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

Back to the drawing board?

Without an optical drive it leaves plenty of room above, but most of us will need one - especially for a little HTPC, for example, where a DVD drive is always useful.

Personally, we’d rather see the optical drive underneath the motherboard tray and not have the peripheral slots, but we realise losing the option for that low profile Asus Xonar sound card, Radeon HD 4350 or TV card, prohibits a big chunk of the market, effectively making the current design the only option.

It also means the holes stamped on the large side panel are mostly pointless as they are largely blocked by the optical drive underneath and they greatly ruin the lovely delicate design. In-Win needs to remove these completely. The side one alone is just fine or another fan space on the other end would possibly be an option for some good cross-flow.

First Look: In-Win Wavy Mini-ITX case Back to the drawing board? First Look: In-Win Wavy Mini-ITX case Back to the drawing board?
Power Man is an In-Win brand. The 120W PSU should be more than enough for a build this size. Click to enlarge

Once we did find a low profile CPU cooler for our Intel DG45FC motherboard, thanks to Gelid, everything worked just great, even with a plentiful E8500 strapped inside. The bad part then came when I lifted the case off the desk and found the underside was completely ruined.

I’m not over-exaggerating; it was scratched so badly it looked like I had taken sandpaper to it. In reality I'd simply put it on a clean workbench and built a PC into it like we always do.

We can only conclude the paint quality is nowhere near hard wearing enough because, surprisingly, the glossy overlay design fared far better and was hardly touched. In-Win did throw in some rubber case feet, which we used and stuck to one end in order to stand the case up tall on its side, to show off the lovely artwork. However, we’ve never had this problem before and didn’t anticipate it, and quite frankly, it's a big disappointment.

First Look: In-Win Wavy Mini-ITX case Back to the drawing board? First Look: In-Win Wavy Mini-ITX case Back to the drawing board?
Just one example of the scratches suffered, and the extremely thin and flimsy hinges. Click to enlarge

We feel In-Win certainly has the right formula to make a great little mini-ITX case, and could live with only having to advise buyers to be aware of low profile CPU coolers and other hardware before buying. Unfortunately though, the quality of build material used is clearly well below par. In-Win's insistence to use home grown manufacturing right next door to its HQ is a commendable idea for keeping a close eye on quality, but the product managers need to actually get some real world product testing done, because what we've found are wholly obvious flaws rather than technical issues.

It's certainly not as bad as the failcake Akasa Enigma, but it's still not worth buying unless you treat it like a newborn baby. Hopefully In-Win can go back to the drawing board to correct the quality issues, because then it will be onto a winner!
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