Though much of its efforts revolve around shifting mass produced cases to corporate clients in the OEM market, In-Win's presence in the enthusiast market is steadily growing. It's been a very long time since we last saw a case from the company, the Ironclad, which had plenty of features but a terrible design that meant they were poorly implemented.
One of In-Win's latest entries to the world of cases is the amusingly named GRone (we'll try to avoid using puns that'll make you groan), and we have to say that on paper at least, it's quite impressive. Your £100 will net you a case large enough to hold E-ATX motherboards, along with five fans and plenty of expansion and water-cooling options too. That said, its price puts it in competition with other well featured cases like Corsair's Carbide 500R and Cooler Master's HAF XM, so it won't be an easy ride for the GRone.
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The GRone sports rather bold styling to say the least, which is always going to make it an instant no for some. However, the metallic grey coating of the steel and plastic of our sample is a refreshing change from the black and white boxes we've become accustomed to recently. Some fairly aggressive black front meshing and a ventilated roof section bulk out the plastic on offer. There's also a blue tinted extruded side panel window, which is an odd choice given that the opposite side panel is flat and that the front and internal fans are lit by red, not blue, LEDs.
Aesthetics aside, the build quality from the outside is a rather mixed bag. The case is very sturdy and there's no flex or wobble to the core chassis, but as the bottoms of the feet are not coated in rubber, the GRone has less grip than we'd like. The side panels rattle slightly when pressed, suggesting they're not as firmly attached as they could be, although in general use they proved to be fine.
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Neither the roof nor the front panel can be fully detached, due to them both housing connections that are permanently wired. They are very firmly secured to the case, however, which is always a bonus, but the plastic mesh section up front is less so. Though it appears as though the case has eight 5.25-inch drive bay covers, in reality it has three, which are held tightly enough and require a squeeze to release. The bottom five are actually a single push-to-release unit with dust filtering material protecting the intake fans. However, it's very easy to wiggle around when it's attached, which raises questions about its longevity.
Click to enlarge - The GRone features a hot-swap bay on its roof (left) and a large side panel window (right)
The front panel is well connected and the USB 3 ports feature an internal header, as every modern case now should. On the roof is a hot-swap bay for 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives, which also makes for a handy place to rest a charging phone. Finally, a handy dual-speed fan controller can be used to quickly switch the GRone's fans between Silence and Turbo modes.
Having five 140mm fans in a £90 case is very good value, and even better is the fact that as every one of the ten fan mounts support 120mm and 140mm fans, you can easily relocate the default fans as you see best. For those looking to water-cool their rig, four holes on the rear, covered by some fairly loose grommets, allow you to route tubing out of the case.
Click to enlarge - Dust filters for the front fans (left) and the PSU (right)
As well as the front dust filter, closely spaced meshing on the roof provides some protection up top, while some removable ones on the bottom cover the PSU and floor mounts. However, the lower filters amount to little more than paper-thin sheets of material that are incredibly annoying and fiddly to re-fit. We really wish In-Win had opted for a more user friendly solution here, although admittedly it's not something you'll have to deal with too often.
Dimensions (mm) 245 x 593 x 562 (W x D x H)
Material Steel, plastic
Available colours Metallic Grey (reviewed), White
Front panel Power, reset, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, stereo, microphone, dual-speed fan controller
Drive bays 3 x external 5.25in, 8 x internal 3.5in/2.5in
Form factor(s) E-ATX, ATX, micro-ATX
Cooling 2 x 140mm/120mm front fan mounts (2 x 140mm fans supplied), 1 x 140mm/120mm ear fan mount (140mm fan supplied), 3 x 140mm/120mm top fan mounts (1 x 140mm fan supplied), 1 x 140mm/120mm HDD cage fan mount (140mm fan supplied), 1 x 140mm/120mm right side fan mount, 2 x 140mm/120mm bottom fan mounts (fans not supplied)