Antec improves its flagship gamer's midtower but takes few risks
One change we appreciate: The Nine Hundred Two has a classy black-painted interior.
To quote Yogi Berra, “It’s like déjà vu all over again!” The Antec Nine Hundred Two is a refresh of Antec’s well-loved and much-imitated Nine Hundred midtower gaming chassis. And although the Nine Hundred Two does boast several refinements over its predecessor, it’s not exactly revolutionary.
First we’ll talk about what the Nine Hundred Two has in common with its predecessor. Both cases are matte black steel with plastic side windows, mesh-style front bezels, and are nearly the same size: At 19.4 x 8.6 x 18.6 inches, the Nine Hundred Two is barely a half-inch wider than the Nine Hundred and a fifth of an inch deeper.
Like the Nine Hundred, the Nine Hundred Two comes with four fans: a 20cm low-rpm Big Boy on top, and three 12cm blue LED fans—one in the rear and one on the front of each three-slot hard drive bay. Here we see some improvements on the Nine Hundred: All the fans now include blue LEDs (and the front ones have intake filters). Fan speed controllers are now mounted directly into the case, with the two front fans controlled by variable speed knobs in the front bezels and the top and rear fans controlled by switches on the case’s back plate. On the Nine Hundred, the fan controllers were ugly white and dangled loose inside the case.
The Antec Nine Hundred Two is aptly named; it's only slightly better than the fan favorite Nine Hundred.
The interior of the case is painted matte black, unlike the unfinished steel of the Nine Hundred, and the motherboard tray now features a few cable-routing cutouts and ties on the rear. Gone is the front-panel FireWire port, replaced with eSATA, which we find much more useful.
System installation is virtually identical to the Nine Hundred. As in the Nine Hundred, large videocards like the Nvidia GTX 280 stick out into the hard drive bays by about half an inch, blocking one 3.5-inch slot (out of six) per videocard. There’s simply no room.
Where the Nine Hundred Two differs from its predecessor in terms of installation, it veers towards usability. Cutouts and tie-downs on the motherboard tray, both new in the Nine Hundred Two, make cable routing easier. Drive installation, though, could be better—it’s 2009; can’t we have screwless drive bays yet? Especially egregious is hard drive installation, which requires unscrewing the eight thumbscrews that hold the hard drive case, using four long screws to install the hard drive into a vibration-damping bay, and reinstalling. That’s the opposite of screwless.
Insofar as we liked the Nine Hundred, the Nine Hundred Two is a conservative success—it mostly replicates the Nine Hundred, with a few modest improvements. But the Nine Hundred is a two-and-a-half-year-old design, and we were hoping for a little more oomph.
Antec Nine Hundred Two
Improves on the Nine Hundred's winning formula with a few subtle refinements.
A bit too subtle. And who do we have to kill to get some screwless drive bays?