Antec ISK-300 Mini-ITX Case

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Antec ISK-300 Mini-ITX Case

Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:46 am

Last edited by MikeC on Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by rpsgc » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:08 am

Typo: "obvous" on page 4, first paragraph.

The following sound recordings have the wrong URL:
Antec ISK-300 w/ stock Tricool fan at L, M, H at 1m
Antec ISK-300 w/ stock Tricool fan at L, M, H at 0.6m

They point to the P183's fans file




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Post by GreatScot » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:38 am

This review couldn't have come at a better time for me, as I began looking at the ISK-300 for a Zotac Ionitx build just the other day.

FWIW, at the local (good) computer shop, the case is retailing for $95 Cdn.

I was thinking of replacing the TriCool, now I know I'm going to. Who's got Noctua that's available online in Canada? Nobody local seems to stock them.

Thanks to the crew at SPCR for being mind-readers and doing the review I wanted to see, just when I needed it!

-Scot

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Post by croddie » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:44 am

Great review; this is very useful, and nice choice of components too.
Shows it's still not easy to build a quiet and powerful mini-itx system, but it's definitely easier now this case is there.
Ion-based HTPCs and home servers have become easy with this case. When Intel comes out with presumably low-power Clarkdale, building a quiet, small and powerful non-gaming desktop might be easy for the first time: stock components plus a quiet case fan.
Last edited by croddie on Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Big Shuriken

Post by gsacks » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:56 am

Odd that the Big Shuriken could not be mounted on the Zotac board, since all of the press photos for that heat sink show it mounted on that exact motherboard. I'd like to see this point elaborated on a bit, since it must be possible. Maybe it needs to be mounted with a back plate and screwed on from underneath?

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Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:17 pm

rpsgc wrote:Typo: "obvous" on page 4, first paragraph.

The following sound recordings have the wrong URL:
Antec ISK-300 w/ stock Tricool fan at L, M, H at 1m
Antec ISK-300 w/ stock Tricool fan at L, M, H at 0.6m

They point to the P183's fans file

Oh look at me, the big man, being the editor's editor! :D
(please don't ban me!!!)
Hmmm.. I could have sworn I fixed those before... ah well, fixed now.
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Re: Big Shuriken

Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:21 pm

gsacks wrote:Odd that the Big Shuriken could not be mounted on the Zotac board, since all of the press photos for that heat sink show it mounted on that exact motherboard. I'd like to see this point elaborated on a bit, since it must be possible. Maybe it needs to be mounted with a back plate and screwed on from underneath?
With the heatsink rotated to keep clear of the case fans, the pushpin near the center and closest to the RAM slots could be pressed in only without a RAM stick in place. But once the HSF was in, the RAM could not be inserted -- in either slot. A bottom mounting might worlk, but you still need access to the top with most of them so I'm not sure how it was mounted. Perhaps with a different rotation.
Last edited by MikeC on Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:27 pm

GreatScot wrote:I was thinking of replacing the TriCool, now I know I'm going to. Who's got Noctua that's available online in Canada? Nobody local seems to stock them.

Thanks to the crew at SPCR for being mind-readers and doing the review I wanted to see, just when I needed it!

-Scot
You're welcome. ;)

It does not need to be a Noctua, btw. NMB, Scythe -- these brands offer good low speed 80x25mm fans. Even a Panaflo from the old days would be OK if the bearing is in good shape.
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Post by psiu » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:28 pm

Nice review, been wondering about this case. It sounds like you only used the fans as exhausts, did you try using as intake(s) at all? Obviously I don't think it would work too good in the vertical position, but in the horizontal an intake setup might work better. It's something I ended up doing in my HTPC and works better than using fans to exhaust there.

Though it sounds like the case was so much fun to work in that you guys would be dying to open it up and play with it some more :P
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Post by K.Murx » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:31 pm

Looking at that hinged front door:
Is it possible to open the door if you have a USB thumb drive inserted? Especially one of the thicker ones, like the Corsair Voyager series?
It looks like the door almost overlaps the front connectors, which could be a nuisance.

