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Antec Arises

"We know where we were. We know we were one of the top three," said Ian Whetzel, Antec's new Marketing Director, at the company's suite at CES 2015. Tom's Hardware was present to see whatever it was that Antec had to offer, and to be honest, we weren't expecting to see much.

Antec was a big name in cases until fairly recently, when it just sort of dropped off the map. We almost didn't bother stopping by to see Antec at CES because it had been so long since the company had anything particularly interesting to demo. We'd seen a new chassis, the P380, at Computex, but it wasn't really finished, and regardless, it wasn't very compelling.

Whetzel acknowledged all of this. He pointed to the 2008 economic crash as a pain point; Antec's various teams were in flux starting at that time, and the company lost its way to an extent. He didn't hide behind excuses, though, stating that Antec is owning its mistakes. "People get tired of [companies refusing to own their mistakes]. It doesn't work, it doesn't do you any good. Sometimes you just have to say, 'You know what? Sorry.'"

"[Antec has] been around for 20 years. The company's had its highs and its lows -- we all go through it -- the difference is we recognize it, and we're actively addressing and fixing it," he added.

Antec's (new) P380)

Antec has hired some key pieces recently, including Whetzel as the guy tasked with rebuilding the marketing team, as well as a new sales VP. Antec has also been looking to branch out with its designs, and it has looked to the community for user feedback.

That was clearly on display, as it were, with the P380 case. It's changed since we saw it back at Computex (which you can read all about here), and those changes came about because of community input.  

"Based on all the feedback [Antec] got, they went back to the drawing board and retooled it. In the past, we might not have done that. Now, we're changing the mindsets internally, and we're going to show that to everybody externally," said Whetzel. He said that Antec is listening to its consumers and its partners, trying to build products that reflect how its customers actually use things, not how Antec thinks they should use things.

Antec is wide open on social media, and it's attending LAN fests and other events where people who are passionate about gaming congregate.

"We want them to come back and see what we're going to do, because it's going to be a brand new Antec," said Whetzel.

The company does have to rebuild trust with consumers, and tech journalists, but it's doing all the right things so far. It's owning up to past failures and listening to its customers. The P380 should be just the beginning of a steady stream of products from the new and improved Antec.

Follow Seth Colaner@SethColaner. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • thundervore
    Antec has lost its way a long time ago.

    I use to be with Antec. My first computer I built was in an Antec Nine Hundred v2, then a Nine Hundred Two, lots of tricool fans, power supply's, etc. Then I said screw it and went to CoolerMaster.


    I couldn't see myself buying mediocre cases for $100+ when other companies were offering cases with better hardware compatibility and perks like easy to remove dust filters in the same ATX category for less. Then they kept rehashing the same internal layout with remolded plastic parts and have the nerve to have a $100+ price tag at launch. They flooded the market with duplicates based on their success of the Nine Hundred so we ended up with a Nineteen Hundred, Twelve Hundred, Eleven Hundred, Six Hundred, Three Hundred, One Hundred, not to mention the revisions each case went through. Its a travesty that an Antec Nine Hundred still sells to this very day for about $100.

    If Antec want customers back they need to stop placing essential things at the back of the PC. Customers should not have to go to the back of the PC to adjust the fan speed on the front of the PC.

    They don't want LED fans, better yet, sell the case without fans further reducing the cost of the case because most builders never use the stock fans anyway.

    I want to see Antec return but they need to total revamp
    Reply
  • Urzu1000
    Anyone who has built a few computers knows what a perfect case needs. I fail to understand why companies don't do this. Cases, unlike other components of your computer, do not necessarily need to be upgraded unless there's a catastrophic event that physically destroys it, like a house fire, a meteorite hitting it, or UPS shipping.

    It wouldn't be hard to just make one case to rule them all. If you have all the desired features, then it's all down to price or visual appeal.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    I couldn't see myself buying mediocre cases for $100+ when other companies were offering cases with better hardware compatibility and perks like easy to remove dust filters in the same ATX category for less.

    <snip>
    If Antec want customers back they need to stop placing essential things at the back of the PC. Customers should not have to go to the back of the PC to adjust the fan speed on the front of the PC.

    They don't want LED fans, better yet, sell the case without fans further reducing the cost of the case because most builders never use the stock fans anyway.
    My Sonata cases as well as my Solo II have dust filters that are easy to work with. Not that I mess with them that often, maybe twice a year at most. Anyway the build quality of their cases is excellent. Great fit and finish, extremely durable. You get what you pay for in terms of construction.

    For fans, I personally don't use stock fans anymore (typically I use Noctua fans unless it's a budget build), but I realize that many people do. Especially those who are building for others at a profit, at that point neither they nor their customer is going to be terribly picky (cost and convenience). Taking all the fans out is just as likely to cost Antec a sale as it is to gain one - those like us that get our own fans are used to it anyway, I often repurpose the (decent) bundled Antec fans for other machines with loud/ailing/insufficient fans.

