ou will not find a more powerful air-cooled case on the market than Antec’s Twelve Hundred—not unless you strap a box fan to the side of your chassis. That’s what it would take to challenge the cooling prowess of this full-tower enclosure, which features one 20cm fan on top and five 12cm fans placed throughout the interior. These six blue LED fans are attached to individual switches that allow you to tweak the strength (and sound) of each fan to suit your needs.
While the case’s cooling is top-notch, not all of the Twelve Hundred’s features are so thoughtfully designed. The fans’ cables could stand to be longer to better utilize the case’s numerous holes and attachments for cable management. And while the Twelve Hundred comes with an additional switch to turn the 20cm fan’s light on and off, it would be nice if we could control all the lights at once. And the installation procedure for hard drives is overly complicated. You have to remove a grand total of 16 screws to insert a single drive—what ever happened to no-fuss rails?
The case has plenty of room on the inside—vertically. Larger graphics cards, such as Nvidia’s 8800 GTX, fit inside the chassis but leave little room for stringing cables along the card’s side. We would have preferred a wider case to the unusable space above the motherboard. The chassis supports three 5.25-inch devices and nine 3.5-inch drives, but we’d gladly trade two drive bays for more usable space.
We liked the Antec Nine Hundred, but we expected the Twelve Hundred to improve on its predecessor’s shortcomings—such as the narrow body and overly complex drive installation. Antec has done nothing to fix these issues. We could excuse these things in the Nine Hundred because its exceptional cooling-based design impressed us greatly. We’re now at the design’s second iteration, and the Twelve Hundred offers little above and beyond what we’ve already seen. This isn’t an improvement; it’s a resize.
Antec Twelve Hundred
More cooling than a wind tunnel, elegant design, USB and eSATA front-panel connectors.
A tight horizontal fit, drive installations take forever, no screwless mounting.