Antec ISK 300-65 Mini-ITX Case

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Antec ISK-300 mini-ITX case

July 8, 2009 by Mike Chin

Antec ISK 300-65
Mini-ITX Desktop Case
Market Price

When a case brand as big as Antec strikes out into a new sector, you have to sit up and pay attention. With a couple of notable exceptions, Antec's bread and butter products are cases for ATX systems, especially for value conscious buyers still looking for quality. They tend to be sturdy, well featured designs without much bling, but high value with good quality compared to the competition. Antec cases are divided into several lines — Performance One, Sonata, Gaming, Skeleton, New Solution, Server and Rackmount.

The smallest cases Antec has offered thus far are the NSK1380, a large breadbox style case for mATX, and the MicroFusion Remote 350, a low profile mATX entertainment PC case. Neither of these are small by today's Small Form Factor standards, not with diminutive products like the Asus Eee Box, Mac Mini or the Shuttle X27 out in the fray.

The ISK 300-65 is a major departure for Antec: It is a smalll mini-ITX case whose biggest dimension is just barely over a foot. Overall, it's only about a third of the size of the Antec NSK1380, and about the same size and shape as the Shuttle X27 or Silverstone LC12. The ISK-300 eschews the traditional single-piece power supply, shipping with an external 65W AC/DC power adapter and a DC/DC power converter inside the case. The 65 at the end of the model number obviously refers to the power adapter. This is the logical design route for many mini PC systems, as the case can be kept small, and the heat associated with the PSU pushed mostly outside the case. The Silverstone LC12 took the same approach. Zotac anticipated mini-ITX power supply issues and packaged a 90W power adapter with its IONITX motherboard, with DC/DC conversion for lower voltages built right into the board itself.

The ISK 300 comes at an opportune time. DIY enthusiast interest in mini-ITX is greater now than ever before, with industry giant Intel producing modestly priced motherboards — some with embedded CPU and others with the 775 socket for use with a wide range of Intel CPUs. Most major motherboard makers have been producing mini-ITX boards for some time, but they haven't been very aggressive about marketing.

Zotac, the new kid on the block, has really helped to change things (after the splashy entry by Intel) by producing a steady stream of mini-ITX boards aimed clearly at consumers. The problem is, retail cases for mini-ITX boards are few in number, and for the quiet seeker, most are downright poor. Most mini-ITX cases don't seem to have any logical airflow design, the essence of efficient cooling, and so many use small fans that must run at high speed to accomplish any real cooling. There are few exceptions to this generalization, and it is an issue I have personally lamented since the very first mini-ITX board I reviewed many years ago. If the ISK 300 can provide the kind of quiet cooling performance larger Antec cases have developed a strong reputation for, then it will surely be welcome with open arms by many PC enthusiasts.

The ISK 300 looks similar in shape and size to the Shuttle X27 and Silverstone LC12.

In vertical position on the supplied stand, the Antec ISK 300's footprint on a desk is quite small.

Specifications & Features
Power Supply - 65-watt adapter + DC to ATX board
Drive bays - External 1 x slim optical 5.25" bay
- Internal 2 x 2.5" HDD bays
Cooling system
- 1 side 80mm TriCool™ 3-speed exhaust fan
Front-mounted ports - 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x eSATA
- Audio (AC'97 and HDA compatible) In and Out
Expansion sot - 1 half-height expansion slot
Construction 0.8mm cold rolled steel chassis for durability
Compatible Motherboards - Mini-ITX motherboard: 17 x 17cm
Case dimensions - 96mm (H) X 222mm (W) X 328mm (D)
- 3.8" (H) x 8.7" (W) x 12.9" (D)
Net weight - 7.4 lbs / 3.4 kg
Packaging dimensions - 295mm (H) X 380mm (W) X 195mm (D)
- 11.6" (H) x 15" (W) x 7.7" (D)
Gross Weight - 8.1 lbs / 3.7 kg

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