Antec Three HundredMay 23rd, 2008 | By Jared
Antec Three Hundred
: 05/23/08 – 03:02:20 AM
Page 1 : Index
Just to hear Antec, I immediately think of quality power supplies and stylish cases. Antec has never been a company to go for the extreme looks but they rather aim for elegant and efficient designs.
With the success of their 900 case, Antec is following up that gamer's case with a sibling in the more subtle Antec 300 mid-tower case. Antec hopes to hit the same success with the 300 that they have had with the 900. Read on as we explore this latest offering from Antec.
Page 2 : Package and Accessories
First let's take a tour of the package.
The Antec 300 comes in a black box, with a picture of the top portion of the case adorning the front of the package. On the back are some additional photos along with some specifications.
On one side is another picture with some highlighted features. The other side contains a short paragraph again outlining some of the features included with the 300.
The 300 comes enclosed in a plastic cover and capped in styrofoam on top and bottom. This is pretty much the standard and works well to protect the case.
Accessories include instruction manual, bag of screws/standoffs and a bag of thumbscrews. The bag full of thumbscrews pleasantly surprised me; a slightly different take on tool-free installation of hard drives.
Now I'm going to throw some props to Antec for this little inclusion. Inside was a note stating that some problems were found post production in some 120mm Tri-Cool fans. Instead of going through and testing all the fans, they included an extra fan in case one of the affected fans was installed in the case. Very cool to address an issue up front instead of making the consumer go through the hassle on the back end of the deal.
Page 3 : Features and Specifications
A quick run over to the product page for the Antec 300 gives a list of product features and specs.
* No Power Supply included:
To optimize performance of your Three Hundred, your choice of power supply is crucial. Antec strongly recommends choosing from our NeoPower or TruePower series.
* 9 Drive Bays:
External 3 x 5.25′
Internal 6 x 3.5′ for HDD
* Cooling System:
1 rear 120 x 25 mm TriCool Fan with 3-speed switch control.
1 top special 140 x 25 mm TriCool Fan with 3-speed switch control
2 front (optional) 120 mm fans to cool the hard drives
1 side (Optional) 120 x 25 mm Fan to cool graphic cards
* Washable air filters reduces dust build up in your system, which helps keep your system cooler
* Perforated front bezel for maximum air intake
* 7 expansion slots
* Top mounted I/O ports for easy access
2 x USB 2.0
HDA & AC97 Audio In and Out
* Unit dimensions:
18′ (H) x 18.3′ (D) x 8.1′ (W)
45.8 (H) x 46.5 (D) x 20.5 cm (W)
Net: 15.9lbs / 7.2kg
Gross: 18.7lbs / 8.5kg
Page 4 : Exterior
It's time to take a tour around the exterior.
The front view shows the subtle yet stylish design of the 300. Three 5.25′ drive bays adorn the front with a screen mesh covering the lower section. The front panel located at the top includes 2 USB, 1 mic, 1 headphone, power and reset buttons. The reset button is almost hard to see unless you are looking for it. HD and power LED lights are just to the left of the reset button.
Removing the front panel, you can see more clearly the layout of the front. There are mounts for two additional 120mm fans in front of the 3.5′ bays. The fan 'cages' are connected on hinges and secured with 2 thumbscrews. On the inside of each of these areas there is a hole for routing the fan power cable. I have to say I like this setup better than the more common removable hard drive modules many other cases employ.
As you can see, the front panel has a mesh covering the bottom section while the 5.25′ bay covers are solid. The lower mesh section has a screen filter that easily pulls out for washing.
The side panels are both solid, with the left side containing a place to mount an additional 120mm fan to help cool the graphics card area.
On the back is a pretty standard layout with a 120mm Antec TriCool exhaust fan, though the Antec 300 utilizes a bottom mounted PSU like its sibling the Antec 900. For those keeping count, that's a total of 4 places to mount 120mm fans, which should keep most anyone happy with airflow. Four thumbscrews hold the side panels on, which is always a plus in my book.
