Introducing the In-Win GRone

It's been a very long time since we've had an In-Win case in house for review. In fact, the last one we checked out was the BUC, an affordable enclosure that was able to hit just the right balance between silence and performance for its price class. The BUC was and remains a reasonable value for end users who want a flexible case and don't mind the slightly gaudy aesthetic, but today we have In-Win's recently launched GRone.

The GRone is poised to be one of In-Win's flagship enclosures, an E-ATX-capable case with a built-in fan controller, attractive if understated LED lighting, five large fans, and a wealth of features even beyond those. Yet it also comes with a substantial asking price of $160, which puts it directly up against some serious competition from vendors like Antec, Corsair, and SilverStone. This is around the price point where we stop making trades between acoustics and thermal performance and start demanding both. Does the GRone fit the bill?

My gut instinct with the GRone is admittedly not a great one. I'm inclined to take aesthetics off the table for the most part; cases that look like the GRone does have a tendency to split audiences into "love it" or "hate it" camps, and many users simply don't care what the case looks like as long as it performs well. Yet the sheer abundance of plastic on a $160 case is disconcerting, though that unease is staved off somewhat by the substantial amount of features In-Win has crammed into this design.

In-Win GRone Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, E-ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25”
Internal 1x 5.25", 8x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 2x 140mm intake fan (1x internal 140xmm intake fan); all support 120mm
Rear 1x 140mm exhaust fan (supports 120mm)
Top 1x 140mm exhaust fan (supports 120mm), 2x 120mm/140mm fan mounts
Side 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount (behind motherboard tray)
Bottom 2x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 8
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic, SATA hotswap dock, two-speed fan controller
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Clearances HSF 170mm
PSU 200mm
GPU 13.5" / 343mm
Dimensions 22.13" x 9.65" x 23.35"
562mm x 245mm x 593mm
Weight 26.5 lbs. / 12kg
Special Features USB 3.0 connectivity via internal headers
Removable drive cages
Integrated two-step fan controller
Support for 360mm radiator in top of enclosure and 240mm radiator in bottom
SATA hotswap dock
Price $160

In-Win is probably most anxious to catch your attention with the tremendous number of fans included; five fans are nothing to sneeze at, and it's interesting to see how the "behind-the-drive-cage" fan has caught on in recent months despite the fact that I'm not really sure just how effective this decision is. The two-step fan controller is worth paying attention to as well, though, as is the SATA dock integrated into the top of the enclosure. SATA docks aren't uncommon, though I personally would still like to see card readers integrated into more case designs since they're absolute bog standard on notebooks these days.

In and Around the In-Win GRone
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  • colinstu - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Happy with my Antec P280.

    Good cases do exist out there, just gotta look at the right companies (cheapies like In-Win isn't one of them).

    Corsair 650D was looking like a nice option too, but the side window was a turnoff (I'm not into them these days) and it cost more money so I ultimately went with the Antec.

    The Fractal Design Core 3000 I'd go with if I wanted to cheapen it up some more, and the NZXT Source 210 if I wanted to really cheapen it up. I used this NZXT in a friend's build recently too and I was quite happy with it (and so is he).

    There's dozens more nice cases out there... but these 4 are my top easy picks (4 different price points) with getting a well featured case that doesn't look fugly.
  • peterfares - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    I too have an Antec P280 which I bought for the same reasons. When I was 14 I loved cases like this one with windows and lights. My next build really toned it down and my latest case finally did away with all the useless and annoying lights and windows. I can't stand any lights or noise now, I even put electrical tape over the bright blue power and HDD LEDs on the case. I may just unplug them next time I open it up.
  • Belard - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    I've built a system with a P280... great case.

    I would LOVE to see a mini-version... designed to hold a single 5.25 drive, 4x 3.5/2.5 drives...

    I'm still on my Antec P120, which is a smaller and doorless version of the P180. The P280 blows away the P180. Its not as ENGINEERED as the P180 with its air-chambers, drive cages, etc.
    But its (A) Lighter (B) Cheaper (C) Easier to work on (D) USB 3.0.

    My son has lights in his case (blue and red), also lets me know easily that his PC is on. I do like a little blue to glow from real air-vents, but nothing that lights up the room.
  • colinstu - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    Hey, on the topic of "mini" P280s... would a "Fractal Design Define Mini" be up your alley?

    Looks like an awesome option.
  • ssj4Gogeta - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    "I can't stand any lights or noise now, I even put electrical tape over the bright blue power and HDD LEDs on the case. I may just unplug them next time I open it up."

    Haha, for some reason I pictured you as a robot running around saying "Kill all lights... kill all lights".
  • ypsylon - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    That people still are interested in cases like this one. Steel and plastic. Brrrr... I know that aluminum is usually more expensive, but easily you can find good alu case around same kind of money. Try alu once and you will never go back. Simple as that.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    What, like Lian Li or Cubitek?

    Aluminum is HIGHLY overrated.
  • Flying Goat - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Who in their right mind calls a case "GRone"? Did anyone even try to read that phonetically?
  • randinspace - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Larry the cable guy came to mind.
  • sesante2000 - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    I could understand if this case had something unique or special to offer, But no, It's just ugly.
    Finding a good case that suites ones style and function is just as hard as finding the right motherboard to match.
    Cases like these perpetuate the nonsense that "gamer" cases have become.

    If I walked into someones house and saw this I would think they just didn't know any better.
    But they should, as they are building their own PC.

    But who am I to judge?
    I mean, This is the lowest common denominator in custom PC cases.

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