Antec NSK3300: Quiet Out-of-the-Box

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INSIDE

An unusual feature of the NSK3300 is the way it disassembles. Both side panels and the top panel are removable, giving access to three sides of the system. The two side panels are locked in place by the top panel, which is secured with a pair of thumbscrews. When the thumbscrews are removed, the top panel slides backwards and lifts up, giving access to the power supply chamber, which also contains both optical bays and a single 3.5" bay.


The first step to disassembly: Remove the top panel.

Gaining access to the main chamber is as simple as lifting the side panel up and out — no screws involved. (This setup is identical to one used in a Superpower Landmark Polaris II chassis. How do we know? A highly modified, >5 year old sample of this case houses one of the lab computers.)


The side panel lifts off easily once the top panel is removed.

TOP CHAMBER

The intake for the top chamber is the lower drive bay, which is just as open as the fan vents below. If both bays are occupied, there is effectively no air path through the front panel, leaving the top panel vent as the only air intake for the power supply. This vent is rather small and restrictive. It's hard to imagine that the power supply will remain quiet under load when it is starved for air in this way, so it is probably advisable not to use the second drive bay. Given that Antec has included hardware to mount an internal 3.5" drive in the same space, it seems unlikely that they expect it to be used.

The top chamber is just wide and tall enough to fit a pair of 5.25" optical drives. The SFX power supply is mounted upside down, with the fan facing upwards. There is only about half an inch of clearance above the fan, which is less than ideal for airflow. The cables from the power supply pass through a small hole between the chambers, which can be closed off with a plastic cover.

For some reason, the cables are routed across the width of the case — twice. The first time, in the top chamber, is shown in the photo below: The cables sprout from the power supply on one side of the case, and must travel across the floor of the chamber to get to the access hole. In the bottom chamber, the cables must be routed back across the width, meaning the cables travel the width of the case a second time. The cables are prevented from lying flat against the base of the top chamber and precious cable length is wasted.


The bag of screws occupies the 3.5" bay.


Cables enter the main chamber about well above the surface of the motherboard.

MAIN CHAMBER

The main chamber just barely has room for a MicroATX motherboard. With the exception of the floppy bay, there are no drive bays in the front half of the case, allowing the depth to be shortened significantly. There is room for a single hard drive on the bottom of the case, mounted in the same manner as the bay in the top chamber. Once a hard drive is installed in the bottom of the main chamber, at least one of the three PCI slots will be blocked; depending on the card, it might make two slots unusable.


The main compartment is quite cramped.


No front drive bays, so the two intake vents are plainly visible.

The front bezel pops off quite easily; three clips on each side of the front panel are accessible with the sides removed. The vents on the front sheet metal look open enough that airflow is hardly restricted. There is room for a pair of 92 mm fans to be mounted if they are needed. Unlike many other Antec cases, there are no dust filters anywhere.


The panel under the bezel is suitably open and unrestrictive.



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