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Skeleton: Evaluation

Cage Match: Four Open-Air ATX Chassis
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Though we normally wouldn’t be required to do thermal testing on an open test chassis, a giant 250mm cooling fan on top of the Antec Skeleton made this type of evaluation desirable. Rated at 158 CFM and 32 decibels in high-speed (800 RPM) mode, 118 CFM and 26 decibels at medium (600 RPM) mode, 79 CFM and 17 decibels in low-speed (400 RPM) mode, we were hoping to at least see a change in chipset temperature.

Here’s where we’d normally show a chart, except that none of our system temperatures changed with top fan speed. We could feel it blowing, but the downdraft from the CPU fan was already keeping the chipset cool and the open-chassis design kept hot air from collecting even without the fan. The fan worked, but the only benefit we got from it was the pretty-looking light show of multi-colored LEDs. Tests including Prime95 (eight threads) and FurMark (graphics stability) revealed the same temperature increase at all top fan speeds.

Without any remarkable performance numbers, what sets the Antec Skeleton apart from competing solutions is its ability to fit between what most of us would consider a case and an open test rack.

Pros:

Internal component frame functions well as an open test platform
External cage offers some impact protection for internal components
Designed for easy transport
Full front-panel features connector set includes eSATA
Supports two optical drives plus six hard drives (two internally)
Supports double-width graphics card in bottom motherboard slot
Top fan provides multicolor light show for visual flair

Cons:

No room under external cage for large CPU coolers
Short front-panel wires complicate some installations
External hard drive trays offer little protection
Internal access requires removal of expansion card bracket

Other Thoughts:

We’d like to see case manufacturers add USB power to their eSATA connections, as previously found on ASRock and MSI motherboards, or substitute one eSATA and one USB connection for a combo connector (recently introduced on Gigabyte motherboards).

Best For:

Portable full-sized gaming systems.

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