The 900 is Antec’s premiere gaming case. We got a chance to put it through the motions and hope you find our results helpful in your purchasing decision-making.
Official Case Features:
- 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, doodads, etc.
- Rubber grommeted ports on the rear for liquid-cooling tubes allow you to mount external liquid-cooling hardware
- 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
Construction/Design: Antec’s 900 series gaming case is all about maximizing airflow. It does this by implementing two blue-led 120mm fans in the front of the case which suck air in while an even larger 200mm fan blows air out the top of the case and a 120mm fan blows air out the back. As if this wasn’t enough, Antec provides a VERY easy-to-install snap-in 120mm fan mount on the windowed side-panel. Inside the case there is another 120mm fan mount behind one of the 3.5′ bays. Antec claims this is to help draw additional air over the video card and CPU.
The 900 gaming case also features a very handy control/port array in front of a nifty gadget tray, recessed in front of the top 200mm exhaust fan which you can use to hold an mp3 player or digital camera. The control/IO array is located in front of the aforementioned tray and consists of the power button, reset button, a microphone/headphone jacks, two USB 2.0 ports, and one Firewire port. These are set at a 45 degree angle for easier access.
Antec designed the 900 so that the PSU would sit at the bottom instead of the usual placement of on the case’s ‘roof’. This not only helps get air directly to the PSU via the front 120mm fans, but also makes room for that huge 200mm fan at the top of the case which would otherwise be blocked.
Each of the front 120mm fans is connected to a three-drive 3.5′ drive bay module. These modules slide out through the front and one of them has a mounting for an additional 120mm fan at its rear. The reason for this design instead of the drive bays being independent from the fans is to maximize airflow over the drives. Basically, these modules force air through a ‘tunnel’ over the enclosed drives and into the case. I would have preferred them to have some kind of ‘quick-load’ side-mounting feature instead, as removing/installing them from the front is a bit more labor-intensive.
Overall, the case design is very stylish and functional.
Installation: Prepping the Antec 900 for installation was relatively straight forward. After adding the mobo tray mounts, we attempted to lay in the mainboard only to find that the 8800GTX video card would not fit in the case in its stock configuration. The 3.5′ drive bay with the extra fan mount was blocking it from fitting. So, we switched the drive bays around and the mobo/video card fit with no problem. There is actually quite a bit of wiggle room when compared to many modern gaming cases. One thing that would benefit this case greatly would be a slide-out motherboard tray. This would allow a much easier installation without having to ‘angle it in’ from the side of the case.
Each of the fans has a three-way speed switch but they are connected on very short wires. It is a great feature to have in a stock case, but it would have been nice to have slightly longer wires to place the switch where you wanted, perhaps route them all to the same location or give you enough wire to cut and rewire into a fan-control bay module.
Cable management can be tricky with this case, with the power supply resting on the bottom of the case coupled the bottleneck created by larger video cards. I highly recommend a modular PSU with this case so that you can avoid alot of the issue, not to mention the burden of hiding unnecessary cables ain the . If you do not have a modular PSU, I recommend using some cable ties and careful planning as to where you will place the internal cabling.
Usage: When all the fans are set to ‘high’, including the extra 120mm I placed in the side mount, the case noise is like a pleasant ‘whoosh’, and does not take away from the gaming experience in the least. It is definitely not the quietest case in the world but we have heard many louder ones without the 900’s amount of fans. Changing fan speed is troublesome, as previously stated, due to the length of the fan switch wires, so I just left mine on the highest setting available. Placing my hand over the top of the case, the exhaust air remained cool. And, with the amount of air being blown from the top…lets just say you could use it to dry your hands after washing them, although GamingShogun.com does not recommend getting water or wet hands anywhere near your electronic equipment (Thanks legal team!).
The top tray is extremely useful, as I am one who likes to put a camera or mp3 player on top of my PC while it is synchronizing to the machine. In this case, the recessed tray holds all manner of doodad while helping keep it in one place due to its high-friction rubber bottom.
The first thing I did once getting the case together and ready was to start up Call of Duty IV. I love that game: not only is it graphically very pleasing, but also can be very challenging. Even at its highest settings, the exhaust air only slightly warmed up – a HUGE step up from the airflow in my last PC ‘gaming case’ which belched hot air like Rush Limbaugh on a tirade.
Conclusion: Even with its few quirks such as not having a sliding motherboard tray, this is bar none the BEST gaming case I have ever seen. It is also the most gamer-centric. The Antec 900 will definitely be turning heads at any LAN tournament while also allowing you to overclock your hardware, thanks to its intense cooling.