A serious contender for the enthusiast looking for supreme cooling, the In-Win Ironclad has great cooling and excellent expandability.
Since 1986 In-Win has had consistent milestones in PC case technology, from establishing facility automation on robot stamping machines to winning awards in product design. In 2006, In-Win had the honor of receiving the “Symbol of Excellence Award.” Many of their designs in computer cases are very attractive to the gamer market, with themes from fantasy, to a more hard core and edgy approach. One of In-Win’s flagship products, the Ironclad, boasts a serious tank-like design, evident in its excellent black matte finish both inside and out, and a complete steel chassis.
The Ironclad is aimed at a demanding audience with the ability to assist over-clocking in a variety of ways. Thermal solutions include a large 220mm side fan, four 120mm fans, and four holes designed with water cooling in mind. A fine metal mesh covers the majority of the openings, preventing the hurricane inside from sucking up dust or pet hair.
pictures & impressions
Even the mammoth crate the Ironclad was delivered in conveyed a sense of strength and command. Fortunately, everything was packaged very well and the case was easily extracted without incident from the cardboard packaging.
Included with the package are zip-ties and cable-management tools, 3 to 4 pin (x2) fan headers, speakers for the motherboard, the optional rubber grommets for extended size power supplies, and the motherboard mounting hardware. Also included are special screws to mount optional fans on the side panel.
The case sports an excellent paint job coating the steel chassis everywhere. In-Win says that this is to prevent from oxidization and add to the longevity of the case. The pictures here show all faces of the case. The top of the case, the front with its heavy tank-bezel (left), front with bezel off (center), and the rear of the case (right).
The left side of the Ironclad features a 220 mm fan that has a switch to toggle the bold blue LED’s. The fan on the side panel may be removed and instead up to six 120 mm fans can be installed. This would in essence create a solid wall of moving air, and has the potential to do it quietly. The main panel has insulation on all edges to ensure a more quiet and vibration free operation.
On venturing inside the first thing we noticed is a generous amount of insulation covering the entire bottom one-third of the right panel. There are quick releases on the rear for tool free installation of PCI expansion cards. The bottom left is where standard hard drives are installed, and immediately above it is solid-state drive storage.
The build quality of the Ironclad is quite impressive due to its thick steel chassis and thorough paint job. Even the quick-release PCI slots are solid metal mesh, yet open enough to let any hot cards breathe. The top of the case has additional mounting for another 120 mm fan.
In the center is the double-decker shock-free rails storage box that slides out of a 5.25“ bay and provides all of the side rails for optical and storage installations. Immediately to the right is a special mounting bay for a solid-state hard drive.
The double-decker shock-free rails tool box is displayed above. Every serious rig should have a main feature like this. The rails provided are enough to fill all of the expansions in the case. All drives slide in effortlessly to their respective bay, and then lock in place with a resounding and reaffirming double click.
Another excellent feature is the fine mesh covering all major air-flow ports, cutting down on a lot of dust. Even the 5.25“ grills are covered with mesh. The expansion bay on top contains a 3.25“ to 5.25“ conversion bay.
The reinforced steel PCI slots with the strong screen mesh are shown on the left, and on the right is the very bottom of the case where the power supply goes. Both common sizes of power supplies can fit over the mesh exhaust screen and rest on the rubber grommets provided. With the power supply on the rubber and both sides surrounded with the anti-noise insulation (from the side panels), a very quiet and vibration free operation can be expected.
Features & Specifications
The Ironclad does not skimp on features, and incorporates a plethora of characteristics only found on the most elite of cases. These include special air filters, advanced noise insulation, shock-free rail systems, eight tool-less expansion slots, and high expansion capability. In-Win manufactures six different lines of PC cases. The Ironclad, belonging to the Destiny-Extreme Series, is top of the line.
