Assembling the IN-WIN BUC

While the SilverStone FT03 we recently reviewed required some level of instruction to assemble, the BUC doesn't come with a manual. You can download one online, but the overall design of the case is smart enough that we doubt you'll need it.

Installing the motherboard was easy enough thanks to the built-in standoffs on the tray, and there are plenty of cable routing holes surrounding it to keep the internals relatively clean. It's worth mentioning there's a decent-sized cutout in the tray for cooler backplates; hopefully at some point Intel will realize their push-pin mounting system sucks hard (I've actually seen a machine where the pins deteriorated after just a couple of years and the stock heatsink fell off), but until then it's nice to see most case manufacturers have us covered.

Removing the covers for the external bays is also painless as I mentioned before, though every bay below the top one has a metal piece you'll need to twist and remove. From there, pop out the fastening knobs, slide the optical drive in, then push the pins in and you're good. Again, this is a remarkably simple and sturdy system, and I never felt like the drive was anything less than completely secure. If that's not satisfactory, though, you can actually screw the drive in on the opposite side.

Unfortunately, the 3.5" drive trays aren't toolless and can be a source of some frustration. You have to squeeze the handle from the sides to loosen these trays up, but that's easier said than done and can require a remarkable amount of effort. That calls into question the usefulness of the hotswappable drive bay door, but the system does essentially work. To install a 3.5" drive, you need to first install rubber standoffs, then use special screws included with the case to mount the drive. This worked fine with a pair of Western Digital drives I tested, but an ever-so-slightly wider Seagate Barracuda just plain wouldn't fit using the side screws and had to be attached to the bottom of the tray. Once you're done it's good to go and lines up perfectly with the backplane, but the extra steps here and difficulty actually swapping drives can be a nuisance. 2.5" drives are bottom mounted in the trays with the mounting holes clearly labeled; these don't have any kind of vibration dampening, but you're expected to mount SSDs with no moving parts so it's a non-issue.

The backplane is probably one of my favorite features and a surprising inclusion in a case at this price. It basically consolidates power connections into just two plugs, and already has SATA cables built in that for the most part easily route to the ports on the motherboard. While it's necessary for any kind of hotswap functionality to even work, I was just happy it was there to make cable routing that much simpler.

Installing expansion cards with the built-in mounting system was surprisingly painless. The GTX 580 lined up and locked into place on the motherboard, and then the clamps came down and did their job. No muss, no fuss, although if you like you can also screw the card in.

Beyond hard drive and SSD installation, there were really two points that did require a bit of fuss during assembly. The first is the power supply, which essentially "snaps" into place but still didn't feel quite as clean as the other parts of the case did. I had to apply some measure of force to get it in, and from there it felt...mostly secure. In that instance I did wind up using screws to secure it in the back of the enclosure, and for those that are concerned, there's ventilation (and a removable filter) beneath the power supply. My other snag came with installing a 120mm fan in the side panel. There are vibration-dampening rubber grommets included, but these pop out relatively easily and so installation effectively requires lining up three elements instead of two: the fan, the grommets, and the screw holes. I was able to do it, but case fans almost never feel like they mount right and this was no exception.

After all was said and done, my only major complaint was, surprisingly, cable routing. I had issues with this with the Antec P182 and again with the Corsair 600T, and I was hoping I wouldn't run into it here after our IN-WIN rep showed us some other models (we do have one more IN-WIN case on hand we'll be reviewing in the future) that had ample space behind the motherboard tray expressly for cabling. Getting the right-hand side panel back on proved to be an exercise in frustration and brute force, as it often tends to be with other enclosures, and my feeling is this: if you don't have enough space behind your motherboard tray for a molex connector to stand on its side, you don't have enough space. Mercifully the BUC's side panels are fairly flexible and can bow enough to handle it (unlike, say, the P182/183), but this is an issue that we shouldn't even be having at this point. I'm willing to accept a case that's a half inch wider if it means I don't have to grunt every time I put the side panel back on.

In and Around the IN-WIN BUC Testing Methodology
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  • Gigantopithecus - Monday, May 9, 2011 - link

    Methodology looks very sound and I hope that Anandtech will be able to continue adding new cases to see how they stack up against each other (ha) while keeping the internal components constant.
  • Silenus - Monday, May 9, 2011 - link

    Nice to see case reviews from time to time.

