InWin Dragon Slayer Case Review

Author: Hienrich Jager
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Thursday, April 14th, 2011
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/in_win_dragon_slayer/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

In-Win Development Inc. Is a Taiwan-based manufacturer of professional computer cases, power supplies, and digital storage devices since 1985. They began as a server and rack-mount manufacturing company where they developed their image as a solid provider of high-quality and easy-to-assemble computer cases that were often used in government, education, and corporate business sectors.

In 2009, they applied their technical expertise to high-end gaming cases and power supplies targetting LAN party aficionados and core gamers.

Today I will be covering their m-ATX case, the Dragon Slayer. This is an ultra-lightweight and small portable case designed for the LAN gamer, with enough room inside to fit full length video cards and current generation SSD hard drives.

Specifications
Material
Electrogalvanized, cold-rolled Steel sheets; 0.6mm Thickness
I/O Ports
USB 2.0 x 2, USB 3.0 x 1,Mic x 1, Headphones/Mic x 1
e-SATA x 1
Dimensions
(W x H x D)
196 x 426 x 430 mm
  7.7" x 16.8" x 16.9" inches
Weight
5.72 kg / 12.61 lbs
Supported Motherboard
form-factor
mATX, FlexATX, BABY AT
5.25" Drive Bays
1 dedicated
2 converted from 3.5" slots
3.5" Drive Bays
3 Internal
2.5" Drive Bays
1 Internal
Expansion Slots
5
CPU HS/FAN Clearance
134.5mm (with fan)
159.5mm (without fan)
GPU Capacity
Supports 2 Full-length Cards
(32cm / 12.6 inch Length)
Included Fans
FRONT: 1 x 140mm, 1 x 80mm
REAR: 1 x 90mm
TOP: 1 x 140mm
Water Cooling
3 x Rubber Gromet
Pass-through Holes
For an external Radiator

InWin says that the visual inspiration for the Dragon Slayer was the chainmail armor donned by medieval knights. This aspect can be somewhat seen in the metal mesh and angular construction used in this case. As someone who actually owns some chain-mail, I am not sure that I would immediately see the connection, but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one for trying.

The Dragon Slayer came wrapped in a sturdy plastic protective bag, and was securely held in the shipping box by two thick styrofoam brackets. This ensured that it survived the horrific journey through the US postal system without a scratch or blemish, even though the shipping box itself had seen better days.

Readily accessible on the front panel are your standard connections for headphones and a microphone, and two 2.0 USB ports. Additionally, there is a USB 3.0 connection if your hardware supports it. Finally, the visible but not gaudy InWin logo is back-lit whenever the case is powered on. I appreciate that this light is bright enough to be visible, but not so overly blinding like a lot of case lighting. Toward the rear, the rubber-grommet pass-throughs are visible on the top of the case, right above the 90mm exhaust fan. Being a small form factor solution, the case only has room for five expansion slots and even then there isn't much clearance between the bottom slot and the power supply.

An interesting feature can be seen in the left panel. For this case, InWin has designed rubber screw holes for the mounting of four 120mm fans. This is an insane amount of fans for a side-panel in any computer case, much less a small form factor one like the Dragon Slayer. Pretty much the entire left panel is a mounting space for fans. Unfortunately, InWin didn't see fit to provide any additional fans for these mount-points, but honestly after using this case I am not sure the extra fans will be needed.

The top of the case has mounting holes for a 120mm exhaust fan, or the 140mm fan that came with the case, and the large yet unobtrusive InWin logo. The bottom of the case has another fan port for cooling the power supply which will sit directly on the other side. The hard plastic feet have a soft rubber pad on the bottom to reduce vibrations, and are high enough to raise this case off carpet pile in case your floor has it. They are screwed into the bottom of the case for easy removal if needed.

The Dragon Slayer came with all the necessary screws and drive-rails to load it up with hardware. There are no removable motherboard stand-offs included with this case, but this is not a concern as they are actually stamped right into the motherboard tray already. With an eye toward cable management, InWin included four adhesive backed cable brackets which I personally appreciate, because all too often this simple yet often overlooked feature is missing from the accessories bag with modern computer cases.

