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Maximum PC Staff Jan 10, 2011

Antec LanBoy Air

This new modular, open-air chassis lightens our dark little hearts

The LanBoy Air is mesh’d up.

Despite its fairly standard mid-tower dimensions—8.7 inches wide, 20.4 inches high, and 19.3 inches deep—the LanBoy Air is like no other case on the market. It’s more like a cross between an Ikea end table and a Lego set, if a Lego set needed a screwdriver. Its motherboard tray is not only removable and separate from the back panel, but it can switch places with the PSU bracket, if you decide you want your PSU at the top of the case instead of the bottom. Feel like swapping the location of the two three-speed front fans with the three optical drive trays? Go for it—you can even alternate them if you want. The hard drive mounts are more like hammocks, complete with bungie cords, and can be oriented any way you like, though we’d recommend removing them before you move the machine for any reason. This flexibility enables the use of the longest graphics cards you can find. And the floor of the hard drive well includes mounts for two 2.5-inch drives.

A toolbox beneath the front fans holds the LanBoy Air’s miscellaneous hardware and tucks away when not in use.

The LanBoy Air’s five 12cm fans all direct air inward, creating positive air pressure that exits through the mesh wherever a fan is not located. Default fans include two three-speed front fans, two two-speed side-panel fans in front of the graphics cards, and one two-speed rear fan, though you can add an additional 10 fans at your leisure.

If you prefer your PSU on top, you can swap its position with the motherboard’s.

There’s barely any room above the motherboard tray at all—no room to route the 8-pin ATX power cable, and none to add any fans to the inside top if you’re using a skyscraper-style cooler. Though Antec boasts 10 additional fan mounts, rolling with the full complement of fans is overkill, in our view.

Bungee cords? On my hard drives? It’s safer than it looks. But yikes.

Antec’s all-intake scheme leaves no obvious orientation for the skyscraper-style coolers that are today’s leaders, but—much to our surprise—the LanBoy Air in its default configuration actually performed the best in our highly scientific cooling challenge. The two side-fans blowing directly on the GPU certainly seemed to help, and the all-in positive air-pressure approach actually worked better than more traditional airflow schemes.

We’re not convinced this case won’t turn into a DustBoy Air after six months, but we appreciate the modularity and the novelty that Antec has brought to the table here. With plenty of default fans, no end to the customization, and a great industrial look, Antec’s got another winner here.

Benchmarks

Antec LanBoy Air
CPU Temp @ 100% burn (C)46.5
CPU Temp @ idle (C) 30
GPU Temp (C) 54
System Temp (C) 32

For our case testing, we use an EV GA 680SLI motherboard, stock-clocked Q6700 with a Thermaltake Contac29 cooler, an Nvidia 8800 GTX (with a Radeon 5970 for size testing), and a Corsair AX850 power supply. We use the case’s stock complement of fans on their highest settings.

THE VERDICT

Antec LanBoy Air

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