    I'd love to see some Fractal Designs cases reviewed. Especially some of the new ones coming. I am chomping at the bit to get a better look at the Arc Midi Tower and the Arc Mini!
  • XiZeL - Monday, May 9, 2011 - link

    mee too :) really want to know how the silent ones performe. might be changing my antec p183 for an FD define r3 or xl
  • ymrtech - Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - link

    I have a define R3. and holy shit i love it. replaced my cooler master HAF 922 with this. it's quiet as hell and also keeps my innards all nice and cool. i have a noctua noctua nh-d14 on my i7-960 and it idles around 38C and my 6870 twin frozr with fans at 40% idles around 34C. considering the noise it DOESN'T make, the price, the quality of the materials used, and the overall workmanship. i would reccomend it to EVERYONE.
    another good case to check out is the fractal design core 3000, it's like 90$ tax and shipping in (ncix) and it looks pretty top notch.
  • Mumrik - Monday, May 9, 2011 - link

    I'd rather have had one and eight or nine internal 3½" bays...

    I have one optical drive that I never use and six harddrives and only more to come.
  • SquattingDog - Monday, May 9, 2011 - link

    Clearly you've never used hot-swap bays then or thought about the fact that you can mount 4+ 3.5" drives in the space of 3x 5.25" bays with a 120mm cooling fan to boot (Lian Li do such a product and are not the only ones). Personally I would rather have seen FOUR 5.25" bays for this very purpose. Otherwise you can always get single hot-swap bays to go 5.25" --> 3.5".

    It's about different horses for different courses really - perhaps you should be looking at an eATX full tower instead?

    Other food for thought, as I have been down this road before: if you have drives which are <2TB (hell, even if they are 2TB - you can now get 3TB drives), then secure erase and sell off your old drives and buy fewer larger drives. :)
  • Taft12 - Monday, May 9, 2011 - link

    You can't have enough 5.25" bays. SATA can be hot-swapped, take advantage of this great feature!

    (shameless plug, not associated with iStar, just a very satisfied customer!)
  • bji - Monday, May 9, 2011 - link

    Just curious ... how much content do you have to steal to fill six harddrives?

    I personally have never filled more than 30 gb or so of a disk; I could see filling maybe 100 GB tops if I kept all of my home movies and photos on my local disk instead of in the cloud. I guess if you're a real 'power user' and buy lots of software and games maybe you'd fill another 200 GB? I just can't imagine filling more than 300 GB unless you're stealing content. Of course I know that there are the exceptional case where someone has, e.g. a photography business or something and they need to store terabytes of data legitimately but ... somehow I doubt that every person I see complaining about, e.g. the small size of SSDs, or the inability to put more than 6 hard drives in a case, has a legal use for all of that space.

    On the upside for me, I am perfectly happy with a single 80 GB Intel SSD in my desktop and will be for years to come. SSDs are now in the price range where for my usage, they are cheap enough and are only getting better as they get faster.
  • Klinky1984 - Monday, May 9, 2011 - link

    Oh yes, they must be stealing content. No one ever backups their DVD or BR collection, no one ever edits HD video. No one ever has thousands of high resolution photographs or large photo editing project files to deal with. No one ever has hard drives to put in a RAID setup for performance or redundancy reasons. Yep, must be stealing content, because _you_ can't think of any legitimate use.

    Shall we just make it illegal to own multiple hard drives?
  • JarredWalton - Monday, May 9, 2011 - link

    For the record, just my AnandTech folder for the past four years checks in at a respectable 70GB. Add in my personal pictures and that's another 30GB. I just upgraded cameras and can now shoot 1080p24 video, which only chews up around 1.3GB for a 10 minute clip. Since the start of 2011, I've only sucked down 13GB with home videos of my family, and I don't even shoot video more than a few times per month!

    My desktop has a 1TB hard drive that is around 70% full, because I happen to play games on it. My Steam folder currently sits at nearly 200GB, and I haven't even installed most of my Steam games on this system (e.g. I don't have the original Half-Life, or the various HL2 episodes, installed). Honestly, I can't even get by with less than 256GB of storage on a system that I plan to use for "everything", which is why SSDs are tough to use on a single drive laptop.

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