In Win recently released their new BUC mid-tower case to their DESTINY-Lite series. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one to review. How will it compare to it's big brother, the Dragon Rider? Would it make a good candidate for your next build? Well read on to find out more.
Now I'm usually the type to go for large, full-tower type cases, like my Thermaltake Armor or my current HAF X. Mid-towers typically lack the space and features that most full-towers do. However, when space is an issue or you just don't want a gigantic case on or under your desk, the mid-tower fits the bill. So without further adieu, let's see how this one stacks up!
The BUC comes in a a nice glossy full-color box. The film you can see seems to be some kind of protective film on the box. I was able to easily peel it off and it did no harm and left no residue, but why it's there I'm still not sure.
The opposite side has a nice full-color graphic, along with some small feature bubbles at the bottom.
This end shows the specifications of the case.
The other end shows the features in a colorful and picturesque manner.
The case comes shipped like 99% of them do today; wrapped in a plastic bag, then sandwiched between 2 pieces of foam. This case came in plain styrofoam, unlike some cases today that come in a layered closed-cell foam. It did it's job though, as the case arrived without a scratch or dent on it.
Once out of it's styrofoam and plastic packaging, you can get a good look at it. The side panel is meshed and has rubber grommets to allow you to mount a pair of 120mm fans for additional cooling. There is a small locked door that gives you access to the SATA hot-swap bays, but more on that later. It comes equipped with 7 expansion slots and a bottom-mounted PSU. A nice feature with this case is the PSU can be mounted with the fan up or down, to suit your preference or needs. The top of the front panel includes 2 USB 2.0 ports, an audio and mic jack, an e-SATA port, and the power and reset buttons.
The box inside contains the keys to the hot-swap door, a speaker, zip ties, a molex to 3-pin fan adapter, all the mounting hardware, and a bag full of screws and rubber grommets to secure your HDD into the hot-swap trays.
With the side panel removed, you can see the HDD bays and 5.25" bay tool-free mechanisms. One thing I didn't show here but love are the clips to remove both side panels (seen in the pictures above). You simply pop the clips, then slide the panel back and out. No more thumbscrews!
One thing I like about this case is that the USB 3.0 cable runs through the top panel and out the back, unlike some others that run through the inside then out through a grommet in the back. The rear 120mm fan is rubber-mounted as well, for a nice touch. You can also see the pair of rubber grommets to accommodate an external radiator.
Here you can see the top-mounted 120mm exhaust fan, and the easily removable PSU intake filter. The top fan is held into the top panel by two clips and is easily removed.
The top of the case sports this nice little compartment with the USB 3.0 connector in it. This will allow you to plug in your external HDD or what have you and have someplace safe to set it down as well. It also makes a nice spot to put your keys or other small items you don't want getting lost on your desk.
The front panel comes off with 3 small clips accessed from the inside, then opens to the opposite side. You need to loosen all the cables in order to get the panel off far enough to access the 120mm intake fan and it's filter though, which can be a little annoying.
The HDD trays simply snap into place. To get them out, you pinch the tabs and pull. They've also included a nice handle to help pull them out. Once in they lock securely into place.
These are the tool-free PCI retaining clips. These are by far the best tool-free clips I've ever used in a case. They're easy to unlatch, and once you have something installed, it's held in very tightly.
This shot shows the rear of the motherboard tray and the SATA hot-swap rack. The top 4 bays are hot-swappable, and the bottom is not. This makes partial sense. First, the top and bottom trays aren't accessible through the side door, only the middle 3. The trays each have their own SATA data cable, and the power cable are tied into pairs, so you only need to plug in 2 power connections for the 4 drives.
This shot shows the close-ups of the HDD system. The top tray is labeled "System" and is not accessible from the outside door. Each tray is labeled for either a 3.5" or 2.5" HDD or SSD. You can secure a 3.5" drive with the provided screws and rubber grommets, and the 2.5" drives through the bottom of the tray, also with the provided screws.
One thing that doesn't make much sense is that the hot-swap door locks, as it only takes 2 seconds to pop the clips and remove the entire side panel. Strange.
I was notified by InWin that the side panel does indeed have a locking mechanism that I failed to notice (see picture below). It actually swings out from the frame when needed, rather than bolting in or out, which is a neat feature. This makes much more sense with the locking hot-swap door.
- Ultra X3 800W PSU
- ASUS P5E Deluxe
- Core 2 Quad Q6600
- Corsair H50 CPU cooler
- 6GB DDR2-800
- 500GB WD Caviar Black HDD
- XFX Radeon 6870
- 5-port USB 2.0 PCI expansion card
- Lite-On SATA Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive
Installing a system into this case was quick and relatively pain-free. I've got a few gripes though. First, the cable management setup is decent, but I was hoping for a little more flexibility. There's only a few small holes with which to route your cables, and it can get tight and unorganized at times. Luckily I didn't have any drives in the bottom 4 trays, so I was able to hide some of the cables in there. Also, trying to insert a tray with a HDD installed into the case can be difficult, as the tray seems to bind up. This isn't a problem for the top and bottom, but for the 3 middle hot-swap bays it can be a tad annoying trying to pull that tray out from the hole in the side panel.
The front 5.25" bay covers are easily removed with a pinch of their locking tabs. When a drive is installed, is sits flush and lines up nicely for a clean look. The 5.25" retainers are easy to use. You simply pull the knobs out, insert your drive, and push them back in. They held my DVD drive in nice and securely.
Here is another issue with this case. They give you this cutout, presumably for the motherboard's 4-pin or 8-pin connector. However, you can forget about getting the connector through with the board installed. You need to put the cable through, then install the board. The hole needs to go up a tad further to allow to cable installation after the motherboard. Also, the cutout for the CPU cooler back plate is large, but need to be a little taller as well. I had my cooler back plate already mounted before I installed the board, so I didn't have any issues, but it is something to note.
With the rig switched on, the front 120mm fan emits the standard blue glow, but luckily it's somewhat broken up by the light red glow from the In-Win logo. It's bright enough to be seen during the day, but not overpowering in the dark. It has it's own 2-pin connector as well, so if you prefer you can just leave it unplugged. The three 120mm fans are relatively quiet, although the mesh side panel lets a little more noise out than a windowed or solid side panel would. It is by no means loud though.
- Sturdy, solid construction
- USB 3.0 support
- Hot swap accessible without having to remove entire side panel
- Hot swap bays lockable
- Tray on top panel
- Rubber mounts included for optional fans and 3.5" drives
- MB standoffs built into MB tray - no need for separate parts
- Both interior fans are color-matched to fit the overall theme of the case
- No thumbscrews on side panels!
- Hot swap trays difficult to install and remove
- The hole on the tray for the 4- or 8-pin MB connector is too small
- MB back plate cutout could be bigger
- Front panel tough to remove
- Front and top fans not rubber-mounted
Hot swap door locks, but side panel does not
All in all the BUC is a well-rounded mid-tower case. It's got the best tool-free PCI mounting system I've seen to date, and the case is solid and well built. The only issues I had were with the HDD hot-swap trays and cable management. If those issues wouldn't have been present, I would have given it a 5/5 easily.
It can currently be found on NewEgg for $99.99, so it fits into the price range of most decent mid-tower cases. It's definitely worth a look for your next build.
This product was provided free of charge, by its manufacturer for the purpose of review