There is a ton, almost literally, to like about the S-Frame. While it's not very tall in stature, this chassis is thirty inches from front to back, and that is a definite concern when looking to house a chassis this massive. At the same time, the one piece, extruded, 4mm thick aluminum structure is so unique, you will never see another manufacturer match its design.
We in no way mind the lack of optical bay, as this is more of a display chassis that will sit proudly and display all of the expensive hardware inside, in plain sight. We also like that IN WIN has come up with a design that is fully water cooling ready and capable, without having to mod it or drill holes in very expensive investment. There is also the exclusivity factor. These chassis come in limited supply, and no two cases will match since they have individual serial numbers right on the plaque. Also, don't forget, the retail version of this chassis is likely to be the all black version with red trim, just in case you do like the design, but aren't so in love with the blue and grey we have shown you today.
The sad thing about this is that while the S-Frame is an eye catching work of art, and a design that takes what we know about chassis to a whole new level, we do have a problem. The problem is, we did find it was almost more art than a functional chassis. We fully understand the costs involved in making limited production runs, and at this price, or any other price, you will not find another chassis like this anywhere else. However, with such a high price, the bar is raised exponentially when it comes to features, and how well the completed package does overall.
This is where the S-Frame stumbles in our opinion. The PSU bracket makes it so you have to be leery of it if you get a correct mount, or use some ghetto rigged setup like ours. Then you have to be sure of what motherboard you choose, because the cabling from the front I/O is not made to fit well with every layout possible. On top of that, with only one way to mount any fans to the system, or any sort of water cooling, due to the fact that the holes are not slotted in the mounting plate, only custom water cooling is truly viable. That or just filling it with fans and using an air cooler. For this kind of money, if I can afford to buy it, I should be able to put whatever system that floats my boat inside of it as well.
At this point we are really torn. IN WIN has proven over the last few years that they are not afraid to step out of bounds and deliver something completely new, and unheard of. On the flip side of that artistic coin, we can appreciate the costs involved all the way around, but when it comes to shelling out $800 of our hard earned money, we should not have restrictions or ugly parts to the build. Simply offering longer cabling on the Native USB 3.0 leads would fix one nasty looking issue.
Also, how hard would it have been to add some sort of removable cover to the back of the motherboard tray, so when someone looks at it from the back, they would be as astonished to look there as they would be to look at it from the front? In the end, we feel that while IN WIN made one hell of a chassis, they just sort of lost focus, and definitely put form ahead of function with this design.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
United States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon's website.
United Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon UK's website.
Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada's website.
- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging]
- Page 3 [IN WIN S-Frame Open-Air Chassis]
- Page 4 [Inside the S-Frame]
- Page 5 [Accessories and Documentation]
- Page 6 [Case Build and Finished Product]
- Page 7 [Final Thoughts]
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