Antec Nine Hundred Two Review
Reviewed by: tacohunter52
Reviewed on: February 15, 2009
If you decide to spend hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on an insane computer, you're going to want the case to look as good as the hardware you stuff inside it. While some people may live by the paradigm, "It's whats on the inside that counts," it's these types who usually can't tell the difference between a microwave and a toaster oven. The real Gamers/Enthusiasts know that you need a sweet chasis for your rig. If the case looks great, that's awesome, and looks should be considered an added bonus. A great computer case needs to have good airflow, hopefully some kind of noise reduction, lots of space; and most importantly did I mention good airflow? If a case has all of these, it usually looks cool. The case I'll be reviewing is what I will call the sequel to Antec's popular Nine Hundred case - the Nine Hundred Two. With a 200X30mm top exhaust fan, two 120X25mm front intake fans with fan controllers, one rear exhaust fan, and room for 2 more fans, this case looks like a mid-tower beast. Because the case is a mid-tower, I'm curious on how things will fit in. Video cards seem to be getting bigger by the generation, so hopefully Antec has made room for any card to fit.
According to Antec, the Nine Hundred was one of the best selling gaming cases. This could be true as many people use an Antec case of some sort: the Three Hundred; Nine Hundred; or Twelve Hundred. The Nine Hundred Two is supposed to build upon the design of the original Nine Hundred. It should have increased air flow, as well as a dominating new look. If the Nine Hundred was 3 times better then the Three Hundred, then the Nine Hundred Two should be 2 times better then the original. Will this case be the new "Ultimate Gaming Case"? Let's find out!
Antec took a more pleasant approach to the boxes design then usual. Instead of trying to cram it full of logos and specifications, we are greeted with a picture of the top portion of the case, as well as the Antec logo in the top left and along the bottom section. Additionally, there is the case name and a description of how this is the "Ultimate Gaming Case Evolved." I'm hoping it will live up to its title.
The back of the box reveals three pictures of the Nine Hundred Two, along with three columns. Each of these columns contain specifications in different languages. The Antec logo keeps its home in the top left corner, while the three other corners are populated with a Quiet Computing logo, some brief information about contacting Antec, and the bar code/pictures of junk (aka umbrellas, wine glasses, hands, and the recycle logo). Both sides sport separate pictures of the product with brief descriptions; one with all the special bits and where they are located and the other with a brief description of why the Nine Hundred Two is the Ultimate Gaming Case.
Upon opening the box, we see the top of the case tightly wedged between to pieces of foam. This is where we get our first glimpse of the "Big Boy." upon removal of the case, I was pleased to see that absolutely nothing had been damaged. The plastic did have a slight rip towards the bottom of the case. The way things are shipped these days, it wasn't unexpected.
The case was completely black, inside and out, just as pictured on the box. The case came preloaded with 3 120X25mm fans, and one massive 200X30mm fan at the top. From the looks of it, this thing can move some planet size amounts of air, making it better at cooling your solar system size hardware. As with most cases, the Nine Hundred Two has two side doors, one windowed and one you probably won't open. The windowed side door has a slot for another fan, but sadly Antec did not supply one. I did need to use some force while opening the side door for the first time. It seemed to be painted shut or at least factory tight.
Aside from looking cool, the front of the case doesn't have a whole lot to offer you. You have your typical 2 USB slots, an eSATA port, and your audio ports. The audio ports are not color coded with the usual green and pink. This could be problematic for users who are new to computers, who do not know that the MIC is to the left or the other on the right. The first three grills are removable, allowing you to access your drive bays. This gives you the ability to use three optical drives or two optical drives and a floppy drive, or whatever else you can come up with to stick in a 5.25 drive bay. The remaining six grills cover the 2 front fans. If you decide DVD/Blu-Ray burners are more important than airflow, you can pull out the fans. This will give you three more drive bays per fan, giving you a grand total of nine drive bays.
