Antec unveils the Three Hundred Two case at retail

Get ready for another to the line-up, Antec announces a successor to the Three Hundred chassis with the Three Hundred Two coming in at $79.95, a mid-tower refresh bringing refined airflow and USB 3.0 to the mix. Some minor style changes include water cooling tube support from the top of the case, side exhaust port behind the CPU panel as well as filters for the PSU and front panel intake. Relatively little has managed to change since that point in appearances. Some users might be a bit upset that Antec has gone with full USB 3.0 support on the front panel which excludes anyone on older motherboards still. An alternative to this is ordering the 300 front port assembly to get your 2.0 support back on your system, would have been nice to see an adapter option like the company had gone with before on the P280 instead of asking for $8.50 + shipping to have legacy support if you were fortunate enough to figure out the option.

Overall the case is an update not a rebirth of any kind, it would have been nice to see them ditch the extruded vents on the case, they seem to do more damage than good in appearance, giving it a dated feel that I just can’t get past. If you’re really looking to go Antec on your next value case then this might fit the bill, if you need USB 2.0 support and are willing to overlook the rear CPU vent and water cooling holes the Three Hundred might be more your speed.

The specs

Model Three Hundred Two
Case Type Mid-Tower
Color(s) Black
Cooling System • One 120 mm rear TwoCool™ fan
• One 140 mm top TwoCool™ fan
• Two 120 mm front intake fans (optional)
• One 120 mm side intake fan (optional)
• One 120 mm side exhaust fan behind motherboard (optional)
• Perforated front bezel for maximum air intake
• Top water cooling grommets
• Enlarged CPU Cutout
Drive Bays • Three 5.25” tool-less drive bays
• Two 2.5” drive bays (dedicated)
• Six 3.5” tool-less drive bays
Front Ports Two USB 3.0 with internal motherboard connector
• Audio In/Out
Expansion Slots /
video card size
Eight expansion slots
12.5” (318 mm) maximum video card size
PSU No Power Supply included
Motherboard Support Standard ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX
CPU Cutout Enlarged CPU Cutout
Cable Management N/A
Side panel features N/A
Dimensions 22.2” (H) x 11.4” (W) x 20.7” (D) /
565 mm (H) x 290 mm (W) x 525 mm (D)
Weight • Net Weight: 15.3 lb (6.9 kg)
• Gross Weight: 18.7 lb (8.5 kg)

Personally, we’re at a point where going with standard primer interiors is growing old, a refresh with a black interior would be refreshing. Seeing dual fan support at the top for larger radiators or a revision to the physical design would have helped. Instead there isn’t much to say about the Three Hundred Two given it’s already had a debut. It’s a refresh cycle and unfortunately very few of them bring exciting changes even though they should bring that last push of a product cycle to get people to want the improved version of what they already have.

Find it at: NCIX, Newegg, Frys (not available online yet)

Review – NZXT Phantom

The computer case market is thriving with creativity again, one of the lead companies to emerge in the market is NZXT, lately the company has been on a roll as they combine contemporary style with gamer aesthetics. The result in this case is the mighty Phantom line, packing high airflow, incredible space and sleek design that can appeal to new builders and veteran builders looking for something not as extreme as a plexiglass case.

Opening the box up, it became clear this wasn’t just a looker but it was there for function as well. The stock unit contains sufficient cooling from the start and a box full of goodies for mounting and stealth cabling. I’ll go ahead and include the spec sheet below to give the full impressions.

MODEL Phantom Series
CASE TYPE Full Tower Steel
FRONT PANEL MATERIAL Plastic/Steel
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D) 222 x 540 X 623 mm
VGA Clearance Maximum
350mm
COOLING SYSTEM FRONT, 1 X 140mm
REAR, 1 X 120mm (included)
SIDE, 2 x 120mm, 1 x 200/230 (2 x 120mm included)
TOP, 2 X 200mm (1 x LED 200mm included)
DRIVE BAYS 5 EXTERNAL 5.25″ DRIVE BAYS
7 INTERNAL 3.5″/2.5″ Slots
Screwless Rail Design
MATERIAL(S) Steel with black finish
EXPANSION SLOTS 7
WEIGHT 11 kg
MOTHERBOARD SUPPORT E-ATX, ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT

