In Win’s Dragon Slayer Chassis is the Clown Car of PC Cases—and we mean that in a good way. A whole lot more will fit into this small case than you’d expect.
In Win’s Micro ATX (mATX) Draon Slayer PC case is small, but you’ll be surprised just how much stuff you can cram into it. Because In Win was kind enough to send us the case to review, we figured the best way to review it was to use it to build a new gaming PC.
So we purchased a cadre of parts (at our preferred vendor, Newegg) to build a powerful but moderately priced gaming rig:
- Asus Rampage III mATX Gene
- Intel i7 950 3.06 Ghz
- OCZ Modstream 700W power supply (*not a mATX power supply)
- 6GB OCZ DDR3 1600 RAM
- OCZ MSI 1GB Nvidia Geforce GTX 460 video card
- OCZ 120GB SSD Vertex 2 (boot & application drive)
- 1TB Hard disk drive (general storage)
We won’t go into the why’s and wherefores’ of our choices. We wanted some of the best equipment we could get without completely breaking the bank, but many of our choices (when compared to similarly featured products) were based as much upon sales, mail-in rebates, and promotions as they were by technical specifications and performance characteristics.
Designed for Power Players
The Dragon Slayer is small but designed for powerful gaming. It’s long enough to accommodate even the largest video cards—two of them, in fact, if you want to build an SLI or Crossfire-powered rig.
And complementing that are a whole array of extra cooling fans (1 in the top, 1 front facing the motherboard, one rear-mounted, and even a small fan mounted in front of the two bottom 5.25” drive bays).
Rounding out the Dragon Slayer’s ‘power player’ design are pre-cut holes in the back of the case for water-cooling pipes if that’s how you like to roll.
The only area in which the Dragon Slayer’s size works against it are if you’re into RAID arrays on your PC. The Dragon Slayer has a single 3.5” external bay, and a total of 3 x 5.25” bays: 1 at the top of the PC, clearly meant for a DVD/CD burner drive, and 2 at the bottom, behind the small cooling fan.
The Dragon Slayer is virtually tool-less. Front bezels snap in and out easily by squeezing simple thumb tabs. Both side-panels slide off easily after removing 4 thumbscrews at the rear of the case.
The Dragon Slayer has a couple of shortcomings worth noting.The biggest (but still not too bad) chink in its armor is the plastic retainer tabs used to keep the PCI cards in place. For one, they could stand to be a little tighter. But the major problem we ran into with them was when we attempted to install the Soundblaster X-FI Titanium HD PCIe sound card.
The Titanium HD, like many high-end expansion cards and video cards aimed at enthusiasts and gamers, has a plastic shroud attached to it that encases and protects the chipset and basically just looks cool. But the shroud extends a millimeter or two outside the dimensions of a standard PCIe card.
Because of this, we couldn’t close the plastic tab designed to lock the PCIe card into place—and the tabs, when not in the closed position, stuck out far enough to prevent you from installing the side panel back into place. You can still install a screw to help keep the card in place, but if the tab can’t close that doesn’t fully alleviate the problem. (And the tabs aren’t designed to pop out — at least not easily.)
Our solution in this case was to remove the shroud from the Titanium HD. Unfortunately, this also removes the PCI card’s back-plate from the sound card, so we had to re-attach it with two of the screws we removed from the shroud, and a couple hex nuts—a little ‘McGuyvering’ FTW.
Fortunately, the MSI Cylcone GTX 460 video card isn’t encased in a shroud and didn’t pose a problem. It’s also a relatively short video card, making it a good match for the Dragon Slayer. We later tried an even larger HSI Radeon 4890, which fit lengthwise, although its shroud posed a bit of a problem. Unlike the Titanium HD, however, the HSI Radeon 4890’s shroud only partially prevented us from closing the (top) tab, so we could still close the side panels.
We also would have fared slightly better if we had used a standard mATX power supply instead of a full-sized one, but it didn’t hamper the build process much.
Some nice touches
Once we had everything installed, we used some of the included cable-routing ‘assistants’ that attach to the inside of the case to help clear the inevitable tangle of cables that always results from a new PC build. These are a nice touch, and definitely help clear all the cables out from in front of the motherboard. The case also leaves openings in the back plane so you can route some cables behind and around the motherboard.
You could easily accomplish the same thing dropping a few bucks on similar cable-organizers at your local hardware or office supply store, but it’s a thoughtful design touch more PC case manufacturers should adopt.
Unfortunately, they also force you to obstruct the full airflow from the large fan mounted inside the front of the case. This probably doesn’t impact the overall thermal footprint much, if at all. The In-Win has more than enough fans to keep things cool.
The In Win Dragon Slayer is a very well-designed case, and ultimately balances the challenges of building a powerful gaming PC in a small package. To top it off, even with all of its extra cooling fans, the Dragon Slayer is still a very quiet system.
Aside from being restricted from internal RAID arrays, you could use the Dragon Slayer to build virtually any type of gaming rig: from our fairly humble single-card solution to an SLI/Crossfire-powered monster, as long as you power it with a sufficient power supply. The added cable organizers are a nice touch.
In-Win Dragon Slayer Features:
- 0.6mm SECC
- Drive Bays:
- External 5.25” x 3， 3.5” x 1
- Internal 2.5” x 1
- External 5.25” x 1， 3.5” x 1
- Internal 2.5” x 1， *3.5” x 3 or 3.5” x 2， 2.5” x 1 (*Converted from 5.25” x 2 )
- M/B Form Factor:
- Power Supply:
- ATX 12V
- I/O Expansion Slots:
- PCI-E/PCI/AGP Expansion Slot x 5
- Front I/O(Ports):
- USB 3.0 x 1; USB 2.0 x 2; HD/AC’97 Audio
- Thermal Solution:
- 14cm Fan at Top and Front
- 9cm Fan at Rear/8cm HDD Fan
- Optional 12cm Side Fan x 4
- Water-Cooling Hole Ready
- 430 x 196 x 426 mm (16.9” x 7.7” x 16.8” )
- Padlook Loop / Kensington Slot