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The InWin S500 ATX Case

Just when you feel comfortable with something, it changes. I've been using InWin cases, specifically the A500, for almost two years now. Getting quite long in the tooth, the familiar A500 is also an ATX super mid tower format. With the advent of slotkets and power hungry Athlons, the need arose for a motherboard home that wasn't as restricted inside as many typical side-mounted power supply units. InWin still manufactures the venerable A500; however, they have responded to overclocker's calls all over the world by marketing the improved A500. Introducing the all new, improved ATX InWin classic, the S500.

Factory Specifications
The S500
  • Fits ATX/Micro ATX/AT MB's
  • H*W*D = 16.5"*7.75"*18.3"
  • 3-5.25", 2-3.5" (ext), 2-3.5" (int)
  • Supplied With PowerMan 235W
  • Padlock Option
  • Gross Weight = 22 lbs. (10kg)
  • 7 I/O Slots
  • Japanese SECC Steel
  • Web Prices As Low As $37
What Can Be Seen From The Outside

As previously mentioned, the S500 is a super mid tower ATX design. The front panel sports two 3.5" bays, which are becoming increasingly rare these days. The top bays are three of the larger 5.25" type. Power and reset buttons have been moved to a more out of the way (and more out of reach) central right hand location. At the very bottom aren't just plastic decorations, they are functional air inlets. Hard drive in use and power LED's are the same wide angle view illuminators as used in most of InWin's lineup.

The rear packs a surprise or two. The power supply, which was previously mounted vertically, is now mounted horizontally, which frees up additional space for the extra case fan. The locking tab has been relocated from the center top to the center right rear. The S500 arrives with the standard ATX RF shield, although other standardized shields will fit (consult your MB manufacturer).

In order to access this jewel, pull the left and right side panels off by removing the two (each) screws. Notice the large, smooth indented "handles." If you tend to replace peripherals as much as I do, the side panel screws aren't required to keep the case from falling apart. Since the panels are split left and right, this means that the S500 has a top. The only way the top comes off is to remove the front panel and many other screws as denoted in the mechanical drawing. The good news is that you may not ever actually need to remove the top panel.

It's What's Inside That Counts

The outside merely whets one's proverbial whistle. After sliding off the left cover (just two screws), the inside is a lesson in simplicity and efficiency. Because the power supply has been pushed flat with the top, room abounds for MB and peripheral mounting. Motherboards with their power connectors in oddball spaces requiring an elongated harness presents no cause for concern. Unless that connector is somehow located at the very bottom of that oversized PC board, even extra short AT/ATX harnesses can be stretched to full capacity, not having its precious length wasted by winding around pesky CPU's and filter capacitors.

Without extreme modification, the S500 will swallow 3-5.25" and 4-3.5" devices. Since one of those will more than likely be a floppy, you're limited to a maximum of three hard drives if you can't mangle the IDE/SCSI cable enough to squeeze them into an available 5.25" slot.

Initially, I missed the absence of a slide out tray, where all the peripherals and processor could be mounted and then shoved into the case. The good news is that the tray is largely made redundant by the vast increase in useable interior space. Why include a feature that isn't needed?

For serious overclockers or for those who simply love to engage in fan wars, the ubiquitous bottom front fan is joined by a second central rear fan location. The rear of the factory PowerMan (Sparkle) supply has ventilation holes on it's bottom, so the logical orientation for the rear fan would be blowing out. Add that to the front fan inhaling cool air from the bottom and you get great, near hurricane airflow levels inside once the side cover is replaced.

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