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Antec Aria

85

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70

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8.0

Antec Aria review
A good case, needs better cooling.

The good:

- Takes any mico ATX mobo.
- Losts of sound insulation, Quiet
- That 120mm fan is silent.
- Tooless access

The bad:

- Hardly any high end mico ATX mobos are avalable.
- To much heat instuation.
- Strange shape, not as pretty as some SFF systems.
- The molex power cables for drives are to short.

Summary:

I have one of these; I have set it up with an Athlon 64 3200 that I run 24/7 as a Linux workstation/server.

Despite the design an the fact that I have mine running continually, it has not overheated even in the recent heat wave in England, which is more than I can say for a shuttle system of mine.

I would disagree with the review about the noise of the PSU exhaust fan. I found that on my system that fan is effectively silent. It is a slow turning 120mm fan, so you would not expect it to be noisy.

I have had noise problems with the CPU fan though. The basic problem is that the PSU is shaped like an inverted 'L' and partly sits over the motherboard. There is 70mm of clearance between the motherboard and the PSU, which is enough for a stock Intel or AMD cooler, but not enough for most aftermarket coolers. As far as I could discover the only silent cooler that will fit is a Zalman CNPS7000, which I intend to buy shortly.

The other problem is that though there are a wide range of micro-ATX mobos available, most are aimed at low to mid-range OEM builders, so high end enthusiast features like fire wire, Gigabit Ethernet, onboard RAID, SATA etc are generally missing. This compares badly with SFF systems that are generally aimed at enthusiasts and often include most of the above.

You can of course get those features back via add-in PCI cards, but then you loose the advantage of 3 PCI slots, if two of them are used up providing firewire and Gig-E that would have been integrated into a shuttle system.

Despite these criticisms, I would buy another Aria if I needed to build another system, but I would pay more attention to the choice of motherboard, and to CPU cooling.

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