Re: MikeC and Antec. I agree with the sentiment voiced by others that you guys need to be really careful with this. On the one hand, I love the fact that Mike is involved in designing this case, I'm sure it gained a lot from it. (It'd be fun to know what, specifically, sort of a history of the design, but that might be confidential.) On the other hand, the conflict of interest is obvious. At least you did the right thing in disclosing the relationship - not that I would have expected anything else, but others might not have done so. Anyway, it must be odd to review something you (co-)designed in the first place...
Re: The case in general. I'm psyched! The seperation of the PSU/HD really convinced me, it just seems like the right thing to do. Everything else looks great, too.
Re: HD cage. Somebody already mentioned this - it doesn't seem very easy to suspend disks in that cage. My current Lian-Li cages had holes on the sides, making a suspension with the drives rotated 90° extremely easy. Hm. Maybe suspension isn't that necessary with the case, but I doubt it - not with my HDs!
Re: Top exhaust "spoiler". I still don't really understand the need for the spoiler. What's it for? Noise redirection? Airflow redirection? Not likely, with it being "meshy" like it is. Preventing stuff from falling in? It won't prevent liquids, will it? Why not just have a normal fan grill? Other cases are set up like that - e.g. the Lian Li PC-60xx series.
Edit: Here are some more points.
Re: Blocking the top exhaust. The easiest and best-looking way I can think of is just screwing something solid in the position of the fan - plastic, wood, or even cardboard. Blocks the sound (and the airflow) and not easily visible from outside. And extremely easy mod, especially if you use cardboard. (Is that a fire hazard?) On the other hand, the top exhaust looks kind of odd with the spoiler removed, judging by this picture
. Sidenote: I've said so before, but it'd be great to have high-res versions of those pictures for a closer examination - this is especially true for a photo tour...
Re: Front of the case part one. The IEEE 1394 (FireWire), USB 2.0 and audio ports are accessible with the door closed.
Great! The door must be opened to access the power and reset buttons.
Odd. Why not put them accessible from outside, too? Then I'd never have to open the case. Now that I write it, I guess this is useful for public terminals where you don't want the power buttons accesible. So I guess you can scratch that question, even though I'd have preferred to have it different.
Re: Front of the case part two. There's a lot of stuff between the front intake (front intake fan in one case) and the world in general. There's a metal grill, which looks great. Then there's a dust filter, which looks great, and it's removable for those who disagree. So far so good - but then there are the two "grill covers", which look more restrictive than either grill and filter, although that's really hard to tell from the pictures. And after those, there is the door, with the air coming through the sides and the bottom. That's 4 barriers with the door closed.
Re: The door. I'm sure I'll have it closed all the time, but anway, it's great to see you can turn it 270° and have it sit flat to the side of the case. So those people who want the door open for easy access or airflow reasons can do so without having the whole thing look ridiculous.
Re: VGA fan duct. I'm still uncertain about this. The only situation where this would appear to be really useful is with high-powered, passively cooled VGA cards, ie. the passive 6600 GT cards available now. I'm sure they'd run great with this thing attached - but then, why not use active cooling in the first place. Low-powered cards don't need additional airflow to stay cool enough to run, and actively cooled high-powered cards often come with their own fan duct sucking in air from the outside. I guess not all of them do, and the fan duct is useful for those. That said, I love the simple, non-pretentious design (it's "basically a small plastic box with two holes").
Re: Antec tri-cool fans. So how good are these? Will half of the folks on these forums rush and replace them with third-party fans? It's "quiet" at low setting, but as we all know, quiet can mean anything. Is it quiet relative to other SPCR recommended fans? Note that I didn't do any research and I'm really clueless wrt to fans, I guess everyone else already knows how this specific fan performs.
Re: Size. I wouldn't have thought of it if others hadn't mentioned it - I don't really need a case this size. It looks about the same size as my current case, and something half as big would do. I don't even have a second optical drive... I'm curious if the small Antec cases have gained from Mike's consulting, although I'm afraid that it's really unlikely they share many of the cool features - e.g. the PSU/HD compartment.
Re: Price. I don't know what price to expect here in Germany, but judging by the US prices, it will be fairly steep. I paid a lot for my current case, and kicked myself afterwards because while it's nice, it's not worth more than a hundred euros. I'm not sure if I'd want to do the same mistake again, even with a case as cool as this one. A new case is in order though - I guess it'll depend on whether attractive small cases are available.
Anyway, yay. Looking forward to read more about this case. Congrats on the joint-venture.