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 Antec SX830 and SX840 Workstation Computer Cases
Last updated: 8/14/02

MOLDED PLASTIC. 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.  The front of the case is quite attractive  and well-designed.  It consists of two pieces of heavy plastic that can be easily removed without tools. The left side must be removed to remove the top section of the front panel without breaking it.  The right side does not.  Once the left side is removed, the top panel which covers the 5 1/4 bays and exposed 3 1/2 bays is easily removed by pressing rectangular buttons on its sides.  The bottom section is removed by pulling two latches that are concealed when the top section is installed and sliding the bottom down and out.  Some care should be exercised when doing this to avoid breakage, but, overall, the fingers which attach the bottom piece of plastic to the case are thicker and tougher than those I have seen in many cases used for name-brand computers.

The speaker is attached to inside lower part of the front panel just below the power switch.  It is a small cylinder with no visible cone and looks like one of those things that would resonate the front panel.

The nicely sculptured front is complemented by the Power-on switch, an inconspicuous Reset switch, and LEDs, which are nicely arranged and labeled.  The wires running to the motherboard from these devices are quit long and will allow moving the panel clear of the case without pulling them out of the case.  The manufacturer's one-inch square label insert is well-located at the middle of the panel and well up from the bottom. A spiffy Antec label is provided for modest VARs and homebuilders.

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

The plastic expansion card edge support is the best have seen--gone is the requirement to push individual plastic card guides into metal holes--solid, simple, easy to remove, and doesn't look like one that will come loose during shipping.  The same can be said for the chassis fan housings.

COOLING.  This case does a superb job of cooling a fully loaded, top-of-the-line computer.  The functional grill structure maximizes air intake.  It does not suck as much dirt directly off the floor or desk through the slot at bottom between the front panel and chassis as many other cases that behave like vacuum cleaners because that do not have any (or have  few) ventilation slots directly through the front panel like the SX800 (irregardless, I do not recommend putting computers on the floor).  The case  comes with two snap-in chassis fans mounted on the back.  These fans snap into plastic housings which in turn snap onto the chassis to provide a fairly good air seal around the fan and allow easy installation and removal.  The housings have a latch assembly with a large handle that releases the unit very easily by pressing it towards the fan; however it may be more intuitive to some to move it the other way.  The latches are quite thick, but, I am sure, will break if one gets impatient, is inclined to think and behave like a gorilla, and moves them the wrong way too many times with too much force.  They are not going to pop loose during shipping.  I can't tell you whether these fans have sleeve or ball bearing fans.  Antec sells both.  These do not have a part number on them.  The fans plug into power supply drive connectors and are not the 3-pin variety with a tachometer circuit, which can be plugged into a motherboard for monitoring.  The case will support three more optional 80 mm fans at the front. One mounts in a plastic housing attached to the front of the 3 1/2" drive bay (see DRIVE BAYS below for picture).  In my experience, they are overkill for most computer configurations.  For hovercraft enthusiasts, Antec has an optional side panel with still another 80 mm fan mounted on it.

I put three 7,200 RPM hard disk drives in the lower 3 1/2 drive cage: two 80 GByte and one 30 GByte.  When these drives are run outside of the case and not in proximity of one another, they are fairly hot to the touch.  When they are run outside of the case and in the bay, they get even hotter, far too hot.  After they had run for a while in the bay, in the case, and the sides on, I removed the left side and felt the drives.  They were not even warm to the touch!  And that was done with an ambient room temperature of 82F/28C.

POWER SUPPLIES. The spec sheets on Antec's web site for the power supplies are out-of date and grossly deficient.  They do not even mention how many plugs the power supplies have, let alone describe them or provide cable lengths.  The Antec ATX12V / 2.03 Power Supply User's Manual provides some insight, but is not included with the case.

This case comes with either Antec SmartPower PP303XP 300-Watt   (SX830) or 412X 400-Watt (SX840)  power supplies.  They meet the ATX 2.03 standard requirements, including Pentium 4 support.  Peering between the ventilation slots in the both supplies, one sees some heavy-duty heat sinks and components (I didn't open them to investigate further).  Let's say they look like very good power supplies and they are quiet.  Both power supplies have thermal-controlled, variable-speed fans, which, obviously, adjust their speed to the temperature of the computer.  In the computer I built, 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.  There is no mention in the specification of what kind of bearings the power supply fans have; although they do state that the Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) for the 300-Watt power supply is 100,000 hours (11.4 years) and 50,000 hours (5.7 years) for the 400-Watt supply, when operated at 25 C (77 F).  I have trouble believing the first number and find that many power supplies fail before the second one.  Duty cycles are not specified.

I counted two 3 1/2" and six 5 1/4" power connectors on the 400-Watt supply, which really isn't enough, for a case with eight drive bays and at least two chassis fans. there are certainly not enough 3 1/2" connectors for many configurations.  However, like most, the two chassis fans that come with the case do include Y connectors.  In addition to the normal ATX motherboard power plug, the 400-Watt power supply has a  6-pin 3.3/5 VDC AUX Power Connector and a 4-pin +12V Power Connector.  Both go to motherboards that provide for them.  See the above link to the User Manual and Intel's Pentium 4 Power Supply Guide for more info.  The last time I counted connectors on the 300-Watt supply it had one 3 1/2" and seven 5 1/4" power connectors; however, the supply has changed since then.  Antec's web site states that the 400-Watt power supply now comes with a 2-wire/3-pin signal connector from the power supply to the motherboard to allow users to monitor the power supply's fan via the motherboard's BIOS.

There is no power switch on the power supplies, as on many ATX power supplies, 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.  According to a post in our forums, the 300-Watt supply now has the switch.

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