Taking a complete departure from the type of cases that TweakTown typically brings its readers, I had a server chassis delivered to my door. With my more basic needs around the house, I typically just use my main rig for any "server" type applications I need, but there are those around who have the need and desire to house a full out server system at their own home. Whether trying to initiate and host your own website, or even for those in the business world that custom build servers for work, you may be very interested to see what we are about to show. So grab yourself a beverage and settle in.
When I think IN WIN, I think back to what I have seen myself, and typically there are bright flashes of color and very unique looking concepts fronting their chassis lineup. With this chassis, that simply isn't what you are going to find. This is a very subdued and simplistic exterior. The main reason is the designing of the interior is where all the effort goes. Don't think they left out the much needed air flow in a server chassis; this chassis comes with a trio of San Ace fans to keep things cool.
Today, IN WIN sent me the IW-PP689. This is a server chassis as I said that comes from the PP Series of chassis'. This is the largest of the many server chassis' IN WIN offers from rack type cases all the way up to this size of chassis. No matter what your needs may be, it seems IN WIN has your options covered. As I mentioned, I don't have server needs, and therefore I don't have any server components to display. However, this server chassis does support ATX systems, so I will go with what I have to use for a basic idea of the room and arrangement of the interior components. So let's get to it, peruse the specifications and see just what IN WIN has to offer the server builders with the IW-PP689.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The IW-PP689 comes with an all black exterior. No flash or anything that doesn't lead to form or function. The front of the chassis is made of ABS plastic, the bottom of which has a lock-able door that exposes access to the hard drives as well as the front I/O. The top third of the face is used to give room for three 5.25" drives and one 3.5" drive, with removable plastic bay covers. When I say this chassis is large, the measurements are no lie. This chassis may only stand 17" tall, but the length of the chassis is just less than 27". This chassis makes the Raven and 800D look small. Internally there is room for eight 3.5" drives, and this sample came with one hot-swap storage module cage; adding more is optional. On both sides of these bays in the front bezel is where the power switch, reset switch, and the pair of USB 2.0 connections are found. Since the system holds ATX as well as CEB and EEB motherboards, the chassis also allows for both a PS/2 or a N+1 Redundant ERP power supplies.
To keep things cooled inside the chassis, the IW-PP689 starts with the open lower half of the front bezel allowing fresh air to be drawn into the chassis via a grouping of Sanyo Denki fans. There is a trio of Sans Ace 92 fans with a part number of 9G0912P1G09. These are either super new or old stock. Any way I looked for these fans, I couldn't find any definite specifications as this fan seems non-existent online. Judging by the noise levels and the feel on my hand, I am going to guess these are well over 100 CFM per fan with the vacuum-like noise that comes from them. There is another 80mm fan that comes strapped to the back of the hot-swap bays. Again, the info available for this 9AH0812P4G06 fan is limited.
Cruising through Google Shopping, I found the IW-PP689 is drawing pricing anywhere from around $140 at Provantage before tax and shipping. On the other end of the spectrum, you can find this server chassis listed over $280 at a place called Tierratek. Not like I really need to say it, but look around for the best deal here, as it seems you can save half the price depending on where you finalize the sale. There are a lot of things that the basic description and pricing can't explain, so let's get to the images so I can explain the layout and what sort of room for functionality the IW-PP689 has to offer.
Packaging & the IN WIN IW-PP689 Server Chassis
The package arrived with a plain cardboard box which I opened to expose this. That's right, another plain brown cardboard box is what I received as it was sent before the retail packaging was out. I added the graphics card just to add a bit of perspective to the size of this chassis.
Inside the box the case is supported with layers of cardboard that have dense foam placed in strategic places. One side has pads just to take up room in the packaging to keep the case in the middle. Surrounding the chassis are corners and middle blocks to keep this sandwich of cardboard foam and steel from moving around in transit.
The front of the IW-PP689 is subtle in appearance and offers a silver ring around the bezel as the only accent or departure from simplicity here. The top supports up to three 5.25" devices and a 3.5" device once the covers are removed. The lower ventilated section has a lock to keep this door closed, when opened it will offer access to the hard drives and the front I/O.
You need to retrieve the key from the inside of the chassis first, but once opened, here is what you find. The left has the power, reset and USB 2.0 ports. In the middle is the access to the hot-swap bays, and the bottom section has a vented cover so you don't see the drives installed at the bottom. The right side has a full bank of LEDs for activity, power, case intrusion, and even if you have a LAN failure, you can tell just by looking at the lighting.
