In-Win is well known for their unique design, and has a robust line of towers to choose from. The majority of the line, however, is for ATX and below; until now only two entries, the Maelstrom and the Dragon Rider, were full towers. The company introduced two new cases, one of which is a new E-ATX compatible full tower, the GRone. A quick look at the specifications foreshadows a contender for enthusiast builds, crafted from steel and plenty of room to expand. PC chassis is a flooded market; will the GRone sink?
Product Name: GRone
Review Sample Provided by: In-Win
Pictures by: Adam
|Case Size||Full Tower Chassis|
|Material||0.8mm SECC Steel|
|Drive Bays||External 5.25” x 3
Internal 3.5” x 8 or 2.5” x 8
|M/B Form Factor||E-ATX (12” x 13”) / ATX / Micro-ATX|
|Power Supply||ATX 12V, PSII Size and EPS|
|I/O Expansion Slots||PCI-E / PCI / AGP Slot x 8 (Supports up to 365mm)|
|Front Ports||1. USB 3.0 x 2 (Internal Connector)
2. USB 2.0 x 2
3. HD/AC’97 Audio
4. Fan Speed Controller
|Top Ports||3.5”/2.5” SATA HDD EZ-Swap x 1|
|Thermal Solution||*Cooling Fan
Supports up to Total 120mm or 140mm Fan x 10
(Different Regions May Carry Different Specifications)
1. Front: Supports up to 120 or 140mm Red LED Fan x 2
2. Rear: Supports up to 120 or 140mm Fan x 1
3. Side: Supports up to 120 or 140mm Fan x 1
4. Top: Supports up to 120 or 140mm Fan x 3
5. Bottom: Supports up to 120 or 140mm Fan x 2
6. HDD Cage: Supports 120 or 140mm Red LED HDD Fan x 1
1. Top: Supports Water-Cooling Radiator up to 360mm
2. Bottom: Supports Water-Cooling Radiator up to 240mm
(Bottom HDD Cage Must be Removed)
3. Rear: Water-Cooling Hole Ready
|Fan Technical Data||GRone Metallic Grey
14cm Red LED Fan (140*140*25mm)/ 1200RPM ± 10%/ 23 ~27.8dBA
14cm Black Fan (140*140*25mm)/ 1200RPM ± 10%/ 23 ~27.8dBA
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||562 x 245 x 593mm (22.1” x 9.6” x 23.4”)|
The GRone is housed in some pretty thick cardboard, not enough to keep the favored handle from tearing from delivery. The box isn’t too flashy with a production brown back color, a few colors and fonts used around the box for specifications, features, and the name call out. Opening the box reveals the front of the GRone nestled between two large foam blocks and wrapped for protection.
Breaking the chassis free, you’ll see that the side window is filmed to prevent any debris or fingerprints. You should be able to look in and see the accessories bag, which on closer examination turns out to be one of the nicer we’ve seen, using thicker plastic and a zip lock system.
I’ve had a hand in many of the In-Win cases we’ve reviewed in the past, something that holds true is the amount of personality each has. It’s usually pretty easy to point out a BUC or a Maelstrom at a LAN party. The GR one has the same distinction. Our particular sample stands out because of its unique color, metallic grey. It’s a darker color, a deep onyx that achieves the same benefit of black while preserving some personality.
The front design especially sets a lot of the tone for the chassis, a promoted front panel design with emblems resembling the head of screws in the four corners. Though it appears the entire front is made from external 5.25” drive bays, in reality only the top three are removable for that purpose. The remainder functions as a filter system for the internal drive bay fans, which is removable as one complete piece instead of individual placeholders by pressing in near the top to release the piece. These are installed with red LED fans from In-Win for a front glow effect. The individual drive placeholders are very simple to remove, pinching together buttons to release tabs within.
The front I/O sits above the front bezel, equipped with two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, audio and microphone in, and the power button. On the left side is a ‘wing’ with the Reset and HDD lights; while on the opposite side is a turbo or silence mode switch for fan control.
This rolls over to the top of the case with an ‘EZ-Swap’, or hot swappable bay for use with either 2.5” or 3.5” drive. The remained of the top is an incline that eventually overlooks this external bay, crafted with a mesh panel design for venting. The design also allows for an internal 360mm radiator to be mounted, or an alternative of three 140mm fans.
Four grommet holes line the top of the rear of the GR one, above the rear I/O and 140mm exhaust fan. PCI slots run the rest majority of the backside, with thumb-screw secured placeholders, vent slots for airflow. The PSU cutout finishes out the back.
The bottom of the case features plenty of breathing with vents back to back under the hard drive bays, interior bay fans, and then another vent area under the power supply bay. Misleading feet are situated longwise in the four corners lifting the case off the surface. They look like they should pivot out to the side for stability like we’ve seen on larger cases, but are very stationary.
