Antec Six Hundred V2 Case Review

Author: Hienrich Jager
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Thursday, June 9th, 2011
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/antec_six_hundred_v2/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

I was really excited to see an Antec case show up at my doorstep for reviewing. I have been a big supporter of the Antec 300 since they released it way back in March 2008, and I was excited to see what they did with the second generation of the 600 series. The first generation introduced the hot-swappable SATA drive mounted in the front panel, and the gigantic 200 mm exhaust fan on the top. The second generation updated these features to keep current with the ever changing world of computers and the demands of modern gamers.

The main reason why I tend to like Antec cases is that the company's engineers really seem to understand the importance of providing a dust filtration system that is not only effective but also easy to clean. They definitely excelled with this in their 300 case, and I have built at least seven computers for friends and family that are based around that excellent platform. Let us see if they have continued their reputation with the Antec Gamer 600 V2!

Specifications
Material
Steel Construction, w/ Plastic Front and Top Bezel
I/O Ports
USB 2.0 x 3, Mic x 1, Headphones/Mic x 1
Dimensions
(W x H x D)
212 x 491 x 492 mm
  8.3 x 19.3 x 19.4 inches
Weight
6.9 kg / 15.3 lbs
Supported Motherboard
form-factor
Standard ATX , MICRO-ATX, Mini- ATX
5.25" Drive Bays
3 external
3.5" Drive Bays
6 internal
2.5" Drive Bays
1 external in a hot-swappable mounting format
Expansion Slots
7
CPU HS/FAN Clearance
134.5mm (with fan)
159.5mm (without fan)
Maximum GPU Length
11.5 inches
292 mm
Included Fans
REAR: 1 x 120mm BlueLED
TOP: 1 x 200mm BlueLED
Water Cooling
2x Stamped Outlined
Pass-through Holes
For an external Radiator

Upon first unwrapping the Antec 600, I was quite glad to see that they went with a more minimal, form-follows-function approach to the design. I have always liked the simple yet effective front panel design of the Antec 300 and was quite pleased to see this concept carried over to the 600. The silver highlighting really is too excessive for this case in my opinion; it only serves to pull off the feeling of trying too hard to compete with other more expensive cases. However the clear side window is a nice touch and I think it works well on this case.

In profile, the Antec 600 has quite the striking stance. The side window is just the right size to showcase the beautiful components that you will put in the case, and the front grill is clean yet functional.

The rear of the case is fairly standard. There are seven PCI card-slots with pre-punched covers and two water-cooling pass-through holes. The power supply is mounted on the bottom of the case and there are two switches that control the fan speed for the rear and top exhaust fans. An on/off switch controls the blue LED's in the top fan. The front panel is fairly austere compared to other similarly sized gaming cases, but I find this no-nonsense simplicity preferable because it allows for simpler cooling and filtering designs. The USB, audio, and switches mounted on the top of the front bezel are extremely accessible and angled at roughly 45 degrees. This angle makes any plugged in USB devices stick out from the case, enough to leave them exposed to potential bumping accidents.

The left panel contains a large Plexiglas viewing window that gives an unfettered view of any hardware in the case, and it also contains mounting holes for a 120mm intake fan for cooling video cards and the motherboard Northbridge. There is no a dust filter on this side fan, but it does have a slat-guard that will catch some of the dust entering the case.

   

The top panel is a large plastic structure that serves to house the very large 200mm exhaust fan mounted within. This structure also includes handles for lifting and moving the case around. There is a plastic window in front of the fan that provides a view into the guts of the case from above. This window is smoke tinted however, so it is very hard to actually see anything inside of the case without any sort of aftermarket internal lighting. This window, which Antec purports as "unique moon-roof visibility," is poorly placed as well because if you have a optical drive it would take up most of the viewing angle within this window.

The Antec 600 does not come with many additional pieces. Since the tried-and-true screw hole mounting system is utilized, there are no drive rails to lose. The small plastic bag included contains only a small booklet about this case's features and the usual assortment of motherboard stand-off screws and extra drive screws. Two plastic wire-ties are also included to help you manage the rat's nest of cables that will eventually form inside.

Time to talk about the included fans. I am not sure why Antec didn't see fit to include more fans with this case. They list the two front fans and the side-panel fan slots as "optional." Antec makes some pretty decent fans and I would have gladly seen them in this computer case. Except however, for the crappy 200mm exhaust fan that comes mounted in the top exhaust hole. All computer fans currently out on the market suffer from the concept of their exit velocity profiles having a large coefficient of angular velocity. This results in fans that blow a lot of air at the edges of the blades but not near the center. Axial fans which make up the majority of the cooling market have always suffered from this concept but the effect has received more publicity lately because computer case fans have increased in size.

