Antec Performance Plus660AMG MiniTower Case
Price: around £80 - 100 mark
Site: www.antec-europe.com for information
Buy: @ Most Online Stores
Antec have recently released their new line of Performance Plus cases, which offer great cooling and connection features as well as looking great.
The dimensions of the case are 17.25" (H) x 8.1" (W) x 18.6" (D) 440 x 206 x 472 mm, in total there are 8 drive bays, 3 of which are 5.25", 2 being 3.5" and 3 hidden 3.5".
It was a nice surprise to find the case had arrived, you can tell straight away as the case was shipped in its own box which features clear shots and diagrams of the feature of the case. This is also proof that the box is strong enough and the case packaged well to be shipped in.
What's included in the box?
I had been looking around for a new case and finally decided which brand it would ideally be : ). The case had the usual polystyrene packaging on the top and bottom which protected the case sufficiently and once the plastic bag protecting the case was removed their she was.... 1 very nice new case.
The paint work of the case is very nice its a very high finish and it is in the colour of metallic gray but has a matt appearance which makes it look better and reduces finger marks etc showing up in the paint work.
So now I had the case out of the box how to get inside for a look... well that is simple enough just unscrew 2 screws these are in the standard place nothing special about it really, thumb screws might of been a nice option but maybe a bit over the top.
Once the screws are removed you can use the handle to release the side of the case, the side then simply opens to reveal the interior all the cables were secured firmly to the case, this is a nice extra, if you are familiar with other cases the majority of makers don't bother they just sling the power leads in, nice to see that on this viewing Antec don't. :)
The case comes with a True330 330W ATX Power supply which has a total of 6-outputs has dual fans to help keep cool the fan grills if your interested are in a gold style (which matched my cpu cooler) this isn't a big thing but is different to all the normal silver versions.
It is ATX12V compliance which allows it to be used with the latest Pentium 4 processors it's also backward compatible which ensures it's usability with any ATX-based AMDT or Intel®system.'
The PSU cabling is grouped together by a mesh sock thing which I think are similar if not the same as used on PSUs from the well respected Enermax, the mesh keeps them all together well and mas a result a single cable tie if desired keeps them all bunched together securely.
'Antec Low Noise Technology is a new approach that achieves optimum balance between noise reduction and necessary cooling. To this end, the thermally controlled variable speed power supply fans run at the lowest speed appropriate to load and conditions, under an advanced temperature response system that outperforms previous solutions. Further dedicated Fan Only power connectors allow True Power power supplies to control the speed of case fans, too.'
This is a great feature which I hope to notice fully after using the case for a while basically there are several connectors from the power supply which have 'fan only' on them basically because they only have 2 wires which will only have enough juice to power case fans. This of course reduces the need of having to have extended or power converters from the connectors to various fans throughout the case.
The power supply is right at the top left with one fan to the rear of the case, and one which will be a bit above your heat sink, this was my first case with a dual psu and with the location of the psu itself at the very top of the case. And I have to say I do prefer the psu to be at the top as it reduces the chances of getting in the way of cables and heat sinks on the CPU.
Also one thing I noticed is the extra space that seems to be inside the case this is both good news being that I would rather see more space than no space and also the benefits to air flow and circulation as a result of it.
The whole case has rounded edges which makes it a damn sight harder to cut yourself gone are the days when a motherboard upgrade could result in some new air holes in your fingers. Even with the plastic drive cover removed where you might think they wouldn't have bothered with has fully rounded sides.
With the plastic cover removed you can see the normal 5.25 bays with the 'blanking' plates removed you can easily insert your DVD/CD drives.... but firstly you will need to have another look in the case and this time look at the bottom their you will find the drive rails which need to be screwed onto the sides of the drives.
Once they are attached you simply line up the drive with the bay and push in it will automatically lock into place and you wont have to worry about pushing them in to far as they only go in to a certain length.
Below the 5.25 bays lie the 3.5 bay housing to access it you will need to remove the 2 thumbscrews and simply pull it out this will hold 2 3.5" devices and they just secure directly to the drive bay. Below the 3.5 housing lies internal 3.5 bays which are mainly designed for hard drives, to access this easier you simply push the securing arm and the 'cage' is released you can then easily add your drives and it is simple to secure.
To the front of the bay lies a case fan housing which if desired would allow you to install yet another case fan to keep your hard drives etc that bit cooler.
Below this again on the front lie the power indicators on the left hand side 4 lights together vertically and on the right the power button that silver in colour. In the middle of these lies a small hatch with the Antec lettering on within this hatch are 2 USB ports, and 1 firewire port this offers easier access rather than having to hunt around the back or having to use extender devices such as USB hubs.
Below the port hatch is some venting gaps which allows air to come in / or be assisted in by fan for the hard drive bay fan, & a space for the supplied Antec Sticker to go. If you look inside the case you can see a space to install another case fan that would help greatly in bringing air through the front and exhaust it through the rear of the case. Included within the venting gaps is an air filter, which obviously helps reduce sucking dirt into your case the filter is easy to remove, and is washable so there's no excuse is there.
Both sides of the case are removable but the motherboard tray is not, this does make it a bit harder to install motherboards but isn't that big a deal as long as you take that bit of extra time although it is a feature I would of liked. : )
For those modders out there who would rather have a window rather than the handle and blowhole, relax the lock mechanism is straightforward to remove if required.
The fans used for the blowhole and rear exhaust fan are both 80mm fans, which do a perfectly good job and are very quiet.
This was my first Antec tower case I had seen a few previous models up close before, but I'm very impressed with this case it is really hard to fault, some benefits:
The colour is very nice and very now, who has a beige type case nowadays hmmm? The thumb screws for access to the 3.5" bays and the slide latch for easy removal of the internal bays make it simple to add / remove without having to take half your system apart.
This case is worth every penny it has the looks the features of extra fan housing with dedicated connectiors, front usb and firewire, dual fan psu, easy access and quick release to drive bays. There is so much which will appeal to a wide range of users.
Great looking case, with plenty of features and reasons to buy this case.