IN-WIN Maelstrom Full Tower Case ReviewWed, Oct 07, 2009 - 12:00 AM
Maelstrom – Internal Impressions
Opening the Maelstrom up, you can see the interior paint matches the exterior which, frankly, should be expected on higher end cases. This gives it a very polished and professional appearance. There are no sharp or rough edges that I could find and the IN-WIN craftsmanship appears to be top notch. It’s immediately obvious I will have no trouble at all fitting any components in this chassis.
Flipping the case around, the most prominent feature is the cutout for CPU cooler removal without needing to remove the entire motherboard. This is popping up in more and more cases and I, for one, am very happy about that trend. It certainly makes life easier for those who swap parts frequently or even for applying new thermal paste periodically. A little more about the motherboard tray in a bit.
On the back side of the left panel you can see IN-WIN saw fit to attach sound dampening material around the mesh area and…
…you can see the same on the opposite panel beneath the motherboard tray. I’m not entirely sure how effective this is in reducing noise emanating from the case given that a significant percentage of the case has mesh paneling. It certainly can’t hurt but I’m sure it adds a fair amount of extra weight as well.
Another nice feature is the tray of HDD and 5.25” bay shock absorbent rails that have their own little home inside the case a little above the HDD cage. This tray is removable for easy access.
The individual rails come out easily and fit onto the sides of HDD’s and optical drives which then slide right into place which is a pretty common design. However, if you have a fan controller or other device that fits in the 5.25” drive bays and has a lesser length than an optical drive, you may have some difficulty. The rails won’t fit and while there are holes in the rails, they are little smaller than any supplied screws plus they are rubber and have no threads. So, you can more or less force a screw in there to stabilize things or you may have to do a little modding. Consider this foreshadowing of what’s to come later in the article.
As promised, the PSU ventilation area with 4 pre-installed rubber mounts to minimize vibration. As shown in the accessories, 2 extra mounts are provided for extra long PSU’s which, as you’ll see, came in handy for me.
The motherboard tray has a nice sticker providing a legend for the reference marks next to the pre-drilled holes for the mounting screws. This can be very helpful for an inexperienced builder.
Finally, all of the case connections are clearly labeled, sleeved, and of sufficient length to reach where they need to go and then some in case you want to be creative with your routing. The instruction manual provides polarity information for the power, reset, HDD LED, etc. connectors.
On to the build!