In Win Dragon Slayer Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on May 7, 2010
Dragon Slayer is a mini-tower case that In Win will be announcing during Computex 2010 (to be held next month in Taipei, Taiwan) and will be released in the US by the end of July. We had the privilege of being offered an exclusive coverage of this case way before it arrives on the market. Let’s see what you should expect from this future release from In Win.
Mini-tower cases were very popular in the past, but since the release of the ATX form factor users and manufacturers gradually shifted to the mid-tower format. Since mini-tower cases support only microATX motherboards, they became related to computers with low-end motherboards featuring on-board video. The few users that were brave enough to build gaming machines on regular mini-tower cases quickly discovered that their systems wouldn’t run stable due to overheating caused by the lack of proper ventilation (plus mini-tower cases don’t support very long video cards).
Dragon Slayer, however, is on the opposite spectrum of the market: it is targeted to high-end systems based on microATX motherboards for the convenience of having a smaller computer. Ventilation was the main focus when the manufacturer designed this little beast, as you can easily see by the presence of so many ventilation meshes, see on Figures 1 and 2.
You can install up to four 120 mm fans on the left-side panel from Dragon Slayer. The big mesh available on this panel features a big air filter, which is terrific.
The front of the case can be seen in Figure 3. No door is present and the case has three external 5.25” bays (one at the top and two at the bottom of the case) and one external 3.5” bay, below the top 5.25” bay. Usually mini-tower cases have at least three 5.25” bays on the top part of the case, but on Dragon Slayer the manufacturer decided to place these bays on a different configuration in order to allow the installation of long video cards.
As you can see, all parts on the front panel are meshed, featuring air filters behind them.
The bottom two 5.25” bays come with the hard disk drive cage installed, so in order to use them as 5.25” bays you have to put the hard disk drive cage aside (we will talk later about all options for installing disk drives). This cage comes with a 80 mm fan installed to cool down the hard disk drives, and the case also has a big 140 mm fan installed on its front panel. In Figure 4, you can see these two fans better with the front panel removed. The white piece in the middle is a light that makes the In Win logo to turn on when the computer is on. Both fans use a regular peripheral power connector, so you can’t monitor their speed. Also no technical details about these fans were provided at this time.
In Figure 5, you can see all connectors and buttons that are available on the front panel from Dragon Slayer. It has the usual stuff: mic in and headphones out jacks, two USB ports, power and reset buttons, and power and HDD activity LED’s. What is unique here, however, was the addition of a USB 3.0 port (blue connector). The difference between this port and the regular USB 2.0 ports is the use of a cable with better shielding to allow higher speed transmission and the use of a regular USB A connector on its other end. You see, on motherboards with USB 3.0 ports they are available on the motherboard rear connector and not through some headers on the middle of the motherboard. Therefore in order to have a USB 3.0 port on the front panel of the case you need to route a USB 3.0 port available on the motherboard rear panel to the case front panel using a standard USB A connector.
We could complain about the absence of an eSATA port, but the USB 3.0 compensates this deficiency.
Dragon Slayer comes with another 140 mm fan on its top panel. This fan also features an air filter.
On the bottom panel Dragon Slayer has an air intake for the power supply, since on this case the power supply is installed on the bottom of the case. This mesh also features an air filter, which is placed inside the case.
In Figure 8, you can see the rear panel from Dragon Slayer. As mentioned, on this case the power supply goes on the bottom part. It comes with five expansion slots, all of them using vented covers, which may help improving the ventilation inside the case. Another fan is available here, this time a 90-mm model. Differently from the other fans, this one comes with a small three-pin connector for you to install it on your motherboard and thus monitor its speed. On the top part you can see three holes protected by rubber covers. The top-most one is used by the USB 3.0 cable from the front panel, because, as we explained, you need to connect this cable on the motherboard rear connector. The other two are for passing hoses from certain liquid cooling solutions. And, as you can see, the rear panel and the interior from Dragon Slayer are painted black, what gives a very professional looks to the product.
Both panels are fastened to the case using black thumbscrews, which is excellent. Before talking about the internals from Dragon Slayer, let’s take a better look at the left-side panel, as shown in Figure 9. As explained, this panel supports the installation of up to four 120 mm fans, have a big air filter and the holes for attaching screws feature rubber rings, which help reducing the vibration produced by the fans and thus their noise level.
In Figure 10 you can have an overall look from inside Dragon Slayer. As mentioned, the interior from this case is painted black. The motherboard tray has a huge opening on the area where the CPU is located, so if you want to upgrade your CPU cooler in the future with a model that comes with a different kind of back plate you won’t need to remove the motherboard from the case in order to install it. The motherboard tray also has several holes, allowing to route cables behind the motherboard tray, which may help to improve the ventilation inside the computer.
One important feature is that this case supports two video cards up to 12.6” (32 cm).
On the next picture you have an overall look at the inside the case. Pay attention to the top 140 mm fan and the rear 90-mm fan. As you can see, expansion cards are fastened using individual screwless mechanisms, which are portrayed in more details in Figure 13.
In Figure 14, you can see the place where the power supply is installed. Dragon Slayer has a mesh featuring an air filter to match the power supply fan.
This case has three external 5.25” bays, one external 3.5” bay and one internal 2.5” bay (for laptop hard disk drives or SSD units). The way the 5.25” bays are configured is very interesting: one is located on the top part of the case and two are located on the bottom part of the case. These two come with a hard disk drive cage supporting two 3.5” hard disk drives. Therefore this case gives you the flexibility of removing the hard drive cage if you want to install a liquid cooling solution that uses two 5.25” bays. If you decide to use such system, you will have to either install your 3.5” hard disk drive on the external 3.5” bay (in this case you will need to use regular screws as the screwless mechanism from this bay isn’t compatible with hard drives) or a 2.5” hard disk drive or SSD unit on the 2.5” bay.
The 5.25” bays and the external 3.5” bay feature screwless retention mechanisms for holding drives. Hard disk drives are installed inside the hard drive cage using rulers, which need to be screwed on both sides of each hard drive. These rulers feature rubber rings to reduce the vibration produced by the drives and thus reducing noise.
In Win Dragon Slayer case main specs include:
If you think all mini-tower cases are low-end, think again. The forthcoming Dragon Slayer is an outstanding high-end case for those users that want to build a small yet powerful computer. In fact this new case is practically a flawless product. Although we don’t know for how much it will arrive on the market, In Win is known for not overcharging on their products and therefore we can predict that this product will reach the market at an affordable price.