The In Win 901 -
The 901 is a very different kind of case and it has an almost unique look to it. Even In Win calls it a concept chassis on their site and puts in good company with the larger 904, the Tou and others.
The concept is a simple one, but also represents something of a departure from the norm when it comes to cases. You have a single piece of aluminum that wraps almost all the way around the actual frame of the case. This is sandwiched between two sheets of tempered, smoked glass which allow a veiled look at the hardware inside, and also provide multiple options for subdued lighting inside the case itself. Still we are getting ahead of ourselves here so let’s backup and start out more traditional walk around of the 901 and show off some of the design features.
Starting off looking at the business end of the 901 (the front) we find a single smooth piece of aluminum with only one item to break things up. This is a small inset with the In Win logo in it which lights up when the power is on. The one piece construction means that there is no need for an internal framework to get in the way. Instead the internal components are attached to the outer 4mm thick aluminum plate. By doing this you can be more free with component placement inside, in turn this can mean better air flow and more build options.
Making a quick turn to look at the left side of the 901 we find one of the tempered, smoked glass side panels. This move simply knocks the idea of a windowed side cover into a cocked hat. You truly cannot compare to what In Win has done here. Even the cleanest Plexiglas panel just cannot compare to real glass in terms of clarity and style. The tint of the glass is just dark enough to allow components inside to visible while allowing you to use interior lighting to be put to good use. The two panels are held on by large thumbscrews and protected from their mounts by rubber grommets (In Win also gives you spares). The side glass does not cover the whole side all the way though. There is an opening in the lower front corner that at first looks like a waste of space, but is actually serves more than one purpose.
In Win has put a fan intake here as well as a hidden area for a slim optical drive. The air intake is not likely to become obstructed as many bottom mounted or even front mounted fans do. To keep the dust out In Win has thrown in a mesh grill which is held in place by magnets. In Win also moved the normally front or top mounted controls to the side. These controls are on a small strip with what appears to be a scratch resistant coating. Again this is a nice move on the part of In Win and adds to the style of the case as a whole.
After removing the side glass we get our first clear look into the inside of the 901. The design is interesting in that it is a very clear departure from the typical four post design. Instead the interior surfaces are mounted into the outside aluminum panel. This has allowed In Win to move some things around. In most cases the optical drives end up being placed in the top of the case and end up restricting air flow to a certain degree. By moving the optical drive to the bottom of the case In Win is able to move the HDDs to the top of the case this moves a known heat source to the top and also clears up the air flow.
The HDD cage also includes mounts for additional SSDs outside the cage. There is one on the bottom and one on the inside of the cage. These give a lot more flexibility to your storage options than in many cases. The two main drive trays are capable of handling 3.5 inch HDDs and already have SATA port and data connections at the back. These are held in place by a single bracket that is secured by a thumb screw.
Looking at the rest of the interior we see plenty of space for a Mini ITX motherboard and a fairly large video card. Interestingly enough the motherboard area is a little forward of the actual case housing. This allows the I/O panel to be nicely hidden, but can make things a little crowded back there. In this area is an opening for a smaller fan or for you to pull the cooling head of a closed loop water cooling system through.
Below this area is where we find the space for the PSU. Although this space looks large it is not really as you also have to consider cables and where they will fit once the PSU is in place. In Win put in a channel for PSU cables to run between this area and the main case body. Another oddity is this area is the requirement for the PSU fan to point upwards into the case. This means that your PSU will be pulling the warm air from inside the case and venting it through the PSU components. This should not be too much for the PSU to deal with, but it is a little odd.
Moving back to the outside of the case we find that the one piece construction is not actually a truthful statement. There is a section that is detachable to allow you to do a few very interesting things. The first is that you can externally mount a closed loop water cooling system. The removable plate lets you run the tubing through the large opening we talked about above. There is also a large opening for you to feed peripheral cables through which is intended to keep them from hindering the case air flow.
The right hand side of the case is much like the left. There is a tempered, tinted glass panel. Behind this is room to run cables out of the way although you will still want to be careful here since this area is still very visible. In all the 901 is a very thought out case with some interesting departures from typical designs.