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Four Full Tower Cases From $150 To $600

Antec Twelve Hundred--Build And Installation

Build, Continued

Back of the Antec Twelve Hundred

Open up the sides and you’ll find more black steel. Antec claims support for 12 drives, though in order to get that sort of capacity you’d need to remove the plastic air-tunnel channeling circulation from one front intake fan into the body of the chassis. That’s hardly a problem, though ; as the case sits from the factory, you can fit six hard drives and three 5.25” optical drives.

All of the enclosure’s edges are rolled and most of the screws you’ll be dealing with (excepting those holding hard drives into their cages) are of the thumb variety, making it easy to work in and around the Twelve Hundred

Installation

Unlike the Canyon 695, which has a brushed finish that seems like it’d be easily marred and thus begs to be handled very carefully, Antec’s Twelve Hundred is a simpler solution that gets its job done inexpensively, but satisfactorily. Six of nine copper standoffs came pre-installed for a simpler motherboard installation and the PC Power and Cooling supply that wouldn’t fit in ABS’ case slid in without a problem.

Of course, the Twelve Hundred’s design isn’t faultless. Connecting the 8-pin auxiliary power connector to the Asus board required an uncomfortable stretch. Any chassis vendor forcing power supply installations at the bottom of their cases should include an extension, as Cooler Master does with its HAF.

Also, after working with the Canyon 965’s slide-in hard drive mounts and backplanes, Antec’s cage design seemed particularly clunky. Freeing a cage for installation means taking off both side panels, unfastening four thumb screws on each side, securing the drive with four Philips-head screws, and reattaching the eight thumb screws. Surely that process could have been made easier.

Tight fit with long graphics cards

Because the Twelve Hundred cannot accommodate eATX motherboards, you’ll notice that it’s not as deep as the ABS or Cooler Master cases. As a result, when you drop in a long graphics card, like AMD’s Radeon HD 4870, the fit is tight, especially if you have a hard drive installed directly across from the card.

Lastly, having seen ABS and Cooler Master integrate three-pin case fans designed to plug into a motherboard and adapt them to work with a four-pin Molex connection, we would have liked to see Antec go a similar route. Instead, the Twelve Hundred’s fans are Molex-only, so a header-heavy motherboard like our Rampage II Extreme goes underutilized.

  • Proximon
    Thank you Chris, another very useful article. Not enough case comparisons around, as I'm sure you realized.
    I'll be sure to add the HAF to my recommendation list. I hadn't before because I thought all the extra holes would hinder cooling more than help. The hole in the MB tray sounds especially useful.
    I would have liked to see on of the Cosmos cases included, although I suspect they are simply quieter but hotter.
    Reply
  • malveaux
    Nice article.

    Though, I'm curious. 40db+ isn't whisper quiet. That's freak'n loud. What's up with calling it whisper quiet?
    Reply
  • Pei-chen
    The three cheaper cases are powerhouses but too big and overkill for most people including gamers. I think the Antec's Three Hundred ($60 a few weeks ago on Newegg) suits the need for most people. 750w PSU are usually enough for SLI/Crossfire so 1000w+ aren't needed.
    Reply
  • malveaux
    I'm curious when they will start releaseing more cases that have more depth, so that they have more room for today's much larger videocard solutions.
    Reply
  • kubes
    Ya I agree that case designers should consider making them have more depth. With this in mind though i'm sure vidoe card manufactors will only make their card even longer however.
    Reply
  • Lian Li has plenty of depth, and otherwise just huge (PC-A70).
    Reply
  • antiacid
    Good article. Now it gives a procedure and template to test other cases as well. It'd be great to have a review of cases which could be "best of" a certain category (cooling, noise, ease of use, weight, etc). It would be even nicer if the results were put in bullet point form and were setup in a table like the ones used in hdd/video card tables. That would make it a lot easier to compare everything.
    Reply
  • avatar_raq
    I do believe that all the cases available in the market these days are poorly designed especially when it comes to air flow. You may notice that front fans, rear fans, buttom, side and top panel fans -when combined- cause turbulence in air flow that reduces the overall air flow. That's why I buy a cheap $25 case and modded myself!!!
    I have so many innovations regarding case designs that I hope someone buys them and excutes them in reality!!
    Reply
  • avatar_raq
    Here is one of my ideas...
    To put it plainly: air needs to be moved in one direction, preferably from down-upwards, since hot air tends to go upward by nature and the hottest part of any system (that's the GFX cards) is located at the lower part..Hence a PSU mounted at the upper part of the case (with its 120-140mm fan), with another 120mm top-panel exhaust fan and two 120mm buttom intake fans will be by far more efficient than all the available cases. To achieve this efficincy I close any other holes (even the ones the manufacturer meant for ventilation) so the air enters the case only from the buttom fans where I put dust filters to minimize dust inside my case. Furthermore I use a case with long "legs" to minimize inhalation of the dust at my desk's surface.
    To minimize noise: I use
    1.low RPM silent fans.
    2.rubber washers between the fans and the case to minimize vibration noise.
    3.cover all the interior surfaces with a layer of an insulator, that can be as simple as sponge!!!
    4.even design external air ducts that divert the exhausted air (which carries the interior noise) to the back.
    Reply
  • avatar_raq
    Fortunately many aftermarket CPU and GPU coolers helped me. They can be installed in a way that the fan moves the air upwards. There is evidence that the setup I suggested above reduces -though marginally- the power consumed by the CPU and GPU fans to reach thier designated rpm and increases the lifetime of these fans, since instead of meeting resistance, the one directional air flow helps them.
    Reply