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CES 2011: Antec Updates Chassis and Goes Under Water

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FiXT

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Antec, a company once known for their quiet, office-centric cases has really embraced the enthusiast market this past year, possibly more so than ever in their 25 year history. We had a chance to go through the company's line for 2011 at CES, which involves a few updates to existing lines as well as embarking on a whole new cooling quest.


Antec Sonata IV


While it was announced around Christmas 2010, CES was the first chance we've had to take a good look at the new Sonata IV, a chassis that has been the staple of the Antec line for many years. The case has always offered a simple, yet elegant design with a focus on low noise that works for just about any type of user, and the inclusion of a quality power supply really makes it the perfect combination for an everyday workstation. This is what made the Sonata an exceptionally well received case, and part of the attraction was a price tag that often put it below the cost of buying a good case and power supply separately.

Unfortunately, we can't help but feel that with the Sonata IV, Antec may have lost their way a bit with what the Sonata series is all about.

The Sonata IV keeps a nearly identical exterior design to the Sonata III with the piano black finish, covered external drive bays, and basic fronts ports, which now include a single USB 3.0 connector. In fact, aside from a few basic design and connector changes, the Sonata IV is an exact replica of the Sonata Elite, a case released in 2008.

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An updated design to the internal drive bays which now sit vertically and perpendicular to the case necessitate a new protrusive air venting system for dual 120mm fans on the back side panel. This not only means more potential noise from hard drive cooling fans, but likely more sound leakage from components inside the case.

Antec has moved to a 620W Neo ECO Power Supply which is 80 Plus Standard certified and as far as the interior layout goes it is nearly a spitting image of the Antec Sonata Elite.

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Antec has quoted an MSRP of $199 USD for the Sonata IV, which feels a little excessive given that the previous generation Sonata III and Elite can be regularly seen at under $100. Hopefully this changes as the chassis hits retailer shelves.



Antec One Hundred


Expanding on the Antec gaming series is the new One Hundred, a very simple chassis with a focus on compatibility and airflow.

It features 10 available drive bays, 3 x 5.25", 6 x 3.5", and a single 2.5" SSD at the bottom, expanded CPU backplate opening, 8 PCI expansion slots, 5 potential fan placements (ships with two) and a bottom mounted power supply location with plenty of cable management options.

The case is marked for an MSRP of $69.99 and unlike many competing cases in this price category, the One Hundred also has a fully black interior.

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FiXT

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Kuhler H2O Water Cooling

One of the big stories of CES 2011 was that Corsair had partially moved away from Asetek as its primary OEM water cooling distributor, to Canadian based CoolIt. Antec has seized on this opportunity and in partnership with Asetek is launching its own line of Kuhler H2O all-in-one water cooling systems.


Antec Kuhler H2O 920 and 620


Antec will have two products upon release, the Kuhler H2O 920 and Kuhler H2O 620, both based on a 3rd generation Asetek all-in-one design that brings a few unique changes over previous generations.

Both units include the same low profile integrated pump & block system and feature a 120mm radiator (heat exchanger), while the Kuhler 920 doubles the thickness of the rad over the 620 and features a push-pull airflow fan configuration.

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Two key differences set the Kuhler apart from its competitors, even those also OEM'ed by Asetek. A change to rubberized tubing will allow for tighter bends and easier fitment into more awkward positions without cutting off flow.

As well, a new thermal management design now allows for full control and monitoring of the temperatures, fan speeds and the setting of custom cooling profiles via software within the OS. The system connects the radiator fans into the unit and has a separate 4-pin connection which plugs directly into the motherboard CPU fan header. Additionally, this software allows you to set the LED behind the Antec Logo on the pump to any RGB 24-bit available colour you want.

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Antec has said that the Kuhler H2O series will be available by the end of the month, and that it will be priced competitively with current market offerings.
 
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