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In-Win S500

Company: In-Win Development
S500 Mid-Tower ATX Case
Street Price: ~$47.00 + S&H
Date Reviewed: September 21, 2000
Reviewed By: Jason

Why I Wanted This Case:

I own several In-Win Cases, two full tower Q500's, and a mid tower A500. I have been very pleased with these cases, but one little thing bugged me about the A500. The design for the A500 has the power supply mounted sideways in the case, which means it covers the area that the CPU is mounted. This makes it near impossible to mount any exotic cooling in this case without doing some major modifications. Keeping this in mind when I needed a case for my Slot-A Thunderbird / KA7-100 system, I decided to head to the In-Win site and see if they had anything better that would fit my needs without having to get a full tower. My goal was to build a good LAN party box, and I didn't want something huge to have to lug around. Clicking on the Mid Tower cases at the In-Win site, I happened to notice that there was a case that looked like my beloved A500, but seemed thinner and a bit taller. The marvelous wonder was called the "S500", and after checking out the internal pictures on the web site I knew I had to have this one.


Begin The Hunt:

Finding this case for sale proved harder than finding out that it existed. After going through several price comparison sites, I finally managed to find a store that had one for sale, with a 250w PS, and decent shipping. For those of you interested, I got it from the Techstore.com for roughly $47 plus about $10 for shipping.


Pictures & Inside Critique:

I have many things to say about the layout of the inside of the S500 case & compare it to the older A500. You can see a picture of the back of the older A500 below to the left, note the location of the power supply.... very bad place indeed.

First thing, this case has removable panels whereas the older S500 was a complete wrap around that was a pain if you were constantly taking off your case to tinker with the insides. Having the three separate removable panels makes access so much easier and nicer.

Second, the power supply has been moved to the top which keeps it out of the way and allows for massive heat sinks and water cooling (if that's your thing) without any interference.

Third, there is now a hole for an 80mm fan in the back (along with the regular front 80mm fan hole). The older A500 didn't have a spot for mounting a extra fan in the back, however it did have the front 80mm fan hole.

Fourth, the S500 uses rails to mount the 5 1/4 & 3 1/2 drives. I typically don't like drive rails because I always end up loosing the ones that I don't use at first, then later when I add more in I can't because I lost the rails. The really irritating part about the rails is that they don't screw in the components, rather they just have little metal clips that go in the holes. I found this quite irritating as they would keep falling off while trying to mount them in the bay. But once you have them in the bay, they are in there good. I am going to try modifying them later by drilling holes to actually allow you to screw them on. This is the one and only bad point of this case, but hopefully with some modification this problem can be remedied. Also, if you note, there is one 5 1/4 exposed bay and two internal 3 1/2 bays that don't use rails. In-Win thought ahead on this one. I believe the reason is as follows: A normal person will mount in a 3 1/2 floppy and maybe a zip drive in the two exposed 3 1/2 drives (both of which that use rails), so there you will have no extra's to loose. Then in the two 5 1/4 drives a person will typically mount a CD-ROM & hard drive. Score! The other two rails are used up! So now there is nothing to loose. The extra 3 places to mount hardware use normal screw holes! Super eh?

Fifth, the S500 doesn't have a removable motherboard tray like the older A500. Eh, I can live without that feature. It's pretty pointless since you have direct access and PLENTY of room to work and mount your motherboard in the case. This also cuts down on extra parts that can get bent, broken, rattle from vibration, etc...

The front of the case sports three 5 1/4 exposed drive bays, two 3 1/2 exposed drive bays, and two more 3 1/2 spots hidden under the two exposed ones. The picture in the middle is with the front cover plate off. Notice how the lights and switches are mounted on the case rather than on the front bezel. This is a nice change from the older S500 which had the lights mounted on the bezel which meant you had to yank the connectors off your motherboard if you wanted to take off the bezel. Also you can see a better picture of the back with the extra 80mm fan mount. There are also some knock out places for some Serial ports / SCSI / whatever.

On To Page Two!


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