In Win Q500 full tower caseReview date: 1 December 1998.
Last modified 03-Dec-2011.
The Q500 is a full tower case, the largest size you can get before you start playing with serious server cases. Few users actually need all the space of a full tower model - the Q500 has six 3.5 inch drive bays, not counting the floppy drive bay, and five 5.25 inch, which is way more drives than most people use. I checked it out because I hadn't seen it before, and because it's a good example of the kind of quality you get when you decide to drop a few more dollars on a decent case. At only $239 (RRP, Australian dollars), even a good case like the Q500 is likely to be one of the cheapest components of a new PC.
The In Win is 600 by 200 by 432mm in size, and weighs 12.6 kilograms before you put any gear in it. It's built out of one millimetre steel, which means it easily passes the BGA Test. The panel edges are fairly smooth - you're much less likely to cut yourself to ribbons working on this case than if you choose some cheapo stamped-metal unit.
The panel fit is good. Many cases have sloppily machined components that rattle around or don't fit properly at all, or lock together so solidly that you need a mallet to slide the panels off. The side panels and top dome of the Q500 are a tight fit, but not unreasonably so. The plastic front panel is a screwless pop-off design, which like most such designs is quite hard to remove. This is a good thing overall, as it prevents the panel from accidentally popping off when you're moving the computer.
The motherboard tray makes servicing easy, and custom trays make the case compatible with various motherboard types.
Like most quality cases, the Q500 has a motherboard tray that lets you pull out the motherboard and all of its cards in one go. Different trays are available for Baby AT, ATX and full AT motherboards; I checked out the standard version with an ATX tray.
Another standard feature in good cases is a removable 3.5 inch drive mounting cage, and the Q500 has that too. The only 3.5 inch bays you can't unscrew and take out in one lump are the floppy bay at the top and another one behind it.
The included power supply unit (PSU) is a 300 watt box with a big fan. Like many standard power supplies these days, it lacks a pass-through IEC socket for plugging in a monitor, but apart from that should be perfectly adequate for all but the most demanding users. Again, cheap cases generally come with dodgy power supplies, commonly poorly regulated 235 watt units whose output voltages can drop unacceptably under quite moderate loads.
The Q500 comes with an extra fan mounted on the grille above the power supply. This fan is connected to a four pin pass-through connector, which you're going to have to remember to plug in.
If you need more cooling, you'll be pleased to note that the Q500 comes standard with two fans, one in the power supply as normal and one on the back panel above the PSU. The back panel fan is powered from a pass-through four pin Molex lead, which you can connect to any of the power supply outputs. There's also the usual snap-in cage for an 80mm front panel fan, but, also as usual, there's no fan provided for it as standard equipment.
The Q500 comes with a lock receiver that screws onto the top of the frame and sticks out of a slot in the top cap. Snap a padlock through the hole and the computer becomes very difficult to open. You'll have to provide your own padlock, though.
If you need a tower case, the In Win is a good choice. At $239 (Australian dollars), it doesn't cost a great deal more than a lot of much lousier PC boxes.
Bear in mind, though, that if your friends think an unnecessarily huge computer case is a status symbol, it's time to get some new friends.