It's been a good few years now since manufacturers moved away from the beige box of old. The traditional desktop was replaced with midi tower which itself has seen a massive transformation, both large and small. With small form factor cases and large server style cases respectively are becoming very popular with PC enthusiasts. Black is the new beige, and this is what Antec have made of it! Have they created an ultimate gaming case which will be with us for a while to come?
Since Antec was founded, their main business objective has been to create high quality cases for gamers. They aim to provide quality construction of the case itself, but second to that they have also worked very closely with air flow specialists which they have become renowned for. As computers are constantly evolving and getting faster, this only means one thing to gamers’. Heat! To solve this, case manufactures have to provide us with cases with good airflow to all of our components, as well as being aesthetically pleasing to the eye for the customer. Antec thought they would have a go, and we now have one of their products in our hands.
The Antec Nine Hundred has been with us for well over a year now, and compared to most other mid-ranged gaming cases, nothing else matches up. Antec have managed to create a case that has both great looks but does not compromise with performance. A lot of competitors, such as ThermalTake for example have done a lot to make it more aesthetically pleasing. However, they didn’t focus on the thermal side which is one of the most important factors to take in to consideration when putting together a computer case. Yes, they’re well built such as the Antec Nine Hundred, although for airflow, to put it simple they’re a letdown.
A little bit about Antec.
Quote taken directly from Antec's site:
Antec, Inc. is the leading global brand of high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) markets. Founded in 1986, Antec is recognized as a pioneer in these industries and has maintained its position as a worldwide market leader and international provider of efficient, quiet, and reliable products. Antec has also achieved great success in the distribution channel, meeting the demands of quality-conscious system builders, VARs and integrators.
Antec’s offering of enclosures includes a large range of cases, such as its technically advanced Performance One Series, cost-effective New Solution Series and server grade cases designed for the needs of all workstation and server markets. Antec’s products also include front line power supplies such as its TruePower Trio series, Quattro series, and EarthWatts, the most environmentally friendly power supplies available. PC gamers are an increasingly significant consumer of performance components, and many Antec products are geared toward the gaming demographic, like the Nine Hundred, the premier gamer enclosure. Antec also offers a computing accessories line comprised of many original products, including its patented LED Fans and Notebook Cooling solutions.
Antec is headquartered in Fremont, California, with additional offices in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The company’s products are sold in more than 30 countries throughout the world.
• Unique Top mounted 200mm "Big Boy" TriCool exhaust fan to cool the hottest system
• Perforated front bezel for maximum air intake
• Two front loaded HDD cages for up to 6 hard disk drives
• The HDD cages act as air ducts to take air in more efficiently. Optional middle 120mm fan bracket to cool the hottest graphic cards or CPU
• Two 120mm TriCool blue LED front fans to cool hard disk drives
• Window side panel comes with an optional 120mm fan mount for maximum VGA cooling
• Top tray for your MP3 player, digital camera, etc.
• Power supply mounts at the bottom of the case (power supply not included)
• Advanced cooling system:
• 1 top 200mm TriCool fan with 3-speed switch control
• 1 rear 120mm TriCool fan with 3-speed switch control
• 2 front 120mm special black TriCool blue LED fans with 3-speed switch control to cool HDDs
• 1 side (optional) 120mm fan to cool graphic cards
• 1 middle (optional) 120mm fan to cool CPU or graphic cards
• 9 Drive Bays
• External 3 x 5.25"; Internal 6 x 3.5" for HDD, or
• External 6 x 5.25"; Internal 3x 3.5" for HDD, or
• External 9 x 5.25"
• Motherboard: Fits micro and standard ATX
• 7 Expansion Slots
• Top mounted I/O ports
• Power and reset buttons
• 2 x USB 2.0
• 1 x IEEE 1394
• Audio In and Out
• Unit dimensions:
• 19.4" (H) x 8.1" (W) x 18.4" (D)
• 49.3cm (H) x 20.6cm (W) x 46.7cm (D)
• Package dimensions:
• 21.5" (H) x 10.6" (W) x 21.1" (D)
• 54.6cm (H) x 26.9cm (W) x 53.6cm (D)
• Net: 18.5 lb / 8.4 kg
• Gross: 24.4 lb / 11 kg
The case looks like a beasty piece of hardware. The front is made of grills to let the air flow inside. Although the case has originally got black inserts to make it look better, we have removed them as it allows for increased airflow. However this did not make a difference to the performance of the case, although admittedly it makes it look a lot better!
