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Thread: A Positive Look at the Antec Nine Hundred (900) Case

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    A Positive Look at the Antec Nine Hundred (900) Case

    I bought an Antec 900 case for three reasons. I liked the styling, I liked the cooling, and I liked the price (it was on sale at CompUSA). I have slightly modded a few cases in the past to increase the fan size from 80mm to 120mm so know how to use a dremel, and planned from the beginning to mod the case. I know that there is another review (link) that is pretty negative on this case, but wanted to put forth an alternate opinion. It is possible (and not that difficult) to get a clean install in this case.

    I planned to use the space behind the motherboard tray to hide wires. With some measuring I found that there was just enough room for most of the power supply cables. The adjacent area (on the back side of the drive bays) is deeper. I estimated (after looking at the case) that I could cable tie everything down so it would lay flat, and get the back panel of the case installed, but figured it would be tight.

    STAGE 1 – DREMEL THE HOLES

    I cut a number of holes in the motherboard tray after some measuring.


    Holes and reasons (clockwise from upper left):
    - 4 pin power connector on MB
    - IDE and Molex power cables for DVD drives
    - IDE connector on MB, PCI-E power cable
    - SATA data cables, front panel cables (switch, USB, etc.)
    - Power supply cables
    - Factory cutout, unused
    - Rear fan, SATA from J Micron

    Here is a view of the back of the case (the area next to the drive bay is deeper)..


    Notice two more holes. They are for passing through the power / data cables for the hard disks (more on this later).

    There is one more hole, that I forgot to take a picture of. It is a slot just big enough for the led/power/reset, USB, Firewire, audio cables from the front panel. It is accessible from the top. The dremel wouldn't fit so I used a drill , chisel, and file. Here is a picture of the cables running into the back of the case to give you an idea of the positioning. BTW, I had to lengthen the front panel cable to reach the motherboard. The USB cable BARELY reached, and the firewire / audio cable are currently unattached (and probably too short).


    Rear of case with cable ties installed. I used large holes so that I could put in new ones should I have to remove something!


    I used a ton of cable ties so that I could flatten the wires on the rear.


    STAGE 2 – DRIVE CAGE MODS

    In order to get the clean appearance I wanted, I needed to mount the drives in the opposite direction as designed. I had to drill extra holes in the drive cages (in the picture below, note that the one cage has the extra holes while the other one is stock. I was able to use one of the stock holes.


    The next step was to get the wires through.


    This is a pretty good picture that was the result of some effort. I used a modular SATA Power connector and took off the connectors (more on this later). Routing was done in two steps. First the wires were run into the cage, and then the wires were fed through the case and the cage slid into place. What you see here is the final test to show this would really work. The drive cages CAN be removed from the case.

    As I was doing this mod I realized that someone may have thought of this approach – there were little cutouts and holes in all the right places. If my SATA cables had been smaller, I would have gotten by without the hole in the case (notice the smaller rectangular cutouts).

    Here it is from the case back.


    Now it was time to mount the drives and plug them up.


    Notice the bottom one isn’t plugged in! The right angle plug is too tall! Crap, where is the dremel?! I used a tiny little cutting bit and cut out a piece of the connector.


    Putting the SATA power plugs back on was pretty easy. The are several plug styles, these are the easiest to remove and reapply.

    Here I am reapplying the SATA power cables. I spaced them out at the right distance.


    Here is the fully wired drive cage.


    By the way, these right angle plugs are pretty important. Otherwise the drive might have to be pushed into the case a bit further to keep it from hitting the fan.

    Here it is from the side with the fan installed on the front.


    This is a pretty good shot of the extra drive holes. Notice the half moon cutout on the bottom. That hole was very helpful in coaxing the wires into the cage. Under the wires at the edge of the groove is a cutout necessary to slide this into the case. It was probably big enough but I used a nibbling tool to make it deeper (no picture).

    Here is a picture after the drive cage is installed showing the cable bundle coming through to the back of the case.


    STAGE 3 - INSTALLATION

    Partially installed (power supply and misc cables)


    Most of the wires are run in this picture. It’s a little hard to see, but all the power cables go through the large hole to the rear of the MB tray, except main power. The flat IDE cable (upper right) ran through this relatively small hole and folded nicely to come up in the center cutout. The floppy cable was an afterthought, but it folded and went down the same hole. (If ever I need a floppy, I can just remove the back panel and hook it up easily.) Notice the 4 pin power in the upper left, and the other cables run through the holes. The Enermax has nice long cables!

