Antec 3700BQE (Black Quiet Edition) case

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October 14, 2003 by Ralf Hutter

Product Antec SLK3700BQE case with
SL350S SmartPower 350W power supply
Manufacturer Antec Inc.
Market Price US$80~90 (pricewatch.com)

Antec, famous for their popular SX-10x0 series and on a roll with their Sonata "Quiet PC" case, recently introduced a new model in their affordable Solution Series called the SLK3700BQE. It's a revised version of their popular SLK3700AMB with features designed to appeal specifically to people who are looking for a quiet computer. As such, it seems like a review by SilentPCReview is in order.

BQE BASICS

So how does the SLK3700BQE differ from it's older brother, the SLK3700AMB (which I reviewed earlier for SPCR)? The suffix tells the story. "BQE" stands for "Black Quiet Edition" which pretty much sums up the changes between this case and the SLK3700AMB. The BQE is a true black, not dark gray or charcoal black but black-black. It's not the glossy "Piano Black" of the Antec Sonata but a "satin black" with the texture and finish of other cases in the Antec Performance series. Personally I prefer this type of finish as it shows fingerprints less and is easier to clean and take care of than the glossy finish of the Sonata or the 3700AMB.

What sets the BQE apart from the 3700AMB enough to call it a "Quiet Edition" are:

  • a redesigned quieter power supply
  • low speed 120mm case fan
  • low restriction fan grills.

The power supply is a revised version of Antec's SL350 SmartPower PSU. The BQE version is a special single fan model (for less fan noise) called the SL350S, presumably to denote "silent". According to Antec, this version has been optimized for "cooler and quieter" operation. The case fan is a low-speed (1200 rpm) version of the standard 120mm Antec fan, and Antec has installed it with silicon rubber isolation mounts. The fan grills are a great improvement over the restrictive grills on the original 3700AMB, and are, in fact, lifted directly from the Sonata.

So, on to the review. We'll start with the promoted features of this new case:

* 3.0 Ghz compatible
* Single fan 350W SmartPower ATX12V power supply
- for AMD™ & Intel® systems
- SmartPower runs cooler and quieter
* Drive Rails for 5.25” drives
* 2 Front USB 2.0 ports with shielded cables
* Removable Side Panels
* Removable Drive Cages for 3.5” drives
* 10 Drive Bays:
- External: 4x 5.25", 2x 3.5"
- Internal: 4x 3.5" drive trays w/ rubber grommets to absorb vibration
* Cooling capacity: up to 2 120mm fans
- 1 rear (standard quiet fan) 25mm thick
- 1 front (optional) 25mm thick
* Motherboards up to Standard ATX
* Case Dimensions: 18.3"(H) x 8.25"(W) x 18.6"(D)

THE DETAILS

Now let's take a look at the case. We'll start from the outside and work in.


As usual, Antec did a great marketing presentation with the packaging. It'll seduce the unsuspecting shopper cruising any tech store aisle with hardly a wink.

Antec calls this a "Super Mid-tower" and it offers a lot of room for drives in a fairly small chassis. It's made of .035" (.9mm) thick steel and features four external 5.25" bays, two extenal 3.5" bays and four internal 3.5" bays complete with grommeted mounting points for the drives. The external 5.25" bays utilize the familiar snap-in drive rail system that Antec also uses on the SX series.

Both side covers are removable, the left side uses two quick-release latches and thumb screws, the right is detached by removing two screws. The left side door on my sample was rather loose and tended to rattle when the CDR drive was reading a disk. I shimmed it with some small silicon pads at the top and bottom edges to fix this. (Editor's Note: My sample had the same problem which doesn't seem fitting given the high aspirations Antec seems to have for this case.)

Note that there are no vent openings on either side panel. This is a good thing for quiet, as side vents let noise out very effectively. Such vents are actually being recommended by Intel these days, what with their concerns about their super-hot CPUs. You'll recall that the Sonata has that pattern of holes near the top that spells out the Antec logo. This is a feature that's supposed to help with ventilation but also provides an easy path for noise to emerge.



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