Back in the days of the Pentium 4, 80mm fans were the industry standard, but now the push towards 120mm, 140mm, and now 200mm and larger fans have become the new norm. These larger fans suffer from this effect to a greater degree because they have longer blades and cover a larger square area. Not to promote one specific company over another, but Silverstone Technology has done research on this concept and has produced a visual demonstration of this effect here.  

I make this point because the 200mm exhaust fan mounted on the top of the Antec 600 Gamer suffers badly from this effect, and I would be hard pressed to think that this fan is doing any good up there. I would think about buying an aftermarket exhaust fan, but unfortunately the way that the fan housing has been designed it would be virtually impossible to replace it without some serious modification. Antec should really look at revamping the performance of this particular fan.

Another explanation for the performance of this fan could also be that it just does not have a large enough hydrostatic pressure for this case with its fan arrangement. In the process of reviewing this case I noticed that the top exhaust fan blew considerably more air volume when the side-panel was removed from the case. This lead me to think that perhaps this fan is not strong enough to combat the negative air pressure created inside the case. This isn't a result of poor ventilation, but rather due to the larger 200mm fan trying to pull more air out of the case than the front and side fans are able to input. This is most likely due to fan configuration and/or the filtering design.

The 3.5" hard drive mounting points are Antec's standard design that was used to much success in their very popular Antec 300 series, and is very effective at providing sufficient space for up to six hard drives. Unfortunately, similar to the 300 series, very long video cards will block at least one of these slots and depending on the bulk of the card heatsink it could potentially block two slots. The motherboard tray is non-removable, but there is a sufficiently large heatsink cut-out to make installing parts easy.

One of the reasons why I like Antec designs is that they really know how to do dust filtering so it is easy to clean the filters when they get clogged. The front panel is composed of two separate pieces, the outside silver trim and the main black plastic plate. The silver cover houses the dust filters and is easily removable via three plastic clips on either side of the case. Depress those and the whole thing pops off for easy cleaning. Beneath the outer cover, there is a swing out fan grate with mounting points for two 120mm intake fans that will blow directly on the hard drive cage.

This case does not come with with any fans in the front mounts, but I installed two for the purposes of this review to test cooling performance. One of the interesting things that I noticed is that there is a minimum of clearance between the fans and the black plastic grate that is this mounting panel. This design will create a lot of fan noise if you have a high-rpm fan. Slow-turning fans would be the best used here if you are after a silent case.

Installing hardware was really easy and there was a lot of internal room to work with. With the XFX 5870 video card that I am using for this review, there was enough clearance for a hard drive to fit in the slot directly across it, but it would have been interesting for cable management since the power plugs on the video card are on the very end. Any longer of a video card and I would have had to give up this slot. Now that all the hardware installed, lets see what kind of cooling performance this case can provide.

The Antec 600 Gamer will be tested by running OCCT 3.0.1. CPU, GPU, and power supply temperatures will be recorded with HWMonitorx64 after a continuous burn-in of 30 minutes. Between each test I will allow the system to equilibrate for an additional 30 minutes.

Temperature data will be recorded at the processor, the video card, the hard drives, and the chipset. Ambient air temperature was recorded with a standard glass-alcohol thermometer. Throughout the testing the ambient room temperatures never varied from 21°C (69°F).

Test Hardware


As can be seen from the data above, the Antec 600 does quite well when it comes to cooling components. The fact that the hard drives were kept so cool is a testament to the two front 120m fans right next to  them. Everything else brings absolutely average temperatures. Overall I would say that this case is a winner when it comes to keeping your parts cool and happy.

The Antec 600 V.2 case is the return of an old favorite with a few tweaks. The old hot-swap 3.5" drive bay was converted to the more modern 2.5" form factor to accommodate solid state drives, and interesting design styling attempts to keep this case current with today's PC gamers and system builders. The top-mounted fan housing provides decent hand-holds for transport of the 600, and the fan itself in theory should provide decent cooling performance. The standard excellence in the dust filtration system that I have come to expect with Antec cases lives on, even though some of the minor design flaws like too-close-to-the-blades rigid grills persist, causing an undue amount of fan noise.

Overall I am left feeling fairly unimpressed with the Antec 600. The silver plastic "trim" under underlines how it seems like it is trying too hard. The "moon-roof" feature is completely useless if you want to have an optical drive in it's usual mounting spot. The case is manufactured from generic steel sheets (complete with lots of sharp edges) that have been common for decades in the case manufacturing industry, and even though there is a decent dust filtration system, the air-flow inside this case just do not work well. Whether it is due to the protective grill being too close to the front fans or the top fan being poorly designed is anyone's guess. For now, I think I will stick with my Antec 300's.

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