The back of the case is a little different than what you'll usually see. It is becoming more and more popular for the PSU to be located on the bottom of a case. Antec seemed to follow this trend. Located in the PSU's old home is an exhaust fan and the ports for your motherboard. Directly under this is room for eight expansion slots. This will give you enough room to have multiple GPU's as well as a few other things crammed into this baby. A thing that I thought was pretty neat, were the two holes located on the back. They are slightly bigger than usual and made of rubber that easily bends. This will make it much easier for people planing to mount a water cooling setup in this case. Located above the rear exhaust fan is the controller for both the "Big Boy", and the rear fan. With this you can turn on the "Big Boy's" blue LED's, increase the "Big Boy's" fan speed, and increase the fan speed of the rear exhaust fan.
The top of the case holds the "Big Boy." It is a 200X30mm fan that looks like it could change any computer from a glorified space heater, into your own personal mini-fridge - just don't keep beer in it! The bottom of the case was well, your typical case bottom.
This case looks like Antec genetically enhanced a Stealth Bomber into a computer case. In other words, pure awesomeness. Other than that and its 200X30mm fan at the top, the Nine Hundred two doesn't have anything out of the ordinary. It fits all motherboard sizes that are normal ATX and smaller, and we know it has a couple of hidden fans that are armed and ready to move air. So what does this case look like under its hood? Let's find out.
The Nine Hundred Two looks like it can move massive amounts of air. It has a total of four fans that come with it, plus the option to add two more if need be. On top of that, every fan has its own speed controller, so if you're getting hot, you can turn up the fan speeds and use your PC as an AC. There are two 120X25mm fans located at the front, the only down side to this is that this is the same place where your HDD bays are located. The first three HDD slots are blocked by an optional GPU fan socket, although the bottom three are easily accessible. If you own a large GPU and want it to be located in the correct slot, you will need to remove the optional GPU fan. This will do two things for you. One - you'll actualy be able to install your GPU. Two - it will open up three more HDD bays although the GPU will probably block at least one of them. The top half of the case is covered in what Antec calls the "Big Boy." The Massive fan looks like it could cool the whole case and your entire room on its own, and I bet it could do a damned near impressive job at it. On the back of the case near the PSU, we have the exhaust fan. Directly to the left is where all the motherboard inputs are located. The windowed side door is home to the second optional fan.
Every fan that came with the Nine Hundred Two has its own fan controller. The two 120X25mm fans at the front of the case both have a little knob, that you can turn in order to increase or decrease fan speed. The only times I can ever imagine anyone decreasing fan speeds would be for the noise, and you'll be glad to hear that the two front fans weren't the noisy ones. Both the back 120X25mm fan and the Massive 200X30mm "Big Boy" share a fan controller in the back. This controller is a little more intuitive than the knobs on the front fans. You have three speed positions for the "Big Boy" and the rear exhaust fan. Low, Medium, and High for the "Big Boy", the rear fan only gets Low and High. On the rear fan controller, you are also given the option to enable the "Big Boy's" blue LED. Doing so will brighten up your case, your room, and hopefully your day.
The Nine Hundred Two has three easily accessible slots for your optical drives located directly above the first front fan. If you are still using a floppy drive or have some other need for a 3.25 drive bay, Antec supplies a 3.25" converter. Along with the 3.25" converter, you will also receive assorted screws and pegs in order to firmly secure your motherboard to the case. On the back of the case you can see the eight expansion slots. To the right of these, are the holes you can use to run hoses out of your case if you decide you need liquid to keep your CPU cold.
On the very bottom of the case Antec rightfully lets us know that the Nine Hundred Two was trully..."An ANTEC DESIGN."
So how does everything fit inside? The mobo, RAM, CPU, HSF, sound card, and PSU all were easily put into the case. The only trouble was when trying to install the GTX 260. While keeping the optional fan holder, it would not fit. This is okay if you're only planning on using one GPU, because you can move the fan down. The only problem with doing this is that the optional fan is meant to blow over your graphics cards. If it wont fit in the case with a larger GPU, then there is really no point in even using it. While installing the hard drive, I encountered another possible malfunction. The only way to properly fasten a HDD in place is to remove four thumb screws from both sides of the case. After doing this you need to slide out the HDD bay, and then you can install your hard drive. Or you could just place your hard drive where you want it and fasten it with ducktape - it's your choice! Without using anything extra, you will be able to do a pretty decent job at wire management. You can slide most of the connectors under the MOBO tray. On the flip side, you'll find two tabs which you can use to secure your wires. I shoved the wires that I was not using into the HDD bay directly in front of my PSU. Doing so renders the second front fan useless, but unless you put your remaining wires under the MOBO tray, you'll hinder the fan anyway. If you're like me (pray you're not), you'll probably buy some zip ties and fasteners in order to do a more thorough wire management job.
