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InWin IW-BM643

While the above-discussed Foxconn RS-338(L) differs from the earlier-tested RS-224 in both design and functionality (the lack of a second expansion slot, a different PSU), the InWin IW-BM643 is almost an exact replica of the well-known InWin IW-BM648. That’s why this description is going to be brief and focused on the nuances which were not duly highlighted in our earlier review of this model’s twin.

 

The exterior design has changed since the model we tested but the plump outline is unmistakable. The front panel has got rid of a decorative faceplate above the I/O connectors, but the latter are left intact. Unfortunately, the USB connectors are still too close to each other, so you may have problems using them concurrently.

The buttons are not as convenient as in the earlier model. Both the Power and the Reset are cut out in the plastic of the front panel. The Power button was the only one designed like that in the IW-BM648 model and it could be pressed easier thanks to the larger cutout. The IW-BM643 can easily slip back under your pressure because the buttons are very stiff.

The Power and Disk indicators are too large to be not distracting in darkness.

The InWin sticker and the icons pressed out on the buttons indicate that this computer case is meant to stand upright although the overall design suggests horizontal positioning as well.

Looking at the back panel, we can measure up the dimensions. This computer case, when standing upright, is somewhat broader and taller than the Foxconn. Its depth is somewhat smaller, though.

The IW-BM643 comes with a minimum of accessories: screws, four self-adhesive rubber feet, a mains cord, and a user guide.

 

The mounting frame for an optical drive makes this InWin similar to the above-discussed Antec ISK 310-150 but hard disks are installed elsewhere.

 

The HDD rack supports two devices (one 2.5-inch and one 3.5-inch drive). It is located next to the mainboard from the side of expansion cards.

The IW-BM643 offers the most optimal combination of drive bays as it allows installing a fast SSD as a system disk and a conventional 3.5-inch HDD as file storage. It could only be better if each bay were compatible with both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives.

There is an integrated PC speaker on the front panel of the chassis, near the I/O connectors.

The optical drive’s mounting plate is monumental but provokes a number of inconveniences.

  

In fact, the assembly process went well until we got down to installing our optical drive. We had only had some problems with our graphics card. Although a compact Radeon HD 6450, it was nearly pressed against the PSU located in the front of the chassis.

Of course, a full-size optical drive was going to make the interior even more cramped, but we didn’t foresee the full extent of that problem.

The maximum cooler height is limited to the dimensions of a standard Intel boxed cooler. The gap between it and the optical drive is no larger than a couple of millimeters. That’s what we might expect, though.

The optical drive’s mounting plate, the optical drive itself, the installed expansion card and the PSU are positioned in such a way that they block most paths for cables. We had to squeeze and tamp them with much force in the available holes. This looks like a design shortcoming to us.

The cable from the front-panel USB connectors could reach to the mainboard’s USB header before we installed the optical drive but now it lacks a couple of centimeters because it has to go round the drive’s case. This downside may not show up with mainboards that have a different component layout, though.

Well, if you don’t use an optical drive and remove its mounting plate, the IW-BM643 will offer enough room for a serious CPU cooler while every cable is connected and laid out without any problem. So, we’d recommend choosing another computer case if you can’t do without an optical drive.

The IW-BM643 is cooled by a slim 80x80x15mm fan Y.S.TECH FD128015LL that works at 2270 RPM according to our monitoring data. The fan isn’t loud (it is small and its slim form-factor lowers its noise).

The matte optical drive doesn’t match the glossy front panel of the case while it would be difficult to find a drive with glossy front. Well, the IW-BM643 is hardly a design masterpiece anyway.

Highs:

  • Compatible with both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives
  • Integrated PC speaker
  • Affordable price

Lows:

  • Hard to assemble unless you don’t install an optical drive
  • Poor design of the Power and Reset buttons
  • Poor ventilation
  • Single-use expansion-slot brackets
 
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