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Last updated: 11/10//99

PLASTIC.  The front panel has a very attractive appearance--very professional--exceptionally good taste.  The nicely sculptured front is complemented by attractive, oval-blue Power-on and Reset switches.  The LEDs are nicely arranged and labeled.  The manufacture's one inch square label insert is well located at the middle of the panel and well up from the bottom. Gone are the useless turbo LED and switch and the key lock--good riddance!  The panel is quite securely fastened to the chassis with solid plastic tabs, but is rather difficult to remove without practice.

The speaker is attached to inside of the center of front panel just above manufacture's label.  It is a small 3/8" diameter by 5/16" long cylinder

The plastic expansion card edge support/optional front chassis fan mounting assembly is the best of any I can remember seeing.  The fan snaps in place very securely and the assembly fits snugly against the front of the chassis to provide a fairly good air seal around the fan.  The fan sucks air into the chassis where the front panel bows out at the bottom.  This assembly is further secured by a single screw.  It isn't going to pop loose during shipping.

The case has plastic fold-out legs which are attached to the bottom of the chassis.  They are quite sturdy, but certainly breakable.

All of the plastic is very solid stuff with no edges or corners that are going to break when the side and top covers are removed.

POWER SUPPLY AND COOLING.  This case not only looks good, it does a superb job of cooling a fully loaded, top-of-the-line computer.  I built a loaded 650 Mhz Athlon computer (there will be more on that in later articles--stay tuned) with this case and added two optional Antic chassis fans (# 77038) and a ChipCoolers HTS421B-SB Athlon CPU Fan to the package.  Nothing in it gets hot; hardly warm; not worth measuring.  It's one cool dude, gamers!  

The diagram to the right came out of AMD's Athlon Processor Thermal Solution.  It looks like a KS282 except the 282 has more room around the drive bays, ventilation above the power supply, and vents on the sides and above the expansion boards at the back.  I will note that the power supply in the diagram exhausts air from the chassis like the 282 and does not direct it in and towards the back of the motherboard for CPU cooling as preferred in the ATX specification--it's no big deal and, maybe, in comparison to this scheme, sucking air in is a bad idea.  Now, add two of the optional fans (most computers I build do not need the optional fans or 300 Watt power supplies).  One goes at the lower left corner and pushes air into the chassis and the other mounts above and behind the processor and helps the power supply push it out as it draws air away from the Athlon and AGP board.  You can't get much cooler than this without resorting to refrigerants.

I think it would be a good idea to start designing cases with a filter at the lower left corner in the above diagram and between the plastic and metal to trap dirt that will be sucked into the case from the bottom, especially if the case is put on the floor.  Also, case manufactures, etc. could make some extra money selling filters...

This case comes with an Antec PP303X 300 Watt ATX power supply (and is available with a 230 Watt power supply).  Peering between the ventilation slots in the supply, one sees some heavy-duty heat sinks and components (I didn't open it to investigate further--I couldn't afford to bust the warrantee).  Let's say it looks like a very good supply.  It is also a smart power supply.  It has a thermal-controlled, variable-speed fan which, obviously, adjusts its speed to the temperature of the computer.   In the computer I built with the two optional fans, the power supply fan hardly runs at all.  I would guess that the only thing it needs to cool in a configuration like that is the power supply itself.

I counted one 3 1/2" and seven 5 1/4" power connectors.  I would prefer at least one more 3 1/2" connector.

There is no power switch on the power supply itself, as on many ATX power supplies I've seen recently, in addition to the ATX logic on/off switch on the front panel, which connects to an ATX motherboard.  Such a switch overrides the one on front panel and is handy for making sure power to the motherboard is off, without having to pull the power cord, when plugging-in expansion boards, etc. It is of no great significance during day-to-day operation of the computer.

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