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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

Antec DF-30 Dark Fleet Computer Case Review

Antec has been around for a long time. Chances are, if you enjoy building your own computers or even tinkering with them, you have heard of Antec. They make a myriad of components and accessories for a wide range of computer users. One of the areas in which Antec has always had a strong presence is computer cases. Many of their enclosures have received very high marks from all across the industry, earning them a lot of recognition in the computer world. In the summer of 2010, Antec released a new line of computer cases known as the Dark Fleet. In this article, Benchmark Reviews is taking an in-depth look at the Antec DF-30 Mid-Tower Computer Case. At right around $100, the DF-30 represents the most inexpensive case so far in the Dark Fleet line. We will be exploring the DF-30 Mid-Tower Case to see if it stands up to the name Antec has worked so hard to earn.

Antec's been around since the mid-80s, and has been making computer cases almost that long. They produce cases for servers, for HTPCs, and for your grandmother's e-mail and web browsing machine. They make cases with no discernible market (the Skeleton series) as well as cases for gamers and enthusiasts. The Dark Fleet series is "...designed to meet the cooling and convenience demands of PC gamers and professional users." Well, there are a lot of cases designed to meet those demands; Antec's Dark Fleet series brings new styling, a hot-swappable drive bay, and some serious cooling to the show.


Manufacturer: Antec, Inc.
Product Name: Dark Fleet DF-30
Model Number: UPC 0761345-152303
Price As Tested: $109.99

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Antec.

DF-30 Features and Specifications

  • Two Fleet-Release access doors open separately for convenient entry to drives
  • Top-loaded 2.5" hot swap SATA (SSD-compatible) drive bay
  • Two washable fan filters allow for easy cleaning
  • Bottom-mounted power supply isolates heat
  • CPU cutout for easy installation of CPU coolers
  • Cable management compartment organizes cables discreetly
  • 11 drive bays:
    • Up to 6 x internal 3.5"
    • 3 x external 5.25"
    • 1 x top external 2.5" hot swap SATA drive bay
    • 1 x internal bottom-mounted 2.5" SSD bay
  • Advanced cooling system: - 1 x top 140mm TwoCool fan
    • 1 x rear white 120mm TwoCool fans with white LED
    • 2 x front variable-speed 120mm LED fans with white LED
    • 1 x side 120mm fan for graphics cards (optional)
  • 7 expansion slots
  • Maximum graphics card size: 11.5" / 292 mm
  • Stylish blacked-out interior
  • Windowed side panel
  • Front ports:
    • 2 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
    • 485mm (H) x 198mm (W) x 486mm (D)
    • 19.1" (H) x 7.8" (W) x 19.1" (D)
  • Weight: 15.1 lb / 6.9 kg



# 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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