Antec SLK3000B mid-tower case

Cases|Damping
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January 9, 2005 by Ralf Hutter with Mike Chin in the SPCR audio lab

Product
SLK3000B PC case
Manufacturer
Antec, Inc
Price
MSRP - US$60; Street - US$45-60

The Antec SLK3700 series of cases is well known, not only in the quiet PC community but also in the mainstream PC enthusiast community. Antec has always been known for well made, reasonably priced PC case designs that don't go over the top in the styling department. The SLK3700 series fits perfectly into this mold and has become the de facto case to recommend these days. It's basically replaced Antec's earlier SX10x0 series in this respect.

Nothing's perfect however, and even though SilentPCReview has always liked this series of cases, we've always felt that they were open to some improvement. The original SLK3700AMB was not designed or marketed as a "silent" PC case as was done with the Antec Sonata, but its 120mm fan grills, well-designed front bezel and grommeted HDD mounts made for an excellent quiet PC foundation. In our original review of the SLK3700AMB , we picked a few nits about the somewhat restrictive fan grills and the borderline quiet PSU and fan. Reader feedback echoed these sentiments, along with the occasional complaint directed at the "Metallic Bronze" color of the case.

Antec, showing good responsiveness to customer feedback, released a slightly revised version of the 3700AMB called the SLK3700BQE, with "BQE" standing for "Black Quiet Edition". This was clearly a direct appeal to the newly-emerging market of silent PC enthusiasts. Changes included free-flowing fan grills, a quieter PSU and case fan, as well as the seemingly marketing driven changes of 3.5" drive bays rotated 90° and a satin-black paint job. Some of these changes helped improve the silent potential of the case while others actually hurt. The low restriction fan grills were a giant plus, the PSU and case fan were helpful but the 90° rotation of the drive bays actually hurt the airflow through the case. User reaction mirrored the tone of our BQE review. People also seemed to greatly prefer the satin black finish over the earlier metallic gray piano finish of the 3700AMB.

The powers that be at Antec seem to have listened again to the silent PC community's reaction to the SLK3700BQE. They recently released yet another reworked version of this popular case. With the new SLK3000B , it seems that Antec is serious about gaining more market share among quiet PC builders. They have taken the best features of both earlier SLK3700 cases, and removed some some extraneous features in an attempt to morph the SLK3000B into a leader in this growing market.

Changes from the previous SLK3700BQE include:

  • a return to a the standard HDD orientation,
  • 3-speed switchable 120mm case fan
  • an Intel-spec side air duct and VGA cooling grill to the left side door

Antec has kept

  • the same excellent BQE-style fan grills front and rear
  • more user-friendly satin black paint job

Our Main Questions:

  • How effective are these changes for improving the potential of the case to house a silent/quiet PC?
  • Will we see yet another revision to this platform or will the SLK3000 be the summit (and end) of the line?

We'll start by taking a quick look at the box and the case.


SLK3000B packaging is plainer than most Antec products.
This case seems to be marketed more towards OEMs and VARs than the retail channel.


The exterior of the 3000B looks almost identical to it's predecessor, but for the two added cooling grills in the door.

SPECIFICATIONS

Not surprisingly, the feature list of the SLK3000B differs little from its predecessors, except for the absence of a PSU and a different case fan:

* 3.0 Ghz compatible
* No Power supply
* Drive Rails for 5.25” drives
* 2 Front USB ports with shielded cables
* Removable Side Panels
* Removable Drive Cages for 3.5” drives
* 11 Drive Bays:
--- External: 4x 5.25", 2x 3.5"
--- Internal: 5x 3.5" with rubber grommets to absorb hard drive vibration
* Cooling capacity: up to 2 120mm fans
--- 1 rear (standard) TriCool fan 25mm thick
--- 1 front (optional) 25mm thick
* Fan Specs:
--- RPM: 1200 - 2000
--- CFM: 39 / 56 / 79
--- dB(A): 25 / 28 / 30
* Motherboards up to Standard ATX size



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