A good case is the cornerstone of any successful home-built computer. A case makes the difference between sliced and diced hands, overheating components, hard to reach places, and a lot of cussing on one hand – or easy assembly, good cooling, and reliable performance on the other hand. Fremont, California based Antec has been making computer cases for a number of years, and their products definitely fall into the latter of these two categories. The quality and abundance of features show that they put a lot of thought into the development of their products and reflects the experience they have garnered over the years. I had a chance to check out the Antec SX1040 SOHO File Server case and experience first hand why Antec cases are among the best.
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The first thing you notice without even taking the case out of the box is the box itself. I think this is the first computer case I’ve seen that didn’t come in one of those ugly brown non-descript cardboard boxes. The box for the SX1040 was actually attractive with nice photos of the case inside, a list of its main features, etc. That alone should make it stand out on store shelves.
The second thing you’ll notice is the weight. This puppy weighs in at a hefty 33 pounds, hinting at its sturdy quality design.
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|Gone are the days of having to remove countless screws to get into the case and at the drive bays. The SX1040 is a prime example of good accessibility. To open the case, push back the lockable handle, swing the side out a few inches, then pull it off the frame. Reverse the process to close it back up. Piece of cake. On closer inspection you’ll notice that special attention to detail was paid here. All around the frame where it touches the side wall it is equipped with small spring-type clips that ensure a snug and rattle-free fit.The interior displays further examples of smart design. To get to the 3.5″ drive bays (two of them, each holding up to three 3.5″ drives), snap back the lever at the top of the drive cage, then simply slide it out. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Removing and inserting the drive cages a few times shows smooth and exact operation. Everything fits and glides smoothly.|
One feature I would have liked to see is a removable motherboard tray. I prefer to have the ability of putting the motherboard tray on the table, mounting the motherboard and components, then sliding it in the case when I’m done. But the SX1040 is roomy enough that you can easily drop in the board and work on it without noteworthy constraints.
The SX1040 comes with a beefy 400W power supply that should be able to satisfy the power cravings of the latest CPUs as well as numerous drives and fans. It is Pentium 4 compliant and has the extra 12V connector required by Pentium 4 motherboards. Inside the power supply runs a smart fan that varies its speed based on temperature.