Full Tower Chassis
Internal Drive Bay
3.5“ x 6
External Drive Bay
5.25“ x 5
Top I/O Ports
I/O Expansion Slots
M/B Form Facto
Front: 12cm Fan x 1
Approximately 24 pounds (empty)
Testing & Methodology
The Ironclad will be directly compared with a Lian-Li case that consists of a similar fan and air-flow layout, including 2x 140mm fans and 2x 120mm fans. The front of the Lian-Li is compromised of a mesh-type metal similar but not as dense as found on the Ironclad. All of the fans are positioned blowing into the case, spare one 120mm exhaust fan in the rear for both systems.
In-Win Ironclad Full Tower
Intel i7 920 @ 3400
Asus P6T Deluxe version 2
Patriot Viper II 6GB (3 x 2GB)
XIGMATEK Intel Core i7 Dark Knight
(x2) WD VelociRaptor 150GB 10000 RPM
Palit GTX 460 (Fermi) Sonic Platinum
HT Omega Claro Plus
Deck Frost Tactile
The test hardware ran under a full load for 4 hours using the following software: Prime 95, Left4Dead 2, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Dead Rising 2, and Adobe Photoshop. These were chosen specifically because they can push the graphics card and CPU to the limits, generating extreme heat. Temperatures were acquired using HardWare Monitor version 1.17. The ambient case temperatures were also taken from dual WD VelociRaptor HDDs (which have an excellent thermal readout). These drives are barely in use, except to load the programs; the majority of the operating system is run off the solid state drive. North Bridge and graphics card temperatures were also observed to see any minor differences.
On average, the Ironclad showed a 4C (7.2F) decrease over the Lian Li across all of the main components. The massive 220 mm fan on the side contributed significantly to cooler temperatures. We were rather surprised to see the HDD increase in temps, but after careful scrutiny of the mounting and why the adjacent fan wasn’t cooling properly, we determined that the entire hard drive rack didn’t provide enough holes for optimal air flow.
One problem encountered when testing was that the shroud of the mammoth 220 mm fan prevented the side panel from properly fastening because of the height of the heatsink. This was easily remedied by moving the fan down about two inches, where two sets of grommet holes were available for the realignment. This provided an even more direct air flow to the graphics card as well as the North Bridge chipset on the motherboard.
The Ironclad truly is the battleship In-Win proclaims it to be. We must highlight the exquisite, matte paint job that pays attention to detail; moreover, even the motherboard mounting screws and special screws for all the fans are also black to complete the look. Because of the nature of steel, this case is very strong and completely solid. There was very little flex with the side panels, and the quick release PCI slots were refreshingly reinforced. The main 220 mm fan possesses larger, rounder, deeply blue colored LEDs, and is complimented by a very quiet operating speed even at maximum voltage. The fine metal mesh-type filters will no doubt cut down on dust issues. Our favorite feature was the tool-less approach, and because of this, we were able to install the test system confidently and in record time. Considering that we are transitioning from a Lian-Li that was twice as expensive and built from aluminum, we are impressed with price point versus quality.
However, there were a few faults that must be acknowledged. Even though there were wire management tools supplied, there wasn’t much in the case to hide the wires. This was due to a non-removable motherboard configuration, which there was no way to route wires behind. The massive steel case, filled with all the components, weighed close to 30 pounds, and was very cumbersome to relocate. Additionally, with all of the fans, it would have been beneficial to have the option for 140 mm fans on top. This would seem like overkill for some, but this could have added a small bonus to noise reduction without loss in air movement (note: acoustically, the whole system wasn’t heard over the graphics card fan). The last thing that we would have liked to have seen would be support for more than one solid state drive, as they are slowly but surely expanding in the market.
Summary: In-Win delivers a full tower that is strong and highly expandable, and has a hurricane-like air-flow. Anyone looking to overclock their system (including liquid cooling) and desiring full expandability should give the Ironclad serious consideration. Considering its price, the case has the Best Bang for the Buck, and with a score of 8/10, the In-Win Ironclad earns the Bjorn3D Seal of Approval.