InWin is a company known for making unusual PC cases. Whatever you might say about the company’s products, they are innovative. But, innovation comes at a price. Many of their bizarre products have failed to gain any traction.
The new mid-tower from InWin, the 216, is something unexpected. It looks on paper to be a feature-packed PC case. The price of $80 is even more surprising. The chassis has a serious-looking design that could fit into most builds. The frame is of low-cost steel, but hey, there’s tempered glass. It seems to have space for plenty of fans, up to E-ATX mobos, and even supports custom liquid cooling.
How functional is this, though? And do all the features hold up? Let’s look at the specs, build, design, and general usability of the product. Can InWin 216 do in the mid-tower segment what the 301 did in the mini-tower one?
- Type: Mid-tower
- Compatible motherboards: E-ATX, ATX, mATX, mITX
- PSU Type: ATX up to 220 mm
- Weight: 7.3 kg
- Dimensions: 465 x 220 x 460mm
- Drive bays: 2 x 3.5″, 2 x 2.5″ included, up to 3
- Expansion slots: 7 horizontal, 2 vertical
- Front I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 3.5 mm audio + mic
- Front fans: 3 x 120 mm
- Top fans: 2 x 120 mm
- Rear fans: 1 x 120 mm
Design and Build – Interior
Inside the chassis, things are standard. There is plenty of space for up to an E-ATX motherboard. There are two places to mount your GPU: the standard horizontal config or up front vertically. We would not recommend the vertical orientation, as it severely impedes airflow. Removing the glass panel also lets you view the front vertical dust filter. There are plenty of port cutouts that lead to the other side of the case.
The front panel can be removed by itself without unscrewing. The dust filter can be removed from here, too. However, the front does not detach cleanly. Instead, the cables to the front I/O panel drag on, and the circuit is exposed. It doesn’t look clean, all the wiring and circuit board. You don’t want to pop off the front panel much.
Below the PSU shroud is the removable drive cage for 3.5″ drives. This is good since if you don’t use HDDs, you can get rid of the cage for more cable space. Below the cooler mount, there are two well-designed 2.5″ trays held in place by thumbscrews. The PSU is mounted from the inside, and the chassis has a slot to let you see the logos. You want to install your PSU with the fan facing downwards to draw air from the bottom.
Design and Build – Exterior
From the outside, the InWin 216 looks like a premium device. It has that stealthy minimal look many high-end cases seem to favor. The front panel is all in black except the InWin logo at the bottom right. Branding is also present in the silver edge that leads to the tempered glass panel. This is a dark tinted panel, very dark. This could be a letdown if you were hoping to get a view of your gorgeous components inside. Or, it can be useful if you’d rather not see the innards.
Both the side panels have a pair of thumbscrews each and lock into the chassis. The glass panel has magnets to keep it in place. But we don’t see this being a standout feature. Yes, this may prevent mishaps in some rare situations. But if you’re building a PC, then you should already be extra careful with everything.
At the bottom is a removable dust filter. There is no space for fans there. The airflow, in this case, is slightly different than usual, which we’ll come back to. At the top, you’ll also find the front I/O panel. Which is nothing to write home about. There is a single power button, a pair of USB Type-A’s and an audio/mic combo. There is a cutout for Type-C, but it is unused. Not including a Type-C in an $80 case nowadays should be some sort of a crime. Many cheap motherboards have front Type-C.
Finally, also at the top is another removable dust filter. This one is held in place by a magnetic strip around its edges. In practice, this isn’t quite as snappy as it should have been. You may want to remove this filter for two reasons. One, the case is designed to vent air out the top and back. So, this cover will block the airflow. The second reason is that if you install top fans, the screws will lift this cover ever so slightly. It just looks sloppy compared to otherwise clean exterior.
Benchmarks and Usability
This is a sizeable chassis for a mid-tower, due to motherboard compatibility. The layout is meant to draw air from the front and the bottom, then vent it out the top and back. How well does it perform, though? Let’s look at benchmarks from Tom’s Hardware.
As illustrated, the performance from the InWin 216 is just average. The case is not the coolest one out there, with cheaper and pricier competitors beating it by a few degrees. Thermals are acceptable unless you’re really pushing your rig. Since the front is closed, the 216 muffles noise quite well. But again, the results are not that impressive.
Usability is where the InWin 216 disappoints a bit. In most buyer options, no fans are included. Yes, some users will want to have custom fans. But this exclusion is not justified at eighty dollars. There is the option to vertically mount the GPU. But, this setup hinders performance noticeably. Also, no riser cable is included anyways.
Lots of screws and zip ties come in the box. But there is a noticeable lack of any Velcro. Which is not a big deal, of course, but would have been nice to have. The mounted mobo is very close to the top of the chassis, so it’ll be challenging to install top fans or a radiator. There is plenty of space for cable management. Especially if you remove the hard drive cage. The complete build experience should not be troubling for even newbies. But none of this PC case’s intricacies particularly wow.
Finally, we reach the end of the review. With all this information, should you go buy the InWin 216?
No, for most situations. The 216 is an odd product, only because it has none of InWin’s customary oddity. Some mid-towers give it a run for the money at half its price. There are better-looking cases if you’ll shell out a few more bucks like Fractal Design’s Define 7 Compact. It also doesn’t perform particularly well in noise suppression or airflow. Take a look at the be quiet! Pure Base 500DX for stellar performance.
The InWin 216 doesn’t wow with either budget, design, or performance. So, we cannot push it for most PC case builders. If you are okay with a compromise, be aware of the few pitfalls of this product when building your next rig.