Antec NSK-3480: 80-Plus Case

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The biggest change is the switch from a small SFX12V power supply to a full-sized, 80 Plus power supply. The change was made despite the very short depth of the case, and the photo below shows just how little space is left for drives in the upper chamber.

The power supply occupies close to half the depth of the case.

Unlike the previous power supply, which was only sold bundled with Antec cases, this version of the case uses a slightly modified version of one of Antec's retail power supplies: An EarthWatts 380. This provides an extra 80W of capacity compared to the 300W unit in the NSK-3300, and makes PSU swap simpler, as ATX power supplies are much more common than SFX ones. That said, most users should have no need to replace the stock power supply. Our review found it to be reasonably quiet, very efficient, and well made by a reputable manufacturer (Seasonic).

A familiar label...

While the label does say EarthWatts, the power supply isn't quite identical to the retail version; the cable lengths have been modified to be more appropriate for such a small case. Several of the cables have been shortened, and the SATA cables have plugs just six inches from the back of the power supply — just where they are needed in the top chamber.

There are a total of seven cable sets:

  • 13" cable for main 24-pin ATX connector
  • 13" cable for AUX12V 4-pin
  • 18" cable for 6-pin PCIe connector
  • 23" cable with three 4-pin IDE drive connectors
  • 33" cable with three 4-pin IDE drive connectors and one floppy connector
  • 2 x 25" cables with two SATA drive connectors, one at 6" and one at 25"

The main ATX cable is pre-routed through the side cable port, as it does not fit through properly without having to remove the power supply. All the remaining cables are tucked into the top chamber, waiting to be routed as the user desires.

While the larger power supply is more convenient for replacement, it does come at the cost of space in the upper chamber. Antec states that optical drives longer than 6.9" are incompatible with the NSK-3480, but even our short 6.5" drive was a tight fit.

Part of the problem is the position of the cables as they leave the power supply along the right side of the case. With the access port between the two chambers on the left side, this means that the cables must run with full width of the case in the upper chamber — and then back down again to reach the motherboard on the other side.

Power supply on the left + Short optical drive on the right = Limited clearance.

The fix is simple enough: Turn the power supply upside down. Antec has conveniently designed the backplate to allow the power supply to be mounted in either orientation (owners of 120mm fan PSUs take note!), and flipping the power supply means the cables leave the power supply on the left side of the case — right next to the access port. Even better, flipping the power supply gives the short ATX and AUX cables an extra four inches of slack and keeps the cables out of the intake airflow. The photo below shows how neatly the cables leave the top chamber in this configuration.

The upper chamber is much neater with the power supply mounted upside-down.

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