Antec NSK1480: The Fusion gets Smaller

Cases|Damping
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DRIVE TRAYS


The optical drive bay fits snugly, but slides in and out with ease and without screws — fortunate because installing the motherboard requires removing it. The rubber pads on top make contact with the top panel to improve fit and reduce vibration.


The hard drive trays have Antec's usual soft silicone grommets to reduce vibration. Not quite as good as suspension with bungee cord, but far better than hard mounting.


The tray has a handle for easy removal, and hard rubber pads to keep vibration to a minimum. Like the optical drive bay, they slide in snugly...



...and are secured with a single thumbscrew each.


There is a single 80mm TriCool fan at the intake for hard drive cooling. Our single drive configuration didn't need it, but it's nice to know it's there.

SYSTEM ASSEMBLY

The cramped size of the NSK1480 didn't make for the easiest install, but that's to be expected of a case where small size is a selling point. We didn't run into any major problems though.

The major issue that users are likely to run into is the size of any additional hardware. In addition to being MicroATX only, it only accepts half-height expansion cards, and requires a low profile CPU heatsink (i.e. no tower heatsinks). The Scythe Big Shuriken heatsink worked extremely well, but there aren't a lot of options for effective and quiet low profile heatsinks.

Another height-related issue was the RAM we initially tried to install. These were high-end sticks with large (mostly needless) heatsinks extending up twice the height of the actual RAM. Due to the position of the RAM slots on our motherboard near the back edge of the board (a common position), we were unable to put the optical drive bay back without crushing the RAM. Swapping the RAM for regular, non-heatsinked sticks solved the issue.

Both the optical drive bay and the crossbar needed to be removed before the motherboard could be installed, but both of these lift out easily without requiring a screwdriver.

As mentioned above, the drive trays are easily removable, and offer a convenient (and quiet) mode of installation. Drives do need to be screwed down, so it's not 100% tool-free, but being able to work with the drive trays separate from the case does make things easier. The only difficulty was getting the long drive screws started, since the drive needed to be held flush against the top of the drive tray against the wishes of gravity as the screws were started. A little manual dexterity is required.

The whole process took about an hour for this experienced builder, but inexperienced users will probably take longer as they discover where things go and what order they need to be installed in.


The system fully installed. The power supply's cables were far too and long for the size of the case and the number of peripherals it supports.


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