IN-WIN Maelstrom Full Tower Case ReviewWed, Oct 07, 2009 - 12:00 AM
Maelstrom – External Impressions
The In-WIN Maelstrom case is constructed of cold-rolled, electro-galvanized steel painted a matte black save for the plastic front bezel. As mentioned, it’s rather heavy and feels very solid. Checking out the front of the In-Win Maelstrom case, the first things that jump out at you are the metallic green bars that run parallel to each other.
These are purely for aesthetic design and not to be used to lift the case. In fact, the case ships with a nice warning sticker telling you so; although I wish they used a less effective sticker. It was difficult to remove without leaving a fair amount of residue. These bars are embedded into the front bezel only which snaps off rather easily so heed this warning! Behind the bezel you can see the drive bay knock-outs, the day-glow yellow 120mm intake fan and the drive bay adapter for an FDD drive. The fan is labeled as a ceramic bearing 120mm, 12v & 0.32A. No information on CFM is given but my fan controller tells me it runs at a max of 1200 RPM.
Around the back, you can see there are not the usual 2, but 4 cooling hose pass-throughs! For the water-cooling enthusiast, this is a great feature. There are 7 expansion slots with mesh covers, a bottom-mount PSU aperture and rear 120mm exhaust fan which matches the intake fan on the front. Thumbscrews are used for all four side fasteners although I had to use a screwdriver on one as it seemed to want to be difficult to remove. After removal, I didn’t need to use the screwdriver further.
On top you’ll find the I/O panel right up front with the power and reset switches. Present are 4 USB 2.0 ports, 1 FireWire port, 2 e-SATA ports and the ever present audio jacks. That’s a large amount of ports so no worries about running out any time soon. No cover for these and for me, that’s a plus but some people do prefer a cleaner, form over function look. Located just behind the I/O panel is a vented area for placement of a 120mm fan and behind that is another which comes populated with the same type of 120mm fan used for the rear exhaust and front intake. For water cooling, this is an excellent place to mount a radiator and there is ample room to do so, even with a rather large CPU cooler.
Underneath lie the 4 stands which swivel 90 degrees, each with dual rubber feet. The only other notable feature is the ventilation for the power supply which we will see a little more of when we have a look inside.
The right side of the case is featureless although at this point I’ll mention how the panels fit on. Most cases require the panels to be slid back in parallel with the case until they are offset enough to come out from the grooves. These panels swing out with the front edge being the pivot point and then come right off. To place them on, insert the panel into the front edge at an angle and pivot back into place. I like it.
The left side is rather exciting as it sports a large mesh panel with a 220mm fan attached to the center. Although no specs are listed and Google was no help, the fan is marked as a 12v & 0.23A ceramic bearing fan. You need more cooling you say? No problem. Remove the grommet encircled screws that hold the fan on and replace it with up to six 120mm fans. So for those keeping track, if you filled every fan slot in the case you would end up with a total of ten 120mm fans! There aren’t too many cases that can boast such a stat although I’m thinking if you need that many fans, you might want to consider a liquid cooling solution.
Taking a closer look at IO panel I’ll point out that the power LED lies beneath the word “power” on the panel and glows blue when in use. It’s difficult to see unless it is dark or you are looking straight down on it. The HDD light resides behind the “HDD” text and appears to be orange in color but it is very hard to see even in low light. I had difficulty getting a good image of these so I’ll ask you to use your imagination here.
Let’s have a look at the inside…