With most PC components designed to be shown-off, more and more chassis makers have been making efforts to make their clear side panels as alluring as possible whilst still maintaining a level of harmony with the entire chassis design itself. Back in the days, most monolith and simplistic chassis designs where few and far between, delegated to silent applications but in today’s modern engineering, many brands have reverted to this form to create a new era of chassis specifically designed for showing off components. IN WIN has relatively been in the spotlight the past few years for their highly extravagant and daring designs mostly centered around this concept of baring the contents of your setup. This has left a void in IN WIN’s consumer lineup but that has changed with their release of their new chassis line featuring the traditional PC box design but features a more simple yet stylish glass panel executions.
In the latest line of IN WIN’s new chassis we have a couple in our review labs right now and today we’ll be reviewing the IN WIN 301 mATX chassis designed to be a simple yet convenient chassis featuring modern design cues to accommodate the latest in hardware. Read on to find out more about this chassis !
|Case Type||Mini Tower|
|Case Material||Tempered Glass, SECC|
|M/B Compatibility||Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX|
|Expansion Slots||PCI-E x 4|
|Maximum Compatibility||VGA Card Length:330mm
CPU Heatsink Height :158mm
|Front Ports||2 x USB 3.0
|Internal Drive Bays||1 x 3.5″/2.5
2 x 2.5″
|Thermal Solution Compatibility||2 x 120mm Front Fan / 240mm Radiator
1 x 120mm Rear Fan / 120mm Radiator
2 x 120mm Bottom Fan(Occupy a PCI-E slot）
|Power Supply Compatibility||PSII: ATX12V
– Length up to 160mm
(H x W x D)
|365mm x 188mm x 370m
14.3″ x 7.4″ x 14.6″
(H x W x D)
with screw & handle height
|365mm x 208mm x 370mm
14.3″ x 8.1″ x 14.6″
(H x W x D)
|450mm x 272mm x 458mm
17.7″x 10.7″x 18″
|Net Weight||6.57KG / 14.4lb|
|Gross Weight||7.63KG / 16.8lb|
Closer Look – IN WIN 301 Packaging
The IN WIN 301 is packaged in a simple cardboard box with the model number printed in its stylized fonts boldly in the broad sides.
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On the narrow sides are some details including the features and specs. A checklist of which model you’ll be receiving is noted on one side denoting as the IN WIN 301 comes in black, white or some other variety. As of this moment only a black and a white variant are officially available.
Inside the package we have the case itself protected with styrofoam padding and a cloth slip cover to protect the case during transit.
Inside the package, we have the accessory baggie which is encased in a nice, quality resealable bag which is a nice touch. Inside the baggie we have multiple screws, washers and ties as well as the GPU support brace all in their own sealed bags.
The case has a few standoffs preinstalled but you need to install a few more for full mATX support. A mini hex head is included to securely fasten the standoffs.
Closer Look – Exterior
Despite its relatively simple design, the IN WIN 301’s exterior is strike. The IN WIN 301 features a 1.2mm SECC steel for the majority of its body with a full, tempered glass panel for the viewing side. The paint quality is excellent and the edges are crisp and bold.
The glass panel features a latch mechanism which allows quick release of the window panel without requiring the removal of screws. The glass panel has a slight tint to it although we’re not sure if this applies with the white version either. The IN WIN 301 does not have front panel intake as the entire front is part of the main body. In take is made through the bottom (more on that later) and a stylized grill on the rear side panel which is attached by two thumbscrews to the chassis for easy installation.
The front of the chassis is simplistic with the front panel I/O positioned to the right for a rather simplistic look. A large power button is on top with a tiny reset button followed by an illuminated IN WIN logo along with a pair of USB3.0 ports and front panel audio ports. At the rear we can see the slots for the top-mounted PSU as well as slot for a 120mm fan and vented expansion slot covers which tells we have a total of 4 expansion slots at most to work with.
The top of the IN WIN 301 is bare with no design feature. The bottom is where most of the action is with large hex vent holes adorning the base for maximum airflow. A sliding dust filter allows for great ease when cleaning.
Closer Look – Interior
Removing the side panels gives us access to what the IN WIN 301 can accommodate. We have a large motherboard tray with a large cutout that leads to a shroud and connects to the front panel fan mounts.
The IN WIN 301 can take in two 120mm front fans and has room for 240mm radiators. The fan mount can accommodate a full push-pull configuration with 25mm or slimmer radiators and fans which we’ll see more later. There’s also fan mounts on the bottom but given the space that might be hard to pull off unless you have really slim fans. At the rear we have a single 120mm fan mount that can house a 120mm rad as well. On the bottom of the PSU shroud, we can see a cutout for the PSU intake fan.
Along the edge of the motherboard tray are small ports for mounting the GPU bracket which is included in the package. All of the screw mounts for the bracket and fan mounts allow for some degree of sliding so that’s a nice touch for placement. The storage area for the IN WIN 301 are placed entirely on the upper area of the chassis with a slot for a single 3.5″ drive and underneath it mounts to screw-in a pair of 2.5″ drives.
Moving over to the back, we immediately notice the large motherboard cutout. The hole is actually wide enough for a majority of cooler mounting to be done without removing the motherboard. Another notable trait is the shrouded PSU area. If it wasn’t obvious already, there’s also little room for cable management behind the motherboard tray.
The PSU area can accommodate the standard 160mm but modular ones may have their cable connectors obstruct during mounting so insert cables after sliding in the PSU.
