Under power, the fans were the first thing I noticed. I found that when I booted the PC the front fans were making a bit of a rattling noise at first. Running the fans for a bit seemed to have made that noise go away on its own so I decided to play around with the fan controls. With all of the dials set to their lowest position and the four on the back set to low, there is a low audible hum during operation. While there was noise, at this level I would have no issues gaming next to it. When I turned the fans on high in the back and maximized the dials on the front, I was taken back in time as the DF-85 sounded just like my 900 did; really loud! I love that the case has great air flow, but I think Antec may need to work on the sound levels a bit.
The installation and use is very easy. With all the holes in the motherboard tray and the room the DF-85 provides behind the tray and next to the drives, there is no reason this case should end up messy. Touches like the hot swappable drive bays for 3.5" and 2.5" drives are a huge plus. What I would have liked to have seen were maybe some tool-less optical drive bays, or even some sort of tool-less GPU holder. Things like no wiring for the hot swap devices are a downer too, but in order to keep pricing down some things need to be left to the end user to provide.
The chassis is priced right, I will give it that. This case is listed for $169.99 at Newegg, but if you are a more frugal shopper you may find the Dark Fleet 85 for even less. Now comes the tough part. Can it stand up to cases like the HAF-X or Obsidian? In my opinion, no. While the DF-85 does offer great bang for the buck, it just doesn't have the feel of elegance you get from the Obsidian series and nowhere near the internal room of either of the cases I mentioned. What I do see here is a very good evolution of the 1200 chassis. Keeping with an already produced design helps keep costs down, and the 1200 is a good platform to start with. While I can appreciate the evolution in design, I would have preferred a more of a fresh start. While the Dark Fleet is packed with goodies, it still left me wanting something more from Antec.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, Availability and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging]
- Page 3 [The Antec Dark Fleet-85 Full Tower Case]
- Page 4 [Inside the Antec Dark Fleet Full Tower Case]
- Page 5 [Accessories and Documentation]
- Page 6 [The Build and Finished Product]
- Page 7 [Final Thoughts]
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