Cooling, Noise, and Final Thoughts

Temperature Testing and Noise

Temperatures were taken using RealTemp and GPU-Z. Noise readings were made using a digital sound pressure meter from a distance of 18".

Test Platform
Processor Intel Pentium G3258 "Anniversary Edition"
Motherboard Gigabyte H81N Mini-ITX
Memory Samsung 4GB 1600MHz DDR3 (OEM)
Graphics Card ASUS AMD Radeon R7 260X
Storage OCZ Vertex 460 120GB SSD
Cooling Noctua NH-U9B SE2
Power Supply SilverStone Strider Gold ST55F-G 550W
OS Windows 8.1 64-bit

Temperatures were extremely good from the D Frame mini, as it is rather well ventilated! The side panels did help to direct air upwards when the case was in the standard orientation, and with my CPU directed upward I had a very efficient thermal setup with the enclosure's inverted motherboard position.

Since the D Frame mini is in many ways an open enclosure, the noise output is going to be almost entirely component-dependent. My test setup includes a low-noise Noctua air cooler and a very quiet ASUS dual-fan Radeon R7 260X, so the noise output was minimal.

Pairing up a louder CPU/GPU cooling solution would create some significant noise increases from the open perimeter of the enclosure.

Conclusion

The In Win D Frame mini is a product that defies convention. It is like the concept car before a final production model is introduced. While there are unique, useful concepts to the enclosure's design, the presentation challenges the end user to accept a radical departure. This shouldn't surprise anyone who has looked at In Win in the past, as the company puts style first (check out our previous review of the In Win 901).

The cost of the enclosure presented another challenge when trying to decide how to rate the D Frame mini. $350 is very expensive, and immediately puts the potential market into a tiny subset of the enthusiast community. This is sold as an "ultimate" portable gaming enclosure, but the dual-slot GPU limitation is potentially restrictive as there are larger cards that need a little more space (and triple-slot cards, as well). And a knock against the "portability" would be the overall size of this case, which is closer to the size of a micro-ATX case.

Still, with all drawbacks considered, I will simply judge the enclosure on its own merit and look past the price tag for a moment. In Win has created a product with incredibly high quality here. The aluminum construction is superb, right down to the back plate (which is the most impressive one I've ever seen on an enclosure). The D Frame mini doesn't just feel solid, it feels like I could throw it across the room and it would be perfectly fine. The side panels are glass, but tinted just enough to obscure the cables behind the motherboard, which adds to the appearance of the case.

Though glass, the side panels are tinted enough to help hide a cable mess on the back

Final Words

The In Win D Frame mini is a unique solution that defies convention and showcases some of the best contruction you'll ever see. It is large for mini-ITX, and looks like it could survive anything with its welded frame exoskeleton and colorful bumpers. If you like the design and have the money, it's a fantastic case. But the radical design and high price tag might be more than the market can bear. We shall see.


Strengths

  • Stunning design
  • Unmatched build quality
  • Very easy to build with
  • Provides a clean-looking build with some care

Weaknesses

  • Very expensive
  • Open design makes it impractical around small children and pets
  • No way to control dust

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