Antec Super Lanboy

Cases|Damping
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ASSEMBLY AND TESTING

Setting up a system in the Super Lanboy was fairly easy although there isn't lots of room to spare inside the case. The Seasonic Super Silencer 400 power supply that I used for this review bolted on without any problems. One downside to a small case is that there are no good places to hide all the unused power supply wires. I managed but it wasn't easy. The Super Lanboy comes stock with a large window on the left side of the case making a neat wiring job more important than on a normal case. After all, you wouldn't want to show up at a LAN party with a case full of messy wiring, would you ?


Finished system. Hiding the wiring is a chore with this case, but it can be done.

The rear case fan was easy to mount and was packaged with the same combination directions and protective wrap that Antec first included with the P160. The fan comes tie-wrapped to the back of the case, securely wrapped inside its padded installation instruction sheet. Antec has taken this extra step to make sure the fan arrives in perfect shape and that its installation goes smoothly.

Test System Components

* Asus P4P800-Deluxe motherboard with BIOS 1008.
* Intel P4 3.0 CPU, at stock speed and voltage (1.55V, 82 Watts max)
* Thermalright SLK900U + 92mm Panaflo L1BX @ 8V,
* 2 x 512MB of Corsair XMS3200c2 RAM running at 400MHz.
* Sapphire 9600 Pro Ultimate passively cooled videocard.
* 80GB Seagate Barracuda IV hard drive.
* Plextor 40x CDRW drive
* 400W Seasonic Super Silencer.
* stock Antec 120mm fans @ 12V and 5V
* CPU temperatures read from the internal thermal diode with Motherboard Monitor 5
* Ambient temperature was 20°C

Idle temps were determined by starting the machine from cold and allowing the temps to come to a stable point. Load temperatures were generated by 30 minutes of two instances of CPUBurn.

Temps
fans @ 12V
fans @ 5V
idle
load
idle
load
Case
25°C
35°C
27°C
38°C
CPU
36°C
49°C
36°C
53°C
HDD
29°C
-
32°C
-

For my initial test, I chose to run both case fans at their default 12V setting, figuring that most people will probably leave them this way to achieve the best possible case cooling. Running the system with 2 instances of CPUBurn to heat things up as much as possible, I got case temps of 35°C and CPU temps of 49°C at an ambient temperature of 20°C.

After my initial testing I undervolted both case fans to 5V. This made the system much quieter and load temps increased to 38°C for the system and 53°C for the CPU, again at 20°C ambient.

These temperatures are all very acceptable for a 3.0GHz P4 system, especially considering that the CPU fan is turning at a quiet 8 volts and the case fans are running at a quiet 5 volts. When playing games with this system the load temperatures run about 3-4°C cooler than the CPUBurn load temps. This is obviously a very well ventilated case to achieve such good temps with low flow fans. The downside is that some noise that escapes through the fairly open front fan grill, not only from the fan itself but also from the CPU fan and the hard drive.

HUM & HDD NOISE

After I lowered the fan voltage to 5V, I started to notice a distinct hum coming from the case. I noticed also that the seek noise of the drive I was using (a 40 GB Seagate Barracuda IV) was noticeably louder than I was used to hearing. I then tried an 80 GB Barracuda IV and noticed the same thing.

I started investigating the drive sleds and found that they were a pretty loose fit in the drive cage. There was a lot of side-to-side and up-and-down movement evident in the cages. Thinking that this could be letting the cages vibrate and cause the excess seek noise, I bent the drive cage slightly to tighten up the drive sleds and keep them from vibrating. This helped a little bit but I was still hearing more seek noise than I heard when these drives were mounted in an Antec 3700BQE that uses the identical drive mounting system, albeit constructed out of steel. I suspect some of this is due to the .030" aluminum construction of the Super Lanboy as opposed to the 3700BQE's .040" steel construction, as well as the more open front bezel of the Super Lanboy.

I believe the hum is due to the resonance of the aluminum chassis being excited by fan and hard drive vibrations. The panels of the Super Lanboy are thinner than the Antec P160 that I recently reviewed and this smaller case seems to resonate more because of this. It's easily noticeable to me but it may not bother the typical user of this case. The hum is not noticeable at all when the case fans are running at 12 volts.

The seek noise of the Barracuda IV is also amplified more than usual. Normally this is a very quiet drive, but in this case, it makes a lot more seek noise than usual. I could even hear it when the case fans were running at the louder 12 volt setting. As an experiment, I mounted the drive on some Sorbothane pads instead of bolting it directly to the rubber grommets. (See the sorbothane reference in this SPCR Forum post.) Mounted like this, its seek noise was markedly reduced although it was still more noticeable than I'm used to with the better noise-insulated front bezel of my reference case, the Antec SLK3700AMB.

Based on some recent experiments with the AcoustiPack Deluxe dampening materials, I would bet that an application of such material would markedly reduce the case resonance, although at the expense of increased weight. Naturally, you wouldn't be able to cover the left side door with any dampening material due to the presence of the clear plastic window.


Through the huge looking glass: Lots of opportunity to show off your bling!

FINAL THOUGHTS AND CONCLUSIONS

Antec has done a good job with this redesign of the original Lanboy. The new features are welcome and make for a more versatile case.

They're marketing it as a "Quiet Computing" case, and considering that its designed primarily for full-on gaming, they've done a good job. It's not super quiet with the case fans running at 12 volts but it's feasible to run the fans at a fairly quiet 5 volts and still have excellent case cooling. Set up like this, the Super Lanboy is quieter than any typical gaming rig I've heard. Resonance-wise, the Super Lanboy would benefit from thicker aluminum, but this would add to the cost and the weight of the case.

PROS
* Excellent I/O panel with front audio
* Very Light weight
* Large window
* 120mm fans
* Excellent case ventilation
* Grommet mounted HDDs and fans
* PSU not included
* Included Case Carrier
* Small integrated toolbox
* Power button not hidden under door
* Removable right side door

CONS
* Open air intake allows noise to escape
* Aluminum panels resonate
* Styling of front fan cover
* No intake fan filter
* No optical drive rails

The good cooling performance, light weight, small size, well placed I/O panel and included carrying strap make for a great little LAN gamer box. Looks are always subjective, but I think the Super Lanboy looks good and fits the part of a gamer box without typical over-the-top garishness. (I'm not too sure about the blue colored fan guard but that's an easy fix with a spray can of your favorite vinyl dye.)

Our thanks to Antec Inc for the Super Lanboy sample and for their continuing support

* * * * *

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