The IN WIN Maelstrom Full Tower Case
With all the pacing materials out of the way, we can get a good look at what's inside. The front of the Maelstrom has a panel that stands proud on the outside edge and is beveled to allow those huge openings in the 5.25" bay covers to draw in large amounts of air. Just below center are two green bars used to accent the chassis.
As you can see, the sticker on the top bar states this is not a handle; it is more of a design element. Since this chassis didn't have a military feel or remind me of a hazardous waste area, I pulled the sticker off. We've got the point that we shouldn't carry or lift our case from these, so let's get the "out of place" yellow sticker off.
Looking down at the top of the chassis, IN WIN has provided the Maelstrom with two 120mm fan holes for exhaust, but only equips the chassis with one fan. The other is optional, whether you add another fan to the top. At the bottom of this image, or the front of the chassis, is where the front I/O panel is located. This I/O had a brushed aluminum panel backing the ports and the raised section holds the Maelstrom name in bright green paint.
The front I/O panel consists of both microphone and headphone 3.5mm jacks to the left followed by four USB 2.0 ports. The right half contains both the IEEE-1394 (Firewire) and dual front e-SATA connections. At the bottom is the larger power button followed by the smaller reset button. To the right you see the HDD designation; this is backlit with an LED once the chassis is powered.
The left side panel is well ventilated with a rather large square cut out covered in hexagonal mesh. This mesh is backed from IN WIN with a 200mm blue LED fan held in with the four screws and yellow/green washers. As you look around the mesh, there are all the black washers set into the mesh. This allows for the end user to fill this panel with up to six 120mm fans of their choosing. At the front, the front panel wraps around the door a bit and actually helps to guide the doors on and off.
The rear of the Maelstrom is topped with the rear I/O panel hole and another green bladed, 120mm fan for exhaust. Under these you will find seven, not eight as IN WIN's site specifications would lead you to believe, ventilated expansion slot covers. While I liked the looks of the tight mesh on the cover, I don't think it is ventilated enough to do any real good for helping air flow. However, the large area to the right and the area below the expansion slots is very well ventilated, and even offers a way to get four ½" I.D. tubes to pass out the back of the chassis. This leaves us with the PSU mounting area at the bottom, which has a removable frame that mounts to the PSU to aid in its installation.
The right panel of the Maelstrom is just painted in the textured black paint, nothing special to see here. Again, the front wraps around the panel and allows you a bit of a "groove" to set these panels into, and keeps the panels tight against the inner frame.
The underside of the Maelstrom holds a couple nice features as well. There are the "swing out" feet that make the chassis feel a bit more stable on the desktop. The other nice feature is that they have "punched out" a rather large area of venting in the rear to allow you to install the PSU in the fan down position with ease.