Antec TX1088AMG

May 3rd, 2005 | By

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Antec TX1088AMG


Date
: 05/4/05 – 01:34:16 AM

Author
:

Category
: Cases


Page 1 : Index

Manufacturer
: Antec

Price
: 179.95 (Available for 139.00 at NewEgg)

After taking a good look at the award winning Antec TruePower 2.0, I continue my evaluation of Antec products with O²'s take on the Antec TX1088AMG. For those unfamiliar with Antec's line of Performance Chassis, this family has been around for a few years and has gone through a number of revisions. A couple years ago, we took a look at one of the predecessors of the TX1088AMG, the Performance Plus 1080 AMG.

Many of us have probably seen cases much like Antec's Performance line, our recent look at the Ultra Products Glossy Dragon or the Chenming and Aspire chassis have mimicked this frame style for many years. So who came up with it first? That's a question I can't answer! All I know is Antec has taken a new spin on it with their Performance Plus….today I present to you the Antec TX1088 AMG!

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Page 2 : Specifications

To get things started, I'll copy and paste what Antec lists as the product specifications and features.

Model
TX1088AMG
Case Type
SOHO File Server
Color
Metallic Gray

Case Dimensions
20.6" x 8.1" x 18.6" (H) x (W) x (D)
Drive Bays
10
- Front Accessible
4 x 5.25", 2 x 3.5"
- Internal
4 x 3.5"
Expansion Slots
7
Cooling System
- Rear
1 x 120mm TriCool (Standard)
- Front
1 x 80mm (Optional) Front
1 x 80mm (Optional) HDD
-Chassis
1 x 92mm (Optional) CPU duct
1 x 80mm (Optional) VGA
Power Supply
450W
TruePower 2.0
ATX12V V2.0
TPII 480
Material
1.0mm SECC
Net Weight
30.7 lbs.
Gross Weight
34.5 lbs.
Motherboards
Fits micro ATX and standard ATX
Up to 12" (W) x 9.6" (L)/305 (W) x 300 (L) mm
Special Features
2 Front USB port, 1 Front IEEE 1394 (Firewire) port,
Audio in/out
Swing-out side panel with handle
Washable air filter
Quick-release drive bays with release lever
Snap-in fan mounts
Large front panel vent

Here is what the package includes:

480 Watt TruePower 2.0 TPII 480 installed
1 Power cord
1 case fan
1 set of screws and motherboard standoffs
1 complete set of drive rails ( 6 rails )
1 Installation manual
Here are some features that Antec lists. We'll be going over these in more detail.

* Advanced cooling system that includes:
– 1 rear 120mm Tricool fan with 3-speed switch
– 2 front (optional) 80mm fans
– Chassis Air Guide with optional 92 mm intake fan to provide maximum CPU cooling
– Side Panel vent with optional 80mm fan to provide maximum cooling to the VGA card
* Double hinge door design: allows the door to open up to 270º (TX1050B, TX1088AMG)
* Antec's latest ATX12V v.2.0 power supply designs for full forward and backward compatibility with ATX form factors
* Front ports: 2x USB 2.0, 1x IEEE 1394 (FireWire®, i.Link®), Audio In and Out
* Built-in washable air filter
* 1.0mm cold rolled steel for durability
Now that we got the specs out of the way, we can immediately draw some conclusions…like how heavy this case will be! At 30.7 lb. this may not be the best thing to lug around for LAN events. That said, you know if you drop it or if something hits it at a LAN, your precious gear will not be damaged (with any luck). Now, let's move onto the actual case!


Page 3 : Package

This case arrived the same day as the Antec TrueBlue. It came without any special treatment. They simply printed out a UPS shipment notice and mailed me the massive box. When it arrived, the box was a bit dirty but the aesthetics of the cardboard box are not important.

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The box came with it's fair share of bumps and bruises, nothing out of the ordinary when I get something so large from so far away.

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The front and back of the box shows the case, the name and a few features that you may be interested in. Antec makes it obvious that the case has room for a duct to cool your CPU and a side vent for your GPU. In addition, you see the front bevel swung out roughly 270 degrees. The picture of the interior shows you how roomy the case is; plenty of space below the 3.5" drive bay for some water cooling equipment!