    Here is a picture with the MB and lower drive cage installed.


    Here is the rear of the case. The picture looks cleaner than I remember it seemed when doing it. The thickest part was dead center, around the black IDE cable tie. I was a little worried that the back of the case would have to be heavily smushed to get the rear panel installed, but it didn’t. It fit perfect, with zero buldge.


    I never have to look at that!


    Under the drive cages – here I keep the main power cable taught and installed a speaker (not standard).


    Nice shot of the drives - 3x320G (bottom) + 750G (top)


    RESULT

    Here is the final result. Notice that the stock VGA cooler has been replaced with a HR-03 cooler, and the soundcard has been installed.

    Panel removed:


    Fan wiring in panel:


    Panel Installed:


    This picture really doesn't do it justice. I may try to take it outside and take the picture without flash. It looks very clean.

    FINAL IMPRESSIONS

    Computer cases are very personal decisions. Everyone’s priorities are different. Some people want absolute quiet, some people want radical styling, and some people want excellent cooling, or some combination of these and others. For me, this case was perfect. It could certainly have been easier if Antec had thought more about mounting the drives backwards and provided access to the area behind the tray without cutting. But with a little creativity and effort, I’m very happy with the result.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention the cooling performance. My prior case (I'll post some pictures later on) had 4 120mm (100cfm each), and 1 92mm fan (not including PSU) and is a full tower with (what I thought) very good air flow. The Antec 900 dropped the temps 5C-6C (measured with TAT) off my E6600 core temps at load. This was much more than expected.

    I’d give the case an 8/10.
    Last edited by bjp999; 12-12-2006 at 06:09 AM.

  2. #2
    I am Xtreme NickS's Avatar
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    WOW, amazing job man! You make the Antec 900 look like an amazing case!
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    Xtreme Addict gundamit's Avatar
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    Very nice job on the wire management. Prices on the case vary quite a bit. Lowest price I could find with shipping was $110. I like the massive 200mm fan on top. Looks like the stock case is only one fan controller away from being a very good choice for an air cooled rig. If it goes on sale at Fry's with a rebate it could be a killer deal.

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    I am Xtreme afireinside's Avatar
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    Wow very good job with the cable management bro Last time I tried modding a case I ruined it so I left mine stock. Looks like the 900 is indeed a very good case choice is you are willing to mod it for easy wiring. Once again, good job!
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    Xtreme Guru JoeBar's Avatar
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    I really don't like this case. But your job is top notch!
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    Xtreme Cruncher gr8golf's Avatar
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    Will you come over to my place and mod mine like that? This case has kept on growing on me - I love the airflow and noise levels but could really use a wiring cleanup like yours. I've got some new 120mm fans on the way and I'll be able to get rid of some molexes and fan control wires - so I'll rework some stuff then. Nice job!
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    Great work!

    I wish I had a case like that

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeBar
    I really don't like this case. But your job is top notch!

    agreed..with all that work, imagine what you can do with a good case
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    Da Goose DAK1640's Avatar
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    Simply Outstanding...


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    Thanks everyone for your encouragement!

    Here are some pictures of the prior “home”. It is a SuperMicro SC-750-A. I have modded this case big time! I created that HD cooler with the 120mm fan attached. There is a case front that goes over top that is not pictured.


    And here is what it looked like on the inside:


    What a mess! This case is being outfitted with my old P4 MB and a bunch of old hard disks as a backup server.

    The first IDE ribbon cable I used got cut on the sharp edge of the dremeled hole in the case. I used some round felt pads to cushion the holes:


    Here are some pictures of the IDE cable running to the DVD drives.




    Finally a picture of the case front. I have since added the blank hard drive cover on the bottom.



    Thanks again! Cheers!
    Last edited by bjp999; 12-12-2006 at 03:45 PM.

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    Xtreme Enthusiast icon57's Avatar
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    amazing wire management, thanks for some good ideas
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    Xtreme Cruncher justin_c's Avatar
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    look at that video card with the hr-03 bend! does the vf900 cause gfx card to bend that much?

