Speaking of dust, while there are twin exhaust fans, and the option for dual intakes there is no mechanism to filter any of that air for dust control. For a case that calls itself a "SOHO File Server" that is a bit disappointing. There is a quick fix if you can stand going down to the hardware store and picking up a small fiberglass air filter like the kind used in gas furnaces. These should be pretty inexpensive to get, costing maybe $6 or so. Measure and cut a small section of the fiberglass to fit over the two intake fans and hold it in place by sandwiching it between the front bezel and metal frame.
As the venting on the Antec SX1030B is spaced well, and the fiberglass filter is made for high airflow environments this little "tweak" shouldn't have too much of an impact on the overall cooling characteristics of the case, and will help to keep out those large, mean dust bunnies.
Maintaining control over who can and can't gain access to your computer parts and data is both a blessing and a weak point of the Antec SX1030B. The side lock which prevents users from removing the side panel works well enough, but the front lock on the 5.25" drive bay cover is pretty much useless. The lock on this swing out panel is located at the lower corner and doesn't do much to hold the door closed. If you seriously think it will prevent even the slackest of people from mischievously getting into your drive bays think again.
The door does do a nice job aesthetically, and gives the case those clean lines that keep cluttered computer rooms somehow looking neat and tidy and 'professional'.
As we briefly mentioned, the side panel uses a small lock to prevent a handle from releasing. While the side panel does uses two screws to hold it in place, the quick release door latch is what stops the panel from falling off. To open the door users need only pull on the handle slightly the entire side panel swings open. This has got to be one of the nicest points of the Antec SX1030B and makes getting into the case so easy that you'll end up wishing Antec would sell retrofits for the rest of your white box cases!
Rounding out the case
Rounding out the other little features that you won't probably base case buying decisions on, but will grow to enjoy are fold out feet for stability, a recessed reset button, and a raised power button (makes reaching around the case to power down simple because you can feel where the button is), and a full compliment of expansion port slot covers.
The case comes with a 300W Antec power supply which is P4 compatible, a power cord, some keys for the locks, and a small armada of screws, brass stand-offs and more screws.
The Antec SX1030B fairs very good overall on the two fronts that all cases should be concerned with. Installation of hardware is easy and access is for the most part unobstructed by oddly placed component systems.All edges on the inside of the case are folded over, and we remarkably didn't slice our hands up even a little bit installing the gear. On the outside the SX1030B just looks good. The front venting is actually useful for airflow, and the 5.25" drive bay cover gives the computer a clean look, as none of the beige CD-ROM's are likely to standout.
With a new P4 system inside the case, I have noticed one not too great difference between this, and my old PIII 600 system. The Antec case is a lot more noisy. While most of this is purely a result of the video card fan, northbridge fan, and processor fan, the large and cavernous Antec (I unplugged the case fans almost immediately because of the extra noise they produced) seems to amplify, or at the very least reverberate the sound.
With large intake and exhaust ports cut into the 1mm thick steel sheet metal the case is constructed from the noise on the inside easily escapes to the outside where it is definitely not welcome.
Suffice to say, I have already tracked down some acoustic insulation and will be sound proofing this case in due time (hint: stay tuned for a guide on how it was done).
All things considered, the Antec SX1030B is a really good case, save for the five or so things we didn't especially like. At a retail price of around $180CDN it is a higher end case than most of us are used to, but it gets the job done admirably, and at a much lower price than that of the Aluminum cases out there today. Sound remains the only issue for me with this case, and because it has more to do with the components realistically than with noise escaping via large vents I can't really fault the case manufacturers for this. But, I think all case manufacturers should start designing cases with an eye towards noise suppression.
I would be really impressed the day I see a computer case come with not just a low-noise powersupply but also a full set of acoustic absorption matting, either as an add on kit, or preinstalled on the side panels. Something to think about anyway. :)
The Antec SX1030B supports up to (6) 3.5" devices, (4) 3.25" devices, and comes with two 80x80x25mm case fans and a 300W powersupply.
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