Oh, and I thought at first that your criticism of the drive tray was a bit excessive - then as I read the article I imagined you mounting heatsink after heatsink, every time having to remove the drive tray to access the MB... :lol:

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Post by DanceMan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:35 pm

Available locally for $85 and $90 at NCIX and Anitec, possibly occasionally less on their weekly sales. Review link submitted to NCIX.

Great review. If only my Intel Atom mini-DTX would fit.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:40 pm

Thanks for the proofreads, all corrected thus far.

I don't believe a USB flash drive would impinge on the optical drive door. It would have to be really big.

The reason the optical drive door is not great is because the case is light enough even with the system in that when you push hard enough to pop the door open, the case wants to slide, so you have to hold the case down a bit.
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Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:41 pm

DanceMan wrote:Great review. If only my Intel Atom mini-DTX would fit.
mini-DTX?
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Post by jessekopelman » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:44 pm

croddie wrote:With current hardware you can use an E5200 which will have lower load power consumption (1/3 lower?) than the E7200 and so alleviate some of the processor temperature problems and PSU headroom.
1/3 lower? Very unlikely. Same clock speed. Same voltage. Same 45nm process. Just 50% more L2 cache for the E7200. I'd expect no more than 5W difference an E5200 and E7200 on the same motherboard.

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Post by Trav1s » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:45 pm

I was wondering about an e5200 on a ZOTAC NF630I-F-E in this case especially after an underclock and drop in voltage.

I already have the above board with and e2200 in a Shuttle K45 case with a slim DVD drive but the Shuttle PS is loud and I don't think I can do a PICO for that kind of money.

Overall, this looks like a GREAT case!

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Post by jessekopelman » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:48 pm

Two things I knew before this review: Intel heatsinks are useless without attached fans and cheap 80mm fans sound terrible even at low speeds. Still it is useful information, for those who didn't already know it.

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Post by DanceMan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 1:23 pm

MikeC wrote:mini-DTX?
Exactly. That's why NCIX cleared them out for $50 on their Saturday sale. Slightly bigger than mini-ITX, with two ram slots, compatible with m-ATX cases. So the little oddball is lost inside a large m-ATX case, but is able to use a regular psu. With the 80% psu it idles and runs at 39 watts with 2G ram and a WD 1G GP.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 08, 2009 1:55 pm

DanceMan --

There's another small case we're just starting to examine. Silverstone SG05. Fits mini-DTX -- has 2 pci slots. Also a conventional 300w psu -- which may be its achilles heel.
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Post by qviri » Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:00 pm

I'm still reading through the review, but just as a note, the System Configuration section on page 4 includes a "Seasonic SS-400ET ATX power supply", which I am fairly confident is a copy/paste too far.
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Post by DanceMan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:20 pm

MikeC wrote:DanceMan --

There's another small case we're just starting to examine. Silverstone SG05. Fits mini-DTX -- has 2 pci slots. Also a conventional 300w psu -- which may be its achilles heel.
Thanks, Mike. Interesting case, trades small size for easier cooling. I would have traded the 120mm fan and laptop optical drive for a 92mm fan and standard dvd.

My board, an ECS 945GCT-D Atom, has two ram slots but only one PCI. The chipset heatsink is fanless, and my build has only one fan, the 120mm fan in the Inwin psu. Temps are okay, and it's very quiet but not silent.

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Post by stromgald » Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:22 pm

Would a Thermalright XP-90 cooler fit and cool the E7200 passively (i.e. only case fans)? It's an older cooler, but fairly compact.

EDIT: Nevermind, it's too tall. I thought it was closer in height to the XP-120 which I've used before, but it's actually more than 1cm taller.
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Post by croddie » Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:48 pm

jessekopelman wrote:I'd expect no more than 5W difference an E5200 and E7200 on the same motherboard.
I think you're right; it's a while since I saw the numbers.

