Viewing page 1 of 7 pages. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 NextAntec NSK1480 HTPC case
November 17, 2009 by Devon Cooke
with Mike Chin
Mini Desktop / HTPC Case
Ever since their original P180 case, Antec has slowly been revamping their case lineup to include the concept of isolated chambers. We've seen the P180 morph into the P182 and then the P183, we've seen it cut down to the Mini P180, we've seen it transformed into the entry-level NSK3480, and we've seen it adapted for the HTPC market as the NSK2400 / Fusion.
Now we have the NSK1480, which is essentially a "Mini Fusion". Well,
actually, when it's dressed up with a fancy VFD display and a metal fascia,
it's called the
MicroFusion Remote 350, but the basic version that we are looking here lacks
the fancy marketing name and sticks with a simple model number. For those of
you lost in the babble of model numbers above, it's a low profile desktop-style
case (remember those?) with reduced dimensions to follow the miniaturization
trend in that the desktop market has been going through (though the "fits
in any environment" claim is a bit exaggerated). It is limited to MicroATX
motherboards (and smaller) and half-height expansion cards, but these restrictions
are less onerous than they used to be. A fully featured MicroATX motherboard
that doesn't require outboard graphics is surprisingly easy to find these days.
The NSK1480 seems to suffer a bit of identity confusion. Although it's billed
as a "desktop" case, virtually nobody uses cases in a desktop configuration
(monitor sitting on top of the system). It's supplied with two "feet"
that let it be positioned vertically in a tower configuration, but the design
and layout is clearly meant for a horizontal orientation. The real market is
probably low end media PCs, but given the propensity for AV nuts to shell out
huge amounts of money for their gear, Antec probably doesn't want to dilute
their Media Components line with "budget" models, which is why this
model is in the NSK line. The NSK1480 does have one advantage over it's high
end brother: The lack of a front panel display leaves room for an additional
hard drive bay.
A colorful, elegant box like all Antec products.
A thin sheet of fabric protects the plastic fascia.
The design of the NSK1480 is essentially a shrunken NSK2400 / Fusion. The reduction in height is probably the most noticeable, but all of the dimensions have been reduced by about three inches. The change is primarily aesthetic, since a smaller space is a bit of a headache as far as thermal engineering and usability are concerned. Nonetheless, the essence of the design has not changed, and the compromises made seem well chosen.
Like all of the NSKxx80 line, an 80 Plus certified power supply is included
in the package. A proprietary form factor (some variant of TFX?) is used to
conform to the space requirements, so swapping the power supply for a different
model could prove challenging.
|Low profile desktop height fits in any environment
|Dual chamber structure for HDD and motherboard to separate heat and reduce noise
|2x80mm side fans to exhaust air from CPU & VGA card
|80 PLUS® Certified 350 Watt ATX12V v2.1 power supply directly draws fresh air in from outside the case to maximize quiet and cool operation
• Universal Input and Active PFC
• 80 PLUS® Certified means increased energy efficiency without any reduction in performance and saving you money on your power bill
|Removable HDD tray with extra soft silicone grommets in a separate chamber for maximum quiet and cool operation
|80mm intake fan to cool the HDD
|| • External 1 x 5.25"
• Internal 2 x 3.5"
||4 (half height)
|| • 2 x 80mm TriCool® 3-speed exhaust fans in motherboard chamber (standard)
• 1 x 80mm TriCool® 3-speed intake fan for HDD cage (standard)
• Adjustable Air Guide directs cool external air through CPU
|| • 2 x USB 2.0
• 1 x eSATA
• Audio In/Out (HDA & AC' 97)
|| • 4.5"(H) x 15.1"(W) x 16.1"(D)
• 12cm (H) x 39cm (W) x 41cm (D)
|| • Net: 11.29 lbs / 5.12 kg
• Gross: 15.7 lbs / 7.14 kg
Notable accessories: Cable ties, an airflow guide, and an "L" VGA adapter.
The accessories package includes a number of nice extras, including feet for "tower" configurations, a pair of straps for cable management, four rubber feet, and a lego-like "airflow guide" to reduce the amount of short-circuit airflow lost as the exhaust fan pulls air directly through the intake without cooling the case. This was a feature of the NSK2400 as well, and, while it's nice to have the option to manage airflow in this way, it's not really obvious what the guide is for — especially to users who aren't used to thinking about airflow. A little more explanation on Antec's part would be welcome here, since paying attention to airflow really does have an impact on system cooling.
One accessory that deserves special mention is the VGA "L" adapter
which routes the VGA cable (typically the bulkiest cable with the biggest plug)
sideways rather than directly back. This should make it easier to position the
case flush against a back wall (of a cabinet, for example). Our one complaint:
We wish a DVI version had been included as well.
This VGA adapter allows the case to be placed tightly against a rear wall.
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