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The front bezel is easily removable, much like the original 3700. It features a removable (& washable) air filter, a pair of USB 2.0 ports, and a hinged door that covers the external drive bays, power and reset buttons. This door helps quiet the noise generated by the optical drives -- plus it gives the case a nice clean look when it is closed.
MikeC's note: You're right, this is not Ralf's install; no way he'd have such mismatched mash -- it's mine. It's good to know that the door has enough clearance for knobs on the Sunbeam Rheobus to close this up out of sight, though, isn't it?
Opening the front door reveals the power and reset buttons, plus four lights. The chrome-plated power button is large and easy to push. The reset button is rather small and resessed below a protective ring of plastic, you will need to use a pen or something pointed to depress it. The four lights include Power, the HDD activity light and two more for whatever flips your switch. The front bezel is well designed, featuring seven "cheese grater" style vents that balance airflow and low noise.
Another pic of MikeC's sample under tungsten lights: Those "cheese grater" style vents and the bottom bezel slot... which is easily modifiable to double size for all those max-airflow nuts out there (and uh here...)
The two USB 2.0 ports actually are USB 2.0. This is something that seems to come up with regards to Antec cases so I hooked them up to my motherboard (somewhat challenging due to the 8 separate connectors that had to be matched up to the appropriate pins on the motherboard) and plugged in my external Plextor 40X CDr drive to test out Antec's claim. I was able to burn CDRs at 40x with no trouble whatsoever which clearly shows that these ports are indeed "USB 2.0".
Also included with the SLK3700BQE is a cardboard box full of goodies -- screws and brass standoffs for mounting the drives and motherboard, a set of drive rails, a couple of EMI cover plates for the 5.25" drive bays, and an Antec case badge.
Moving to the back of the case you'll see the usual I/O plate, PCI slot covers and the newly designed 120mm rear fan grills. The rear fan grill (and it's identical brother on the lower front of the case) are one of the biggest improvements on the 3700BQE and seem to be copied directly from Antec's Sonata. They are hex-shaped stampings, .275" wide with .050" walls.These are the best stamped fan grills I've ever run across. They are not at all restrictive, one of the few complaints I had about the original 3700AMB.
The rear fan grill covers one of the other new features of the 3700BQE, a low noise version of the Antec 120 x 25mm fan. This fan comes with a 4-pin pass-thru connector and four silicon mounting barbs for further noise reduction. Antec has thankfully replaced the original plastic fan mounting brackets on the original 3700AMB with the much more effective isolation mounting system that they first used on the Sonata.
The absence of any plastic fan holders (used in the SLK3700AMB) and the addition of silicon fan isolators is a large improvement. The 3700AMB plastic mounts had a tendancy to rattle and buzz and the 3700BQE fan mounting system insures that this won't be a problem any more.
The fan is fairly quiet at 12V compared to the fan from the 3700AMB. It's still the noisiest thing in the case, however. Once I turned it down to around 8V using a Zalman Fanmate1, its noise floor became lower than that of the PSU so I left it there for the majority of the testing. This fan has no tach output so I was unable to monitor its rpm. The 3700BQE is supplied with only this fan and one set of rubber mounts.
The front of the case is drilled and tapped for fan screws, a set of which is included, but no fan. Antec actually recommends that "you NOT install the front fan unless necessary for cooling, since it will create extra noise". The fan vent grill is identical to the back, very unrestrictive. It is much better than in the original 3700, which has a much more restrictive grill pattern. There is no clearance between the drive cage and the front case wall: The front fan actually has to be mounted on the outside of the chassis, between the front sheet metal and the front bezel. There is only enough clearance to mount a 25mm thick fan here, a 38mm fan (such as the Panaflo 120L1A) will not fit.
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