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Antec Twelve Hundred--Unpacking And Build

Four Full Tower Cases From $150 To $600


Side shot, with hardware installedSide shot, with hardware installed


After the majestic-looking brushed aluminum Canyon, any other chassis would have a hard time sizing up—that is, until you start taking price into consideration. Antec’s Twelve Hundred can almost be considered something of a reference standard by which to measure other towers, thanks to the company’s history of designing functional, inexpensive cases. And with a price tag under $160, you could buy more than three Twelve Hundreds for the price of a single Canyon 695. Suddenly, we’re a lot more interested.

Puling Antec’s packaging open reveals a plastic-wrapped tower sandwiched between foam—and not the kind that crumbles apart when you try to pull the case out, either. Two thumb screws hold each side-panel in place. Pull off the instruction manual taped to the side, open the left panel, and remove the small accessory box. Antec bundles cable ties, plenty of screws, washers, and an adapter for turning one of its 5.25” externally-facing bays into a 3.5” slot.


Fan and LED controls in the backFan and LED controls in the back

Like the Cooler Master case we’ll be looking at next, Antec opts for a more open design, enabling plenty of airflow at the expense of acoustic insulation. The entire front, most of the top, a triangular section of one side panel, and much of the Twelve Hundred’s rear is covered by a metal grille. A slow-spinning 200 mm fan sits under the top of the case, three 120 mm intake fans pull air in through the front, and a pair of 120 mm exhaust fans in the back push warm air out. All of the fans include blue LEDs for an extra bit of visual flair, but for the folks who’d rather not boast the bling, they can be turned off.

Fan speed knobs for the front fansFan speed knobs for the front fans

Although certain pieces of the case are clearly plastic, the rest is built using steel—and the shipping weight of 42 pounds reflects this. Not that you’d want to lug any of our four featured chassis around to LAN parties, but the Twelve Hundred in particular is a herniated disc waiting to happen.

Front-panel connectivity is on show, front and center. Like most of the other towers we’re seeing, power and reset switches are up at the top in easy reach. Between them, you’ll find USB, eSATA, and audio I/O. The left side panel is windowed, providing a glimpse into the wonderful world of your hardware. A fan bracket mounted to that same panel accepts an extra 120 mm cooler, if you see fit to add it. Around back is where you’ll find fan speed/LCD controls, cutouts for water cooling components, and seven expansion slots (that’s right—no room for three GTX 280s, if that was what you were planning.

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