Sample build used:

AMD Phenom 9750 AM2+
Jetway 790GX (HA08)
Crucial 4GB DDR2 PC6400
Sapphire HD 4850 512
Creative X-Fi Xtrememusic
Hitachi Deskstar 1TB HDD
Maxtor 320GB HDD

Before jumping into the fray, I had to test a few areas first. The current configuration works fine if you have a high flow fan on the side and coming from the front, the case pressure goes pretty much positive at that point. If you lack that, you may want to consider flipping the top 200mm fan and throw air in. Often systems will tend to choke to some degree when the box is simply dumping air and pulling little if any fresh air in.

Fortunately the top panel removes easily, place your hand under the front panel grip and tug out, the clips will release and reveal another hand hold for the top panel. Unscrew the 200mm fan and reverse mount it to generate some positive pressure in the case.  I lacked a 140mm fan to place in the front so I mounted a 250mm fan to the side panel from an Antec Skeleton. Odd enough, with a bit of boring out the fan mounts without much issue and generates essential airflow for the GPU and CPU zones.

Moving into installation there isn’t much trouble, the Phantom is for the most part tool-less where it counts, the PCI  brackets use thumb screws instead of regular mounts to save on tools. Unfortunately you still need a screwdriver to break the initial torque after being mounted. Installation of components went down in roughly 20 minutes, cabling took a bit longer just for the sake of being stealth about it, the Phantom offers room for most mountings and even my aging Cooler Master Real Power Pro was able to reach high enough for the 8-pin power connector by the CPU. After years of building systems I can say this was most likely the most painless installation yet, also it left me cut free thanks to rolled edges on the case.

For window fans, there is a lot to miss with the mesh on the side of the case, honestly, the white finish is one of the cleanest and most pure colors I’ve seen in quite a while. With a blueish glow it reflects color perfectly inside. Not being able to see it does hurt, if you are insistent, you could always mount your own panel and remove the mesh, or just pop open the front door on the case and watch from there. It really is worth the show, the Tri-Color light show from the Antec really made it an amazing sight to see. For the hardcore modder that wants a little more, cutting the case and custom mounting acrylic would be really rewarding.

Functionally, the Phantom is up there with the best of them, the fans all connect to a single fan bus that gets controlled on top of the case, the inputs and power buttons are also on the top in sleek form. There’s an aspect of this design which takes me back to the era of Tron, super sleek but hard lines everywhere, a blue glow from the stock fans, power sources and fan bus that snares anyone who watches. It’s sleek but deadly and awesome as a centerpiece. Going from the Antec Skeleton to this is a huge jump, even comparing it to the Antec P193 has me still leaning in favor to the excessive attention to detail that NZXT took with this model.

To start closing this up, I have this to say about the NZXT Phantom.

  • Simple installation
  • Room for cable stealthing
  • Tons of air-flow
  • Integrated fan bus controller
  • Extra parts to last a lifetime
  • Sleek design, ultra contemporary feel
  • Low case noise, even with all fans running it remains tolerable
  • Excellent cooling on system
  • Plenty of room for larger video cards (6900 series, etc)
  • Tool-less design for drive mounting works, needs a little extra force to pop pins back in
  Low Speed High Speed
CPU Idle 41c 39c
CPU Load 47c 44.5c
GPU Idle 45.5c 44c
GPU Load 73c 70c

Things I might change are few really, this is a gaming case and if I wanted true silence I would opt for the H2, we don’t have that case to review so… just try to look around and get some other impressions if you’re not sure. The sound insulation and other features seem to be well worth the price.

Closing up, the Phantom is probably the easiest case I’ve been able to work with, because I’m extra paranoid I actually decided to also wax the finish for extra scratch protection because this is a busy desk.

Kudos to NZXT for bringing home a heavy hitter like the Phantom, for those interested, it comes in a few variants and honestly that pure black model looks quite awesome. For gamers it’s a new piece of kit to mod out, for older builders it still has some show with a Tron inspired design but not too much to make it feel like you’re pounding Redline and skipping out on studying for your finals all over again.

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