In Win Maelstrom Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on October 9, 2009


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

Maelstrom is a full-tower case from In Win having an interesting looks, foam pads to absorb noise and several features and supporting nothing less than 10 fans! Let’s take a look at this new release.

On Figures 1 and 2 you can have an overall look from Maelstrom. The two green tubes present on the front of the case give it a somewhat aggressive looks. These tubes, however, cannot be used as handles...

The left panel has a huge mesh coming with a 220 mm fan installed (no word on speed, airflow and noise level). The blades from this fan measure 210 mm, so this fan is actually bigger than some 230 mm fans that use 190 mm blades. It glows blue when turned on, but there is a switch on the left panel for you to turn its LED’s off. This fan is connected to a standard peripheral power plug and has only two wires, so you can’t monitor its speed through your motherboard.

By removing this big 220 mm fan you open space for installing up to six (yes, you read it right!) 120 mm fans on the side panel.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 1: In Win Maelstrom case.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 2: In Win Maelstrom case.

The front of the case can be seen in Figure 3. No door is present and the case has five external 5.25” bays. All bays use meshed covers featuring washable dust filters. On the lower part of the front panel there are three covers similar to the ones used on the 5.25” bays, i.e., meshed and with washable air filters. Maelstrom comes with a 120 mm fan behind these covers, this time using a small three-pin connector for you to connect it on your motherboard (and thus allowing speed monitoring). Once again, In Win does not say anything about airflow, noise level or rotational speed.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 3: Front panel.

 

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 4: Front fan.

Introduction (Cont’d)

Maelstrom comes with another 120 mm fan on the top panel identical to the one used on the front panel and has a space for installing another 120 mm fan there.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 5: Top panel.

This case comes with the most complete set of connectors we’ve seen to date: four USB ports, two eSATA ports and one FireWire port, plus the traditional mic in and headphones out jacks.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 6: Connectors.

In Figure 7, you can see the rear panel from Maelstrom. As you can see, the rear panel and the interior from this case are painted black, which gives a very professional looks to the case. The power supply goes on the bottom of the case. The case comes with another 120 mm fan on the rear panel, identical to the top and front fans, also using a small three-pin connector. The slot covers are meshed, which helps improving the internal airflow from the case. There is also a mesh above where the expansion cards are installed. Between the power supply and the expansion slots there are four holes protected by rubber covers for passing hoses from water cooling systems. This is the first time we’ve seen a case with four of these holes.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 7: Rear panel.

The stands from this case can be rotated, so you can choose between having them showing or not.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 8: Stands.

Now let’s take a look inside In Win Maelstrom.

Inside Maelstrom

Both panels are fastened to the case using thumbscrews, which is excellent. Before talking about the internals from Maelstrom, let’s talk about the side panels. In Figure 9 you have a better look from the left panel and its 220 mm fan. See the huge mesh and the holes for installing up to six 120 mm fans if you remove this big 220 mm fan. See also how there is foam to absorb the noise produced by your PC on both panels.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 9: Left panel.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 10: Right panel.

In Figure 11 you can have an overall look from inside Maelstrom. As mentioned, the interior from this case is painted black.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 11: Overall look.

Inside Maelstrom (Cont’d)

The motherboard tray has an 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.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 12: A view from behind the motherboard tray.

Daughter boards are fastened to the case using regular screws. It would be nice seeing at least thumbscrews here.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 13: Rear and top panels viewed from inside the case.

In Figure 14, you can see the place where the power supply is installed. Although the bottom of the case is meshed in order to match the power supply fan, Maelstrom does not come with a dust filter here and it would be nice if it had.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 14: Place for installing the power supply.

The Disk Drive Bays

This case has five external 5.25” bays and six internal 3.5” bays for hard disk drives, all using a screwless installation mechanism based on rulers that need to be installed on the sides of each drive. The installation is simple: just add two rulers to the drive you want to install (see Figure 17) and then slide it in the bay you want to use.

Maelstrom also comes with a 5.25”-to-3.5” adapter, allowing you to install a 3.5” external device like floppy disk drive or memory card reader to any 5.25” bay. This adapter supports also the installation of a hard disk drive on it (it has the appropriate holes), so you can have up to seven hard drives installed if this adapter is used.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 15: Disk drive bays.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 16: Rulers from the screwless mechanism.

In Win Maelstrom case
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Figure 17: Installing rulers on a hard drive.

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Figure 18: Accessories.

Main Specifications

In Win Maelstrom case main specs include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

In Win Maelstrom is a full-tower case targeted to the user that wants a case full of features with a good cost/benefit ratio.

Strong Points

  • Up to ten 120 mm fans can be installed.
  • Meshed bay covers with dust filters for improving airflow.
  • Meshed slot covers for improving airflow.
  • Hole for CPU cooler back plate installation on the motherboard tray.
  • Highest number of connectors we’ve seen on a single case: two eSATA ports, four USB ports and one FireWire port.
  • No sharp edges where you could cut yourself while building your PC.
  • Side panels with foam to absorb noise.
  • Excellent screwless mechanism for installing drives.
  • Very good number of hard disk drive bays (six or seven, if the 5.25”-to-3.5” adapter is used) that should please even the most demanding user.

Weak Points

  • No holes for routing cables on the motherboard tray.
  • Could have come with thumbscrews for fastening daughterboards.
  • No dust filter for the power supply fan.
  • The tubes on the front panel are not handles.
  • No speed controller for the fans.
  • No noise-absorbing mechanism for the hard drives.

In summary, we think Maelstrom provides a terrific value for the user looking for an inexpensive (compared to other full-tower cases around, of course) full-tower case focused on ventilation.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/In-Win-Maelstrom-Case-Review/832


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