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Written by Steven Iglesias-Hearst   
Monday, 19 July 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Antec DF-85 Dark Fleet Full-Tower Case
Closer Look: DF-85 Exterior
Dark Fleet, Exterior Features
Closer Look: DF-85 Interior
Detailed Interior Features
Antec, Dark Fleet, Final Thoughts
Antec DF-85, Conclusion

Antec, Dark Fleet DF-85 Case Review

Antec have been rather busy of late, busy creating the Dark Fleet series that is. The Dark fleet series is Antec's newest range of gaming PC cases and consists of three models, the DF-30 and DF-35 Mid Tower cases,, and the DF-85 Full Tower case. Today Benchmark Reviews has the pleasure to bring to you the Dark Fleet DF-85 Full Tower PC, case. The DF-85 comes with a whopping seven fans pre-installed, an external 2.5", SATA Hot-Swap bay, an internal 2.5" SSD, mount and, four movable Fleet Swap Hot-Swap drive interfaces with Fleet Release doors for easy access. This is just the tip of the iceberg though, please read on to see what's hot and what's not with the Antec Dark Fleet DF-85 Full Tower PC case.

The inner dimensions of the Antec DF-85 are great, above the moterboard, there is 10cm of room (without fans) to install a watercooling setup, between the PCI slots and the HDD bays there is room to install up to 12.5" graphics cards, and from the motherboard tray to the side panel there is space to install coolers up to 18.5cm high.

Antec_Dark_fleet_DF-85_Intro_600.jpg,

Now bearing in mind that the Dark Fleet DF-85 is a full tower case, I am a little disappointed that there is no support for ULTRA-ATX, E-ATX, or XL-ATX, and there are only seven PCI slots which means no quad GPU setups either. If neither of these are a problem for you,, and you want a case with lots of room and great cooling and storage capabilities, then read on to find out more.

Features and Specifications

  • Three Fleet-Release access doors open separately for convenient entry to drives
  • Three washable fan filters allow for easy cleaning
  • Top 2.5" hot-swap SATA (SSD-compatible) drive bay
  • Bottom-mounted power supply isolates heat
    - Mounts either a standard size power supply or an Antec exclusive CP Series power supply
  • Lockable access doors ensure security
  • CPU cutout allows for easy installation of CPU coolers
  • 14 drive bays:
    - Up to 9 x internal 3.5"
    - 3 x external 5.25"
    - 4 x internal 3.5" Fleet-Swap drives (position changeable)
    - 1 x external top 2.5" hot-swap SATA drive bay
    - 1 x internal bottom-mounted 2.5" SSD, mount
  • Advanced cooling system:
    - 2 x top 140mm TwoCool fans
    - 2 x rear 120mm TwoCool red LED fans
    - 3 x front 120mm red LED fans with speed control knobs
    - 1 x side 120mm fan to cool graphics cards (optional)
    - Water cooling capable
  • 7 expansion slots to support multiple graphics cards
  • Maximum graphics card size: 12.5" / 318 mm
  • Cable management ties help keep your case tidier
  • Stylish blacked-out interior
  • Windowed side panel
  • Front ports:
    - 1 x USB 3.0
    - 3 x USB 2.0
    - Audio (AC'97 and HDA compatible) In and Out
  • Motherboards: Mini-ITX, microATX, Standard ATX
  • Power supply not included
  • Unit Dimension
    - 596mm (H) x 213mm (W) x 505mm (D)
    - 23.5" (H) x 8.4" (W) x 19.9" (D)
  • Package Dimension
    - 577mm (H) x 288mm (W) x 510mm (D)
    - 22.7" (H) x 11.3" (W) x 20.1" (D)
  • Weight
    - Net : 11.0 kg / 24.2 lb
    - Gross : 11.3 kg / 26.3 lb
  • About Antec, Inc.

    Antec, Inc. is the global leader in high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself markets. Founded in 1986, Antec is recognized as a pioneer in the industry and has maintained its position as a worldwide market leader and international provider of quiet, efficient and innovative products. Antec has also achieved great success in the distribution channel, meeting the demands of quality-conscious system builders, VARs and integrators.

