Antec 1900 Gaming Case Review
Tom and I have thought long and hard about our conclusions on the Antec Nineteen Hundred, and about the scoring and award we have given it. In the end we opted to split the conclusion into 3 sections. The Good, The Bad, and the quite frankly totally inexcusable.
You don't need Holmesian powers of deduction to work out from that short first paragraph that we're not overly impressed with the Antec Nineteen Hundred, and it's indeed rare for us to start a conclusion on a such a negative footing, however, the sheer size of the Antec filled us with such hope that what we had before us would be a great case with extensive native water cooling support and well thought out features, that we were left so bitterly disappointed at the end, as sadly it was not to be.
So let's start with the good, some of which may also be reflected upon in the bad and even the quite frankly totally inexcusable. It's a big case, so as you'd expect it's able to house long GPUs (330mm) and tall CPU heat sinks (175mm). It comes with six 120mm fans; 2 in the roof, 1 in the rear and 3 in the front, each of which appears to have its own independent fan controller. As well as being able to take standard ATX and M-ATX (why?) it's also able to accept larger XL ATX motherboards and as such has 9 expansion slots at the rear. Along with nicely grommeted management holes, there's also plenty of room behind the motherboard for cable routing with Antec throwing in a slack handful of re-usable cable ties. We also quite like the aesthetics of the case, the clean lines being something of a welcome departure from Antec's more recent offerings. The option of having Green or Red trim to match your GPU loyalties will also appeal to the Nvidia and AMD fan boys out there and regardless of this the angled base and top have something of the "Tron" feel to them. The integral but separated base section ups the HDD count from 6 in the main case to 12 in total, which with 4TB drives available means you could theoretically build a rig with 48TB of storage.
So on to the Bad. Firstly there's the build and finish quality. Not actually bad as such but this is a £230 case and for that we expect a damn sight better. If you haven't read the whole review head back and look at the way Antec present the internal wiring for their roof and rear fans. Not convinced? then how about having one of the feet fall off during the review because they're only stuck on as opposed to being screwed on? Or the fact that when you move it across your desk it leaves marks on the surface. Still not convinced, how about being able to open the lower door sections not just by pressing the buttons (although this can be hit and miss in itself), but instead by giving the case a bit of a thump on the roof. Quality stuff Antec. Then there's the thermal characteristics of the bottom section. Sure there's a 120mm intake but there's naff all extract ventilation down there so if you put your PSU and an HDD array down there expect things to get very toasty. Talking of ventilation and fans, what has possessed Antec to give each of the front fans its own two position fan controller? Remembering of course that to access these controllers you're going to need to take the side panel off. Having mentioned that the case can house up to 12 HDDs we'd like to reflect here on the need for so many drives. With 3 and even 4TB drives readily available do consumers really need that much storage? Granted you might look at the Nineteen Hundred as a potential server but you'd quickly work out that there are better options on the market.
And so the "Quite frankly totally inexcusable" section of the conclusion. We think what irks us most about the Nineteen Hundred is that Antec have missed not just one but several opportunities to have made this case so much better than it is. It’s almost as if the designer has seen a few PC cases from 10 or 15 years ago, seen a few pictures of the 900D had some input from a poorly selected focus group and got cracking with the design. Given such a huge enclosure with such expansive roof and front of case real estate it's beyond our ken to understand why Antec chose to give the case native water-cooling support for nothing larger than a 240mm rad. All it would have taken to fit a 360mm rad in the roof would have been an additional set of holes and the elongation of the, albeit rather ugly ventilation holes on the outer skin. In a world where removable modular drive bays are common place it's also baffling to understand why Antec have chosen to rivet there's in place. Simply making the 6 bays removable would have left enough space for a fat 240 in push pull, and should they have made the 5.25" bays removable a second 360 would have been on the cards. Now let’s think about how we could have put a 480 in the front if they’d cut the floor section under the 3.5” rack. As it is though you're stuck with a piddling 240 in the roof, that's it, that's your lot. The third major opportunity they've missed is in configuring the lower section of the case to only take 6 HDDs. With the option of a second PSU we were hopeful that we might find mounts for a M-ITX board down there, but alas no. OK so a second system in case is a no go, how about extended water cooling? With so many drives available in the main section surely it would have been a viable option to rig the lower section for rads. Theoretically it would be possible to get a pair of 360mm rads down here, as with 140mm of head room there's enough height, but as you might imagine the solid case sides aren't going to give too much ventilation, and there are no mounting brackets.
We could go on, believe us we could, as the list is long and shameful, but to do so would be cruel. We think that this case has had enough of its beating. Best thing we could do right now is take it round the back of the old barn and give it the good news. By now you have should have the idea that we're not overly enamoured with the Nineteen Hundred, however not wishing to end on a negative note we do at least have one suggestion. You see, in being so fundamentally wrong what Antec have inadvertently produced is a modders case. At £230 it's an expensive modders case, but a modders case none the less. There is so much potential in this case, so much that the designers at Antec have completely missed that a good modder could bring to the fore. Someone out there will one day take one of these and turn it into the case it could have, and should have been. If you are not a modder and you just want a case to build your system into we would actually struggle to recommend this case if it was HALF the price it is on sale for today.
Finally let’s get a few things in perspective lest you think we're being unreasonably harsh on the Nineteen hundred. Here at OC3D we strive to be subjective in all things regardless of our personal preferences and our likes and dislikes. That said, over the years you can't help but develop certain tastes and preferences, for the most part based on your experience of a manufacturer, their general level of quality or perhaps their brand aesthetic. In general I happen to look quite fondly at Antec cases, having had a Sonata III as my very first case and have developed a soft spot for the Skeleton having modded several of them and had one as my daily driver until it was retired and replaced by NZXSPC. So are we just hating on Antec? No, we're not. What we have is a objective review of a case that could have and should have been great but fell well short of the mark.
Thanks to Antec for the 1900, you can discuss your thoughts on the points raised in the OC3D Forums