The 2008 PC Builder's Bible

Antec 900
Antec’s Nine Hundred is solidly constructed and surrounded by enough air cooling to bring Dorothy back home to Kansas. Shoot, we were effectively “blown away” by the Nine Hundred, hereafter dubbed “the 900,” which is a fi ne example of case craftsmanship, despite a few minor flaws.

The case’s internals are pleasantly predictable. Three 5.25-inch bays and six 3.5-inch bays reside behind the case’s stylish front panel, and the full grill not only looks sharp but also improves the 900’s ability to generate ample airflow. Two 12cm blue LED fans suck air across your hard drives and into the eye of the storm, and a 20cm fan churns on the 900’s ceiling.

And that’s not all! Another fan at the rear of the case helps make the 900 an ideal solution for those who prefer air cooling to water cooling. Heck, you can even install an additional fan on the case’s side window grill—a pleasant bit of overkill.

“Hurricane” is an apt term to describe the force produced by the 900’s fans at full tilt, but if going deaf isn’t your thing, Antec has wisely given users the ability to customize speeds via a little switch on each fan.

The 900’s few flaws—a hard-to-remove side panel, a ton of drive-bay thumbscrews, and no eSATA port—are hardly enough to dump rain on this case’s parade.

Coolermaster Cosmos
We tipped our reviewing hand when we chose this case to house this year’s build it machine. But that’s just how sweet the Cosmos is. This case looks as good as it functions, and there’s nary a blemish in either area. More important, the case retains enough of a unique look and feel to distance itself from the bevy of generic models we frequently see.

You don’t need to grab a screwdriver to make major changes to any parts in the Cosmos case (aside from the motherboard). The fi ve front 5.25-inch bays use an awesome push-button locking mechanism that, to date is the best we’ve come across. Tiny thumbscrews hold the six hard-drive trays in place - an elegant improvement over standard drive bays.

The Cosmos caters to the water-cooling crowd with its ready-for-a-radiator ceiling grills, but lovers of the air won’t be left out. A detachable 12cm fan bunker pulls in air from the bottom of the case, and a plastic bar running horizontally across the case draws cool air right into the videocard area. Strangely, there’s no airflow across the hard drives in this case, one of the very few oversights we were able to find with the Cosmos. A lack of functioning drive-activity lights on the case’s front panel is another stinger, but it’s not enough to destroy the taste of this sweet, sweet chassis.

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