Now that we're familiar with the case, and how everything fits in. Let's see how it performs.
External 3 x 5.25"; Internal 6 x 3.5" for HDD, or External 6 x 5.25"; Internal 3 x 3.5" for HDD, or External 9 x 5.25”
- Advanced cooling system:
- 1 rear 120 x 25mm TriCool™ blue LED exhaust fan
- 1 top 200 x 30mm “Big Boy” TriCool™ blue LED exhaust fan
- 2 front 120 x 25mm special black blue LED intake fans with front speed control
- 1 side (Optional) 120 x 25mm fan mount
- 1 middle (Optional) 120mm fan mount
- Built-in washable air filters
- 8 expansion slots to support multiple graphics cards, including NVIDIA 3-way SLI®
- AQ3 - Antec Quality three-year parts and labor warranty
- Cable organizer behind motherboard tray minimizes cable clutter
- Front mounted I/O ports
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x eSATA
- Audio In and Out (AC’97 and HDA compatible)
- Motherboard: Mini-ITX, microATX, Standard ATX
All information courtesy ofAntec @ http://www.antec.com/usa/productDetails.php?lan=us&id=15920
I was very glad to see that all of my hardware fitted in with little frustration, and now that it has, it's time to see what Antec's case can do. Will it melt my hardware or make popsicles out of it? I'm hoping the latter, but let's find out. I will be using Core Temp, eVGA Precision, HDTune, SpeedFan, OCCT, and Prime95 in order to test the temperatures both at idle and under load. In order to get Idle temps, I will leave my system idling for an hour and recording the temperature after the time is up. In order to get load temperatures, I will run the appropriate benchmark for 3 hours (restarting the benchmark if necessary) in order to collect accurate load temps. For the GPU, I played Crysis for 2 hours while running F@H and recorded the highest Temperature.
- Processor: AMD 4800+
- Motherboard: Asus Crosshair 2 780a
- Memory: Corsair Dominator 2gb (800)
- Graphics Card: eVGA GTX 260
- Power Supply: HEC 750w
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 750gb SATA
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate
- Thermaltake Xaser VI Full Tower
- A Generic Mid Tower Case
I was very impressed with the performance of the Nine Hundred Two. In most cases, it performed just as well if not better than Thermaltake's full tower offering. Increasing the fan speeds decreased most temperatures by another 2-3 degrees Celcius. In my book, that is amazing. I had doubts at the beginning as to how well this case would perform, but Antec proved me wrong. In fact, the Nine Hundred Two might just replace the Xaser VI as the case to my main rig.
While the Nine Hundred Two may not have a screw less design, a secret drawer, or any other new intuitive perks, it does a damn good job at keeping your hardware very cool. They may need to think about coming out with a line of computer case scarfs and wooly mittens. In most cases, the Nine Hundred Two would perform just as well as Thermaltake's full tower Xaser VI and in some cases, better. Turning up all the fan speeds only decreased temps by another 2-3 degrees C. Antec claims that this is the best Gaming case available, and they aren't too far off. In fact, the only real downsides to this case is the Lack of USB ports and the difficulty of installing HDD's. I would personally recommend this case to any gamer/enthusiast. It looks cool and it will keep your rig cool. That is cool squared - it doesn't get much cooler than that! As for overclocking, the extra few degrees could be the small boost you need in order to increase your stability. The Nine Hundred Two definitely left an impression on me, and it just might be replacing my Xaser VI as my main rig.
To keep it short and simple, this case is one of the best I've ever used, and I hope Antec goes on to make an even better one. I give the Antec Nine Hundred Two an A for awesomeness.
- Four fans
- The "Big Boy"
- Controller for each fan
- Sweet looking design
- 8 expansion slots
- The abillity for nine drive bays
- Two more optional fans
- Can move massive amounts of air
- Only 2 USB slots
- Challenging HDD installation