Antec 900 Advanced Gaming Case

kendellrt - 2007-08-15 08:17:23 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: kendellrt   
Reviewed on: September 4, 2007
Antec
Antec
Price: $129.99

Introduction:

When building a new computer, the case may be one of the most grueling components to choose. It is important to get a case that is aesthetically pleasing, but performs well also. You may be a hard-core modder, or maybe you are like me and just want a case that will do the job right out of the box. Cable management is important and what about the ability to take it to a LAN party or two? Is the case made for a gamer, an overclocker, or simply for a do-it-yourself kind of guy?

I had the opportunity to look at the Antec 900 Advanced Gaming Case. What a perfect name for your new frag box, right? I'm going to dig into this case and see whether it truly is the gamers dream, implied by the name.

First, here is a little about Antec, the maker of the Antec 900 Advanced Gaming Case:

"The year was 1986. Starbucks had only a few stores. Moustaches were still cool. The average PC had less memory than an iPod. And in Fremont, California, a little company named Antec was born, dedicated to providing customers with the most reliable, efficient, and high performance computer components. Twenty years later, Antec is a major global provider distributing in over 25 different countries, but the company’s vision has not changed: to enable elegant, powerful, and cutting edge computing."

Closer Look:

The Antec 900 arrived in a robust black box. On the front of the box is a picture of the case itself. The back and sides of the box show off some of its features in multiple languages. It has been packed well to avoid damage in shipping.

 

 

 

Inside the box, the case is wrapped in plastic and placed in foam to further prevent damage and scratching.

 

Closer Look: Case

The case itself is about the size of your average mid-tower. There are two 120mm intake fans on the front of the case. All nine 5.25" external drive bays are vented for better air flow. However, I did notice that not all of them have dust filters. There is a side panel window, while the rear of the case sports the typical I/O shield. This case is different in that it places the power supply at the bottom and has grommets already built-in for external water cooling - bonus!

 

 

 

 

 

The bottom of the case has rubber feet to help hold it in place on your desk or at a LAN party.

 

The most impressive site that you will feast your eyes on when you first see the Antec 900, is the gigantic 200mm exhaust fan on top! You will also find a top tray in between the fan and the top I/O panel, where you can place your MP3 player, digital camera or other similar device.

Closer Look: Working Components

The Antec 900 comes with a small box of modest accessories. There is a 5.25" to 3.5" drive bay adapter, as well as one designed specifically for a floppy drive or card reader. It includes a retention bracket to help secure your new full-size video cards and a few bags of assorted screws and motherboard standoffs. The manual comes in various languages and could definitely be more detailed.

 

 

 

The windowed side panel is secured with some small thumbscrews and is removed easily. Upon opening the case you will find that all of the included fans utilize 4-pin molex connectors and have a separate cable used to change the fan speeds from low, medium, or high. The Firewire, USB, audio, power and reset button cables extend from the top and are surely long enough to reach their corresponding headers on most of today's motherboards.

 

 

Once again we see the huge 200mm exhaust fan dominating the upper landscape of the case. This fan is also equipped to run at three different speeds. I attempted to find out what was under the hood of that fan, but, alas, it is attached with rivets and I could not remove it to get a better look. A better look at one of the fan speed controllers, shows that they are simple three way switchs on a small, stiff cable. The cable exits the fan next to the 4-pin molex connector.

 

 

I was able to get the front bezel off showing the nine modular 5.25" drive bays. Using the 5.25" floppy adapter and removing the drive bay covers to install more devices is simple.

 

Installation:

Installation began with putting the motherboard standoffs in the correct places for my particular motherboard. I then attempted to arrange the 4-pin molex fan connectors to see if I could outline some type of wire management plan. Next I installed the power supply. The I/O shield also had to be replaced with one that fit my motherboard.

 

 

 

 

Installing the motherboard was fairly easy; there was plenty of room to just drop it right in, even with the heatsink and fan attached. Next, I installed my video card. Note that this case does not have a tool-less design. Although I do not mind the lack of tool-less installation, it would have been nice to see a removable motherboard tray. The hard drive cages are held in the case by four thumbscrews on each side of the case. They are easily removed and installing the drives is a piece of cake.

 

 

The final picture shows the finished product and the only problem I really had with the Antec 900 case. The wire management on this case presents some unique challenges. The side panel behind the motherboard tray was no help when it came time to hiding the wires.

 

Specifications:

 

Case Dimensions

19.4”(H) x 18.4”(D) x 8.1”(W)

Drive Bays

-Front Accessible

-Internal

9

3 x 5.25”

6 x 3.5”/6 x 5.25”, 3 x 3.5”/9 x 5.25”

Expansion Slots

7

Cooling System

-1 rear 120mm Tri-cool Fan

-1 top 200mm Tri-cool Fan

-2 front 120mm Tri-cool Fans

-1 (optional) 120mm case fan on side panel

Main Board Size

12”(W) x 9.6”(L)

Weight (net/gross)

31/36 lbs

14.1/16.3 k

Motherboards

Standard ATX

 

Features:

 

Testing:

I tested all equipment in a Thermaltake Armor Full-Tower case, as well as the Antec 900. The CPU, chipset and hard drives were all tested under load using Orthos, while the temperatures were monitored with NVIDIA nTUNE and HD TUNE. The graphics card was tested under load using 3D Mark 2006 and the temperatures were monitored using nTUNE. All measurements are shown in Celsius. Lower numbers are better.

Testing Setup:

 

 

 

 

I expected to see an improvement in temperatures due to the massive 200mm fan in the Antec case. However, I never imagined to see the amazing results that came from the Antec case, especially with the poor wiring job that I had.

Testing:

The last tests were run with all of the fans set to "high." This time I ran the same tests but measured the difference in tempuratures between the three different fan speeds. As before, all measurements are in Celcius and lower numbers are better.

 

 

 

The results, once again, were consistent. The higher the fan speed, the lower the temperatures. The only case in which the Antec did not beat the Armor is in the hard drive category, which is no surprise as both cases are running the same size fans in front of the hard drives.

Conclusion:

The only thing that I can say about this case is, "wow!" It is made of high quality components and looks great. Aside from the wiring issue, I could not find anything disappointing about this case.  The modular drive bays allow you to place your hard disks and optical drives almost anywhere you want. Having built the 120mm front intake fans directly into the modular drive bays allows you to adjust the cooling system the way that you want. The sheer cooling power of this case is amazing. I assumed that the Antec 900 would perform well given its large case fans and built-in adjustable speed controllers. Another bonus is that you can change the speeds of the fans independent of each other as you please. Little did I know what a surprise I would be in for when I actually tested it. Not only is the 200mm adjustable speed exhaust fan enough to make even a modest gamer drool, but it really, really, works! There was a significant drop in temperatures in every category tested. An eight degree drop in idle CPU temps and a 13 degree drop in load CPU temps should be enough for a gamer to want to go out and buy this case right now! Even at the highest speeds, the fans are not very loud. The top tray is great for holding your MP3 player when synchronizing music, or placing your digital camera when migrating your pictures to your PC. When it comes right down to it, the Antec 900 Advanced Gaming Case truly is what it claims to be and is a perfect choice for your next system build, or next case upgrade.

 

Pros:

 

 

Cons: