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Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Antec's Dark Avenger DA601 mid-tower chassis has some aggressive flair and RGB at a good price. Join us as we take a close look.

@punx223
Published Tue, Sep 10 2019 3:55 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:57 PM CST
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Antec (DA601)

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 34 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 34 IMAGES

Antec is probably one of the few companies in the PC game that do not need an introduction. Anyone who has been around the PC world in the past decade has either used or knows someone who had an Antec nine hundred or twelve hundred. Antec much like Lian Li, which we discussed recently made some fantastic chassis. Then they lost their way along the years moving to several different product offerings such as mobile accessories. Antec over the past couple years has stepped up their PC chassis game again and revived that feeling about the brand that so many of us had a decade or more ago.

Today we have one of the new models from Antec, and it is definitely a gamer-focused chassis. The Dark Avenger DA601 is what we have today, and it has the trifecta of tempered glass, aggressive styling, and RGB. The DA601 is definitely an exciting entrant into the chassis market, and it has some of the makings of a solid competitor in the current market.

Some of the key features as advertised by Antec are as follows. Firstly, of course, will be the large tempered glass main panel, then we have full RGB for the front fan, and the front LED strips which will sync with the included front-mounted ARGB fan. Large cooling fitment spaces at both the front and top of the DA601. The cooling fitment enables front or top-mounted cooling radiators for AIO or open loop cooling. For a small and relatively value-focused chassis, this is quite an excellent fitment capability. The DA601 also includes a fan hub/RGB controller which allows control of up to four Anted ARGB fans.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 55 | TweakTown.com

The Antec DA601 uses its namesake as the model number as well. The size of the chassis is as follows:

  • Height: 500mm
  • Depth: 480mm
  • Width: 220mm

These measurements place the DA601 within the mid-tower category as specified by Antec in their marketing.

Motherboard fitment for the DA601 is stated up to EATX (12" x 11") so not Server EATX but what has been cleverly coined as 'enthusiasts ATX.' Of course, this means that the DA601 can fit mATX and ITX as well. 3.5" and 2.5" drive mounting is listed as two for 3.5" which can also support 2.5". 2.5" is listed as four, but can easily be up to six if you use the 3.5" trays for 2.5" mounting as well. PSU length is limited to 200mm or less which means you can fit most any consumer-available ATX PSU in the DA601. There is an integrated metal PSU shroud which hides most of the PSU and all cable clutter in front of it. The PSU shroud at first look has a window so you can indeed show off your PSU. But if your PSU happens to be unexciting or dull, you may want to mask the PSU as the window cannot be closed off so you will see inside as you will see in the upcoming images later in the review.

Cooling fitment for the DA601 is quite extensive. The front of the DA601 offers up to triple 1230mm fan mounting or a 360mm radiator. The top can mount up to triple 120mm fans or dual 140mm fans. Radiator support up top will be up to 360mm for 120mm based radiators or 280mm for 140mm based radiators. The CPU air cooler height limit is up to 160mm, which means most current top-end air coolers will fit without issue. The chassis comes out of the box equipped with dual fans, an Antec Prizm ARGB 120mm fan on the front for intake and a non-LED 120mm chassis fan in the rear set as exhaust.

The Antec Dark Avenger DA601 is an interesting prospect in regards to pricing as at Newegg it is listed at $84.99, while at Amazon it is listed at $109.99. We will be using the Newegg pricing for comparison here. The Antec DA601 has some rather adept competition at this price point with the MasterBox TD500 from Cooler Master and the Spec Delta from Corsair as tangible options in the similar price range. The price point and competition mean that the Dark Avenger chassis has to prove its mettle in this price range. It has to show it has the goods where it matters to attract your hard-earned dollars.

Shannon's Chassis Test System Specifications

Buy at Amazon

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$87.63$87.63$81.99
* Prices last scanned on 11/26/2020 at 5:04 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Packaging

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 01 | TweakTown.com

The main side of the packaging has a detailed image of the DA601 in the center. Across the top is the Dark Avenger naming along with an ARGB badge. Something strange about the badge is the inclusion of 'Typedef Dword' which I hope is just an early packaging issue as I do not see why it would be included and is likely a 'lorem ipsum' or placeholder wording. I digress, the badge itself references the ARGB aspect of the case in the included Prizm fan and the RGB front four strips which sync with the included fan. There is also a warning that the case uses tempered glass which can be fragile, so you want to be careful.

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The first of the skinnier sides of the packaging is chock full of specs. This side of the box carries a similar spec table to what we listed on the opening page but in four languages; English, Spanish, French and Dutch. There is also the Antec brand name/logo as the figurehead on this side along with UPC and serial numbers and other compliance and safety data adorning this small edge.

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The large opposing side of the box is an exact mirror of the initial first side. Thankfully this is the case as this is where the shipping company chose to apply multiple labels which do not come off easily to view.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 04 | TweakTown.com

The final skinny side of the box we see the same as the other side but with four more languages. This time the spec sheet is offered in Italian, Korean, Japanese and Chinese. The badging on this side is a bit different showing the two-year case warranty and Antec support contact information.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 05 | TweakTown.com

The DA601 came in a foam fabric bag and encapsulated by hard Styrofoam end caps. The tempered glass also has cling film to protect it during transport. The packing is more than sufficient to keep the DA601 safe during transport. The foam bag is an excellent addition as it adds a bit more abrasion resistance than a standard plastic bag which can be abrasive or scuff.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 06 | TweakTown.com

The front of the DA601 is interesting as it harkens to the more aggressive styling of what was commonly referred to as a 'gamer style' case. Here, with the DA601 being empty we can see the front grille where the front fan ingests air. The top and bottom angular panels both carry dual RGB strips that appear opaque white when powered off. There is also an Antec logo on the upper angular front panel adornment. If you look closely to the left-hand edge, we can see the thumbscrews which hold the glass panel on.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 07 | TweakTown.com

The top of the DA601 we have a magnetic fan filter covering slotted openings for versatile top panel cooling mounting. We will dig into this soon when we start to disassemble the DA601. UP front we see the I/O at the top mounting which we will be looking at next.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 08 | TweakTown.com

The front panel I/O is up at the top and thankfully detached from the front panel. This means the front panel can be removed without removal of the front panel cables, or so I thought. Turns out later in the disassembly, we found that the front panel was still indeed tethered to the chassis via the front panel ARGB cables. The front panel connectivity is comprised of the following (left to right):

  • LED Switch (Multiple preset modes or sync to the motherboard)
  • 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports
  • Power button with integrated power status LED
  • 2x Headphone & Microphone 3.5mm jacks
  • Reset button
Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 09 | TweakTown.com

The main glass panel we see here, and you will notice it is clear without tint. This is good as it allows full viewing of your system components without the need for lighting to let the components pop out from a main tinted panel. However, there is a caveat to clear glass as; usually, tinting helps hide errant cables and other possible issues when you complete your build. This is not a significant detriment but something to keep in mind as you will want to be mindful of this while managing and routing cables and components.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 10 | TweakTown.com

The rear of the DA601 is rather standard with the motherboard I/O cutout with eth adjacent 120mm fan mounting. This mounting is filled with the preinstalled 120mm standard chassis fan in exhaust orientation. There are seven expansion slots and a standard ATX PSU mount. The expansion slots use a sliding cover which is affixed with two thumbscrews. This cover allows cards to be installed and the externally accessible slot cover screw area to be covered after installation by sliding the cover shut.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 11 | TweakTown.com

The cable management side of the DA601 is covered by a steel panel which is base chassis colored and allows you to hide your cable management within it. We can also see the aggressive outwardly pointed top and bottom panels on the front fascia panel.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 12 | TweakTown.com

The bottom of the DA601 is solid steel and has large rectangular plastic feet in place. The feet meet at the level of the front panel to ensure a smooth flowing and finished appearance as they fit together quite flush. The PSU area has ventilation which has a removable rear filter for easy cleaning. The area more forward of the PSU area we see screws in place which can be removed to take out the internal 3.5" drive cage. At the front most section we have the grab handle area used for pulling the front panel off the chassis.

Inside the Dark Avenger DA601

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 13 | TweakTown.com

The front panel pulled off with a distinct strong pull as the DA601 uses standard plastic clip retention, and a firm pull will release it. This does not mean that the front panel comes off easily; it merely means it's not so tricky that you would worry about breaking it. Here we also see the magnetic filter in place while the chassis has guide lips in a place like a cheaper slide-in filter would use. If you try to fit it into these slots, it does not fully seat and will bow outwards, so you are best advised to stick it on via the magnet to get a better seal. Here you can also see the ARGB Prizm fan from Antec. This is noted because the fan is center-mounted as that is the only way Antec can pull off the ring aesthetic through the center opening. You cannot see the lit fan in any other position. Lastly, we see the cables for the front panel lighting, which mean the front panel is indeed tethered to the chassis and not free to remove at least not entirely without pulling those cables.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 14 | TweakTown.com

Here we see the vast opening of the DA601 and its preinstalled standoffs. The standoffs appear to be fitted for FlexATX, but the mounting holes for more standoffs are in place for full ATX and even appear to have holes further over. These hint at the chassis possibly being somewhat capable of handling a larger board than specified but we will avoid diving too deeply into this. As Antec does not claim it as compatible and we do not want to state something that may have been a trial which did not work out. Out of the box with the installation of a few more standoffs, you have plenty of room to fit non-EEB EATX. The room we see is plentiful for installing most anything we would install. But there is one thing to note, and that is the omission of grommets on the cable management holes. The lack of cable management holes means that more of your cabling will be potentially visible unless you are particularly astute with your wiring management.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 15 | TweakTown.com

The front area we now get an inside look at the mounting. The first thing to note is that there is a cutout running through the PSU shroud. This is to allow a radiator and fans to be mounted. However, space even if installing the fan in front of the chassis frame will likely be limited to thinner radiators. This is pretty much expected at the price point, but it is worth noting to understand the full capabilities of the chassis. The adjacent section is the cable management holes which run parallel to the front panel.

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Here we see the top fan and radiator mounting locations. With the magnetic filter removed, we get a full view of the mounting capabilities. Having fully slotted mounting is excellent as it allows flexibility to your mounting choices. You can mount your cooling components to best match your placement or airflow needs.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 17 | TweakTown.com

The PSU shroud of the DA601 is full length with the top of the front cut out a little bit to fit front mount cooling. The other openings are the two at the motherboards mounting lower edge. The pass-through holes at the boards' edge are primarily for the front panel cables but can also be used to pass GPU cables for a cleaner build if it fits your style needs. The element that stands out the most to me is the opening or window in the PSU shroud, which allows viewing of the installed PSU. This is going to be awesome for PSUs with an excellent aesthetic while it could be a detriment for those who have a plain jane PSU. The advantages I see here is that some manufacturers are starting to integrate styling into their PSUs. Features from LED lighting, custom label designs to even power meters which generally would be covered by the PSU shroud.

Inside the Dark Avenger DA601 Continued

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 18 | TweakTown.com

The rear area we now get a look at the preinstalled fan for exhaust. The 120mm basic case fan is a 3-pin DC fan. It will not have the same ramping capabilities as a 4-pin PWM fan as the 3-pin DC fans use a variable voltage to adjust speed. PWM counterparts have a 4th pin which allows the fan to be full 12V DC at all times and the controller uses the PWM signal to ramp the fan. The seven expansion slots are accessible via external screws to give a slight amount more of internal chassis space. One thing worth noting is that the DA601 has some notable area above the motherboard I/O cutout. Which means it will likely have better compatibility with top-mounted AIO's or liquid cooling than we experienced with some other cases in this range recently.

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The rear cable management area is rather cleanly laid out right out of the box. The cabling from the front panel RGB and the front I/O makes a direct line down the pass-through hole set which is closest to the motherboard mounting. I feel like a set of tie-down loops in between the pass-through holes would be a great addition to the DA601 as that would allow bundling of cables out of sight of the pass-through holes entirely. However, we still have a capable space to run your system cabling with a bit more mess than usual due to the included ARGB elements and the integrated fan and RGB hub.

We see the two vertical removable 2.5" sleds for SSD's on the motherboard tray with two more dedicated mounting points toward the front panel area as listed by Antec. There are three mounting areas I see here, and I'm not sure why Antec only lists it as being capable of two drives mounting here when in reality you can fit three up this left most portion. I can venture a guess that this is since there is a standoff hole here in the middle of where the SSD could mount, but I am betting you could shave the burrs down here and pull off three SSD's if you felt so compelled and had the need.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 20 | TweakTown.com

Here we take a closer look at the RGB and fan hub in the rear cable management area of the DA601. As you can see, we have four total PWM capable ports for fans and four total 3-pin ARGB headers with only one open. This is due to the two needed for the front panel and the third heading to the preinstalled Prizm fan upfront.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 21 | TweakTown.com

The 3.5" HDD cages are next, and I like how Antec went through the trouble to put rubber mounting legs on these to help address potential noise and vibration issues. Each of these trays can also be used for 2.5" drives if you do not have any large mechanical drives that need a home. Otherwise, this entire cage can be removed with the release of eight screws.

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The PSU sits behind the 3.5" cage we were looking at. As you can see, the PSU has some room but removing the cage if not needed would give you a virtually limitless PSU mounting space and ability to hide cables. The PSU area has rubberized foam pads where the PSU rests, and a large ventilation area which has a removable filter which is externally accessible.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 23 | TweakTown.com

The cables for the I/O and controller come up next, and they are listed below (left to right):

  • Reset Switch
  • SATA Power (For Fan/RGB Hub)
  • 3-pin ARGB header (For RGB/Fan Hub)
  • 4-Pin PWM header (Syncs motherboard PWM to the fan/RGB hub)
  • Power Switch and Power LED header
  • HD Audio header
  • 20-pin USB 3.2 Gen 1 header (Front Type-A ports)

Hardware & Documentation

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The accessory pack comes equipped with the following (Listed top to bottom, left to right):

  • 5x zip ties for cable management
  • Adapter cable for ARGB sync to GIGABYTE motherboard
  • 8x screws to mount the motherboard
  • 16x screws to install SSD's
  • 6x screws for PSU mounting
  • 4x screws for fan mounting (radiator?)
  • 3x standoffs (Full ATX/EATX mounting)

This kit of accessories is enough to get you started and should easily service most any components you would build into the DA601.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 25 | TweakTown.com

The manual for the DA601 is a multi-fold large sheet. The instructions are elementary, and in seven languages, so you have mostly pictorial graphics to guide you on your build if you need it. The case being accessible and straightforward to build in, I did not find any reason to need the manual. One thing I wish was there would be a screw guide so that at a glance, I would know precisely what screw is used for what device or fitment.

Case Build & Finished Product

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The front of the DA601 still has the same subdued appearance we saw in the initial unboxing as it's not powered or lit. There is no real visibility through the front mesh area, so the view remains the same. This case is quite extreme, and while it looks subdued here, I do not think it would fit most entertainment centers or office environments as it's more a gaming-focused case as doesn't have the sleek minimalist appearance of some other chassis options.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 27 | TweakTown.com

Everything went in the DA601 without any significant issue, and all components fit as expected. The cable pass-through without grommets I thought would be a considerable detriment but much to my surprise the ability to move cables around without pulling grommets off or unseating them as I adjust things was a welcome result. I still do miss grommets here as you can see to the far right the bundle of front panel cabling passing over the holes to meet the tie downs. The ability to adjust the AIO in the top meant I was able to position it so that the tubing ran cleanly without any harsh bends. Another welcome thing here is as you can see the spacing of the motherboard to the top, means virtually any memory can be installed even with a thicker radiator solution.

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The rear is rather standard as the necessary holes were filled. The motherboard I/O plate covers the opening and the GPU slots into two expansion slots. The PSU fills the large void we had previously, and as you can see, there are plenty of expansion slots in place waiting for the addition of more components as needed. The cover for the expansion slot mounting worked well and did not cause any notable fuss when installing expansion cards.