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    Quote Originally Posted by justin_c
    look at that video card with the hr-03 bend! does the vf900 cause gfx card to bend that much?
    The card is not bent (I checked). Gravity may be affecting it a tiny bit with the extra weight of the HR-03 + fan. Look at the before picture with the factory fan contraption - I think it looks similar.

    The HS + fan is doing an incredible job of cooling the GPU. I have not run any serious tests yet, but the GPU is idling at 35C. I've misplaced my notes of the before temps, but seems to me it was idling around 50C+ before, and that was after lapping the HS and using AS5 instead of std TIM. The graphics card is a Saphire radeon 1900xtx.

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    Quote Originally Posted by icon57
    amazing wire management, thanks for some good ideas
    Agreed for sure my Antec P180 will benefit from your hard work! I'm starting this same project now!

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    Xtreme Enthusiast rob[GL]'s Avatar
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    hehe, that's not bent nearly as much as my crossfire master card, both cards liquid cooled with two maze4's, my top card is bent crazy!
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    Quote Originally Posted by citat3962
    Agreed for sure my Antec P180 will benefit from your hard work! I'm starting this same project now!
    I'm looking forward to some pictures!

    Three pieces of advice:
    1. Take your time.
    2. Wear eye protection and a mask while dremeling.
    3. Measure twice cut once.

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    I am Xtreme Leeghoofd's Avatar
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    Will post some piccies tomorrow mate thx for the great ideas, my brain was already working on some of them before I saw your post...

    I'll love it and wanna have one for my own









    Last edited by Leeghoofd; 12-18-2006 at 11:55 AM.
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    Cool! I like the way you ran the main power to the rear. Think how bad the inside of the case would look with all those power cables tied up in knots on the visible side.

    The blue fan looks cool in the panel. Maybe I'll get one too.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    Xtreme Guru trans am's Avatar
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    Best wire management I've ever seen. Really neat and clean job! I learned a lot. THnks

  20. #20
    I am Xtreme Leeghoofd's Avatar
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    Well I preferred the rear fan on the sidepanel to cool the mobo passive cooling some more, also because the 200mm fan sucks all the hot air out.
    If I can believe Everesthome the fan took off 4°C of the mobo temps (it's on medium setting) not really waauw but enough to put it there for me.

    Only thing that annoys me is the filtermousse I placed in front of the bottom front fan, it gives a kind of slight wistling noise hehehhe

    Well my friend is pretty happy with his 3200mhz E6400 and 8800GTS, noise is very bareable and temps stay great (coretemp under orthos prime 49°C)

    I'm off to build my own case within a week when my Ac ryan parts arrrive , hope to build a sortlike case but just a bit wider to enable to watercool it !!

    I was pretty happy to work with the antec case, took some fiddling and thinking but he overall result and performance is awesome...
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    Nice job, and no dremeling! The 8800GTX definitely fits. Is there room for a drive right behind it? (Looks like maybe not from the photo, but hard to tell).

    Did you try hiding that bundle of power cables in the bottom hard drive slot?

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    Thanks to the original starter of this thread i made my own attempt at modding my nine hundred in a similar way.

    Here's a comparitive before and after shot



    Heres a shot of the back of the mobo tray, i cut 4 holes to run the cabling though, the only problem is that my GameXstream psu didnt have a 4 pin cable long enough to run all the way up the back of the case to the socket so it had to be run inside the case.



    Anyway thanks again to the thread starter for the idea and im well pleased with the result.


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    Xtreme Addict m0da's Avatar
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    crazy job, very nice!
    just found a new future project
    thx

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    I have decided to slowly gather parts for my new sytem, and decided on the Antec 900 case, so I am very interested in the mods presented. I ordered the case and I am doing my early homework on ideas and issues. Some much appreciated interesting and creative work is described here. I have one question though. As near as I can tell it appears that the new holes in the sideplate were deburred. However, I worry about the edges of the holes still being sharp enough to abrade the wires over time. Although I would not expect a lot of vibration, there will some, as well as air moving constantly. Some of the wires appear to be pretty tightly bent around the new openings. Is abrasion something to really worry about? Did any of you consider some kind of grommet or edge protection around the new holes? Did any of you consider using chassis punches for some of the holes to get a cleaner cut? (I know they are fairly expensive.)

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