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Skeleton: Hardware Installation

Cage Match: Four Open-Air ATX Chassis

We began our system assembly by mounting an optical drive and a hard drive in the Antec Skeleton’s internal bays. A single locking pin holds each in position.

The drives simply slide in, with release tabs on each bay easing removal. Note that an extra screw can be used on the outside to further secure drives if easy removal isn’t desired. We left the top off for easier photography, but its removal isn’t required for most installations.

Four standard case screws secure the power supply to its installation tray, which also slides easily into place.

Anyone who really wants to use the Antec Skeleton as a test rack can install everything to the base, without using the top. Doing so removes a bunch of nice features, however, such as the power button and front-panel ports.

The biggest problem we found when using the Skeleton “as intended” was that it doesn’t support large coolers. The fan shroud and side braces limit cooler height to five inches.

Substituting Intel’s retail boxed CPU cooler allowed this installation to proceed. The expansion card bracket is added after sliding the internal frame into the chassis.

Front-panel USB, FireWire, and audio cables are so short that these must be installed after the component frame is slid into place. The audio cable is especially troublesome in that only its AC'97 connector reached the bottom-rear corner of our Asus P6T motherboard. Putting a front-panel audio header at the furthest corner of a motherboard violates the design principles of most cases, but so many motherboards are designed this way that Antec should have anticipated the problem.

The PCI Express power cables must also be installed with the internal frame slid at least part-way in, since the cable headers of Nvidia graphics cards are too close to the Skeleton’s fan shroud to allow the cable ends to slide past it.

Four drives can be hung from the Skeleton’s side panels, allowing a total of six to be connected. Yet, because external brackets offer little protection and poor aesthetics, most users will probably ignore these.

A cooling fan for the front drives snaps into place with a great deal of effort, finalizing the installation process.

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