Putting Stuff in the D-Frame

As amazing as the D-Frame looks, it isn't 100% practical but not wildly impractical either if you can live without some of the relatively common features you'd find on an upper end case. For example, you can't install half a dozen hard drives or more than a single optical drive. If configured as a gaming rig the D-Frame's handful of storage bays should suffice.

Installing hardware into the D-Frame is very easy -- even more so than working with a well-made full tower -- mostly because its open design provides access to the guts from more positions.

The open-air design also makes it extremely easy to route cables but you'll want to take your time as wires are highly visible from all angles.

In Win has constructed the motherboard tray from a single piece of aluminum that has an intricate looking cable management system. Surprisingly, despite all the case's holes, In Win didn't make the motherboard CPU socket cutout large enough so most of the boards we tried didn't fit, including the Asrock Z77 Extreme11 seen in our photos.

Installing a CPU cooler with your motherboard already fitted to the tray might not be possible depending on the socket location. On the bright side, there's 60 to 70mm of clearance behind the motherboard tray to run thick cables.

Speaking of cables, In Win has included an assortment of cable clamps that can be fixed to various locations and really help tidy things up.

Depending on the motherboard used, it should be possible to install three or even four full length graphics cards. We tested with the GeForce GTX 580 but we installed a pair of Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition cards for the photos.

With the power supply and storage devices installed, we outfitted the D-Frame with an aftermarket cooler. The Prolimatech Megahalems is usually our go-to pick and while we used it for testing, it's technically too tall for the D-Frame so you'll see the Thermaltake SpinQ in our photos.

Since the D-Frame doesn't come with any fans, you'll likely at least want to set one up on your CPU cooler and doing so might avoid the need for any case fans at all. Easy airflow is one of the biggest perks associated with open-air cases such as the D-Frame, though they aren't without some drawbacks.

For instance, dust can be a major issue and there's no point to using dust filters on fans with such an open construction. Additionally, even if you don't install any chassis fans, noise from the CPU and GPU coolers is much more audible with open enclosures.

With everything installed, we connected all the cables. Since the motherboard is mounted horizontally (sideways), the cables all connect at the top of the case and we found that this layout made it easy to hide all the cables for a clean appearance.