A "long" look at textured black paint is what the side of the chassis offers. There are hand holds, shaped into the rear of the door for ease of access. The other side is a mirror of this panel.
The rear of the chassis is left without paint, but offers everything you would expect to see. At the Top there is room for either a redundant or a standard PS/2 power supply. The rear I/O is flanked with an area set up for a 120mm exhaust, but it is not included. At the bottom you will find seven tool-less expansion slots with an added section of ventilation next to them.
Under the chassis you will find large plastic assemblies for the footing. There is a section like this for the front and the back, but due to the length of the chassis I got closer to one set instead. These can be used as you see them here, or gently swing out the feet for a duck foot type of support for the chassis.
Inside the IN WIN IW-PP689 Server Chassis
Before we get inside I wanted to point out the neat thumbscrews. There are permanently mounted to the door panels, and even in the unscrewed position, as seen here, it stays attached to the door and are easy to find when it comes time to replace these panels.
A large overview of the interior is where we are going to start. IN WIN does keep with the yellow/green tool-less tabs for the optical drives, but a bright blue is used for the accessories build into this chassis.
On the right half you have the three tool-less optical drive bays with a 3.5" drive under it that uses screws to mount the floppy drive. In this chassis there is one hot-swap cage sent with the chassis, and again is held in with the large blue tool-less slides on the side of the rack. The bottom section of drive bay has the clip for the cage, but will also take hard drives with the use of screws to mount them. In the middle, covered in plastic shrouds, there are 3 fans blowing air from this section into the left side.
Getting in a little closer you can see the PCB for the front USB connections as well as the power and reset wiring. They are connected to the bezel so when you remove it, be sure to have these and the LED wiring on the other side free.
With the fans removed you can see how well IN WIN allows for unimpeded airflow to the left side of the chassis. These large holes cut into the support are much better than the typical honeycomb shape usually found in cases. There is a large hole up top to allow for wiring to be easily routed down into the drive area, and with a few wire ties you can keep the airflow unblocked.
The left side, as shipped, has a large air diverter that covers the bulk of the top half of the motherboard, but leaves access to all the slots and cards that may be installed. The top of this side is left strictly as room for power. With a redundant server PSU it will take up most of this room, as I tested it with a PS/2 power supply, it left even more room to hold extra wiring.
Inside the IN WIN IW-PP689 Server Chassis - Continued
On the other side of the center support for the case you will find a support for the large blue shroud at the top and support for long cards in the PCI slots like SAS cards, RAID cards, or even CAD oriented VGA's.
At the top the entire section has been dedicated to room for power. Getting a power supply in here is a bit tricky but it can be done. With an ATX power supply installed you will have a lot of room for wires you may not need to be stored here. When using a redundant power unit, they are nearly twice as long, but IN WIN was sure to provide plenty of room for them as well.
The motherboard tray is labeled so you can follow an alphabetically denoted placement for motherboard risers. Each series of board, ATX, CEB, and EEB use a different set that you follow for installation. The covering is made of plastic and also acts as an isolation material, just in case. The floor of the chassis is flat with no ventilation, as you can see by the black clips, the floor is taken up with the large foot assembly under this.
There is a large blue cage for a 38mm deep, 120mm fan, to be housed in. There isn't one included from IN WIN, but the cage with finger guard is a nice touch to keep your hands safe if you need to be working on the system while it still has power. Seven tool-less slots with vented covers take up what isn't perforated next to it at the bottom.
Cabling is well labeled and even though it starts from different places in the chassis, offers plenty of length to keep the wiring clean and out of the way. IN WIN offers a few well placed wiring holes in the center support to help section off the wires and keep things tidy. This wiring includes the USB 2.0 connection next to the HDD activity, LAN activity, and power LED connections. Then there are the three pins for the case intrusion LED, and that leaves the power and reset switches to the right.
Behind the tray there isn't a lot to be seen. No special access holes or wiring pass-thru holes to be found. This chassis isn't about looks, it's about function.
Accessories and Documentation
Just grabbed all the fans to show what they were in case you wanted to try your luck at finding the proper specifications. All four of the included fans are 38mm deep and use a 4-pin PWN connector for power.
I removed the 80mm fan from its housing, again so you can clearly read the model number.
