Page 4 - Installation and Conclusion
Throughout this review, I have time and again stated several considerable problems in conjunction with many more specific issues. However, it was previously stated that the interior design of the In Win Dragon Rider is done quite well. This is because working with this case throughout the installation process was fairly easy and straightforward. Of course, being a full tower chassis that supports eATX motherboards, installation instantly becomes loads easier due to the sheer amount of room to work with. But the main point is that the Dragon Rider has a great interior concept layout that can be lacking on many cases.
Now, since the Dragon Rider has a good concept, let us dive into the nit-picky details that the case is lacking on. First, I decided to install the PSU before installing the motherboard and CPU. So, I drilled in my OCZ ZX Series 850W power supply unit to the back, before attaching motherboard tray risers for my Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD5-B3 motherboard and Intel Core i5-2500K processor. The first problem is the PSU mounting holes. I had some trouble lining up the PSU to the mounting holes, as the Dragon Rider seems to be a bit off on the measurements. It is not a big problem since it was only off by a few millimeters, but it is something that In Win needs to address for the future.
Instead of using stock cooling on my processor, I went for the aftermarket cooling option using Thermaltake's Jing -- something that is set to be reviewed in the next few weeks -- which utilizes two fans. Because of this, finding enough places to plug in the fan headers was a little bit of a challenge at first. Thankfully, because of the huge motherboard gaps at the top and bottom, I was able to route the back exhaust fan cable to the bottom of the motherboard with little to no extra length to spare. Now that is good cabling! Surprisingly, without much planning or thought, the Thermaltake Jing had a lime-green theme much like the other 120mm fans in the Dragon Rider, which added a certain flare to the interior.
With such a large array of front port connectors, the amount of wires is to be expected. One thing the Dragon Rider needs to change will be the length of the USB 3.0 cords. This is not much of a problem, but I had to route the two USB 3.0 cables through the back of the motherboard tray, lining it with the motherboard cut out, and up through the water cooling holes to the back of the I/O shield. With that long description, you can only imagine the extra length on the USB 3.0 cables that really will not ever be used. Now the reason why this is not such a large issue is mainly the fact that most chassis that have USB 3.0 ports also have the same obsessively long cord.
I also installed my Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850 1GB OC next, which allowed me to get a feel for the tool-free expansion slot system. In Win actually did a nice job in making this system both effective and efficient. The plastic used for the expansion slots is surprisingly robust, and the overall system is very well designed. One only needs to simply pull the latch up to release the slot, install the add-on card into the motherboard, and push back down on a latch to securely lock the card in its place.
Another reason as to why I like the openness of the motherboard tray is the option of when to place cables behind the motherboard tray. Even with long PSUs, one will not have to worry about where and when cables will pass through to the back of the motherboard tray, since it is so open. In this sense, consumers with hardcore hardware do not ever need to fret on this potential problem when looking at the Dragon Rider. You can put this out as laziness on the part of In Win, and saving more money in not needing to use as much steel. However, since I am a business student, I have to give a round of applause to In Win for killing two birds with one stone.
The only drawback to this open motherboard layout is that this style of interior design makes it more crucial for people to do a good cabling job on their rig. In my situation, even with the help of our Editor-in-Chief Jonathan, getting a very good clean job of cabling is definitely harder than most other cases that use a motherboard tray to cover almost everything. Also, without a fully modular PSU, you might have quite a problem finding space to put the extra wires with the entire lower motherboard tray missing.
One thing I would like to see done next is to also orientate the hard drive mounting system to face a different direction. As you can see, the internal 3.5" hard drives can only be installed with its plug-ins facing opposite of the motherboard. This will make cabling look a little bit messier from the outside. I have tried to stick a hard drive facing the opposite direction, but this does not work, so don't bother to try.
Although In Win has implemented several tool-less mounting and installation systems around the case, the process of putting together a new system is not entirely tool-free. With this in mind, one needs to make sure to have his/her screwdriver handy.
One power cable during installation did end up detaching itself from the Molex header for the front LED. It took thirty or more minutes with a set of pliers to take it apart to reattach the wiring. In this sense, In Win needs to address the quality of the finer details in the case. Once everything was plugged in a ready to go, I encountered another issue -- one that sent Jonathan and I facepalming. The 220mm LED fan does not clear aftermarket CPU heatsink I have installed. The 220mm side fan is approximately 2 to 3cm in depth, which is pretty thick. Unfortunately, as a user, you will need to either remove this fan entirely, find a shorter aftermarket CPU heatsink cooler, or go out and purchase the expensive array of six slim 120mm fans if you want to utilize the side fan mounts.
Once it was all setup and plugged in, I pushed the power button with everything working superbly. I was instantly greeted by a flashy array of blue LEDs that looks characteristic of a true gaming rig.
In the end, I ended up taking out the Thermaltake Jing and installed the stock CPU heatsink cooler to allow the side 220mm LED fan to remain. Also, I wanted to see just how loud the system would be with all the preinstalled fans. On a scale from 0.0 to 10.0 where 0.0 is silent and 10.0 is the loudest, the Dragon Rider would come in at 4.5. With all the fan grilles, fans, and practically useless sound isolating foam, I am not surprised that the case is as loud as it is. Since we here at APH Networks are fairly sensitive to sound -- where the sound level of a case is crucial to whether or not we will even consider purchasing -- the Dragon Rider is really quite a disappointment in this specific area.
All in all, I firmly believe In Win has made an unfinished chassis. This is not such a bad thing per se, but there are just too many things that needs to be looked into further before selling it on the market. Of course, the In Win Dragon Rider has its benefits. The steel-framed chassis is strong, and is able to house almost everything you throw at it. The top and bottom opening-styled interior motherboard tray design is quite interesting, and works well for routing cables. The cooling options with the case are almost limitless; allowing any user to modify their cooling options with ease. The plethora of front panel connectors is a really good addition to the functionality and convenience to the case. Other great features like the LED power switch for the 220mm fan, rotatable feet, flashy LEDs, and tool-free installation systems can make this chassis a worthwhile product. However, let me enlighten you as to why I strongly lean towards the fact that the Dragon Rider is just not the complete case for its target market. First off, no matter how good a case is at cooling, no one would ever want the amount of mesh grilles this case has without any air filters -- unless you are a(n)
spoiled immature PC enthusiast with no care for his internal components. Also, almost all the cooling fans on the case have way too much opening adjacent to it that will not serve any purpose, but to make the system louder and more prone to dust. Also, the front panel is too plasticky for my likes. Although the case is sturdy and the frame is strong, the quality of the refined details is lacking. This can be seen by the fact that one of the feet and PSU grommets disconnected without much force, the front logo LED power cable wiring got disconnected without much tugging, and the filters found in the 5.25" tool less drive bay covers on the front bezel. Also, there are other design flaws found like the drive bay covers being lined with a wired hexagonal mesh that will catch on each other wearing down or breaking with the possibility of creating a sharp edge that could break skin. Lastly, if you decide to purchase the In Win Dragon Rider, be ready to deal with the fan noise that it produces. Priced at around $140 at press time, I really expected more. If the price was lower, than I could see why this chassis is the way it is. In Win has such a great blueprint, but simply put failed to execute it with the quality and features that the price range demands. With that kind of price, one could purchase a chassis with a way more refined build to it. In essence, In Win has created one very brave dragon rider able to enter the battle (market) to ride divine mythical legendary creatures with... plastic armor.
In Win provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Review Focus Summary:
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
6/10 means A product with its advantages, but drawbacks should not be ignored before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 6.8/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
The In Win Dragon Rider is an all-around fully featured case. The only thing you need to deal with, though, is the fact that almost all the features of the case needs to be refined; but the unique looks is all in all an appeal to those who like it.
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1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion