Peer pressure is a terrible thing. Many of our first experiences of this start at school friends dares, the latest shoes and clothing crazes. We have all felt the pressure to choose the same as our friends. It doesnt stop there, even with PC purchases we can find ourselves following the pack and buying the easy choice, even if it is on a subconcious level rather than just being lazy.
For those brave enough to stand out from the crowd or even be bothered to seek out something unique it is actually surprising what a quick Google and an open mind can turn up.
Thanks to Case King on parade today is the In Win Maelstrom so let's stop jabbering and take a look at the case specifications:
Full Tower Chassis
Time to head over the page for our first look
The front of the case is dominated by what looks like 2 metallic green handles, but don't be fooled. These are just cosmetic. Try and use these to lift the case and youll just hear a thud as the front panel pulls off and your rig breaks a couple of bones in your foot!
All five of the optical drive bays and the 120mm fan grill have removable dust filters. On the roof you'll find the power and reset buttons, 4x USBs, a Firewire and 2x eSATA ports. While we are talking numbers we should mention the 5x hard drive bays inside. There is a large 220mm fan in the side panel with a handy switch to enable/disable the blue LEDs. The fan can be removed and has the option to fit up to 6x 120mm fans all with anti-vibration rubber grommets.
Taking the side panels off is as simple as removing 2 thumb screws. The doors latch on the front edge of the case giving it the feel of a door on hinges. This makes them much easier to fit than doors with the fine latches that you have to locate when sliding the side on. The backs of the doors are prefitted with a sound insulating foam to help keeps those annoying noises at bay.
The internals are powdercoated black adding to its sleek look. Sadly there are no motherboard tray cut outs for wiring but there is a cut out to aid fitting a CPU heatsink.
The case comes with 1x front 120mm fan, 1x rear exhaust 120mm fan, 1x roof 120mm fan and another optional should you need it. Im always losing the spares for my cases, you go to fit a hard drive but you cant find the rails and it ends up loose in your case! With the Maelstrom however there is a handy storage box that fits in an optical bay so you never have the excuse of losing them again!
At the back of the case you will find the 4 grommeted hose ports for if you wish to use external watercooling and they are situated in a fairly large section of wide mesh to aid ventilation. Even though there are only 3x 120mm fans in the case, thermally it performs very well. Our stock speed q6600 never went above 52c and the 2 graphics topped out at a very respectable 73c. All in all the Maelstrom performs very well. As well as both of the more expensive HAFs.
Lets head over the page to wrap this up.
The Maelstrom first arrived with us a good few weeks ago, it got built pretty much straight away and found its way to the office desk for testing. That's where the story of the Maelstrom stalled. I paused.... and I forgot about it.
That might sound bad but there is a very good reason.
Its very quiet but still keeps everything as cool as some of the more mainstream cases. It even out-performs a few of them too.
The powder coated internals add to the cases quality feel and it's also one of the features that help you think you should have paid a lot more. This coupled with the room inside, the great temperatures, low noise and packed full of the small details that make a big difference like the rubber fan grommets and sound deadening foam.
So for £86.99 the case actually comes in at quite the bargain as long as you are not looking for internal watercooling support. It ticks all the boxes and a few other besides as well.
I would happily recomend the In Win Maelstrom over the mainstream easy choices in the £70 to £100 bracket, and a fair few more expensive ones as well.
We would like to thanks Case King for the sample today, discuss your thoughts in our forums.