Installation of System
One of the first things you notice when you open up the case is the room. Once you've gotten over the fact that you could fit a couple of systems in there, you start looking at the details. One of my biggest enjoyments of this case is that you can't get cut anywhere. Every edge of every protruding chunk of metal is bent over to create a smooth edge. This attention to detail is one reason that Antec has become such a strong leader in system enclosures.
Now that the we've gotten over the initial pleasantness, lets toss some optical drives into the case. Whether you love them or hate them, this case uses a rail system for installing the front accessible drives. While I have seen rails that are a complete nightmare to use, these are pretty simple and straightforward. Simply attach the rails to the drive, and slide it into the slot where you want it installed to. When you've pushed it in far enough, you will hear an audible click. Your drive is now installed. Repeat for all your 5.25" drives and you're finished with this portion.
Next up is the installation of the floppy drive. We discussed the ease of removing the tray earlier, so just install the floppy drive in the bottom space and you're set.
When I first saw the contoured space for the floppy, I was concerned that I was going to need an OEM type of drive that was made for this case. Fortunately, this was not the case. I used a standard 3.5" drive and it fit in neatly behind the contoured portion of the front bezel. The button matched up perfectly with the drive and there was no problem with inserting a disk.
To finish up the drives, we'll install the hard drives next. Again, this is simplicity itself since the entire drive bay can be removed from the case by just pulling forward the latch on top of it. This allows you to get the drives mounted in the bays without having to remove the back cover of the case and fight with losing screws when they drop out of the hole.
Now that the drives are all firmly in place, lets add a motherboard to the mix. This is where I will have to rant just a bit. While the interior of this case is ample, it is a shame that the folks at Antec didn't decide to add a removable motherboard tray. Even with all the room in here, the topmost screws for the mainboard can be tough to get to if you have large hands. The reason is the support brace that sits between the main compartment and the top section of the case. A removable tray here would make the installation a breeze. Now that I have that out of my system, let's look at what we have here.
The base of the interior is designed to be able to handle about any ATX motherboard being made today. There are more than enough holes drilled into the base to allow for adding as many stand-offs as necessary to install your motherboard. Also, there are a huge amount of screws and stand-offs provided with the case when it ships. Whether you need screws for installing your drives, or adding peripheral components into the PCI slots, or just some spare screws for whatever purpose, they are included with the case.
Once the motherboard is installed, you'll just need to add in your memory, processor and slotted components to be finished. Your system will now be moved into its new luxury home.
One item of note here is cabling. Hard drive cables won't be a problem, but you'll probably want to buy some special (i.e. longer) cabling for your optical drives. The distance that they will have to cover is huge when the top bays are utilized, so plan ahead and be prepared.
During shipping, there are two screws that secure the side panel of the case. Once these two screws are removed, there is an easy to use latch that keeps the panel in place. If you are building a business machine and want to keep your employees out of the internals, then there is also a lock on this latch to keep prying fingers outside where they belong.
Removing the front bezel is also very simple. The second picture above shows one of the handles that secure the bezel. It has a matching one on the other side, so just squeeze these two handles inward and the bezel comes off. The lower cover also comes off easily with no tools by lowering it out of the locking tabs. This will allow you to add/clean filters to all the fans that are used to keep this case cool.
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