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2003 Winter Case Review Part 2: The ATX Avalanche

Inwin IW-S564G-ATX, Continued

The USB 2.0 Multi-Format flash card reader is included with this case. Although it takes up a drive bay, it adds front-mounted USB/1394/MIC/headphone jacks that have been absent from previous Inwin models that we have reviewed.

The centerpiece of the latest in Inwin innovation is the USB 2.0 Multi-Format Flash Card reader and front-mounted port transfer device that comes mounted in the bottom 3.5" drive bay protected by a sliding door. We will just vent our criticism of this out now: the sliding door on our test unit didn't work well at all, and was poorly designed. We had difficulty even getting the door to slide down, and due to the amount of force we were required to place on the plastic door to move it, we were afraid that we were going to break it.

To Inwin's credit, the USB 2.0 port and 1394/Firewire port located on the front of the device are able to be connected internally to the headers on the motherboard. The MIC and headphone jacks can connect to the motherboard, as well. However, the one page assembly diagram does not offer any pin out information for this device, so connection is problematic if your motherboard doesn't follow the established standards.

Depending on what you are looking for, the IW-S654G might be just the ticket if you are looking for a high build quality solution without a lot of bell and whistles. The fact is, however, that with a suggested retail price of $99.00 US, there are a variety of other more attractive and robust options available; this makes the IW-S654G a tough sell. Based on the more aggressive bezel design and the black finish of the case, it looks like Inwin is heading in the right direction, but how long will it take them to get there? After all, when you can get a well constructed high feature robust aluminum case for the same price as the IW-S654G, then you might be better off to 'pass' on the IW-S654G. Still, it does provide a high quality solution for the OEM/White box market, and this is probably the group who will most likely snap this case up.