Antec's enclosure lets you do your testing without having to deal with panels and other nuisances. We give a blow-by-blow account of how it works.
- Makes testing components easier
- HD audio connector too short
Antec's Skeleton will make your life much easier when it comes time to swap stuff in or out, whether you're doing it because you need to pretest components prior to deployment in other equipment or just because you're tired of what you have.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
There's room for four drives — two 3.5in and two 5.25in — inside the front of the drawer. Antec supplies four special screws for them, one for each drive. Following along with the manual, which you will need to download (PDF), each screw is placed in a particular screw hole in a drive.
When you slide a drive inside along its rails, those screws lock the drive into place by fitting into special holes in one of the four "paddle" latches that are built into the drawer. If you need to remove a drive, just push the latch and you can slide it out.
You can also mount the drives permanently by using regular drive screws. There are holes along the outside of the drawer that allow you to do that; however, you will need to remove the two small side panels to gain access to them. They're held in place by thumb latches and lift up and out of the bottom rail where tabs have helped keep them in place.
Although the Skeleton has four proper bays, it can also hold an additional four 3.5in. drives, each mounted in one of the four provided carriers. The carriers are equipped with two hooked tabs that fit into either of two pairs of slots on the top of each side panel.
If you've been keeping score, that's two 3.5in. hard drives and two 5.25in. optical drives inside the case plus four additional hard drives hung along its sides — and the enclosure is a mere 13.0 by 14.8 by 16.5 inches in size. Clean and quiet
With all that open area and a 250mm fan, you may be curious about how loud the Skeleton is. Well, you can barely hear it at all. A few years ago, Antec developed a trick for its 120mm (and larger) fans — if you spin them slower than the average 80mm or 90mm fans, the noise level is reduced. Cooling power stays the same because the fan blades are bigger and push more air through. As a result, you can sit right next to the Skeleton and really not notice anything in the average room.
This has another advantage: it keeps dust away. My house is a dust magnet, but this is like having a vacuum on top of the case. You can feel the air being sucked away from the motherboard if you put your hand beneath the fan. And with no screens or filters, there's nothing to clean every month.
The one problem I faced was with the Skeleton's front-panel audio cable. The HD audio connector was about an inch and half too short to reach the corresponding motherboard connector on the P5QL-E. The extra wiring added by the standard AC '97 connector piggybacked onto the cable did reach, but that means I was left with no front-panel HD sound availability.
Speaking of cables, the beauty of the Skeleton is the easy access provided by its removable drawer and lack of panels. If you tie-wrap anything from the motherboard to the frame you won't be able to remove the drawer without cutting the tie-wrap. Also, if you've installed any interface cards (audio, graphics, tuner, etc.) on the motherboard, you'll either need to remove them or disconnect the acrylic bar to which they attach at the back of the case if you want to slide the drawer out.
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