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Antec DF-85 Dark Fleet Full-Tower Case E-mail
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Written by Steven Iglesias-Hearst   
Tuesday, 20 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

Closer Look: DF-85 Exterior

Time now to get a good look at the Antec DF-85 starting with the exterior.


The DF-85 ships in a huge box and is well protected inside, wrapped in a polythene bag and suspended between two really thick pieces of styrofoam. The box has lots of info for a potential buyer to peruse at, the main product image is on the side panel to give more room on the larger sides of the box to display important features of the DF-85 chassis.


The front view of the DF-85 shows just how big the case is, behind each 'door' is a 120mm red LED fan that is covering three 3.5" HDD bays. Above those doors are three 5.25" bays that also have a cover that swing open, more on these later. The front is constructed almost completely of plastic with the only exception being the steel fan guards. This is definitely a bold design from Antec compared to the 'Hundred' series, and is like nothing they have done before with any of their tower cases.


Looking at the side of the, DF-85, uses the same side window, design, as the Twelve Hundred chassis, although the design is the same the build is different. Antec have used a clear perspex piece in the DF-85, for the fan mount section, instead of the mesh, section seen on the Twelve Hundred,, giving you full, view of the, inside of your case. You have the option here to install a 120mm fan to cool your graphics card/s.


We are going to see a lot of similarities between the DF-85 and the Twelve Hundred as we go through this review, the DF-85 is definitely an improvement over the Twelve Hundred which will be more obvious as we look inside the case. This is a stock image from Antec, the rear 120mm fans are actually red as you will see later in the review. There is a motherboard, I/O plate, included with the DF-85 and apart from being installed upside down it looks like it is meant for a Pentium III / IV motherboard making it a completely useless inclusion. There is plenty of ventilation in the mid section where the watercooling grommets are and also on the PCI backplates.


The back side of the, DF-85, is rather plain, broken only by the embossed 'Antec DESIGN' logo in the bottom, right hand corner.,


A view from above of the DF-85 shows two 140mm, Antec TWO-Cool fans installed, the honeycomb mesh is cut out of the panel itself and is slightly pronounced from the case, towards the front you can see the clear perspex 2.5", Hot-Swap bay. From a design perspective, the top of the case looks a little naked. I have become accustomed to seeing some sort of plastic panel installed here, on most, if not all, high end, cases and it looks like Antec may have missed out on the chance to add a little more flair to this series of cases.


The bottom of the case is equally as plain as the rear side, four rubber feet keep the DF-85, from damaging any surface you mount it upon. Notice the, omission of a PSU, vent under the DF-85 chassis, this is, something that Antec is still yet to catch on to, or maybe they know a good reason to not take air in from underneath. Either way Antec just doesn't do bottom vents on their cases.



# 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.
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# 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.
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# 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.
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# 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 -
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# Could HaveMike 2010-10-13 15:40
Should have done a better job with cable mangment IE: CoolerMaster HAF X
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# 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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