Packed with two- and three-speed fans; front SATA and USB 3.0; roomy; cable management.
No EATX support; no room for a triple radiator; narrow; top paint looks cheap.
We dinged September’s Antec Sonata Proto for being feature-poor. Can’t say the same of the flagship of Antec’s Dark Fleet line, the DF-85. This full-tower chassis looks great, is packed with fans, and includes luxury extras that wouldn’t be out of place in a case twice the price.
The DF-85 offers style and plenty of cooling, and those optical-drive doors are removable.
The DF-85 stands 23.5 inches high by 20 inches deep by 8.4 inches wide, and is constructed of matte-black painted steel. The entire front is taken up by hinged door compartments: three removable optical-drive doors and three mesh-covered front doors with 12cm three-speed LED fans—removable, washable dust filters included. The DF-85 also has two 14cm top exhaust fans and two 12cm rear LED exhaust fans. All four exhaust fans are two-speed and controlled by switches at the case’s rear. The case’s front-panel connectors include a hot-swap 2.5-inch drive bay (similar to the CM 690 II Advanced), three USB 2.0 ports, and one USB 3.0 port, fed by a pass-through to the rear panel, à la last month’s HAF X.
Below the three ODD bays are nine 3.5-inch bays—technically toolless, though retaining screws are recommended. The case will accommodate 12.5-inch GPUs if the corresponding hard drive bays are empty. The DF-85 includes two hot-swap SATA backplanes that support two drives each, as well as a mount at the bottom for a permanent 2.5-inch drive.
The mobo tray has plenty of cable-management tie-downs, half a dozen cable ties, and cutouts and a CPU backplane cutout—though none are grommeted.
The DF-85 ain’t perfect. Its lack of EATX support is surprising given how roomy it is inside, and the paint on the top and right panels is textured in a way that looks shoddy and doesn’t match the smooth finish of the interior or rear panels. And like other Antec cases, the DF-85 is a little narrow, so CPU coolers taller than six and a half inches might not fit.
Aside from those quibbles, it’s nice to see Antec go all-out and create a stylish, feature-packed case that doesn’t break the bank. The Dark Fleet DF-85 shows that Antec is on its game; it’s a suitable flagship for the line.