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The two other sides really don't show anything. There are some pictures of the case and some text informs you of the color and which power supply is provided.

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When you open up the package, there are few documents to pull out before getting to the case. In the above picture, you see
all
the paperwork provided. This includes a thin manual, the warranty guide and the installation information leaflet for the USB and FireWire ports.

After you take those out, you can remove the Styrofoam padding protecting the case. The Styrofoam was about 0.5" thick. Not that much, but enough to ensure a safe delivery. Furthermore, the case is wrapped in a plastic bag.

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Lifting the bag off, we're left with the prize possession. Flip to the next page as I give you a tour of the case.


Page 4 : Exterior

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As you can see, the base metal is a metallic gray and the front bezel is painted to match.

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To open up the front bezel, I found it easiest to place my thumb on the bezel and put my index finger between the slotted groove. By pushing in with your thumb and pulling out with your index finger, it was easy to undo the latch. I'm confident that this latch will not release when you carry it around.

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Through the use of a double hinge, Antec allows you to open the bay door up to about 225 degrees, they claim 270. The advantage of this is if you sit down and your case it to the right of you, the door does not block you from accessing the power/reset button or your optical drives.

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At the same time, I noticed that these hinges are not perfect and they cause the door to tilt. The result of this is contact between the door and the bezel upon closing.

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I should note that this is not always the case, although it does happen regularly. This could, after repeated use and abuse, eventually lead to disfigurement in the corner.

If we look directly below the bezel door, we see a little Antec logo. This isn't just a promotional feature, flip it up and we see the standard USB, FireWire, speaker and mic ports!

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A close inspection of the latch shows that it is made out of plastic – to be technical, I believe it's made out of Delrin (Polyoxymethylene). It's one of the hardest plastics known in the engineering business and it is natually springy. All your backpack buckles are made out of Delrin. Enough engineering talk for one day, let's keep moving with the review.

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The rest of the front bezel are grills for ventilation; nothing special, a classic feature on this type of chassis.

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If we tilt the case and take a look at the feet, we see four moveable feet.

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You can rotate these feet to expose them or hide them…whatever floats your boat.

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From this side, if we look up at the bezel we see a slot…I'm sure it's obvious that this is a dust filter.

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Simply pinch the ends and slide out.

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It is advised that you clean the filter once a month if you leave your system running 24/7. Dust built up leads to a dirty case and more importantly, it prevents air circulation leading to a build up in temperatures.

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Putting the case back on its side, we'll look at the side panels. The one behind the motherboard is completely bare so it's not very exciting. The same applies to the very top panel, that one is actually riveted down so you can't even remove it if you wanted to.

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The side panel that provides access to the interior of the case has a ton of stuff making up for the boredom of the other two.

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The key features on this panel include the CPU cooling duct, VGA ventilation hole, and door locks.

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The CPU cooling duct has space for a 92mm fan and is positioned more or less where CPUs are centered.

If we open up the case, we get a better look at the duct.

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By removing the screw, you can slide the duct in or pull it out. If you really want, you can just take it out.

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Just below the CPU cooling duct is a meshing for the VGA cooling system. This 80mm honeycomb mesh is similar to the CPU cooling duct, only smaller.

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The last feature worth noting are the latches and security locks. To open the door, you need to slide both latches towards the front and then slide the panel off. Antec provides a key to lock the side panel in place. Regardless of whether or not you have the thumbscrews removed, without this lock free, you won't be able to open the case. This is a nice touch for those taking their machine to LANs. You definitely wouldn't want someone stealing your equipment while you went for a slice of pizza!

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The last side to cover is the back of this case.

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This is a pretty standard back; you can see the preinstalled 120mm fan, the preinstalled TruePower 2.0 480 Watt and the removable I/O panel. If you look carefully, you can also see that the top panel is riveted to the chassis. This means you can't remove it.

Antec has again opted for the honeycomb meshing, this maximizes airflow while minimizing the risk of you cutting your finger.

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There's not much to show about the power supply. Do read our review on the Antec TruePower 480 Watt Blue.. For a 140 dollar case, it's really nice to see a 100 dollar power supply included!

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Twenty-seven pictures later, we're done with the outside of the case. Let's move on to the inside.


