Over the last four years, we have seen IN WIN work their way up to the upper echelon of chassis manufacturers. When we first started reviewing IN WIN cases, they seemed to deliver functional cases with most of the feature set that was hip at that time. The real issue for us then was the child-like external aesthetics. There were a few chassis, that upon glance, we knew were intended to suit some very young people. This was probably due to the appearance of these early chassis, some of which ranged in aesthetic from looking like a football helmet or a transformer, to just some bright pieces of strangely placed accent plastic.
Although, it wasn't too long until we saw the limited edition X-Frame. This $500 chassis was the first of its kind, and took the conventional wisdom of what composed a great test bench, but it was also designed to run lying flat, or it could stand up in ATX or reverse ATX configurations as well.
After a year or so of using the X-Frame exclusively to test our CPU coolers on, we were given yet another IN WIN chassis in a line of exclusive chassis designs. We are pretty sure there were only five hundred of the X-Frame cases, and we were told the same about the D-Frame that now graces our CPU cooler test setup. Of course, with the D-Frame, there were orange and red versions of the chassis, so in total, they may have produced a thousand of these cases, and they retailed those hand built creations for an almost unobtainable $700.
The reason we have you here today is because IN WIN has stayed the course, and has now released something intended to top all other cases they have made in the past. This new case is open-air like the previous two; it has glass sides like the D-Frame had, but in all ways, things are much different in their latest release. Today we will be looking at the new S-Frame from IN WIN, which gets its name from the one piece, 4mm thick, extruded aluminum frame that meanders from front to back much like a snake would. We feel that IN WIN has definitely come up with something very unique, and it will undoubtedly be sought after. However, the question is: Did IN WIN cross the line where art takes precedence over function, or have they mastered the two for a harmonious blend of aluminum, glass, and technology? Stick with us and find out.
As we have already mentioned, the S-Frame is constructed almost entirely of 4mm thick extruded aluminum components, but they are held together with steel bolts and screws; not one part of the chassis is riveted into place. On either side, much in the same way the D-Frame offered side glass panels, the S-Frame also offers tempered glass side panels that are tinted, and screw to the chassis for quick removal. The S-Frame also comes in two color options. We received one of the light blue and grey models that were sent out as review samples. While we can only locate the black model with red trim for sale in the retail market, there may be more blue ones in the wild as well.
In, on, or around the chassis somewhere, since this is in no way a conventional design or layout, you will also find the following. The S-Frame will house either a Micro-ATX or ATX motherboard in the middle. In front of that, there are trays for four storage drives, whether 3.5" or 2.5" (they are drilled for both), but there are no optical bays. The PSU hangs hidden to the right side of the chassis, and like the D-Frame, this chassis also uses plastic clips to tie wiring together as a form of wire management. Along with eight PCI slots, support for a 360mm radiator, room for 195mm CPU cooler, 340mm of video card, and its massive size and weight, the motherboard is also turned ninety degrees, and allows this chassis to take advantage of stack effect cooling.
As we have seen with other exclusive IN WIN chassis designs, if you want one you, are going to have to dig real deep. Both the MSRP, and the pre-orders we were able to locate for this chassis, boast a $799.99 price tag is that same across the board. With this sort of a price point, we have to take into consideration cases like Mountain Mods, CaseLabs, and the like, as you can get some mighty fine cases there for this sort of price point. There is something that none of these cases can offer, and that is this very unique design, which is easily recognizable, even from across a crowded hall. One look at the S-Frame, and you know what it is for sure. The real issue at this point is to find out whether we are paying for a Michelangelo, or for the ultimate evolution in case design.
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