    Just my two cents.
    Reply
  • SessouXFX
    If you're swearing off a company based off past experience, I'd say you're making a mistake. Every company has it's moments of failure. What separates the good from the bad one,s is knowing where they've made a their mistakes and whether or not they seek to resolve them. bad companies stand on their laurels despite the outcome. Good ones humble themselves and do whatever is necessary to regain the customer's trust.

    In the case of Antec, I'd say they're off to a good start in listening to feedback and doing what they can to execute said feedback into a positive. I can think of a few companies that won't even look at themselves in the mirror, despite the negativity that surrounds them and their product. And it doesn't matter what that product or service may be. Comcast, AMD, UBIsoft, oh my!
    Reply
  • photonboy
    My Antec One Hundred has an awesome coffee holder.
    http://www.antec.com/product.php?id=705207&fid=5022022&lan=nz
    Reply
  • 2Be_or_Not2Be
    One of the first things they can do is lower their pricing across their whole gamut of cases. As others have mentioned, they charge too much for what usually isn't a clearly superior to other competitors.
    Reply
  • Onus
    Antec materials and workmanship have seemed excellent, even in cases that I thought could have been designed better (e.g. NSK).
    Otherwise, Antec's proprietary fans (e.g. Tri-cool and Two-cool) are, imho, not a plus. Either use a universal switch, or use mobo control, but a proprietary switch just becomes useless if the fans are replaced.
    Reply
  • soccerplayer88
    I still love my old 902. It's been downgraded to a server chassis since it's replacement for my new rig last year. I do agree though, they are a bit pricey but they definitely last a long time. Still have all the original case fans working and running 24/7 without any issues.
    Reply
  • belardo
    Just upgraded a client with an Antec P100 case for $70... which is a cheaper version of the P280 and is easily better than the Antec 300 which used to sell for $60. The innards of many of their cases are the same. But for $70, its a nice looking case, has USB 3.0. I hate that the top isn't FLAT... but is raised for the fans.

    I only got the 300 because the store didn't have the other two cases wanted. Such as the Corsair Carbide and Corsair Carbide Series CC-9011071 (has a door) and the Thermaltake Urban R31.

    What I find to be stupid is that Motherboards come with either 1 or 4 slots. Most cases that support 2 slotted motherboards DO NOT use standard PSUs. Be nice if more did.... or there is a default standard for an mATX PSU that works with ANYTHING - would be nice.

    A case I wish was available locally a few months ago is the Thermaltake Urban SD1.
    Its a small-shoebox style case. It has what I think most people need for a modern small system... and looks great.
    - It handles 4-slot boards.
    - Has a front-door to cover the Never-matching optical drive.
    - Has a 5.25 drive bay (which is still one of the most reliable way to install an OS) - USB is getting there... and doing play-back and burning is still useful for various reasons - even tho I myself may use the optical drive about 2-3 times a year on my own computer. But this case has 2x 5.25 and a 3.5 with external access.
    - uses standard PSU


    In general... for the money... get a Thermaltake or Corsair when possible ($80+), you'll get more case for the money.
    Reply
  • synphul
    I have to agree with alextheblue, I'm still using a sonata ii and it has a dust filter. Granted it doesn't have the airflow of other cases, but it wasn't marketed for airflow it was marketed to be a quiet case. I've got a feeling where antec dropped the ball, they stopped focusing on their quiet quality cases and turned fully to cheesy looking 'gaming' cases that ended up being overpriced clones of circus clown rosewill cases. It cheapened the image. Antec cases are (or used to be anyway) really solid well built cases using thicker materials rather than making thin rattle box cases. Vibration resonance of components was never an issue resounding through a flimsy case. Not that having variety is a bad thing but they dropped the ball on the more sophisticated clean lines of their older cases.

    Proof of that lies in fractal design's popularity. The define series has been a smash and shot fractal to the top. For anyone who's worked with older antec cases, the similarity between the old antec and fractal design cases is striking. Understated functional cases focused on quality rather than gimmicks. Goes to show classy understated cases are still very popular in a market filled with odd plastic shaped shells and multicolor led's out the wazoo. Fractal just took it one step further and made the updates antec should have focused on - cable management, providing a window as an option without looking tacky, usb 3.0 etc.

    It's also the little things. Even if people replace stock fans, the factory fans that ship with fractal cases are better quality than the old tri-cool's antec shipped with. I'm also glad to see antec owning their mistakes with power supplies and switching to better quality psu oems like seasonic. Their old true power or silent power psu's that shipped with some of their cases were cruddy.
    Reply