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Antec DF-30 Dark Fleet Mid-Tower Case E-mail
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Written by Hank Tolman   
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Antec DF-30 Dark Fleet Mid-Tower Case
Closer Look: Dark Fleet Exterior
DF-30 Detailed Exterior Features
Closer Look: Dark Fleet Interior
DF-30 Detailed Interior Features
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Closer Look: Dark Fleet Exterior

Seeing that the Antec DF-30 is a Mid-Tower case, I expected it to be somewhat lighter. When I lifted the red and yellow box, it was much heavier than I had anticipated. That's not necessarily a bad thing. A heavier case usually means that it is sturdier and that less plastic has been used. That means the components inside will be well protected. It also means that you probably won't be carrying the computer around with you a lot. The Antec DF-30 has a dark, foreboding look to it. I found the style and appearance of the DF-30 to be quite to my liking.


The included accessories were few, yet sufficient. Two bags of screws, two cable management ties, and a sheet of paper explaining how to install an 2.5" drive on the bottom panel under the hard drive cage was it. That may not seem like much, but there really isn't anything else needed. The case also comes with 4 case fans (3 x 120mm, 1 x 140mm), all with adjustable speeds. We will look at those more closely a little later, but for now I must say that they more than make up for any lack of fancy accessories.


The body of the case is almost completely metal, explaining the 15.1 lbs. The front panel is plastic and the left side panel of the case is fitted with a large window. The case doesn't come with any sort of a manual, but to be completely honest, I kind of appreciate that. I hardly ever use the manual, and putting in online means one less thing for me to lose; or throw away. I downloaded the manual to take a look at it and I was greeted on the first page of information by a diagram labeled with numbers. The numbers at the bottom of the page explaining the diagram, however, didn't match up in any way. If you aren't familiar with the parts of a computer case, the manual may be quite confusing.


As I stated earlier, the Antec DF-30 case comes supplied with four case fans. This is actually a very rare commodity. Most cases I have worked with might come with one, or maybe up to two fans. Very few come with four. There are two 120mm intake fans mounted in the front panel. There are also air-intake slots on the window on the side panel. Here, another 120mm fan can be installed if you choose. In addition to the front fan, there is a top mounted 140mm fan. On the back of the case, you will find the rear 120mm fan. Both the top and the rear fans are exhaust fans.


The entire case, external and internal, is painted completely black. This gives the DF-30 a sleek and elegant look that is unmarred by a contrasting, unpainted metal that is often found on the inside of a case. The right side panel (the one without the window) follows suit and is painted completely black. The only feature on the right side panel is the Antec Design logo in the bottom right corner.


The rear of the Antec DF-30 case has a pretty standard layout as far as mid-tower cases go. The I/O panel is pretty standard and you can see the fan controllers at the top of the case here, just above the rear exhaust case fan. There are seven card slots for expansion cards and next to them are two circular holes. They appear to be punch-out holes for inserting water cooling hoses. No mention is made of these two holes in the manual for the Antec DF-30 and no rubber washers were included with the case. With all the attention given to air cooling in the DF-30, it seems unlikely that many users will be installing a water cooler on this case. The power supply hole at the bottom of the rear panel is a little different than the norm for mid-tower cases, though many case manufacturers are catching on to the idea of a bottom mounted PSU. The difference here is that Antec has provided a design that allows for both normal mounting of the PSU and upside-down mounting. We will get into the reasoning behind this when we take an in-depth look at the interior features of the case.

Let's take a closer look at some of the exterior features of the Antec DF-30.



# RE: Antec DF-30 Dark Fleet Mid-Tower CaseDavid Ramsey 2010-07-26 21:19
Ah, so that's where the "cable management" is! I notice the manual for the DF-35 is now available at the Antec site, although it wasn't when I was writing my review.
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# Score should be lowerRobert Johnson 2010-07-26 23:30
Anytime a chassis side panel does not fit properly you should deduct more points than you did. This is a clear sign of poor manufacturing and quality control. The failure to include cable management holes is completely unacceptable in today's time. Antec is going to lose more market share to CoolerMaster if they continue such poor attention to detail
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# RE: Antec DF-30 Dark Fleet Mid-Tower CaseDavid Ramsey 2010-07-27 08:16
I miss cable management holes, too, but these relatively compact cases there's really not enough room to make useful ones. That said, I'd certainly be willing to live with a version of these cases that's 1" longer and 1" higher to make room for them! I especially miss a hole at the top for running the EPS-12V connector.
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# RE: Antec DF-30 Dark Fleet Mid-Tower CaseHank 2010-07-27 08:29
I took the case down in construction for the side panel and for the card slot covers. The side panel fits, it just looks like it is about 4 mm longer than it needs to be. I had to give points, though, for the good construction points that I liked, such as the fleet-release fan doors and the 2.5" drive bay on top. In the end, the construction still received the lowest score.
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# RE: Antec DF-30 Dark Fleet Mid-Tower CaseRobert17 2010-07-27 20:31
Note too that although the hot-swappable top Sata mount may seem relatively unappreciated by many, it should become a standard feature as SSD's become more affordable. An average enthusiast will utilize the same case for a few years, upgrading other components ahead of the case, so this feature would be a bonus for all case manufacturers to consider.
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