Antec Custom Build: Part 1

With the ongoing success of PC games including StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Expansion Pack , Diablo III, Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) 2, CounterStrike: Global Offensive, etc., it was time to jump into the fray with a custom built gaming computer. To get started with this endeavor, I decided that the computer would be geared toward high quality graphics on a single 1920 x 1080 monitor. Ideally, the set-up would allow the playing of games on high or ultra quality with a very high level of frames per second (FPS).

As with any system, cooling, air flow, design, and even the visual aesthetics are of great importance. With that in mind, the first purchase made was the Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case. This case boasted two 120mm TriCool blue LED front fans for hard drive cooling, one 120mm TriCool blue LED rear fan, and one top-mounted 200mm TriCool exhaust fan. Additionally, there are/were mounts for two additional fans, one middle 120mm fan bracket inside the case behind the hard drives and another 120mm fan bracket on the side of the computer case built into the window across from the graphics cards (or CPU). Not only can these fans be controlled through the BIOS/motherboard utility, but these TriCool fans also come with switches (low, medium, low) for manual adjustment. Unfortunately, there is some issue with cable management which may impact the inclusion of the middle 120mm fan, though I did not bother with that additional fan. As a positive note, all fan LEDs (blue) worked upon arrival and continue to function properly six months after purchase/installation, not that replacement fans are expensive (see: Antec TriCool 120mm Blue LED Cooling Fan with 3-Speed Switch or Cooler Master SickleFlow 120 – 120mm Blue LED Silent Fan).

Additional benefits of this case include a perforated front bezel (for better air circulation), two front HDD cages which allow for a maximum of 6 hard disk drives (HDDs), a secure dock for the addition of a Solid State Drive (SSD), and enough room to support the installation of a Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO – CPU Cooler w/ 120mm Fan. As it relates to the potential for additional fans being added within this case, this universal cooler is just large enough (takes up the entire width of the case) to prevent the inclusion of a 120mm fan on the inside of the case window.

For aesthetic/visual purposes, the Antec Nine Hundred boasts a quality black finish on both the plastic and metal parts, a case design which allows for the adjustment of the front fans/hard drive cages, a tray for flash drives, mp3 players, etc., a large viewing window with a perforated section to allow viewing of the internal parts and air circulation at the same time, and a bottom mounted power supply (essential for the addition of the top mounted 200mm fan while improving the life span of the power supply through its location away from the ‘hot zones’ of the computer). Finally, the case also has top mounted input/output (I/O) ports including connectors for power and reset buttons, two USA 2.0, and audio in and out.

In regards to price, the Antec Nine Hundred retails for around $129.99. In my case (pun not intended), I waited until it went on sale for $109.99 and then took another $10 off with a promo code (to match the amazon price of course) at the time of purchase, leaving me with a final cost of $99.99. Additionally, I applied for the available $20.00 Antec rebate which effectively dropped the final price of the case down to $79.99. All in all, a pretty good example of waiting for a good deal, especially for such a quality computer case.

Go to Antec Custom Build: Part 2