INWIN 805 Review
This conclusion can be neatly cleaved into two main parts, not necessarily two paragraphs, but two parts. How we feel about the exterior, and how we feel about the interior.
Let's start with the exterior shall we. Now normally when describing the exterior of a case we'd say something like "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", or "It's a marmite case". Perhaps we'd even suggest that each person may have his own idea about the aesthetic and whether it’s to their taste or not. In this case though we have to put our review writing foot firmly down. Simply put, this case looks stunning. Get any idea of those old acrylic cases out of your head straight away, this thing has an Aluminium chassis, 3mm thick tempered glass side and front panels and brushed Aluminium roof. The 805 simply oozes style and elegance. Are we going to let you make up your own mind? Nope! simply put, if you don't like it, you're wrong!
So that's the exterior, we quite like it. Now to the interior, and starting with the good stuff, because as you might have already sensed, it's not all rosy in there. So for starters there's a good sized CPU cut out, the interior is spacious with room for CPUs up to 156mm in height, PSUs up to 220mm long and GPUs up to 320mm in length. Down at the bottom there's a discrete HDD rack that can take either a pair of 3.5" or 2.5" drives, with an additional 2.5" drive mount on the top. This rack is demountable and can be relocated to two positions along the case front interior, permitting the large filtered floor cut out to be accessed for additional fan mounts and cooling. If you go for a more traditional fan set up then you can mount a pair of 120s or 140s in the front, but bear in mind the case does not actually come with fans in this position, the only included fan being a clear acrylic 120mm unit mounted on extract at the rear.
And so to the not quite so good stuff. Inwin have decided that the PSU has to be mounted with the fan facing upwards, and as a result have not made provision for a PSU floor cut out or filter. They have though placed a sticker in the PSU position reminding you how to orientate the PSU, Now, most people mount their PSUs fan upwards anyway, but it would have been nice to at least have the option to mount it either way up. While we're on the subject of the PSU, some form of rubber or foam pad noise and vibration isolation mounting for the PSU would also have been nice, as none are in evidence. Our only thought here for what is obviously a conscious decision is that Inwin are intending to have the full under body of the PSU in contact with the floor and perhaps to use it as a heat sink, and while this may be the case, they are losing out on the reductions in vibration and noise that damping pads provide.
The main issue we have with the 805 though is what we feel to be ill thought out cable management. We say ill thought out, but it’s actually clear a lot of thought has gone into it, we’re just not sure we follow them. OK, so there's a good 20mm of room round the back, and the case comes with a slack handful of cable ties, but there aren't actually any cable tie points in the case. Inwin do include five adhesive plastic clips, and while these are good enough for securing smaller cables such as fan, USB and Front I/O cables they aren't quite big enough for the majority of main function cables such as the ATX, PCI and 8 pin CPU cables. Further highlighting the cable issue is that although there are lots of holes in the motherboard tray, the positions of them are difficult to comprehend. For starters, there are three show of mounts for 2.5" drives, each of which has a hole so it can be seen from both sides of the case. Great you think, I can now see my expensive and sexy SSD from the rear and also through the front of the case, only with an ATX motherboard in place two of them are blanked of totally and the last one partially obscured. Granted, if you fitted an M-ITX motherboard the SSD mounts would be visible, but who in their right mind is going to buy a decent sized mid tower and fit an M-ITX board. Fitting an ATX board also serves to partially obscure a good few of what we thing are actually meant to be cable management holes. We say "think" as we're not entirely sure, as it's not immediately obvious from their spacing and location that this is their intended purpose. If you haven't read the full review and want to get a better idea of what we're talking about, head back to pages four and five where we look at the interior in detail.
We’re also a bit concerned about airflow. If you chose to mount the HDD brackets up from the floor, you can stick a couple of fans in the base, but this will look about as fugly as it is possible to get. If you make use of the front fan mounts things unfortunately don’t get much better as although the aesthetes is improved there’s precious little air entering the front of the 805.
What we have then is a case that looks stunning on the outside, and, thanks to the use of 3mm tempered glass panels, one that affords us a largely unrestricted view of the ease interior. With a case like this you'd want to be able to do a bang up job of the cable management, one that looks just as good at the rear of the motherboard as it does at the front, as after all, it's all going to be on show. Such a shame then that something with this much potential is let down by poorly thought out cable management options, both at the front and at the rear of the motherboard, as having looked at quite a few cases with false floors recently, if any cases needs one desperately, it's the 805.
It's hard to score the Inwin 805, it really is. You see, it's not actually a bad case, it's just that it could have been so much better. Maybe we've missed the point with all the cable management holes, but if it's not immediately obvious to us what's going on then, we feel it's not going to be immediately obvious to you guys either. We have a number of theories as to what's going on, we've discussed them and made our feelings clear, that's pretty much all we can do. We'd love to have seen the 805 with decent cable management, cable tie points and rubber grommets. OK so if you're using interior lighting less of it will be transmitted to the rear of motherboard area, but as it is, without the additions and amendments we've suggested it's going to be very hard to make that area look so nice you're going to want to see it anyway.
At £130 it's not cheap and although well built doesn't offer great value for money when compared to the feature set it offers. The performance mark is also low as a result of the poor airflow and limited feature set, especially it's water cooling capabilities, which fall well behind cases in it's price range and indeed those that are a fraction of the cost. Last but not least it looses points for the internal presentation. Yes it looks stunning, on the outside, but we have to consider the inside also.