The plastic shroud that covers the CPU and memory area may or may not fit when using various motherboards and coolers. I found with my install, even with the tabs removed at the edge for wiring to pass through the cover, I found the 45 baffle in the middle hit the CPU cooler and would not go into place. As I said this varies per install and if it can be used, the shroud will be very beneficial to your cooling of those components covered by it.
To remove the hard drive sled, simply press the silver tab to the right, and the teal blue handle pops out, and then you simply slide it out. To mount a drive in these, screws provided go into the drive from the bottom and not the sides for these trays.
As for included hardware, this is what I received. Inside of a larger bag, these four bags containing optical drive screws, hard drive screws, motherboard risers and screws, and a bag with the keys to the front door is what I got.
I disassembled the hot-swap bays so that I could show you what the PCB offers. This side is the back or the side closest to the motherboard when installed. Here there are all the jumpers you may need to set depending on what type of drives or the setup and configuration you want to achieve. There is also a connection for use with SAS or a RAID card, and not the typical SATA connections of a gamers chassis. There are two Molex connectors to power this assembly with a fan header provided to power the 80mm Sans Ace fan that goes onto the cage.
Reversing the PCB, we are now looking at the drive connectivity. As you can see, this bay is built to supply up to four drives with hot-swappable connectivity.
The Build and Finished Product
Assembly is made simple with the hole at the end of the power supply and leaves just the tails going to power what is needed in the front half. The blue covers for the fans will also protect any loose wires from getting sucked in when these things get under power. The tool-lees tabs for the optical drive were a bit tricky to line up, but one I got that right, the locks were very solid and there is no need to mount them with screws. With my limited knowledge of servers I did put a drive in the hot-swap bays only to be stopped short of connectivity due to the type of cable needed.
As for the ATX build, it went really easy with plenty of room to spare. The power supply was a bit tricky; I had to remove the plate, slide in the unit, and then finesse the plate back in. Not an impossible task, but with a much longer server PSU, this will be a little tougher to accomplish.
In an attempt to move the card down to see if it cleared the shroud, I ran into a little issue where the tool-less locks fell out of place trying to use them. They work as far as holding a card in place, but are in no way what I would consider secure, and are tough to use.
Once I closed up shop to get the image, the only thing notably different now is the optical drive poking out the front. Just simple and black is all that the IW-PP689 offers externally.
I opened the front door to gain access to the power button. The case springs to like with a very loud whir coming from the chassis on boot as the Sans Ace fans spool up to full speed. As the PWM kicked in the noise levels dropped a bit. With a server the noise isn't so much an issue, as typically it is in a separate area or room. The power LED was active for the boot, but as you can see they are very bright.
Due to the brightness of the LEDs, even with the door closed, and even if this was shoved under a table, a quick glance at the front and looking for warning lights is all you need to be assured of power and functionality. Having the ability to lock it all up and remove access to the power button keeps any accidental shutdowns or prying eyes off your hardware.
Even with my limited knowledge of server systems, the crash course I took to understand the optimizations and features on the inside of the chassis leave me with a feeling that IN WIN covers all the basics, and still offers a good layout with a serious amount of air flow. The case is loud; there is no way around that issue. With this not typically sitting anywhere around you like your gaming rig, sound is really a mute point in most applications.
I did have the issue with the sloppy fit and function of the tool-less expansion card latches. Even though I would like to have had a functional set of latches, IN WIN does offer the option to use screws for mounting the cards, even if they don't provide the screws. On the plus side of things, the temperatures of the 775 machine I installed were seriously low. The Sans Ace 92mm fans do quite a job at forcing air throughout the chassis, and if you can benefit from the use of the shroud, temperatures theoretically will get better. Adding a 120mm fan to the rear of the chassis isn't "needed", but with all that force of the Sans Ace fans in the middle, a bit of draw to help direct that force out the back will help.
This case is out on the shelves and is ready for the picking. I personally don't have the need for a server system, but if I was to opt to build one, this chassis covers everything I would think to want. Simple looks, a good layout with options, support of ATX, CEB and EEB systems, and room for everything you would need, want, or even think you would want to house your components. I still liked IW-PP689, and with the relatively low asking price, I have to say it is worth what most shops are asking. I do advise a bit of shopping around to get the chassis closer to the $150 range of some stores rather than the inflated pricing of e-bay or other lesser known retailers.
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