    Antec's offering of enclosures includes a wide range of cases, such as its advanced Performance One Series, economical New Solution Series and VERIS family of media components designed for the home theater PC market. Antec's products also include front line power supplies, such as its premium Signature Series, powerful TruePower Quattro Series and EarthWatts, one of the most environmentally friendly power supplies available. PC gamers are an increasingly significant consumer of performance components, and many Antec products are designed for the gaming demographic, like the premier gamer enclosure: the Nine Hundred. Antec also offers a line of computer accessories comprising many original products, including its patented LED fans and notebook cooling solutions.

    Antec is headquartered in Fremont, California, with additional offices in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, as well as in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China and Taiwan. The company's products are sold in more than 40 countries throughout the world. Please visit www.antec.com for more information.



     

    Comments 

     
    # RE: Antec DF-85 Dark Fleet Full-Tower CaseDavid Ramsey 2010-07-20 06:48
    Looks as if the DF-85 addressed many of the complaints I had about its little brother, the DF-35. For only $30 more you get a substantially improved (if larger) case. Even so, as you point out, they could have done a better job.
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    # ouchHsew 2010-07-20 11:31
    chalk this one up as a failed sucessor to the 1200. I mean, sure, you've got hot-swap bays, One (why just one, I'll never know...) USB 3.0 port, CPX PSU support, and red led fans (woot), but the whole damn thing is SO FRIGGIN TACKY! I mean, wow, this just screams "prepubescent 10 year old alert"! Not only that, but they didn't have the decency to put in more than 7 slots (as was pointed out in the review). One word for this case: sloppy. Its like they were desperate for something new to release.

    And what's your beef with Antec's CPX PSUs? I mean, sure, they're ugly and they're huge, BUT, they're godly in terms of low ripple levels and they are insanely well priced compared to other units that come even close to their performance.

    Well, I guess I shouldn't be too hard on this case. If you're looking for a case with tons of airflow opportunities and an aggressive red/black color scheme that will hold your CP-850, this is the case for you.
    Report Comment
     
     
    # All the difference...Bruce Normann 2010-07-21 12:05
    It's interesting, that all the design elements that looked really out of place on the smaller case seem to work here, at least aesthetically. Just my guess, but I'm betting the first design layouts and prototypes that got sold to management were probably laid out on this larger canvas.
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    # RE: Antec DF-85 Dark Fleet Full-Tower CaseDavid Ramsey 2010-07-21 12:09
    Agreed. I've a weakness for over-the-top styling in cases anyway, but the DF-85 does pull off the look more effectively than the DF-35.
    Report Comment
     
     
    # Wasted room?fdsa 2010-07-21 21:29
    The room on top of the motherboard is certainly NOT wasted, if you want to mount a radiator there with push pull fans you'll need all the room you can get. And as mentioned above, CPX power supplies provide outstanding performance and reliability for half the price of other comparable power supplies.
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    # How does DF-85 compare vs the HAF XFrozenwaste 2010-07-22 13:08
    When the DF-85 came out 3 weeks ago was $209 which is about the same price as the HAF X. It seems like the DF-85 is the successor to the lovely 1200, while the HAF X succeeds the HAF 932. This will be a worthy apples to apples comparison, and I am looking forward to it.
    Report Comment
     
     
    # RE: How does DF-85 compare vs the HAF Xsteven Iglesias-Hearst 2010-07-27 02:21
    In case you haven't found this yourself already, here is a direct comparison of the DF-85 and the HAF-X so you can make your own conclusion - ##overclock.net/computer-cases/758936-full-tower-atx-battle-antec-df.html
    Report Comment
     
     
    # Could HaveMike 2010-10-13 15:40
    Should have done a better job with cable mangment IE: CoolerMaster HAF X
    Report Comment
     
     
    # Despite the review.....away 2011-04-12 23:48
    Comparisons between the HAF and the DF-85 are all valid (see the link in Steven Inglesias-Hearst's post above) but in the end the number of drive bays won me over. I do hard-core video editing and have nine, 2 TB SATA drives in my current setup. 4 of them are externally mounted by necessity. So when it came time to build a new kit, 9 3.5" baby and two 2.5" mounts in the DF-85 will suit me perfectly.

    The mobo I chose will also fit and I only need two slots for my Dual DVI graphics card. I think that the cooler running i7 - 2600K will be fin with the fans in this case plud the Antec - Kuhler 690 liquid cooler I got for it. probably the only drawback for me is that I'm an old fart and boofy looking "tart" cases don't mean a lot to me, but I'll put up with it to get the drive bays and the room to mount my CP-1000 PSU.
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