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In Win 303 Mid-Tower Chassis Review

eTeknix

Resouces: eTeknix

Website: https://www.eteknix.com/inwin-303-mid-tower-chassis-review/

 

InWin has quickly become the masters of chassis design, after a string of successes with their high-end and award-winning chassis products over the last couple of years. However, despite their impressive design, the major issue has been price, as InWin’s flagship cases often cost well into the triple digits, but when you’re crafting a huge chassis out of premium grade aluminium and tempered glass, they’re never going to be affordable. InWin is well aware of this fact and now they’re taking a shot at the sub £100 market by ditching the aluminium in favour of steel, but keeping the tempered glass so not to spoil their premium aspirations.

“The IN WIN team presents the 303, a simple, yet elegant computer chassis crafted from steel and tempered glass. The distinctively clean front panel is complemented with a bright LED design to balance the overall appearance.” – InWin

“In Win has set a standard for being an innovative computer hardware company. Mission accomplished with the 303 since it has perfected a tool-less design by being able to remove the beautiful 3mm tempered glass side panel by just pressing the handle.” – InWin

 

Equipped with space for (up to) ATX motherboards, extra-long graphics cards, a decent amount of storage and some very impressive cooling capabilities, the 303 is certainly sounding interesting, so let’s jump in and take a closer look at what InWin can create when they want to focus on competitive pricing.

Out of the box, it is clear this is a little bit different from most other chassis and certainly unique from the current crop of InWin products. The left side panel is a huge sheet of thick tempered glass, which is playing hell with reflections in the pictures here, but it really does give you a nice view of the interior.

There is a small handle/button at the top, just push it down and pull towards you and you can lift the entire panel out without the use of tools; very handy!

You can see a lot of interesting metal work going on through the glass too, but we’ll get in and see that in detail shortly.

Down at the bottom, you’ll notice full-width feet at the front and back, giving it great stability. What I really like is that the join between the feet and chassis is set back, giving it a floating appearance.

The right side panel is certainly unique, with a really funky pattern stamped into the steel panel to provide extra airflow to the top side PSU compartment and cooling mounts.

The front panel certainly has a bold impact, with a very square and monolithic design, if not for the bright blue detailing on the right edge.

Tucked into the top, the usual power and reset buttons, as well as a blue In Win badge that is set into the frame, and to make it even cooler, it’s LED backlit, and we’ll see that powered up soon enough!

Further down, a pair of USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and audio jacks, but to make these more interesting you’ll notice a little bit of blue detailing around them and they’re also LED backlit!

Around the back, things look pretty neat and tidy too, with a fairly smooth panel overall. There’s a the PSU at the top, which is obviously side mounted, a pre-installed 120mm fan and some ventilated expansion slot covers; all the basics covered.

The expansion slot covers are all metal and all reusable, no snap-offs here!

Looking through the PSU mounting, you can see a second tier of ventilation and mounts on the interior, matching the right side panel, a nice touch if you ask me.

On the base of the chassis, those extra wide feet, giving extra stability and solid ground clearance from the base mounted ventilation.

And my favourite feature so far, a full-length dust filter that slides out from the side, no more pulling your entire system out just to slide it out at the back like so many other chassis do for some stupid reason.

 

Interior

As I said before, the left side panel is very easy to remove thanks to that top handle, but one of the coolest things is that it has no bezel on the left or right edges, and it looks all the better for it. It’s glass, so it’s certainly not going to flex anyway, and it’s very durable too.

With the panel removed, we see that the interior is quite unique, with no obtrusive hard-drive trays, leaving a vast amount of space for long graphics cards and radiators to be installed. There’s a good size CPU cooler mounting cut-out as well as some cable routing holes, albeit a rather limited and oddly placed arrangement of them.

In the base, you’ll find room for 3 x 120mm fans, taking full advantage of the bottom mounted dust filter. There’s room enough here for a good size radiator too, but keep in mind that any expansion cards mounted in lower slots may limit your options, so always measure everything up first.

Now this is interesting, an internal fan and radiator mount. Obviously, there is ventilation on the right side panel, and there are intakes and exhausts on this side too, so airflow should be an issue, but it does present an interesting way to mount an (up to) 360mm radiator within the chassis. Even without a fan or radiator here, it’s a nice aesthetic touch that looks great.

Towards the front, you’ll notice three 2.5″ drive mounts, which sit parallel to the motherboard, giving you a great way to show off your new drives; the less than visually appealing 3.5″ drives mount out of sight behind the motherboard.

Even without drives installed, the brackets look quite nice, with some subtle InWin branding on the front.

To install your drives, use the included thumb screw to remove the bracket, fit your drive, then thumb screw to put it back.

In the back, a standard 120mm exhaust fan, the only fan in the system by default. I like that InWin included it, but it’s most likely anyone investing in a chassis of this design will be installing their own aftermarket cooling setup.

Overall, a huge amount of space here for your hardware and lots of room to provide a nice presentation of your components.

Around the back, the right side panel can be removed by two side-mounted thumb screws, allowing for quick and easy access.

The PSU mounting area is huge, giving you lots of space for excess cables and, of course, lots of room for ventilation from the right side panel and inner radiator/fan mounting.

As you can see, there are a bunch of extra wide screw fittings, which should improve compatibility with a wide range of fan or radiator configurations.

All black interior cables, always a welcome bonus to those who strive for neat and tidy cable routing.

A couple of small cut-outs near the PSU, allowing easy cable pass-through to the main compartment.

Here you’ll find one of the two 3.5″ drive mounts, fixed with a thumb screw, same as the 2.5″ drive mounts on the other side.

And another one of these mounts directly below it. There’s plenty of room for cable routing too, and the fact you can fit 3.5″ drives is a clear indication of this.

 

Complete System

Installing our components into the 303 couldn’t have been easier, as there is a laughable amount of space on the chassis interior that even our massive Sapphire R9 280X Tri-X Toxic graphics cards look relatively small. Without a doubt, even the biggest graphics cards on the market will have more than enough room in here.

While there are no front panel mounts for cooling, there’s a huge amount of passive airflow from the bottom of the chassis, and more than enough room to fit a bank of 120m fans below your GPUs for added cooling performance. Of course, if you’re only rocking a single GPU configuration, as most people are doing these days, you’ll also find room for radiators in the base of the chassis too. With so much room in the front section, a large reservoir and pump configuration isn’t likely to cause an issue either.

There’s good clearance for wider expansion cards too, as well as many of the high-end air coolers on the market, which is good news for those wanting something like the Noctua NH-D15 or the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3. The 120mm fan in the back is easily removed too, so if you wanted a simple AIO cooler here, that shouldn’t be a problem either.

Here you can the PSU tucked behind that honeycomb effect fan/radiator mount. It does mean you can see the cable connectors, but a few cables ties and a bit of braiding go a long way to keeping this presentable.

Speaking of which, it seems InWin still don’t know how to layout cable routing holes, which is a shame as they didn’t get it right on past chassis and it does mean the motherboard 4+4 pin has to travel along the top of the board and the 24-pin has to travel down quite a bit to the board. For this reason, I deployed braided cable extensions to keep the build looking clean and I suspect many others will want to do something similar.

The same goes for the GPU cables, there’s no idea routing solution here, so I passed the cables under the cards, which would obviously cause some issue with fans in the base of the chassis. Of course, this all depends on your GPU configuration, where the power connector is placed and so on, but as you can see, it still looks neat and tidy when you take a little time set it up.

All panels back in place, we can still see a nice view of our components through the tint in the glass. It’s a bright sunny day here, so reflections are really causing hell with the images, but you can honestly see through more than the pictures imply.

Getting in a little closer, you can see a little more clearly. It’s going to be important to your build to get that cable routing neat and tidy, it will be visible.

Hitting the power button, and you can certainly see the interior a lot more clearly. LED lighting on the motherboard and graphics cards shines through very clearly and that’s going to be awesome for those with interior lighting aspirations.

The InWin logo, the USB ports, and audio jacks all glow beautifully, with a white LED light behind their blue covers that looks really cool, just giving the whole chassis a little bit of extra flair overall.

 

Final Thoughts

Pricing

The real killer feature of the InWin 303 isn’t the build quality or the design, it’s the price. Available from most major retailers for Euro 80 excl VAT (99.00 incl VAT), the 303 is noticeably more affordable than previous high-end InWin products, by a significant margin.

Overview

I’m absolutely blown away by this chassis, it’s not perfect, but what minor issues I have encountered are easily brushed aside with two simple facts. One, it looks amazing and two, it’s a lot more affordable than you would think. When it comes to buying a new product, I like the look of it and I have enough money in my wallet to buy it, are pretty key motivators, so InWin has nailed the basics here.

The build quality is rock solid, and we wouldn’t have expected anything else from an InWin product, even more so from one cut from durable steel panels. The addition of the tempered glass side panel not only adds to the build quality, but it really sets the main focus for the design too, giving you a great view of the interior components and providing a great way to show off your new build, both inside and out.

The overall layout is certainly unique, with a rack of bottom fan/radiator mounts and another effectively within the chassis interior at the top. The right side panel ventilation is really cool in terms of aesthetics and helps promote this unique cooling setup, but it also allows you to effectively show off both racks of fans and/or radiators. The only issues being that any base mounted cooling could limit the number/size of some expansion cards. The cable routing could have done with a few improvements, as cables to tend to trail the motherboard to get where they need to be, but this just seems to be a quirk of InWin chassis’ these days and who knows, perhaps it’s something they’ll improve in the future, but it’s far from a deal breaker given the chassis other merits.

Overall, this is one of my favourite cases this year, it’s got rock solid build quality, stunning aesthetics thanks to the glass panel and the LED lit I/O panel, impressive component compatibility and it’s very competitively priced.

Pros

˙ Unique aesthetics
˙ Tempered glass side panel
˙ LED lighting on front I/O
˙ Supports extra-long GPUs
˙ Unique fan/radiator mounting design
˙ Durable build quality
˙ Supports 2 x 360mm radiators

Cons

˙ Cable routing placement should be better
˙ Dual GPU config limits fan/radiator space in bottom of chassis

“The InWin 303 is one of the most unique chassis on the market today. Offering up impressive aesthetics, rock solid build quality and competitive prices, we can see the 303 being one of the most popular chassis InWin has ever made.”

 

Recommended product

Messages

GrayMatter4tw
2017-09-25 20:28:38

Adequate "overview" of the product but the lack of thermal testing disappoints me.

Reply
Dylan
2017-09-05 21:28:29

Fantastic article. I learned a lot about the product. Thank you.

Reply
Liane
2017-09-05 01:51:28

The case is sleek. Tempered gl*** side panel, easy to remove and install. The front LED lights on case are the best I ever seen.

Reply

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