Page 5 : Interior

We're going to kick off this section by removing the front bezel. This process is pretty easy and requires no tools. All you need to do is find the clips on the inside of the case and unhook them from the frame. After that, the bezel pretty much falls free.

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As you can see, the bottom half of the case is partly punched out to maximize the air flow. Antec has already removed 1 of the 5 1/4" metal covers.

The back side of the front bezel doesn't really show much, but below is a picture anyways.

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If we take a look at the inside, we see this case comes with a number of goodies.

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First off is the high quality power supply Antec gives you.

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You can't go wrong with an award winning component.
If we pull everything else out, we see there are a number of things.

16 AWG Power Cord…

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a box full of screws…

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plastic rails for your 5 1/4" drives and a plastic EMC device.

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Missing from the pictures is an Antec 1" sticker and a set of keys to unlock the side panel and front bezel.

Taking a look at the empty case shows how spacious it really is.

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Despite all the space, a removable motherboard tray would still have been a nice touch as this case lacks one.

The provided cables for the front bezel are nicely zip tied and wrapped. They are not connected together, so if you don't have a FireWire port, you can remove that one completely from your system.

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There are two additional LEDs, labeled I and II. These can be connected to other drives to show their activity on the front bezel.

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In the background is the Antec sticker and a bag containing the two sets of keys.
We can now see the two drive cages removed and the bare front.

As we noted earlier, this case supports four 5 1/4" drives and a total of six 3.5" drives. The 3.5" cages are removable; all you need to do is swing the latches to unlock the hook.

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You can see that the lower drive cage and the bottom of the case can support 80mm fans. The upper 80mm fan would be perfect for cooling all your hard drives.

Simply slide in an 80mm fan and you're done. Don't forget to power it…

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Earlier I mentioned there was an EMC device. I'm not 100% sure what this device is used for, but in the manual it shows you how to install it. Basically you fit it into the slots in the frame; it only goes in one way. Below I've shown what it looks like when installed.

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/May 04 2005 Addendum:
One of our readers has been nice enough to send me an email explaining the purpose of an EMC bracket. For those interested, they are used to support longer PCI cards and full length ISA cards. Probably pretty common if you have a server dating back a dozen years!/

We'll now proceed to the backside of this case.

Starting at the included fan, Antec provides their customers with the Antec Tri-Cool.

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Here are its specs:

Level Low Med High
RPM 1200 1600 2000
CFM 39 59 79
DBA 25 28 30
Antec recommends setting the switch to HIGH if you're plugging the fan into the Fan Only connector. The Fan Only connector automatically throttles the voltage down so there isn't a need to change the settings any further.

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Located beside the fan is the removable I/O panel. If your motherboard requires the use of a special I/O panel (most boards do these days) you'll need to pop out this reusable one and put in the motherboard manufacturers provided one.

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Below the I/O panel are the expansion slots. Antec does not provide a tool-less system so you will need to pull out the Philips screw driver if you need to change a card.

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This shot is with my motherboard installed with the panel located next to my PCI-E slot removed.
We've covered the inside and outside of this case in a fair bit of detail. We'll now proceed to the installation of a system.


Page 6 : Installation

We'll kick off this section by installing a motherboard.

Antec has preinstalled four of the motherboard studs; the remaining ones are up you to. You'll need to install the top row of studs and the far left column. Once that is done, change the I/O panel if you need to and then sit the motherboard on top of the studs and screw it in place.

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Since I'm merely switching cases, my CPU cooler and memory sticks have already been secured to the motherboard.

The next step is to remove any necessary expansion panels and secure the expansion cards.

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Once that is done, you'll want to go ahead and install the rails for your optical drive. Simply take two of the eight rails and mount them with screws to the drive. The metal tab should be facing the front bezel.

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When it comes to these smaller optical drives, if you have the rails installed like I do, you get something that looks like this…

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Oops! To fix this problem, just use the other set of holes on the rails. A flash install should look like the picture below.

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To remove the drive, simply pinch the two metal tabs and pull the optical drive out.

