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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 Interior

On the inside, the Antec DF-30 Mid-Tower case provides all the essentials needed for operation and little else. As I mentioned previously, I was delighted to find that the interior of the case had been painting black to match the exterior. With the windowed side panel, the matching paint is really a necessity, and a nice touch on Antec's part.

The layout of the DF-30 is very similar to most mid-tower cases. Antec strays from the recent trend by not going "tool-free" with their Dark Fleet series of cases. While this may be a negative point for many consumers, I was actually relieved by the fact that the DF-30 goes back to the way things were. I'm sure somewhere, someone who wants to build a computer doesn't have access to a screwdriver, but that person isn't me. Having dealt recently with a few different "tool-free" case designs, I was happy to go back to using a screwdriver. Maybe it's my fat thumbs.


The 5.25" drive bays have room for three drives. Just below that is a 3.5" external drive bay for a card reader or, if you are really old fashion, a floppy drive. Below the external 3.5" drive bay are five internal 3.5" drive bays. On the bottom of the case, beneath the last 3.5" drive bay is an area for a 2.5" drive. The second bag of screws included with the case comes with rubber washers for the installation of a bottom mounted 2.5" drive.

The case features, supplied by Antec, state there are 11 drive bays. Three 5.25", six 3.5" and two 2.5" bays. This isn't exactly accurate. While those are the correct numbers, using the lowest 3.5" internal drive bay or the bottom mounted 2.5" drive bay will make the other unusable. This means that, while there are 11 drive bays, only 10 are usable at any given time. That's still plenty for me.


The motherboard tray for the Antec DF-30 Mid-Tower case has the now-standard CPU heatsink hole. Almost all newer cases will have this feature, as it is increasingly common to install third-party CPU heatsinks and fans. Also, the upgrade and replacement of such fans is becoming popular as well. The hole in the motherboard tray makes it possible to change out the heatsink for your CPU without having to remove the motherboard from the case.


Unfortunately, this is the only real hole in the motherboard tray. Many cases are adopting cable management holes in the motherboard tray for use in routing the cables to a less noticeable area. While the Antec DF-30 doesn't provide these holes, they are mostly for cosmetic purposes only, and Antec does offer a cable management compartment behind the internal 3.5" drive bays.

There are still a few surprises inside this case, though...



# 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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