Antec Three Hundred Two: Stay Cool, Budget Enthusiastsby Dustin Sklavos on January 24, 2012 7:00 AM EST
- Posted in
In and Around the Antec Three Hundred Two
As is typical of sub-$100 cases, the Antec Three Hundred Two isn't particularly flashy. We can be thankful it's not gaudy, but the basic plastic finish and extensive ventilation in the front doesn't do a lot for making the Three Hundred Two much of an eye-catcher either.
The outer shell of the Three Hundred Two really is pretty basic and bog standard. Antec employs a black plastic front bezel with ventilated 5.25" drive bay shields and then a massive amount of ventilation in front of the internal drive bays (note that a pair of 120mm fans can also be mounted here). In place of USB 2.0, however, Antec has included a pair of USB 3.0 ports at the top front of the case next to the audio jacks and power and reset buttons. The USB 3.0 ports are controlled off of an internal header, as has become standard with new enclosures over the past few months.
When we get to the side panels, the left side is business as usual, with a single ventilated fan mount for a 120mm intake fan to blow across the expansion cards. The right side, on the other hand, tries something a little different: there's a 120mm fan mount placed directly below the processor socket, behind the cutout in the motherboard tray. I've seen Antec and SilverStone experiment with this, but I'm still waiting for one of them to actually decide it's important enough to mount a fan there in the stock configuration.
The rest of the exterior is more of the same routine. There's a 140mm exhaust fan in the top of the case, and two rubber-grommeted holes for routing liquid cooling tubes. The back features a 120mm exhaust fan as well, but everything's where you'd expect it to be. Can someone explain to me who still uses these liquid cooling holes, especially when even the highest end rigs I've seen from boutiques don't have any use for them? They're included in nearly every case I review as a matter of course, but in a $79 case I'm just not sure what purpose they serve.
When you do remove the thumbscrews from the side panels and pop the Three Hundred Two open, though, you see a more refined build that's in line with modern case design. In an effort to both maximize case width as well as ensure clean cabling, Antec uses a lateral drive cage and then shifts the motherboard tray away from the side a bit to allow for cables to be routed behind it. The side panels are also hinged instead of sliding into notches, making the enclosure easier to open and close.
Antec also supplies a surprisingly effective toolless 5.25" drive locking mechanism as well as decent routing holes in the motherboard tray and a large opening in the tray for mounting cooler backplates, a development prevalent in the industry as a result of Intel's staunch refusal to actually fix their heatsink mounting system. [Ed: Die, push pins, die!]
Ultimately the Three Hundred Two's build and design are fairly straightforward, but it's nice to see more and more advances in case design trickling down like this. This enclosure was clearly designed by people with some sense of what enthusiasts want and require, and they did it all without pushing the price too high.
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piroroadkill - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - linkWhat's the point? For the one person who has a Zalman Reserator still?
That said, nice enough case, but my go-to case is still the Fractal Design Define R3. It just seems to do everything for everybody (as long as your graphics card fits), in a compact size, and sleek P180-esque design.
cjs150 - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - linkI love watercooling my rig but have never used the water cooling holes on any case.
Even if I were to use the holes, the positioning on the Antec is just weird. Because the Antec is not too tall you could place a radiator on top of the case with fans actually in the case either pulling cool outside air through the rad and into case or pushing slightly warmer air (not as good but good enough most of the time) from case through radiator and out. Either way you would want the water cooling holes to line up with the inlets on the radiator - and they do not so you would have to mod the top of this case.
Is a bit of a shame because this could be a nice case to use for watercooling with a 240 radiator in front and on top - need to rip top off and remodel though.
I guess I will go back to the Arc Midi
bassetwrangler - Friday, January 27, 2012 - linkAs a regretful former owner of a Zalman Reserator, I find it an obvious fantasy that there still exists even one functional example. I dismembered the over complicated carcass of mine, recycling as much as possible, so that it might never reconstitute itself once again into a worthless beeping nightmare.
Death666Angel - Saturday, January 28, 2012 - linkI have a Silverstone TJ08-E and had to cut holes in the back myself (used the place above PCI brackets) because I use an external radiator mounted to the side of the case. A lot of people with high-end water cooling use external radiators with 3x3 120mm/140mm fans and need those holes. So there are good reasons for having them and usually they don't bother those who don't need them. However, here they are unfortunately placed very strangely and viewable. :-/
doctormonroe - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - linkI am not a fan of having fan holes behind the motherboard, I used to own a Thermaltake V9, which had such a feature and all it did was allow dust to accumulate on the back of the motherboard.
Arbie - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - linkA case vent behind the motherboard is actually a good idea. Even if you don't put a fan there, it is one of the few places where a simple hole makes sense. Being shielded from the main cavity, it won't let much noise leak out. But air will find its way, and will circulate around much of the mobo perimeter and rear surface to get there.
This assumes, of course, that you are running at least a slight positive pressure, which I think is the only sensible thing to do (see other posts). Otherwise you will get dust, as you note.
sajid - Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - linkthis is reply to "Fan behind the motherboard tray" by Sajid at 11:41 AM
Boogaloo - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - linkI managed to get an original 300 for $30 through a rebate and sale lining up. Didn't need it at the time but figured cases don't go bad. Then USB 3.0 came out :/
Taft12 - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - linkCases don't go bad thanks to devices like this!
KineticHummus - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - linkHow can that supply usb 3.0? it uses a usb 2.0 internal connection...