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Antec SOLO
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by Rory Buszka on February 21, 2007 in Mid-Tower

In a world of gratuitously flashy enthusiast PC cases, Antec sets itself apart by focusing on elegant design and a superb user experience. Their new SOLO case embodies these two ideals, offering a blend of style and substance as well as some thoughtful features aimed at convenience and low noise. Is this perfection in a computer case? Read on to find out…

Out of Box, Specs


The SOLO case arrived on my doorstep in a huge outer carton. It appears that Antec’s well aware of UPS’s tendency to not play so nicely with heavy packages, and Antec didn’t take any chances with my review sample.

The Solo’s retail carton is big, glossy, and heavy. For those who judge the quality of a component based on its weight, this box has a reassuring heft. Even the cardboard itself is of a high quality. Even so, Antec sent this review sample packed in a larger, air-cushioned external box that defied UPS to do their worst. The retail box boasts high-quality product images, informative specification tables, and an invitation to the consumer to “Go Solo.”

Opening the box reveals a well thought out packing scheme. The top and bottom of the case are each supported by endcaps made from numerous layers of foam sheeting bonded together to create a block. This foam is much softer than the typical Styrofoam; in transit, the Solo practically rides on air. Extracting the case from its carton is a simple matter of turning the box upside down and sliding it upward; no extraneous parts or pieces fell out while removing the case from its box. It’s clear to see that Antec realizes that in the enthusiast market, the user experience begins from the very moment the box is opened.

The case itself is protected by a foam bag; ‘undressing’ the Solo further reveals a captivating piano-gloss black finish that’s remarkably free from “orange-peel” effect, though not quite perfectly smooth. The only black parts of this case that aren’t glossy are the drive bay covers, but even they are ringed by a strip of glossy trim. Brushed-aluminum accents on the front panel (much like the P180) provide a striking contrast that imparts a profound sense of elegance and style, and the Antec logo is stamped subtly into this aluminum at the bottom of the front bezel. This is one case that makes a bold styling impression wherever it’s likely to be used, akin to dressing your system in a tuxedo.

Specification
Comments
Model SOLO The product names in Antec’s Lifestyle Series use musical terms, such as Minuet, Fusion, Sonata, and Overture. SOLO fits with that naming scheme.
Case Type ATX Mid Tower Most enthusiast cases use the ATX form factor, because most of the enthusiast motherboards that anyone would be interested in are also ATX.
Exterior Dimensions
(H x W x D)
17.5” x 8.1” x 18.5” This case is on the compact side, just large enough to accommodate an ATX board, though with enough room internally to accommodate longer video cards.
Cooling Provisions 1x120mm Tri-Cool (rear); 2x92mm (not included) The twin 92mm fans in the front of the case are a break from the industry standard, but the combined effect of two 92mm fans is greater than a single 120mm.
Drive Bays 8 Total
3x 5.25” External
1x 3.5” External
4x 3.5” Internal
The 3.5” external bay is actually built onto a 5.25” sled, which means that it can be exchanged for a fourth 5.25” drive.
Material SECC Steel This case appears to use 0.8mm-thick steel for its side panels, which adds ruggedness and noise reduction properties. The front door of the case is plastic, with an aluminum layer bonded adhesively.
Expansion Slots 7 Not much to say about this – it’s an ATX case, and this is a requirement of the specification.
Power Supply Not Included This affords the system builder a bit of extra flexibility in selecting the best power supply for the hardware and budget constraints.
Weight 11.5kg without power supply This is one hefty case, with its thick steel and additional damping layers adding to the weight even without a power supply, drives, and heavy cooling solutions installed. This case doesn’t travel light.
Motherboard Support ATX, Micro ATX This case is just large enough to accommodate an ATX motherboard comfortably while remaining compact.