Last but not least on our outside tour is the top mounted 140mm Antec TriCool fan. Again similar to the Antec 900, this should ensure any heat around the CPU area is quickly removed from the case. And don't forget that the TriCool fans are aptly named for their included fan speed controller with settings for low, medium and high.
Page 5 : Interior
Time to move on to the interior.
Opening up the left side here we can see the front panel connectors all taped down for shipping. While thumbscrews are included for hard drive mounting, you still need to bust out the old screwdriver to install any expansion cards or 5.25′ devices. One thing that about the 300 is that it's a solid case that I can see definitely being able to take a beating.
Front panel connectors include the normal power and HDD LEDs along with power and reset switches. One front USB along with front audio; both AC'97 and HD Audio connectors.
The right hand side reveals an area with preinstalled plastic straps for cable management. Oddly the area next to the 5.25′ bays is closed off and not accessible for cable routing.
Page 6 : Installation
As I have said before I won't bore readers with a step by step installation in the case, but rather point out any possible issues I foresee.
About the best thing I can say for a case is to have little or nothing to say here, and that is pretty much what we have with the 300.
There are really only two things of note and they are very minor. Depending on where the video card is situated, if a hard drive is located directly in front of it, it can be a tight fit assuming the power connector is located on the end.
The other thing goes back to my comment about the small space next to the 5.25′ drives. If this was open it would make hiding the cables from the fans far easier. The wires aren't quite long enough to route the rear fan's cables to the space next to the 3.5′ bays. Two minor issues and quite honestly the Antec 300 feels more spacious inside than it looks and installation was quite a breeze.
Page 7 : Testing
So installation was a breeze, but how well does it keep things cool? The following system was installed and used to gather performance measurements:
CPU: Intel E4300 (1.8GHz)
MB: Gigabyte P35-DS3R
RAM: G.Skill 2x2GB PC6400
Video: PowerColor HD 3650
PSU: Ultra X3 1000W
HD: WD 40GB IDE
DVD-ROM: Lite-On 18x DVD Burner – SATA
Ambient Temperature: 24-25C
OS: Microsoft Windows XP w/ SP2
Thermaltake M9 VI1000BWS
For idle temperatures the system was allowed to stand at idle for 3 hours before temperatures were taken. To achieve load temps, two instances of Folding@Home were run for three hours and the average peak temperature was recorded. I am including testing with fans at both high and low settings.
At idle, temps are right in line with what we have seen from the Thermaltake M9 VI1000BWS reviewed earlier. Cranking up the TriCool fans gives us a 1 to 2 degree improvement. While the TriCools are fairly quiet at low, they do produce a good bit of noise on high.
Under load we can see that setting the fans to high has no effect on the GPU which isn't really a surprise since the fans are not located in a position to move the air from the GPU. However you can clearly see the effect those two fans have on the CPU load temps, dropping the CPU an impressive 5 degrees on high settings. Again for everyday use, the fans are, in my opinion, too loud on high but for those benchmarking or overclocking junkies every bit of cooling helps.
Page 8 : Conclusion
While I am a full tower junkie, I have come away from my time with the Antec 300 pleasantly surprised. With the 300, Antec has addressed one of the bigger complaints from its 900 case; cable management. With sleek looks and excellent cooling the 300 offers a lot of bang for a small amount of dough. Installation is trouble free and the 300 is far roomier than it actually looks.
The only complaints I can muster with the 300 are the lack of tool-less installation on the 5.25′ drives and PCI slots. However, when the only complaints you can find in a case are small gripes about non-tool-free mounting, I would say Antec has a good thing going.
- Sturdy construction
- Good cooling performance
- Deceptively roomy
- Fans are loud on high
- Not tool-free for PCI or DVD-ROMs
Overclockers Online would like to thank Antec for supplying the Antec Three Hundred for review.