One thing you can't see in pictures is the quality of this design. Some of the close-ups do show the rolled nickels where they hand welded all of the tubing together, but you cannot see how solid yet flexible this design is. At first I just thought that the spacers were exactly that, just something to take the gap between the parts, but with the system of "axels" in each corner, the rubber components will flex and absorb some rough impacts. This means that the glass panels are isolated from the chassis, so it will take warping the structure or direct impact to them to be damaged. Each piece of the frame is tied together making a one piece feel to the ring of aluminum bits, so if it were to be dropped, while the chassis hits the ground, the rubber pads keep the thick motherboard tray isolated from the frame as well as the glass, giving this chassis a bit of suspension. That way if the road is somewhat rough, the D-Frame should keep things safer than a solid chassis that just passes the impact right through the entire thing, including your components.
The reason I think this is a great idea is that with a case that is as bold and in your face as the D-Frame is, it will be a chassis you show off to everyone. While they may not get it at first, or may even ask to look at the other sides, you can just pick this chassis up anywhere really; the frame is that solid, and turn the case over for them, and you don't have to be really gentle just because it looks delicate. While you may be thinking test bench with this idea, it isn't as user friendly as the X-Frame was in that respect. Here everything is screwed in, more permanently, and is something you will want to just set on the shelf and admire its beauty. That is where the D-Frame is a real champion; it looks amazing and is very solid not only in structure, but also in the features it does offer with such a minimalistic theme.
There are some obvious pitfalls to this chassis in my mind though, specifically at this price. There is only USB 3.0, and I get why, but it does eliminate some potential buyers. With a case that has a price like this, InWin figures you aren't going to throw in older or low end hardware in the D-Frame. My real complaint is that I would have loved an option for water cooling inside of this massive chassis. Maybe throw in a triple holed plate adapter for the bottom to replace the stock fan brackets, or even a version for the front, if say maybe I just left the HDD rack out of the build, there would be plenty of room in either place. This is marketed for enthusiasts or Ducati fans, and even the bikes need a radiator. On the flip side of the down take of the D-Frame, there isn't one thing to keep me from using it to test the CPU coolers in for TweakTown, and it is now my new "official test chassis".
While $499 is a tough pill to swallow, even if a PSU is included, if you can wait a little bit, you can buy just the chassis only for $399 once Newegg gets stock of these. Considering there are only going to be 500 red D-Frames, and 500 orange versions, it definitely fits the profile for a limited edition, and therefore requires a bit more for the exclusivity. The fact that it is designed, and resembles a Ducati with the Ducati red paint job, this is the one I would go with. The orange and blue is nice, but a true enthusiast will want the red and black. Either way your gut leads you, I know you won't find anything like it anywhere on the market, and you will be hard pressed to find a chassis that will attract this much attention amongst the masses of black boxes.
For all these reasons I think that InWin, while breaking the conventions of what a chassis should be, really delivered a great chassis with the D-Frame, and it is worth the price to me.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Specifications, Availability and Pricing]
- Page 3 [Packaging]
- Page 4 [InWin D-Frame Chassis Components]
- Page 5 [Assembly of the InWin D-Frame]
- Page 6 [Assembly of the InWin D-Frame Continued]
- Page 7 [Accessories and Documentation]
- Page 8 [The Build and Finished Product]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]
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