We’ve come to expect greatness from In Win at this point. Having built in a case at nearly every price point and from a plethora of manufacturers, few manage to maintain a level of consistency in quality, craftsmanship and design. In Win has yet to let us down. After building in and thoroughly enjoying their 101C chassis, we were eager to attempt an even more impressive build in its smaller brother, the In Win 301. In Win sent us their 301 in white and it’s a super versatile case for its size, read on to learn why.
Upon removing the In Win 301 from the box, just like the 101C, it looks amazing in white! In Win’s matte white case color is just the right shade of white and the entire white/black color scheme is truly striking!
The tempered glass side panel locking mechanism is slightly different than the 101C’s side panel in that it employs a handle as opposed to push-pins. I’ve always thought In Win’s logo looked cool and I usually don’t like excessive branding on cases but In Win managed to do it just right on the glass panel’s handle. As with the 101C, the tempered glass is made well. It’s 3mm thick and tinted.
The rear side panel is made of steel and has the same honeycomb ventilation pattern as we saw on the 101C. Like everything else on this case, this side panel is made very well and when running your fingers over the honeycomb pattern you can’t help but admire how clean, smooth and even all the lines are.
The front has a very clean look, with power and reset buttons, a hard drive activity LED, the LED In Win logo which lights up if its SATA power cable is plugged in.
Headphone, microphone and 2 USB 3.0 ports are also present.
Some may be disappointed with the lack of a ventilated front panel; however, we feel in this case any loss in cooling performance is worth the minimalistic and clean look In Win has achieved here. The 301 uses the same shock proof stand style as the 101C and it works quite well, keeping the case sturdy and upright. The case feet provide a very solid feel. A dust filter can be found on the underside of the chassis in between the feet and it slides out for easy cleaning.
Moving to the inside of the case, it’s quite spacious and as you’ll soon see, easy to work in. This brings us to our introduction and what makes the In Win 301 so interesting. Remarkably it is slightly smaller than the highly popular Phanteks Evolv ITX yet can accommodate micro ATX motherboards. Meaning you can install a capture card, PCI-e SSD, 2nd video card, etc. if you choose to install a mATX motherboard.
On the other hand, ITX motherboards and systems fit very well in this case. In fact, if I were building a custom water cooled ITX computer, I’d likely choose the 301. There is space in the front of the case for a 240mm radiator. Furthermore, with the smaller profile of an ITX board, the bottom of the case becomes a viable option for a second 240mm radiator. With 480mm of radiator headroom, you can build quite the overclocking beast.
Personally, I can’t wait until the 3.5” hard drive is dead. They’re big, bulky, noisy and slow. However, if you’re still holding on to your precious platter-based storage, In Win does include a hard drive bay in the top right corner of the case capable of accommodating of up to one 3.5” hard drive or two 2.5” SSDs.
In Win designed a clever cable management system in the 301. The panel on the inside, near the front radiator mount has several clips that can be pushed out to route cables through. It’s best to put your components in the case and determine which clips will need to be removed before pushing them out as they cannot be reinstalled. This system, while permanent, does help to clean up the look of your build. Though larger graphics cards tend to help in this department as they cover up a large portion of the cables that are routed through this area.
The back of the case shows off the power supply bay located at the top, the rear I/O area, a 120mm fan mount and 4 black colored ventilated PCI-express slot covers secured via a piece of metal that is secured with a silver hexagon screw.
As with the 101, there are two versions of the 301. The “C” version adds a USB 3.1 type-C port to the front panel. In addition, the front panel logo is also an RGB light and can be synced with motherboards that support ASUS Aura Sync, MSI Mystic Light Sync or Gigabyte RGB Fusion.
We went all out for this build to live up to the name mATX Monster. Every part on this list is a winner. They have all performed flawlessly and cannot be more highly recommended. Enough talk though, let’s see what they look like assembled!
Starting out with the motherboard, the EVGA Z370 Micro ATX. Like its big brother the Z370 Classified K, it is a beautiful looking board that is incredibly well made. It’s built for overclockers and has a slew of features including a super stable BIOS, 11 phase VRM, dual BIOS switch and onboard CPU temperature monitor which doubles as a POST code error screen. EVGA packed a lot into this board and even managed to include onboard Intel Wi-Fi, making it one of the most versatile mATX boards available.
We populated the Z370 Micro ATX with an Intel Core i7-8700K and 16GB of Team Group Xcalibur RGB 3600 MHz RAM. The Xcalibur pairs perfectly with the EVGA Z370 Micro ATX’s black and silver color theme. These RAM sticks are easily some of the most beautiful on the market and are easily overclockable.
Next, we installed the speedy and stalwart 1TB Western Digital WD Black NVMe M.2 SSD. There is no better M.2 storage solution than the WD Black series of drives. Can’t recommend them enough!
Everything fit comfortably in the 301. One thing to take note of is EVGA’s cleverness in their 24-pin connector. Traditionally 24-pin connectors are pointed straight up, making cable management a bit more difficult as you must contend with a bend in the cable. As you’ll notice on the Z370 Micro ATX, the 24-pin connector points down straight to the cable routing channel in the 301.
Next, we installed the EVGA CLC 240 AIO CPU liquid cooler. Yet another EVGA product that is a perfect example of a great product. Easy to install, attractive design and great performance. We love the CPU block on this model. It looks clean, especially with the tubes that go straight into the block as opposed to in connectors on the side of the block. Again, well done EVGA!
Installed on the EVGA CLC 240 are In Win’s Polaris RGB fans which are some of the best fans we’ve ever tested. Not only do they look amazing, but they operate in absolute silence and connect to one another with an ingenious daisy chain cabling system. The daisy chain wire includes both RGB and PWM power on one wire! Who says In Win only makes great cases!
Next, we installed the crown jewel of this build: the EVGA GTX 1080 Ti Black Edition. This build guide wouldn’t be titled mATX Monster if there wasn’t a monster GPU and EVGA’s GTX 1080 Ti Black Edition most certainly fits that description.
The GTX 1080 Ti is arguably the best bang for your buck graphics card on the market when it comes to high resolution and blazing fast refresh rate gaming. Pair the extreme performance of a Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti with EVGA’s proven iCX cooling technology and unparalleled craftsmanship and you have one hell of a gaming graphics solution! Benchmarks to come!
We also installed an additional Polaris RGB fan on the rear fan mount.
Moving to the back of the case, we installed the Seasonic Prime Snow Silent 650W power supply. Based on their Prime Ultra Platinum series, the Snow Silent is a rare bird among PSUs with its white color. No one makes better power supplies than Seasonic and with its 12-year warranty, you won’t need to replace yours for quite some time.
We also managed the cables in the section behind the front radiator mount. Another reason we advocate the use of M.2 drives is for the freedom they provide, with no SATA data or power cables to neaten and organize, cable management is far easier! The daisy chain connectivity of the In Win Polaris fans also helps substantially with cable management.