|Antec Two Hundred Mid-Tower Computer Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Tuesday, 22 September 2009|
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Closer Look: Interior
The interior of the Antec Two Hundred is a stark reminder of how far chassis design has come in the last several years. This case has no tool-free features, which is obvious once you pear inside. The myriad little plastic pieces that adorn a modern high-end gaming case are conspicuous by their total absence. All that is left is a plethora of holes, slots, bends, and cutouts in SECC steel, which is coated in a bright shade of gray-blue primer. I can practically hear some of you echoing my words when I first gazed at the blank canvas inside the Two Hundred: "Ahhh, time for some Old School fun". You'll see what I mean as we tour the insides.
The basic layout of the Antec two Hundred is very modern: PSU on the bottom, six 3.5" drive slots in a tall stack, an oversized (140mm) fan on the top, and a large CPU cutout.
All the drive bays are designed for front loading, which is one of the easiest ways to install and remove a drive IMHO. I am also a fan of side loading drive bays, but airflow is generally better with the front-loaded arrangement. One of the reasons I like side-loaded bays is that removal of the front panel is not required. Far too many front (and top) panels are secured with a complex series of tabs and latches that require too much thought and too many hands to remove, without breaking something in the process. Fortunately, manufacturers have simplified and strengthened the latching designs over the years, and the Two Hundred proves that removal and replacement can be done sans blood, sweat and tears. As an added bonus, the manual actually explains HOW to do it, instead of just saying "Remove the front panel..."
Two aspects of the case design help with cable management. First, the open layout of the HDD bays provides a large space to stash any excess power supply cables. As much as I like working with modular power supplies, not everyone can justify the added expense. So, the bundle of blacksnakes has to go somewhere and preferably somewhere close, that's a straight shot.
Second, the space behind the HDD bays is open and accessible for both routing and storing unused cables. There's a fair amount of depth here, so even the larger PSU bundles will fit. That's important, because there is precious little room behind the motherboard tray for anything. There's barely enough room for the Molex connectors on the fan cables. There are also no cutouts on the motherboard tray that would serve to route either the main ATX power cable or the 12V CPU power cable. Everything points to using the space behind the HDD bays as the main catch-all for cable management. There are several tie-off points for looping cable ties through, and two wide, reusable type ties are provided as accessories.
Under the category of "You don't know what you got ‘til it's gone", there is no vent on the bottom of the case for a PSU to pull air in. Any power supply, no matter its fan orientation will have to pull air from within the case for cooling. This has two negative effects, raising the operating temperature of the PSU and increasing the negative pressure inside the case. In its stock configuration, the Antec Two Hundred has no intake fans, and without a dedicated intake vent for the PSU, we've just increased the exhaust fan count to three.