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Post by Ruiner » Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:51 pm

The Zotac Ion n330 d-e (w/o integrated psu) is a perfect fit for this case. It's going for about $25 less than the b/c/e/u board.
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Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:05 pm

Ruiner wrote:The Zotac Ion n330 d-e (w/o integrated psu) is a perfect fit for this case. It's going for about $25 less than the b/c/e/u board.
Yes, it would work fine.
article, p.4 wrote:In our testing, the Zotac IONITX board was cooled adequately without any fan on the open bench, so it seemed obvous that it could be cooled with just the single fan in the Antec case. This seemed too easy to accomplish.
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Post by porkchop » Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:35 pm

i wish antec would release this psu(or even better, the 90w verssion that should come with the mini skeleton) separately, for me this would mean buying one at the local shop instead of searching online and paying a premium.

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Post by vbap » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:17 pm

MikeC wrote:DanceMan --

There's another small case we're just starting to examine. Silverstone SG05. Fits mini-DTX -- has 2 pci slots. Also a conventional 300w psu -- which may be its achilles heel.
Excellent - I just cancelled the ISK-300 on my order and swapped it for the SG05. I was really tossing up between the two, and in the end it just came to availability!
Hopefully the extra vertical room will make it easier to work with.

Since I will be putting a Zotac IONITX-330 in there, I won't be using the SG05's power supply.
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Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:42 pm

vbap wrote:Excellent - I just cancelled the ISK-300 on my order and swapped it for the SG05. I was really tossing up between the two, and in the end it just came to availability!
Hopefully the extra vertical room will make it easier to work with.

Since I will be putting a Zotac IONITX-330 in there, I won't be using the SG05's power supply.
For an IONITX, what do you need the extra room for -- unless you want more drives, maybe? The heatsink is integrated, and both cases need a slim optical drive...
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Post by vbap » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:58 pm

MikeC wrote: For an IONITX, what do you need the extra room for -- unless you want more drives, maybe? The heatsink is integrated, and both cases need a slim optical drive...
True, the SG05 - especially minus the powersupply, will be cavernous for an IONITX, with only the single 120mm fan for cooling.
But I have some cunning plans about mounting a couple of external USB TV tuners "internally", with the RF connectors mounted on a PCI slot cover.

I will have 3 drives : the slim bluray, 32Gb SSD (OS) and 500gb notebook (WD scorpio - for TV recordings). Hopefully I can get the cables all neat & tidy.

Mike, so far on the SG05, will the 120mm fan need to be slowed eg with a fanmate or similar?
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Post by Houd.ini » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:06 pm

Were the temperature measurements obtained while running Prime95 or something of the sort? Did you record temperatures while running Blu-ray films or something similar? While 90 degrees seems a little hot, it probably would not reach that temperature while doing something more sober, like playing back HD video. I could probably live with it, seeing how the 2,4GHz Core 2 Duo in my Macbook reaches over 100 degrees when starting Handbrake, before the fan ramps up sufficiently :o

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Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:11 pm

Houd.ini wrote:Were the temperature measurements obtained while running Prime95 or something of the sort? Did you record temperatures while running Blu-ray films or something similar? While 90 degrees seems a little hot, it probably would not reach that temperature while doing something more sober, like playing back HD video. I could probably live with it, seeing how the 2,4GHz Core 2 Duo in my Macbook reaches over 100 degrees when starting Handbrake, before the fan ramps up sufficiently :o
For sure, under normal conditions, you won't get 100% load on both CPU cores & GPU for 20+ mins continuously, but it's standard practise to do so for thermal/power testing. So you're 100% right that it will run much cooler in normal use. Many folks won't do it, tho, even if the thermals are nominally safe -- what if questions haunt them.
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