There’s some space between the board tray and the front so if you’re not using the front space, you can take some of the cabling in there.
A grounding connector is screwed to the tray from the front panel I/O circuit. The front panel I/O cables consist of the front panel header connectors, a USB3.0 front header, a SATA power for the front lighting and front audio.
Depending on your motherboard, you may need to insert all the standoffs included in the package. For ITX users, the standoffs are already built-in but for boards using the full mATX size, the standoffs have to be installed. Here we have an mATX motherboard maxing out the space we have in the IN WIN 301’s board tray. We can see the there’s allowance for some space between the tray and the front fan mount leaving us space for very long cards up to 33cm long. Vertical allowance for tower air coolers is at 158mm so those planning to use the likes of the Phanteks PH TC14-PE or similar dual-towers will have problems closing the case as those coolers reach 160mm+ with the fans installed.
Installing the PSU is easy: just slide in the PSU. Do remember to point the intake fan below where the intake cutout is.
For those mounting front fans or front radiators, the shroud and fan mount can be removed.
The IN WIN 301’s shroud has removable tabs to further help in cable management. This makes it easy to guide cables to bottom headers as well as SATA cables to route through.
The vented slot covers are secured with a separate screw-in locking tab which you need to remove prior.
2.5″ drives like SSDs can be mounted on the bottom of the 3.5″ drive slot. There is space for up to two and you only need to screw in 2 of the screw holes on one side to secure the drive.
When installing a 3.5″ hard drive, you need use the included tray bracket to slide in the drive.
In our build, we wanted to see the most we can mount in this build and with the glass panel focusing on looks we decided that a 240mm rad AIO makes more sense than a dual tower cooler. In our setup, we used a push config with the fans pushing air towards the space in the front which dumps air at the side. You can mount 2 more fans on the inside of the chamber but we thought that could hinder airflow more as the 30mm or so allowance wouldn’t allow for great air movement. With this setup, GPUs are limited in length also. We tried to max out our build to show the potential of the IN WIN 301, we could’ve easily slapped another GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition in our 2nd slot but with the intake of both GPU and CPU cooler directly in front of each other, that would lead to bad airflow and may cause heating concerns given the already warm nature of the GTX 1080 Ti FE.
At the back we can see the cable management allowance that we have for our build. We’re using 6 cables (24pin is hardwired, 2x SATA/MOLEX line, 2x PCIe power, 1x ATX 4pin) in this build and we were able to tuck some of the cables away in the front of the PSU chamber and some in the gap beneath the drives. As this is the area where air flows out, we suggest keeping it clear though.
NOTE: LIGHT STRIP NOT INCLUDED.
Here’s the system powered on with a little light strip installed.
NOTE AGAIN: LIGHT STRIP NOT INCLUDED.
There’s no PWR LED connector in the front panel header as IN WIN decided to use a SATA power to illuminate the front panel I/O and it looks excellent.
Analyzing case temperature, we’re using our build shown above to see the thermal performance of our case. We can see from the stress test below our chassis was able to maintain acceptable temps with, theoretically, only a slight rise in internal ambient temps giving a 1-2*C variance in peak readings.
Our system is a delidded i7 4790K overclocked to 4.6Ghz on 1.25v. Fan speed are set to default for the DeepCool Captain 240EX AIO cooler.
Taking our thermal camera, we check out the hot spots on our chassis during load. In the front where most of the heat is being dumped, we can see temps peak at 45*C. This is further supported with thermal images on the main exhaust area having the same temps. In the glass panel side, we see the GPU exhaust dumping plenty of heat at 46*C also. Our lab thermometer measured the same ambient 46*C+ temps during load in internal ambient temps. Our lab is maintained at a constant 25*C.
User Experience & Conclusion
It may be subjective but looks are simply one of the strong point of the IN WIN 301. Despite its minimal approach, it manages to pull off an attractive aura and run away with it in my opinion, its a stunning little chassis. Build quality and design take high points as IN WIN show’s off their excellent manufacturing prowess as well as experience in creating the IN WIN 301. The light up front logo is a nice touch along with the illuminated port and adds a nice sense of detail to the chassis. The full glass panel is just the crowning glory to an overall excellent chassis that features excellent support and compatibility.
Given its size, cable management is quite acceptable and depending on your application may differ. In our case, it was certainly borderline crammed but for ITX builders or 120mm AIO users, there should be more space in the front to work with. The lack of included fans is somewhat of a miss for us a single 120mm rear exhaust would’ve been appreciated.
The main challenges for the IN WIN 301 are dual-GPU setups and fully custom loops which, while possible, present unique challenges that will put any builder to the test of their skills and creativity. Its not a simple undertaking but definitely possible as IN WIN has demoed this case with full CPU+GPU custom loops during its debut.
All in all, the IN WIN 301 is a surprisingly well thought-of chassis with little details taken care of. For the minimalist builder, its a hefty playground already that can accommodate SFF components well. For those that have existing larger chassis but want something smaller like me where I migrated from Aegis to the IN WIN 301 with all contents and they still managed to fit all while being over 25% smaller in overall footprint.
The IN WIN 301 retails for below $100 and for anyone looking for a tough yet stylish chassis that’s fully-featured with modern bells and whistles all the while being half the size of everything else in the market, its an excellent and easy choice.
We give the IN WIN 301 our B2G Silver Award!