As much as we PC enthusiasts pride ourselves on building our own PCs, what we often end up doing in the end is closer to “assembling” than “building.” Unless you’re doing liquid cooling or some other advanced setup, parts usually come complete in-box and we simply slot and screw them together. InWin’s newest PC cases, the Airforce (ATX) and Explorer (Mini-ITX), are trying to add a bit more DIY spirit to the PC case, which is one of the traditionally less interactive parts of building a PC. But they’re not without drawbacks.
Coming with both color and pure black (for the Airforce) or pure white (for the Explorer) options, each of these cases has its own “modular” frame pieces that need to be installed by the user. Don’t take “modular” to mean you’ll be getting a ton of functionality options, though. Instead, your choices will be largely aesthetic.
In other words, if you choose the “Justice White” color scheme for either the Airforce or the Explorer, you’ll get to choose whether your case will have a red side frame on top and a blue side frame on bottom, or vice versa. Similarly, do you want your yellow vent filter (or front panel, for the Explorer) on the front or the back?
Meanwhile, the parts for the Airforce’s “Phantom Black” color scheme and the Explorer’s “Bone White” color scheme all match each other, so despite having to put the case together yourself, your end product will look the same as everyone else’s. In that case, you’re just getting a “build-it-yourself” chassis for the sake of it.
That might be worth it, though, as the Justice White color scheme won’t be for everyone. Coming across as a mix between an off-brand Gundam peripheral and a Fisher Price toy, its modular parts are all red, blue, white and yellow. Even if you get to choose where to place some of those colors, you will still have to use them all to have a complete build.
That’s especially problematic for the Mini-ITX Explorer case, which must sit on yellow feet that really bring home the “children’s toy” aesthetic.
Regardless, we love to see this sort of Lego mentality coming to PC cases. While the Justice White color scheme is definitely for the bold, we could see future, standalone replacement parts making for some major customizability down the line. Ideally, we’d be able to buy, say, vent filters for every color of the rainbow and essentially build our own color scheme.
Of course, that’s all still up in the air. But personally, I’d love to be able to swap the colors on my chassis a few years in without needing to get a whole new one.
In the here and now, though, these pre-selected color schemes are all we have. Regardless of what you go for, though, the Explorer case will always come with support for up to 330mm triple slot GPUs, 160mm ATX PSUs and up to 240mm radiators. It’ll also have two storage drive slots and come with three RGB Luna AL120 fans.
The Airforce Mid-Tower’s specs include support for up to 12x13 inch E-ATX motherboards, GPUs up to 390mm in length, 120mm tall CPU heatsinks, 180mm PSUs and up to four storage drives. It’s also got room for seven fans and includes four RGB Luna AL120 fans with your purchase.
Both cases also have plenty of front panel I/O, with USB type C and Type A ports as well as 3.5mm input and output jacks.
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Michelle Ehrhardt is an editor at Tom's Hardware. She's been following tech since her family got a Gateway running Windows 95, and is now on her third custom-built system. Her work has been published in publications like Paste, The Atlantic, and Kill Screen, just to name a few. She also holds a master's degree in game design from NYU.
I find this DIY concept actually interesting though, to be honest.Reply