With all the covering panels removed, you can see the 140mm intake fan for cooling the videocard(s) and the CPU, as well as the dedicated 80mm fan for the removable hard drive tray. The rather large white box mounted in front of the 140mm fan is the light box for illuminating the front-panel logo, and the power, reset, and HDD indicator LEDs are located directly above it. There isn't anything particularly notable on the rear panel, but you can get a feel for positioning through the motherboard backplate slot.

When viewed from the sides, one of the first things I noticed was the extra large heatsink mounting hole cut out of the motherboard tray, followed by the motherboard mounting points. There are also ample cut-outs for cabling to pass through, with more available if you are willing to punch out the semi-punched holes stamped in the back plate. The optical and 2.5" SSD drive bays are at the very top of the case, and the HDD (and optional ODD) bays are located at the bottom; all feature tool-free rail installation. The drive cage design ensures that there will be more than enough room in the case for even the largest of videocards, helping to make the Dragon Slayer one of the most future-proof cases that I have seen in a while; it will be able to support even the monster 320mm long videocards that I am sure we will see here in the labs someday.

Notice here again how little room is between the bottom PCI slot and the power supply area. A word of advise here: if you are going to run a SLI or CrossFire setup, double check that your power supply will not be so long that the cooling fan will be blocked by it.  The power supply area itself can hold PSUs measuring up to 7". Any longer and the removable hard drive tray would not be usable at all. One last thing to note about this power supply area is that it is so close to the hard drive cage that I would venture to say that it is a necessity to have a modular power supply. There is absolutely no room otherwise to hold all the wire-spaghetti associated with normal power supplies.

As seen in the image above, there is ample room behind the motherboard tray for plenty of cables to hide. This makes the Dragon Slayer one of the more cable-management friendly cases I have reviewed thus far.

The front bezel is really easy to remove once both side panels are off. There are three plastic clips on each side that are easy to use. Being able to remove the front panel quickly makes cleaning the front panel filters really easy.

In the photo to the left above is a shot of the plastic mesh that covers the inside of the left panel and the front bezel. This mesh effectively blocks dust and dirt from entering your system and is really easy to clean. The fan used in the photo above is a top-mounted 140 mm. Searches using the fan's model number, DFS132512L returned nothing concrete outside of fans from Scythe that did not look anything similar to what we see here. That makes it a little difficult to gauge the bearing type, CFM, longevity or anything for Dragon Slayer's fans.

For the front-mounted 80 mm intake fan, there is a small amount of clearance between the blades and the covering panels. This isn't an obvious issue, but if the stock fan were to be replaced at some point with a larger one, or one that provided a higher CFM, this could very likely be a source of noise as airflow rushes past.

The plug-style connectors on the back of this PCB board are nice. This way if you never plan on using the microphone or headphones you can unplug the corresponding cable and have one less cable to worry about hiding. The thick blue cable is the USB 3.0 connector that plugs into the back of the motherboard if your hardware is USB 3.0 ready. This cable is essentially a two foot long extender cable, having normal USB plugs at either end, unlike USB 2.0 cables that we are all used to seeing that plug straight into the motherboard headers.

          

The bottom-mounted hard drive cage is secured to the case via both of the green handled tool-free retaining clips (already removed in the above picture). These also serve to hold in any optical drives residing in this space. With those removed, the entire hard drive cage slides out the front of the Dragon Slayer for easy access. The hard drives are held securely into the cage with locking plastic rails, and the 80mm fan in the front will provide adequate cooling.

The Dragon Slayer is a high-quality and light weight case designed with LAN parties and gamers in mind. Even though this case is manufactured from steel, it is lighter than some aluminum enclosures that I have worked with, and with steel you know that it has the strength to withstand a drunken gamer falling on top of it.

It is surprising how much interior space they have managed to design for this case as there is ample room for the latest generation of massive videocards. At 7.7" thick, it can also handle large heatsinks like the Noctura NH-D14. Offering support for four hard drives and an optical drive, or 3 optical drives and one hard drive, this case should accomodate for a variety of expansion options while keeping the rest of your components safe and cool even during the roughest hours of gaming.

PROS:

CONS:

»Neoseeker.com

Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc., 1999-2014.
All Rights Reserved.

Please do not redistribute or use this article in whole, or in part, for commercial purposes.