First Look: In-Win Wavy Mini-ITX case

September 6, 2009 // 9:42 a.m.

Tags: #case #chassis #cute #design #in #in-win #itx #mini #mini-itx #pictures #review #sff #small #win

Out with the old, In-Win the new

In-Win isn't just a chassis company - it makes its own power supplies too, so it’s unsurprising that a custom 120W PSU is also included here. The long design fits snug under the optical drive, behind the front panel, but that also means it's harder to cool. The tiny 40mm fan bolted on the end gives it some necessary air but at the cost of extra noise. In-Win could have designed the chassis with another 60mm fan in the side and shroud to draw the air through instead, but that would take up more space and manufacturing time.

The plastic front needs to be unclipped (an easy job, but they are thin and flimsy again), before the optical drive cage can be easily lifted it. Neither requires a tool, as it's a well designed and efficient process. Underneath the motherboard space is accessible and a mini-ITX board drops straight in with four screws.

On most boards, the CPU area sits adjacent to a 60mm fan on the side, which means it gets an exhaust right by the edge of the case - perfect! However, we found the wiring for both fans need to be tightly drawn out the way to avoid catching in the blades.

First Look: In-Win Wavy Mini-ITX case Out with the old, In-Win the new First Look: In-Win Wavy Mini-ITX case Out with the old, In-Win the new
Click to enlarge

The hard drive cage is easily unscrewed allowing ease of installation, and there are even 2.5in screw holes for smaller drives or SSDs too. As a fact and not a criticism, cable tidying is a nightmare in all these tiny cases. There's just no place to route them, but the situation can be improved by using cable ties and sticky hooks. We also strongly advise using SATA optical and hard drives, and also sleeving where possible, or at least zip-tying the PSU cables in too. Considering In-Win goes to the effort of including all the screws and optical drive adapter parts, it would have been even more awesome to have a 10cm SATA cable or two in the box as well, but no matter.

First Look: In-Win Wavy Mini-ITX case Out with the old, In-Win the new First Look: In-Win Wavy Mini-ITX case Out with the old, In-Win the new
Installation requires some careful cable management... probably better than this! Click to enlarge

While the ATX, 12V 4-pin and SATA power connectors for the hard disk are of good length, In-Win includes a longer molex for the optical drive - and even then it was too short - meaning we had to source our own molex to SATA power adapter to get the optical drive powered. Either using a full size 5.25in or slimline optical drive in its bracket means it suffers the typical fate of all these mini-ITX cases: it sits right over the CPU socket. Effectively this means a compromise of finding a very low profile CPU cooler with sufficient gap between the underside of the drive above and fan, using a cool CPU and then putting up with the additional noise a small, thin fan makes. Clearly that’s not ideal.
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