Intel Core 2 Duo Q9450 @ 3.2 GHZ
MSI 680i Diamond
4GB (effective 3.2gb)Super Talent DDR2 @ 1066MHZ
Western Digital Raptor 75GB
Windows XP Pro 32bit
Testing cases is another one of those odd “benchmarks”, as the main test of any case, is what features it has, and whether its cooling options are quiet. The features are detailed in the look at the case itself, but individual ones will be looked into during the testing to highlight any problems or particularly innovations we liked.
We also have a rather unique test termed the case “strength” test. This involves yours truly standing on said case, and checking how it reacts in terms of flexing. This test is detailed more here.
The Maelstrom handled this test without a flex. Nothing on the case moved at all, and save for the non-handles on the front, I’d say it was more than capable of taking a beating while in the back of a car, or getting lugged around at a Lan party without any fear of damage to your internal components.
In this department I would say the Maelstrom is pretty well equipped. It’s got industry standard 120mm fans throughout – which depending on personal opinion probably look either great to you, or awful – with one at the front, back and top of the case. There’s also a giant 220mm fan situated on the side panel which pulls a lot of air into the case. The only problem with this one however – in comparison to the front intake – is that the entire side panel is dust filter free. This is a rather large oversight in terms of cooling as it’ll be sucking in large quantities of dust, that the front intake would otherwise have filtered out. Even with the fan turned off, practically the whole panel is grilled, so expect some dust build up because of this.
Even with all the fans whirring away, the low RPM impellers combined with the sound proofing material along the side panels did a stand-up job in keeping the system quiet. To describe the noise levels, it’s not silent, but getting there. Silence enthusiasts would be more than happy with this if they don’t mind a mild background hum, and it’s certainly quiet enough for the average user to not notice.
The InWin Maelstrom has an interesting “back” to the motherboard tray, as it’s almost completely solid, initially giving the impression of very little space for cable management. However, on closer inspection there is quite a gap behind the motherboard tray that would allow for excess cabling to be routed there.
That said, there isn’t as much room as some cases so it’s not perfect, but still provides enough room for some pretty good management.
The InWin Maelstrom costs a pretty paltry ammount considering the cooling and features you get, running up only £65.