Posted by Damon Bailey on Thursday, July 7, 2016 - 8:00am
If you’ve been in the computer world any length of time at all, odds are you have probably heard the name InWin. It’s hard to think of the name without bringing images to mind of some of the most beautiful and innovate, and iconic products ever made. Legendary enclosures such as the one piece aluminum S-Frame, or the open air tubular skeleton of the D-Frame showcase In Win’s ability to break the status quo and deliver Innovative, beautiful and functional works of art, year after year.
More than a few of InWin’s cases are big, bold, ‘out of the box’ designs that may not fit everyone’s style, so how do you get a little more down to earth, but keep that unmistakable elegance and flair that only InWin can provide? By choosing the InWin 303 of course! Today we will be taking a look at this elegant combination of steel and tempered glass. The dual chamber and water-cooling friendly mid tower, with its clean and modest design, is equally at home on your office desk or your gaming station.
The InWin 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.
The InWin logo is highlighted “Neon” as well as the lucent stripped I/O front panel. These gorgeous LEDs also have the purpose of indicating when the PC is activated.
InWin 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.
This easily accessible dust filter has an embedded design for quick removal. It’s conveniently located on the bottom, and removing dust has never been easier.
Overall, the 303 can accommodate two radiators (top and rear) and three fans at the bottom providing users with a well-cooled rig. The cool air intakes from the bottom creates efficient air flow for quick heat dissipation.
The 303 is constructed with 1.2mm SECC, supports 2.5”and3.5” drive bays, and its separate PSU chamber provides an ideal climate without interfering with the motherboard and graphics card area. The specialized GPU holder can provide extra support to graphics cards. Yet another detail InWin oversees and manufactures to make PC building much easier.
We would like to thank InWin for sending Pro Clockers the 303 Mid Tower Chassis for review. This case boasts a very impressive feature set for a chassis in this price range, so let’s dive in and see what secrets the 303 has in store for us!
Head over to the next page for the packaging and what’s in the box.
The 303 arrived in a plain brown box with “InWin” in large black letters on a top flap, the distinctive InWin logo on one side and a blue and black “303” on the other. The ends of the box are much more detailed and give a quick rundown of key specifications and features, as well as some indicators for the shipping carrier to warn of the fragile nature of the tempered glass contents. The box is fully taped up on every seam, so there is very little chance of the box accidently coming open during transport.
Opening the box up, we find that the case is well protected, fully wrapped in a black cloth bag to protect from dust, dirt and scratches, and the entire assembly is floating centered in the middle of the box. Custom Styrofoam supports on all 8 corners keep the case spaced away from the side of the box a good distance to prevent any bumps and bangs from causing damage to the case.
Inside the box, we also find a very nice, clear, reusable zipper style bag that contains the user manual and case hardware. Included is the screws for all of the drives you can possibly install, the standoffs and motherboard mounting screws, the GPU support bracket (more on that later), a small mountain of fan screws, in case your fans don’t come with them, and a handful of zip ties for cable management. All of the individual baggies are clearly labeled as to the contents and use of each type of hardware. The user manual has all of the information you need in several different languages to assemble and use this chassis.
The 303 boasts a surprisingly large list of features that set it apart from its competition, many of which cost quite a bit more. We’ll go over our own list of highlights here and then look at them a bit closer over the next few pages.
Gone are the days where a simple steel side panel with plastic covered hole will please enthusiasts, InWin’s 303 features a striking, one piece 3mm thick tempered glass side as one of its most prominent features. Smooth rounded edges, a smoky tint and minimal viewing obstruction from the mounting mechanisms showcase nearly all of your build with an elegance plastic can only dream of.
Both the Tempered glass left side panel with its easy, one touch handle, and the vented steel right side panel with its captive thumb screws can be removed quickly with no tools giving you quick and easy access to your internals. The two 2.5” drive trays in the front, and the two 2.5”/3.5” combination drive trays in the rear of the case can also be easily removed with no tools allowing rapid installation or replacement of all of your drives.
Modern GPU’s are large and powerful devices that require sophisticated cooling solutions that often weigh a good deal. With all of the heat pipes, fans, and cooling fins required to keep them operating at a safe temperature, and liquid cooling solutions that can weigh even more, users often find themselves with a sagging video card. With a GPU only being supported by the screws in one corner, this places an incredible amount of strain on the motherboard socket and PCI-e edge connector, and while a sagging GPU can not only look bad, it can cause irreversible damage to your hardware. InWin has thoughtfully included an adjustable GPU support mechanism into this case to transfer the strain of your GPU to the steel chassis and away from your components.
On the front of the case you can find InWin’s logo that lights up a bright neon blue, as well as a unique illuminated front IO Panel. InWin dubs this their “lucent stripped I/O front panel” and the dual USB 2.0 ports, dual USB 3.0 type-A ports, and 3.5mm headphone and microphone ports are all outlined in the same LED lit neon blue as the logo. While beautiful, this is also functional and serves as the power indicator in place of a traditional single led. The glow effect is noticeable in daylight, but the effect is really a star when the lights are dimmed.
An easily removable and reusable fan filter is seamlessly integrated into the lower intake of the case to provide a dust free and worry free experience.
A separate top chamber for your power supply and up to a 360mm radiator keeps a large amount of heat separated from your sensitive components below.
Up to 3x 120mm fan spaces in the bottom of the case, 3x 120mm fan spaces in the top chamber, and 1x 120mm fan on the rear of case provide the ability to move a massive amount of air through this chassis to provide extreme cooling. This thoughtful design works well with the natural tendency of warm air to rise and creates an efficient path for heat to quickly leave the case, keeping your components nice and cool.
Let’s start with a tour of the exterior of the case. The entire left side of the case is a monolithic pane of tempered glass. There is no frame, only a narrow bar at the bottom that has tabs that lock into the bottom of the chassis, and the narrow band at the top that contains the latching mechanism along with the low profile exterior handle. The entire side can be released and removed by simply depressing the button on the top inside of the handle, tilting the panel outwards a bit, and lifting it clear of the chassis. Closing it is even easier, simply set the tabs on the door bottom into the slots on the case, and tilt it closed until you hear it latch. No more wrestling with getting the top and bottom aligned at the same time, no more case screws in holes that never quite line up right, no more headaches. If you are someone who gets into your machine frequently, you will really love this setup!
Next, we’ll move around to the rear of the case. Here you can find the usual ATX I/O areas including the motherboard I/O and 7 card expansion slots. Just to the outside of the motherboard opening, you can find a 120mm fan space that can also be used for a single 120mm radiator, such as what hybrid GPU’s and some ‘All in One’ coolers use. At the top, we see the ATX Power supply area that can handle even the longest and largest power supplies thanks to the innovative dual chamber design that runs the length of the case.
One thing to note is that the power supply can only be mounted in one direction. On most power supplies, this will leave the main intake fan facing the windowed side of the case rather than the grill on the right side. If you water cool, this could leave your PSU sucking in the already warm exhaust of your radiator. While many high end power supplies boast temperature tolerances fit for an industrial environment, this could put extra strain on a heavily taxed power supply, so keep that in mind. I did find while mounting the power supply, that the PSU is designed to rest fully on the bottom of this compartment rather than only hanging from the screws. Those with heavy, high wattage power supplies will probably like this, but it did make the mounting screw holes a bit more snug than usual.
Another thing to notice is the Motherboard I/O shield is only held on the two longer sides, allowing it to slide several millimeters up and down after installation. This allows the shield to adjust a bit for perfect alignment, but relies on audio or video ports, Wifi antenna jacks, or something similar on your motherboard protruding through the shield to keep it in place over its own springy mounting. Having run across cases with I/O shields that don’t line up 100% myself, I kind of like it, but I’ll leave this up to you to decide if it’s a good thing or not.
The last thing to point out, the expansion card area is covered only by the removable blanks. There are no strips between them like most cases, so if you remove the blanks, you can open this entire area up. This keeps the normal strips of metal from partially obscuring recessed ports such as HDMI and Display Port on your GPU.
Moving on around to the right side, we find a smooth door with a rather unique stamped honeycomb grill design for the main case exhaust, and two low profile captive thumb screws to secure it. It installs and removes nearly the same way as the glass panel, and in fact can be mounted on the left side of the case in place of the glass panel, however, the class door cannot be installed on this side, although I’m really not sure why you would want to anyway.
Moving around one last time, we get a good view of the sleek front of the case. The front is adorned only with the power button, small reset button, a hard drive activity led, and one of the other neat features of this case. The InWin logo and front I/O ports are all illuminated while the system is powered on in a pleasing neon blue color. The front ports consist of two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 (Type A) ports, and the standard 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks. The industry has been trending away from optical drives in favor of digital downloads and flash based media, so you will not find a 5.25” or even a 3.5” drive bay. If you require an external bay for a drive, or any another front bay device, you’ll have to come up with another solution.
Now let’s take a look at the inside.
Pulling both doors off allows easy access to every single corner in the case for installation and maintenance and InWin really didn’t overlook a single detail here. The front (left side) of the interior space gives us the motherboard mounting area, which can handle boards form mini-ITX up to ATX. There is a large cutout behind the CPU area of the board space so that you can access any cooler mounting hardware located on the back of the board, very handy if you move from air to water cooling in the future as you won’t have to entirely disassemble your entire rig to do so. Next to the motherboard is a raised and slotted area for the GPU support bracket, giving you plenty of options to find a mounting position that works with your combination of hardware.
Following on the exterior tool free design, all 4 drive sleds can all be installed and removed quickly with only a captive thumbscrew securing them to the chassis. You will need a screw driver to attach your drives to the sleds initially, but the required screws are included in the hardware packet. The rear drive sleds can support either a 2.5” or a 3.5” drive, while the front facing sleds only support 2.5” drives. The front drive sleds can be mounted vertically towards the front of the case as shown above, or side by side as shown below, depending on the needs of your build.
The rear interior of the case gives us the Power supply bay up top, with plenty of cable routing holes in strategic locations for good wire management. There is plenty of room to hide a mountain of wiring for semi and non-modular power supplies, as well as fan and lighting controllers, and about anything else you could find to stuff in here.
The rear of the chassis internals is also where you can spy some of the little details InWin included that will make your life easier. The first one is the low Profile USB 3.0 header cable, it’s actually not much larger than the USB 2.0 header. These can be very large and obnoxious to deal with some times, but InWin made sure that won’t be the case here as you can see from the picture below. In addition to the small plug, the USB 3.0 cables are also flat and streamlined, which makes for easy routing. The Power indicator for the front panel also comes with 2 pin and 3 pin spaced connectors and the wires are sleeved in a black tube to help it blend in.
Another VERY nice feature here, and probably one of my favorite details of this chassis, InWin designed all of the front panel cables, sans the USB 3.0 cables, with low profile plugs on the front panel side as well. The cables can all be removed for easy routing, if not needed, or to be sleeved easily. You can see this below with the USB 2.0 cable disconnected from the front panel.
One great idea made possible by this design is to remove your front I/O panel cables before you start building, and connect them to the motherboard while outside of your case where you can still see them, and get to the usually inconveniently placed headers quite easily. Once you install your motherboard, you simply route the cables back to the front of the case, and plug them in. Having to get the power switch, hard drive activity lights, and all of the other tiny connectors plugged in correctly in a dark, cramped corner has long been the bane of system builders and has turned more than one builders vocabulary into something even a proverbial sailor would cringe at. On behalf of builders everywhere, let me say, Thank you InWin!
Now let’s see what it’s like to build a complete system in this case!
For the InWin 303, the following hardware was installed:
˙ Intel: Core i5-4690K
˙ Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5
˙ Two Samsung 840 Evo SATA III 1TB SSDs and 2x Corsair Force GT 240GB SSD’s
˙ EK Supremacy Evo Water block
˙ 16GB G.Skill Sniper 1866Mhz Ram.
˙ 2X EVGA GTX 680 SC with XSPC Waterblocks in 2 way SLI
˙ EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G2 with EVGA single Sleeved Cable set.
˙ InWin 303 Mid-Tower
˙ Swiftech Micro Res II
˙ EK Vario D5 pump in a Monsoon MMRS standalone pump housing.
For a mid-ATX tower, building in the 303 was a breeze, there is plenty of room to maneuver, and every fastener is easy to get to. It had plenty of room to place a full system with dual GPU’s and a custom ‘hardline’ water cooling loop in, without getting too cramped to be able to work on. The dual chamber design and attention to detail by InWin let me build and wire the entire system in a bit over an hour, with well most of that used bending the rigid acrylic tubing and filling the loop. Since this case has such high airflow with only a few good fans, I chose to forgo one of the bottom 120mm fans in place of mounting the pump. I REALLY enjoyed being able to remove the front panel I/O Wiring and get all of the cables connected before installing the motherboard into the case, and I certainly hope this becomes a common feature.
With the aid of the included GPU support bracket supporting the top GPU, you can see how it remains level and straight, while the lower GPU sags slightly under the weight of the heavy copper water block.
The back of the case contains the separate power supply bay, occupied here by an 850W unit from EVGA, two more solid state drives, and more than enough room for good cable management.
Since this case will likely be used with the case doors installed, rather than laying off to the side, here is a shot with the system closed up and powered on. You can see how elegant a little bit of lighting looks behind the smoky tempered glass door.
InWin clearly wanted to bring its well-known style and attention to detail down to a price point that most can afford, and I have to say, by and large, they squarely hit their mark with this one. The first impression while unboxing was in no way diminished as the review progressed while exploring and building in this chassis. Despite being listed as a ‘gaming chassis’ on InWin’s website, The clean exterior and tinted glass window make this case fit just as comfortably into other roles as an office PC case under an executives desk, a front counter point-of-sale terminal, or on a folding table at your local LAN party. The overall quality is there, and the case feels very sturdy and well designed. The chassis does not bend or flex at all while picking up and moving the chassis around, even when loaded with a complete water cooled system.
My only nitpick, and this is kind of a stretch as it is, is this: With ample room available inside for multi-GPU setups, and the overwhelming majority of users having 2 video cards at most, I would have loved to see InWin include a second support bracket with this case to cover the majority of possible configurations. The mounting locations are available, and the design would permit more than one bracket used at a time if needed.
Running the system for a little while, the coolant was running about 2 to 5 degrees Celsius warmer than ambient from idle to load respectively with the ThermalTake Riing 12 RGB fans set to their minimum speed, and the Corsair fans controlled automatically by the motherboard. CPU and GPU temps stayed nice and cool with the 360mm radiator, even with the 4690K running at 4.6 GHz and the GPU’s bumped +200Mhz Core and +300Mhz memory. I wasn’t pushing for maximum overclock here, but putting a modest overclock on everything while only running one 360mm radiator with 3 fans and being able to keep temperatures well below anything dangerous is proof enough for me of the good air flow path of this case.
The InWin 303 case, white and black models both, are or will soon be available through your usual vendors, and I feel this case is a great value for the money.
(Note: It's Here! 303 Now On Sale:Link)