Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
We just had a look at what a more typical chassis from InWin these days, the 707. While in no way a failure, when compared to cases like we are about to see today, the 707 is just not of this caliber. What brings us all together today is another of InWin's PC cases slash artworks that have been all the rage, and are the go to chassis to house your components in on the show floor at all of the events. This is because InWin is the only company out there willing to play around in the open air category of cases. Doing so and allowing designers plenty of leeway when it comes to aesthetics, they have developed some great ideas along the way.
while personally having a look at near all of them, minus the H-Frame, we have seen the evolution start from the X-Frame, where the idea was open air, but more of along the lines of a test bench. Then came the H-Frame which took a different look at how ribs, if you will, can also make up a chassis, while still leaving room for all the vital components. Then was the D-Frame. Some say it looks like a jungle gym, some say a generator, but the hand crafted tubular chassis is intended to mimic the frame of a Ducati motorcycle, and is why it was called the "D"-Frame in the first place. While not an issue for most people who acquired these designs, the fact that they took on ATX systems left the small form factor market drooling without an option to really jump in and enjoy these cases.
Bringing us together today is exactly that. InWin has taken the D-Frame that we liked so much we made it a part of our CPU cooler test system and have not found a single reason to move away from it yet, and is selling a much smaller version for mini-ITX motherboard users. This is not a direct scale version of the original, and in offering a new layout and design, it allowed them to do cool things like space fans correctly for water cooling, add in a handle to the top so it is easy to tote around, and even offer slick thin trays for the storage drives that will highlight the device screwed onto them. While this is in no doubt a showcase chassis where everything is in plain sight, but if you want something to be the envy of all your friends, no doubt offers plenty of cool air to the components, and is perfect for a LAN, it is likely that InWin and the D-Frame Mini Mini-ITX tower chassis is what you need for your build.
Everything about the tubular and plate design of this D-Frame Mini is hand cut, hand welded aluminum construction, just like what we found on the D-Frame. Along with the thick bits of aluminum, there is also a fair bit of rubber used, in our instance it is molded in red, where all the aluminum is coated in black. The rubber bits on the outer tubes act as feet or bumpers to protect the paint finish, and it is also used on four mounting locations at both sides for the tempered glass panels. This allows them to be screwed down and secured, yet still isolated from grinding against any aluminum components. While this will only house a mini-ITX motherboard inside, video cards and the power supply can be of any normal size.
As far as storage in concerned, there is a trio of plates mounted to the motherboard tray on the open side, and each plate is drilled for either 3.5" drive use, or 2.5" drive use. Also, there is a section of the motherboard tray designed to allow a pair of 2.5" drives to mount directly to it. The front I/O panel is inside of the outer frame, but contains power and reset buttons, LEDs, and HD Audio and USB 3.0 connectivity. The motherboard tray also offers a bracket that allows support for two PCI-e slots. All of this is wrapped up in a package that is 405mm high, 230mm wide, and 501mm deep, and will even support water cooling in the new fan rack at the bottom of the chassis.
While this chassis does come in three color choices, there is one with black tubes with red accents like we received, but there is also an orange tube with blue accent offering, as well as a red tube and black accent version. All of them require the same price at all the various locations we are finding this chassis. At Amazon.com, we found the lowest pricing is $288.99 and also requires $18.65 to ship putting this just over the $300 mark. It can be found, however, for $279.99 over at Newegg.com, and requires nothing extra for shipping.
This close to $300 for a chassis this compact, $20 is not going to make or break this buying choice. But at this price, in a very niche segment of PCs, where SFF users have this sort of cash to spend to show it off, has to be very thin. However, just like its bigger brother, the original D-Frame, we cannot see pricing stopping this train from rolling on.
PRICING: You can find the InWin D-Frame Mini for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The InWin D-Frame Mini retails for $288.99 at Amazon.
Australia: The InWin D-Frame Mini retails for $299 at PLE Computers.