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The basic design of the SLK3000B differs little from the earlier
SLK3700's that we've come to like. Up front it has:
Looks like a black, PSU-less SLK3700AMB from this view.
The plastic front bezel is easily removed, as long as you do it right: Press on the side tabs near the bottom to release them, then pull down a bit to release the top hooks before pulling the bezel away from the chassis.
The same seven slim curved slits found on the 3700 series bezel are used for the intake vents. These slits are designed to prevent direct fan-to-ear path for sound, which usually helps to keep perceived noise down, but still provide a fairly open path for air to flow in. It works as designed as long as the case is positioned below ear level. The total intake area of these slits is about 17~18 cm square. Add the bottom 15 cm square intake hole for a total front bezel intake area of about 32-33 cm sq.
Is this area adequate? Well, an 80mm fan typically has a slightly bigger fan blade area (~36 cm sq), and a 120mm fan has a typical fan blade area of 87 cm sq. For minimal airflow restriction, you might want the vent area to be the same as the intake fan blade area. Given that the front intake fan position allows for a 120mm fan, this seems a bit restrictive. A simple solution for those who see this as an issue, and want the best breathability: There is room to at least double the size of the bottom hole by cutting carefully with a hacksaw.
Clipped to the bezel on the inside of the intake vent slits is a
removable dust filter. Air coming in from the bottom intake hole in the bezel bypasses this filter, a small design error which remains unchanged from both the 3700 models. It's too bad Antec did not correct it here. Those who seek to minimize dust may opt to remove the filter and use it (or something similar like mosquito netting) at the metal fan intake grill on the chassis.
It is at the metalwork that we come to one of the redesigned features
of the 3000B, the front fan grill and fan mount. The fan grill itself is the
same free flowing design of the 3700BQE but the fan is now mounted
behind the front wall of the case, instead of in front of it (as on the 3700BQE).
The room for this revision comes from the best new feature of the SLK3000B,
a return to the 3700AMB HDD cage design.
Front grill looks similar to 3700BQE, HDD cage similar to 3700AMB.
Antec has ditched the "different is better" sideways HDD cage in
favor of the original removable, normally oriented HDD cage of the
SLK3700AMB. As pointed out in out 3700BQE review, the sideways HDD cage
had a detrimental effect on intake airflow, and its
non-removable, cramped design made it difficult to successfully
suspend hard drives. The combination of the original 3700AMB hard drive cage
and the new open grill allows better airflow over the drives and through the case. The HDD cage and the bracket on the floor of the case can both be easily removed, which greatly facilitates the suspension
of hard drives, a noise reduction technique that is highly effective and
widely used by SPCR enthusiasts.
Not everything is rosy, however.
Antec has chosen the same plastic fan mounting bracket of the original
AMB. The mounting holes for this bracket are in a non-standard location,
so mounting a fan directly to the case (using regular
fan screws or some type of isolating technique) requires the user to
drill new mounting holes slightly inboard of the existing holes.