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The other metal tab is on the other side of the drive.
The middle drive cage, one below the 5 1/4" cage, holds the two externally accessible drives and one internal drive. You must first install any internal drives and mount the cage before installing any externally accessible ones. The reason behind this is because you must feed the external drives (floppy / ZIP drive) from outside the case into the drive cage and so the internal drives must either already be present or you must be willing to slide them in after the cage is mounted to the frame.

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Here is one hard drive installed and the cage placed back into the case. You are now ready to install any removable storage devices (floppy and ZIP) if you so desire.
The lower drive cage, as we've seen in the previous page, works the same as the middle drive cage. Slide in your devices, secure them with the provided screws and secure the cage back into place.

Now that we've got everything installed, we need to connect all the cables and all the power leads. The Antec TX1088AMG lacks any useful cable management system, and the only places where I could tuck cables away were in the optical drive cage, a tiny spot in the 3.5" drive cages and under the motherboard support panel.

Here are some pictures of everything installed and connected.

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Page 7 : System Tests

Before we go into some basic tests, here's a run down of everything I had installed:

Albatron PX915G4 Pro
Intel Pentium 4 3.0E 200*15@1.4 V
2*512 MB PDP System PC3200 XBLK
Lite-On SOHW-1213S
Albatron PCX5750 Trinity
1*Maxtor 40 GB 2MB Cache 7200 RPM drive
2*Western Digital 120GB 8MB Cache 7200 RPM drive
1*Seagate 80 GB 2MB Cache 7200 RPM Drive
1*Floppy drive
Zalman CNPS-7000 AlCu
I'll be comparing temperatures using the following two cases and their stock supplies:

SilverStone SST-TJ04 with 2 12cm SilverStone fans

Antec TX1088AMG with 1 TriCool fan

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Blue LEDs for operation; these are actually quite bright when they are on at night.
Both systems used the Antec TruePower 480 Watt power supply. There's no real need to go into much detail on the provided power supply since we took a detailed look at it a little while ago. For those interested, the review can be read here and the voltages we obtained can be found on page five of that article.

Here is how we're going to run the system tests for these cases. I will stress the system by running RC5 for a period of 1 hr. At the end of this hour I will record the CPU, System and Hard drive temperature (Maxtor) using Albatron's Dr. Speed and DTemp to acquire the temperature from SMART. The Maxtor hard drive is located in the middle drive cage below the floppy drive and above my 120GB Western Digital drive. Once I've recorded the temperatures, I'll close RC5 and let the system idle for 1 hr with no intervention. I'll then take the three readings again and draw my conclusions based on those numbers. The errors associated with this method can be traced back to the sensors that Dr. Speed and DTemp read from. We're primarily interested in the temperature difference between the two cases so any inaccuraices will be present in both systems chassis I used and will remove themselves from the equation when we look at the temperature differences. The room temperature hovered between 23.5 and 24C.

Here are the results….

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Lower is better.
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Lower is better.
As you can see, there was a dramatic drop in temperatures when I shifted cases. Over 10 degrees Celsius in the load temperatures! Despite having one fan, we can see that the CPU Cooling duct greatly improves air flow to the CPU even if a fan is not installed. There was also a 5C drop in the hard drive temperature in both states. Not a bad change if you ask me.


Page 8 : Conclusion

After having this case for a some time, I'm very impressed by the performance of it. In my eyes, There's still some room for improvements, primarily a more tool-less system and a removable motherboard tray. For those who don't intend on switching components very often, then a nice case like this would suit you just well.

When we look at cases situated in a similar price range as the TX1088AMG, we find a number of quality cases, SilverStone SST-TJ06 and the CoolerMaster TAC-T01 at about the same cost, and the low end Lian Li's, Lian Li PC61, can be purchased for about 30 bucks cheaper. However, none of these cases come with a high quality power supply; the TruePower 2.0 480 Watt retails for 99.00. You may not get all the bells and whistles (aluminum construction, window, etc), but if you need something that's going to sit at your desk, perform amazingly and be sturdy as ever, look no further than the TX1088AMG. For a 140 dollar investment, what you get is a superb return…so good that the TX1088AMG earns our Budget Award.

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Advantages

Amazing thermal performance
High quality power supply provided
Double hinged door

Disadvantages

Heavy
Not tool-less
No removable motherboard tray
Door catches on bezel upon closing

Overclockers Online would like to thank Antec for making this review possible.

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