Antec Aria SFF Case (w/PSU)

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The photo below shows what's in the case beneath the drive cage: A bag of screws and other hardware, AC cord, Cyclone Blower° slot fan, and a cardboard box containing hardware to mount a CPU fan off the PSU.

The entire inside of the front panel is well ventilated, as shown in the photo below. The central PCB is for the ports and 8-in-1 card reader.

With all the slots in the sheet metal, where does the air come in from on the front bezel? The photo below gives a hint. Light can be seen filtering in from a vertical slot where the side panel meets the central black bezel area. This is repeated on the other side as well. If you examine the above photos of the front panel, you'll see these two slot openings running up and down the height of the case.

There are also intake vents on the front bottom, again where the curved portion of the side panels meet the front center bezel. The photo below shows this a bit.

The green highlighted area has been heavily manipulated in Photoshop to show the gap in the photo below.

There is a similar gap along the center of the bottom front edge, but the PCB and front ports tend to block airflow into the case. Finally, each side panel has a row of small slot openings near the front bottom.

When you consider the entire range of intake vents, the total area is still not very generous, but neither is it highly restricted.


This unique feature is difficult to show. The photo below shows the inside of one side panel and the outside of the other. Both sides have fairly thin aluminum skins. Sandwiched between them is a layer of plastic that's not very hard, but not so soft as to visibly compress when pushed hard with a screwdriver point; it scratches instead. It is soft enough that when the panel is tapped with a knuckle, the sound that results is a dull thud. No ringing, no resonance, no high frequency aspect at all. It sounds almost exactly like knocking on the white acrylic cutting boards used in kitchens all around the world. There's probably one in your kitchen, too.

The acoustically inert, damped quality of these panels is in marked contrast to the sheet aluminum of other SFF cases. SPCR reviewer Ralf Hutter and I both have commented on the extra-resonant quality of ordinary aluminum panel and the bothersome (to us) extra hummy noise it adds to the overall acoustic signature in previous SFF case reviews. The curved portion of the side panels has another function other than style or forming the air intake vent: It gives additional structural stiffness.

The side panels come off in the same easy way as the top. A little tab on the back is pressed, the panel slides forward a little to unlock the plastic hooks, and then it simply pulls away. It's done in less time than is needed to read this explanation.

The top panel differs from the sides in that it is a 2-ply laminate, not 3-ply. As mentioned earlier, the outside plastic layer is ribbed. The inside has the same type of aluminum layer as the sides. A knuckle-rap test gives the same thud sound response.

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