The main side panel houses a transparent window that stretches to approximately where the internal drive bays begin, allowing a little hiding space for cable management while showing off the hardware inside. Depending on the flavor of the GR one, the window may be a small variety of colors.
The opposite side panel features the rear CPU fan option allowing a 120mm or 140mm to be equipped. We’ve seen this a lot lately, one of the largest benefits perhaps is that it causes more open space between the side panel and the rear of the motherboard tray.
The interior is finished with the same metallic grey coating as the exterior. Situated around the motherboard are a handful of grommets for cable routing, since much of the wire management will take place behind the motherboard tray. This space is a little less than one and a half inches thick, with the ability to mount either a 120mm or 140mm, albeit thin, case fan behind the CPU cut out. The cables will return to the main compartment of the chassis through the grommets, three vertical along the right side of the motherboard tray and one vertical just in front of the power supply bay. There is also another rectangular cut out in front of hard drive bay for additional routing, and one in the corner by the rear exhaust.
In-Win has included tool-less installation for both the external and internal drive bays, and also for the fans in those areas. The first example you’ll see is a 120mm fan mounted on the inner side of the top hard drive bay, and it’s the best one to see how it works. Two clips hold the frame in place, and in this case there are two metal guides for the top and bottom of the fan to rest as well. The front in-take fans operate on this system as well, eliminating the need to mount with screws. It’s an obvious benefit, reducing the work to equip fans substantially, but it does a few draw backs. You’ll want to make sure the clips are mounted correctly, or you run the risk of it loosing pressure and falling. If the clips are used correctly there doesn’t seem to be much threat of this happening after running the case through several scenarios, but when we received our product sample it this fan was loose. Also, because of this tool-less system the bottom hard drive bay must be removed to access the front in-take fans. In other cases, you could remove the front bezel and unscrew the fans from the outside, and often could jimmy them out without doing so. Because In-Win opted for thumb screws here, it’s really not a big deal.
Obviously then the bottom bay is removable; the top bay is as well. You can remove these to provide a little extra room for things such as radiators as needed. The drivers are equipped using slide-rail trays that use pressure and pins in the mounting area of the drive to keep it in place. The securing arm of the tray acts like a door, releasing the entire mechanism or locking it in place. The bottom cage provides three bays, while the top provides five.
Above the hard drive cage is the external drives’, supporting three 5.25” devices with a tool-less mounting system. In-Win is known, at least to me, for their lime green color that the GR one has escaped up to this point. The push-pin design features the trademark hue, but don’t worry if you’re not a fan; the windowed side panel hides all the cages from view.
The top and rear fans are still equipped using the traditional screw method, one on each included from In-Win. Looking at the shape of the case, particularly the top on the outside, the incline is noticeable, a feature that seems to be more facial then functional. It does translate in a neat way inside, with a rafter-like design creating the frame to mount up to three fans, with space above that will at the least help with airflow, and has some great potential for some unique modification.
When the GR one showed up at the office, I thought there may be a fully built computer inside. Crafted out of 0.8mm SECC steel, this is definitely a heavy full tower. But outside of hauling this beast to and from LAN party, that’s a good thing: it’s structurally sound to house extended, enthusiast hardware and lots of it.
If you decide to go with air cooling, the GR one accommodates a little extra then the typical full tower, with the 120mm fan mounted on both sides of the top hard drive cage. The combination provides stronger airflow over the hard drives, and pushes more air throughout the rest of the case. With up to three fans mountable on top, you can get some great throughput.
The windowed side panel looks nice, and secures to the panel with normal Philips so removing, for whatever reason, isn’t a pain. The window extends to the bottom of the chassis, so it reveals more, but eliminates the option to hide cables or lighting along the bottom. Often times we’ll see manufacturers cut the window out just before the power supply for this very reason.
Installation is about as painless as it gets, thanks to the majority of hardware being mounted using tool-less mechanisms. The GR one supports up to E-ATX motherboard form factor and just about any extended hardware you could throw at it. In-Win has not included any sort of adapters to convert 5.25” to 3.5” external, or even 3.5” internal drives to 2.5”.
The GRone is a heavy tower, but given its ambition to house your enthusiast-grade hardware, it’s a trait that you’ll appreciate (once you get in the house). There’s plenty of room to expand, and beyond the support for extended hardware that space scores in both the cable management and case mod potentials. Water cooling is supported of course, but if you decide to go with traditional air cooling, In-Win provides some extra areas to mount fans and includes a pretty generous amount out of the box. Even better, many fans utilize a tool-less installation, cutting down on the risk of taking a tool to the finished interior. The price is in the higher range among full towers, but right on spot with neighboring options from companies like Cooler Master and Silverstone.