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The cable management section, while it may not be ideal for cable hiding, worked very well for tying them up. The cables were able to be routed well and look rather clean with admittedly little actual effort to the cause. The 140mm long PSU by SilverStone is comfy in here with some room to tuck cables away in front of it as needed. However, if you were to use a larger PSU that room can quickly vaporize so keep that in mind if you plan to keep the 3.5" cage intact.

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Due to the lack of tint on the main glass panel even at a sharp angle, we can see in innards of the build. This is nice as it means you don't have to go crazy with lighting to highlight your builds; however, if you are looking for a showpiece setup, I think a couple white or RGB LED strips could liven things up a bit.

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Finally, we have the rig powered on. This, I think, is where the DA601 really shines (pun intended). The DA601 with a few well-placed RGB components springs to life as the components can cycle through RGB spectrum or even be synced to a pattern or single color. While I am not the biggest fan of RGB components, I also know that in some cases RGB can take a build from boring or dull to something that really pops, and I feel like the small accents of RGB on the DA601 work well to create a complete or connected feeling between the chassis and the host system.

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Final Thoughts

When I first entered the review of the DA601, I instantly thought probably a lot of the bad things many would think about a more mainstream case, especially with an aggressive gamer design. I am happy to say that while Antec has not made a halo product or a case worth a $300.00 price point, it pulled off something quite impressive, offering a solid platform to build upon with more capabilities than many in the price range.

In testing the DA601, we found it held its ground rather well. The testing environment included an ambient of 24.4C and a RH of 45%. The DA601 showed a CPU average ΔT over ambient of 46.4C while the GPU saw a Delta of 37.1C. This is well within passing and actually as good as some of the top players in our testing. I will admit I was a bit surprised but the fan positioning allows for efficient air ingress and egress to keep the innards well controlled.

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis Review 34 | TweakTown.com

The DA601, while being relatively inexpensive, actually proves itself quite versatile with some impressive cooling fitment and capability. The ability to realistically fit up to dual 360mm radiators for a pretty impressive open loop is fantastic. The space above the motherboard which can fit larger radiators is also a great inclusion. It means you can use a single thicker radiator and run just fans for cool air ingestion. The addition of dual fans with one being ARGB is a nice feature and well beyond what many at this price point offer. The fact that Antec ensures the inlets are filtered to keep a large portion of dust at bay is a nice feature as well. The inclusion of a multitude of cable tie-downs makes for an easy job tidying up a build in the DA601. The addition of an ARGB controller and PWM fan hub sweetens the pot that much more.

Now it's time to air some grievances with the DA601. Firstly, the lack of grommets on cable pockets can be forgiven, but the inclusion would have made this case even more of a fantastic value. The small gap in the PSU shroud will limit front panel radiator thickness, so keep that in mind as a 10mm or so larger opening would allow for much more room to work in. The opening in the PSU cover is really cool as those who have LCDs on their PSU, or unique designs will appreciate it, but those who are on a budget build, the area may be much duller, and that can serve as a constant reminder that your PSU is more basic and doesn't have anything to show off through this window.

At the price of $84.99 form Newegg, I think the DA601 from Antec has some neat tricks up its sleeve for a sub ninety-dollar chassis. The DA601 won't win any significant, influential design awards, and that's ok. Antec has made a mid-tower chassis that has unique styling along with some excellent expansion capabilities while leaving room in the budget for other parts that may enhance your game performance.

Antec did a great job giving budget gamers something that does not look as garish as many' budget offerings' and it shows.

Shannon's Chassis Test System Specifications

Buy at Amazon

Performance

90%

Quality

85%

Features

90%

Value

95%

Overall

90%

The Bottom Line

The Dark Avenger DA601 from Antec turned out to be a solid performer at a great value. If you are looking for a good deal on a chassis with some aggressive flair and RGB, the DA601 has you covered!

TweakTown award
90%

Antec Dark Avenger DA601 Mid-Tower Chassis

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$87.63$87.63$81.99
* Prices last scanned on 11/26/2020 at 5:04 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Shannon started his PC journey around the age of six in 1989. Now till present day, he has established himself in the overclocking world, spending many years pushing the limits of hardware on LN2. Shannon has worked with design and R&D on various components, including PC systems and chassis, to optimize the layout and performance for enthusiasts.

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