up during normal operating circumstances. The ambient room temperature was kept the same during all tests to keep any variation from interfering with the scores. All hardware was run at the same speeds, frequency, latency, and voltage for every test to keep the scores as fair as possible.
 

 

Testing Setup:

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the tower design with the bigger fans allowed the components to be a little bit cooler than the In Win IW-R300 rack chassis, when I added just two 60mm exhaust fans, the temperatures lowered and almost matched the mini tower case. This little addition made all the difference with keeping the components under safe operating temperatures.

Conclusion:

The In Win IW-R300 server chassis has a lot of great qualities that set it up as one of the best for the price. However, for the price, I feel that the IW-R300 should have come with the two 60mm exhaust fans, as they make a big difference in keeping the components cool - the one 80mm intake fan that was included is just not enough to keep the hardware under suitable temperatures. Also, since this is a rack-mountable case and because of the size and weight, I feel the rails should have also been included in the package. With the average price of the case being around $250, this could have been an easy way to overlook the cooling issue and make this the best server case I have used. It is a pain to unscrew and lug the case out of the rack every time you need to perform maintenance or make a hardware adjustment. I did this several times over the testing period and finally gave up screwing it in and just rested it above a server I already had on rails.

Now, with that being said, this has to be one of the easiest and best server cases that I have used. I have built many servers for my studies and personal business, both rack-mounted and tower-based. With the price and time it takes to obtain 1U or 2U hardware, it makes it more feasible to use a 3U or larger chassis for my builds. This particular case made building a server possible via easily to obtain, off-the-shelf parts, making the unit not only cost effective to build, but also easier and cheaper to maintain. The space for five hard drives means that you have plenty of storage options and, if you use a slim optical drive, then you can even populate the empty 5.25" bays with a drive cage for more space. The included 2U single power supply provided enough juice for what I needed, but if you need more than the four SATA power plugs, make sure you have adapters for the Molex plugs to convert them. If you’re looking to convert a system to a rack or need a solid rack chassis for a server or NAS build, then I highly recommend the In Win IW-R300 server chassis. This unit has the best qualities in a rack mounted case, by far.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: