Posted by Luca Rocchi on 16.05.17
InWin has quickly become the master of high-end design cases starting a couple of years ago. Despite the exclusive design, the biggest issue of these cases has always been the price. With the 301, InWin appears to be offering a mini-tower case compatible with microATX motherboards with a price close to 80 euro. Compared to the 303, the cable management of this 301 has been improved.
One of the two panels of the InWin 301 is made entirely of solid tempered glass. The panel is secured to the main structure through two pins at the lower part and a release system on the top part. There are no hinges or any other release mechanism, the window can only be removed completely. The tempered glass panel allows a quick look inside the case and provides a rather unique design.
The InWin 301 offers good flexibility when it comes to water cooling gear. Looking at the case from the left side, you see two 240 millimeter spots, where one is in the front and the other in the bottom area.
In total there are five spots for 120 millimeter fans in this case. All the air inlets are covered using dust filters. These can be removed easily in order to clean them under tap water.
The 301 is a mid tower case, which is compatible with microATX form factor motherboards. Apart from that there is plenty of space for large CPU coolers, massive graphics cards and water cooling gear. The front has been covered using the same style that can be found on the rest of the. Furthermore the I/O panel can be found at this place, which features two USB 3.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks as well as the standard power and reset buttons. Apart from that the front-panel features backlit connectors.
The 301 is available in two versions, which are full white and full black - like our sample. Having the right side panel in our hands, it could be a little bit sturdier, which stands in quite a contrast to the very high-quality left side panel, which has been made from tempered glass and therefore almost bullet proof. The rear is simple and has all the features you would expect from such a case, including a spot for a 120mm fan and the motherboard I/O panel. The 301 comes with a total of than five expansion slots with air-vent design to help improve cooling. The bottom of the case is equipped with two plastic feet which raise and stabilize it.
At a first glance it looks like on the inside the 301 is quite spacious, since the part next to the motherboard looks like almost empty. Nevertheless there are a few things we’d like to mention. As we already pointed out, this case is compatible with standard microATX motherboards and considering this it would make sense to offer quite a few slots for HDDs/SSDs. In total there is one 3.5 inch and there are two 2.5 inch slots that can be equipped with drives, which really isn’t much. Nevertheless, compared to the 303, which we’ve also had for testing, the interior layout of the 301 is much better-thought.
The motherboard comes with the usual large opening behind the CPU socket, which allows you to install aftermarket coolers without having to remove the motherboard. Apart from that the tray, has a few openings for routing cables and a plastic cover that helps to hide them all nicely. In the case of the 8-pin EPS pass-through we’ve noticed that the cable needs to be pushed through before the motherboard has been put in place, which is not that ergonomic. The arrangement of the internal components is completely different from any other case. Inside the 301 the power supply is placed in the top, similar to cases from a few years ago. Right next to the PSU there is space for cable management and a drive.
The front offers enough space for a 240 millimeter radiator while the bottom part reveals enough space for another dual radiator to be installed. Nevertheless should you decide to install a 240mm radiator at this spot, you will block PCI Express expansion slots from your motherboard as well as I/O headers at the bottom edge. Depending on the thickness of the radiator Multi-GPU systems won’t be possible anymore, although we believe it to be rather unlikely that a customer, buying an €75 case is going to run a multi GPU system with custom water cooling.
As far as cooling is concerned, the 301 offers quite a few features. The front and the bottom offer enough space to be equipped with two 120mm fans or two 240 millimeters radiator. There are dust filters covering every air intake slot and regarding compatibility with radiators you should be aware that if you place one in the bottom you will block PCI slot of your motherboard. On the front part there is a bracket to install your radiator. For testing purposes we have used a Corsair H100i V2 all-in-one which barely fits. Since there are a few limitations in terms of size, we recommend to visit the official site for a complete compatibility list. Despite the good compatibility with water cooling setups, we don't recommend to use this model with extensive water cooling loops since there isn't too much space available for this particular purpose.
For testing purposes we're using an MSI Z170I Gaming Pro AC motherboard, an Intel Core i5-6600K CPU, which receives cooling through a SilentiumPC Fortis 3 HE1425 MCE cooler as well as a MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G graphics card. To put the CPU under full load, we're running prime95 for 10 min and in the case of the GPU we use Furmark also for 10 minutes. After these ten minutes, we're going to write down the temperatures. The ambient temperature is close to 24°C.
With the 301, InWin offers a new mini-tower case, which is compatible with high-end components and water cooling gear. Due to the size of the case there isn't much space available. For example there are only 120mm fan slots. Cooling wise you can install up to two 240mm radiators or five 120mm fans. If you prefer CPU tower coolers, they can measure up to 158 millimeter in height. In other words there is enough room for a mid-range tower or down-draft cooler.
The overall build quality is good, despite this case it's not made from aluminum like most other models from this company. Luckily this brings the advantage, that this case is actually affordable. The right side panel is fairly solid but could be a bit sturdier and for the left side panel InWin is using great looking tempered glass. Unfortunately we did not like the release mechanism. Although there is a quick release through a handle at the top you have to be very careful ensuring that while taking off the glass panel it's not falling of the bottom notch.
Arranging components can require some planning and one should not just slap the components inside, since in that case you might be finding yourself building your rig several times if you want it to look clean. Compared to the previous model, which is compatible with ATX motherboards (InWin 303), the cable management is much better and the PSU cover is contributing a lot to that.
Overall this case is a big step in the right direction. On one hand we really like the looks but on the other there are still few little compromises due to design choices. We believe that a few small changes could easily make this case a solid choice. Checking prices we find the InWin 301 available for 75 Euro, which is an attractive for a case with these looks and a left side panel made from tempered glass. The InWin 301 receives 4 out of 5 stars.