All the connections are at the top of the case such as USB2.0 x2, headphone and microphone jacks and a FireWire connection. The case also features two tubing holes if you’re thinking of installing a water cooling kit. An impressive part of this case is the fact is has an upside down approach; the PSU is mounted in the bottom of the case rather than the traditional top. Instead of a PSU found at the top, there is a 200mm fan for improved airflow.
Hard drive caddies
The case also features two removable 3.5” drive bays, which can hold up to six hard drives in total. The Antec Tri Cool at the front, with a variable speed controller which you can adjust yourself keeps the hard drives cool. You can change the fans to ones of your choice, however it has to have thin cables for the fan, or the plastic compartment for the fan will not close properly, which subsequently means you will not be able to put the drive bay in properly.
One of the best features about this case however is the ability to use cable management to its best abilities. Antec have pre-cut three holes in the motherboard tray for you so you can route your cables the way you wish too.
This is them in general; however by the PSU there is another pre-cut square which you can route your Molex and your SATA cables through. Unfortunately, you have to apply a huge amount of pressure on the PSU to get it to sit snug so you can tighten the screws on the back to fasten it to the case.
Make sure you have long power cables. Otherwise you will find you’ll come very short, and will have wasted your time. One problem with this particular hole is that there isn’t much room for your cables to completely change direction. There is a fair bit of space between the side panel and the motherboard tray, however if you have more cables than I do which you most likely do, as this is a very old PSU, you may encounter some problems. This is easily solved by spreading the cables out rather than putting them all together in a big lump. There is a big compartment where you can store all your unwanted Molex connectors etc. which is very useful!
As far as cable management goes, we cannot see any of it in a ThermalTake for similar value, which means you will have a scruffy inside to your case. It is said that this causes higher temperatures inside the case in general, which is obviously something we do NOT want in our high end gaming rigs.
Installation of the components
As far as installation is concerned, it is very easy. Unlike with some cases where you have to struggel to get the components in, this case is naturally easy due to the amount of working space there is. The motherboard slots in like a dream as you would expect with this kind of a quality case. Same goes with any other component, everything lines up perfectly, no issues with compatibility either. All of the front panel connector cables are plenty long enough to be hidden behind the motherboard, apart from the HDD LED, the power and reset buttons. They have to be left alone, or if you want to hide it as much as you can you can hide it between the drive bay and the motherboard tray.
PICS TO COME - TOO DARK NOW AND DUE TO THAT, THEY WILL NOT COME OUT NICELY!
However, there are some drawbacks unfortunately. The biggest of them all is the amount of dust that it collects. If you like to keep the inside of your computer clean, you will have to clean it out every couple of weeks. The easiest way to do this would be to buy some canned air. The other problem is that the pre fitted fans do not shift as much air as most of us would like. These fans are easy to swap out with fans of your choice but it isn’t really necessary!
The case is a stunning piece of hardware. All in all, it looks as good as it performs. In my previous case which was a generic case the temperatures were on average 10°C higher on the CPU than in the Nine Hundred. For around the £70 (at the time of writing) mark, that is a huge improvement and well worth the money!
I do apologise for the amount of dust that is on the case. I have had this case for quite a while now, and the dust doesn’t really show up as bad, but the flash obviously makes it stand out a lot more. If only I had cleaned it before!
+ Good value for money
+ Brings your hardware temperatures down
* The looks may not be to everyone’s taste
* Attracts a lot of dust
- Nothing to report