With cars the reason you see such a wide variety of brands, models, colors, and options is because everyone has their own idea of perfect, the same goes for PC cases. Today we are going to take a look at a new case from Antec. The Antec Twelve hundred is a redesigned and larger version of Antec’s popular 900. Dressed in almost all black with an amazing amount of fans and mess they hope for it to be a success with the enthusiast crowd. Considering how many of their 900 case that you see at Lan’s (PDX lan even did a case modding contest just for 900’s) they already have their foot in the door with the Twelve Hundred. We will take a look at the case to see how easy it is to work with, how well it keeps your components cool, and take a closer look at its aesthetics and features.
Review Sample Provided by: Antec
Review by: Garfi3ld
Pictures by: Garfi3ld
12 Drive Bays
Perforated front bezel for maximum air intake
Washable air filters reduce dust build up in your system
Advanced Cooling System: • 1 top special 200 x 30 mm blue LED exhaust fan with 3-speed switch control (LEDs can be switched off as well) • 2 rear 120 x 25 mm special blue LED exhaust fans with 3-speed switch control • 3 front 120 x 25 mm special blue LED intake fans with front speed control • 1 side 120 x 25 mm fan to cool graphic cards (optional) • 1 middle 120mm fan to cool CPU or graphic cards (optional) • Water cooling platform for reservoir or pump
7 expansion slots
Top mounted I/O ports for easy access • Power and reset button with blue LED • 2 x USB 2.0 • 1 x eSATA • HD Audio In and Out
Convenient top accessory tray for a personal media player
Motherboard: Mini ITX, Micro ATX, or Standard ATX
Dimensions: • 22.9" (H) x 8.4" (W) x 20.2" (D) • 58.2 (H) x 21.3 (W) x 51.3 (D) cm
Weight: • Net: 31.9lbs / 14.5kg • Gross: 38.6lbs / 17.5kg
The Twelve Hundred arrives in typical case fashion. A large cardboard box, because of the size of the Twelve Hundred this box was HUGE! With it being about 40 pounds it wasn’t bunch fun too move around the house. I’m sure the days that I receive packages like this one are just plain bad days for my FedEx or UPS driver. With that being said, the black box looks good, the side shows off the large fan on top of the case. You will also find a feature list and full pictures of the case on other sides of the case. A overall simple design.
Inside you find the case packed away nicely with foam around it on the top and bottom. To keep you from loosing anything important, they have taped everything to the inside of the case.
Our Test RigAbit IN9 32X-MAX 680i Intel Q6600 Quad core CPU B3 stepping Thermaltake DuOrb CPU heatsink 4 gigs of A-Data G Series Ram EVGA 7800GT Video Card Antec Twelve Hundred Case Antec Quadro 850 Watt Power Supply Lite-On DVD Burner 320 Gig Seagate hard drive Running Vista Ultimate and XP
After pulling the Twelve Hundred out of the box and pulling all of the extra parts out from the inside we gave it the one over so to speak. It’s hard to miss the amount of fans even from the start. The 200mm fan on top gets your attention right away. I love how they used all black fans but still include the LED lighting, most LED fans are clear. Near the large fan they have included a tray on top for you to sit random items. Near the tray on the top front you will find (starting from the left) the reset button, two USB 2 plugs, an eSATA plug, both a headphone and microphone plug, and a power button. The first thing I notice about the control panel is the lack o any labels or color coding. With USB plugs and eSATA plugs it won’t be an issue, even with the reset and power buttons you can figure it out quickly. But the lack of any label or color code on the microphone and headphone plugs is unnecessary. Something so easy to fix can cause a lot of trouble in the future.
Moving onto the sides I take a closer look at the side panel and window. They stuck with a design similar to the 900. I love the mix of a grill and the window. Normally having a side window means you don’t have the same airflow. They also included a clip to install another fan if you find it necessary. The front of the case in made almost fully of mesh and does not include a door. Some might remember how much I dislike pc case doors from my last case review. The top three panels are designed to be removable to add disk drives and other 5.25 inch device. The rest of the mesh consists of three hard drive trays. Antec included a 120mm LED fan in each one of these trays. The best part is that each also has a small dial in the bottom right corner that controls the speed of the included fans. You can already tell they mean business with the inclusion of these fan controllers.
With nothing of importance on the 2nd side that leaves us jut to talk about the back. You will notice another two 120mm black LED fans right away. But what really got my attention was the small switch panel in the top left corner. After a closer examination it turns out to be a fan controller for the two fans on the back, and the 200mm on top. Each fan’s speed can be controlled in three speeds. So that’s three out of the four switches, what does the last one do? It turns out you can turn the blue LED lighting on the 200m fan on and off with this switch. A great addition considering the large fan puts out a lot of light. Moving on down the back of the Twelve Hundred you have a standard I/O panel. Next you will find a total of 7 PCI slots. Next to them they have included two holes with rubber grommets for those people who want to run water cooling in this case. Lastly you will find that hey have included the spot for the power supply all the way at the bottom of the case. I should note one thing that id impress me was that the back of the case was also painted black. Coming from someone who spent a lot of time breaking down a brand new case to paint the inside and back of the case black it is nice to see that I wont have too do that with this case. It may be a small detail but it’s the details that make it or break it in today’s tuff market.
The outside of the case is important, but the inside is where everything goes down. The first thing I notice is that the entire inside of the case is painted to match the rest of the case. As I said before, it’s great to see this level of detail in a mass produced case. Taking a look at the bottom where the power supply you will noticed they included rubber bushings to keep the power supply supported and to leave breathing room. Moving up the back of the case you will noticed that all of the PCI slot covers are held in with screws, considering how most enthusiast cases run almost fully screwless it is disappointing to see that Antec didn’t do the same with the Twelve Hundred. The two 120mm fans on the back look very good in all black, but it would add a touch of detail if they had wrapped the power cables for the fan to keep the black theme. I ended up removing the lowest fan and rotating it to help hide the fan cable. Speaking of routing wires, Antec did a great job including five holes in the motherboard tray. But even with those holes the wires for the fan control panel on the back should have been routed a little bit cleaner.
Taking a look at the backside of the motherboard tray you will see small hooks to go along with reusable wire ties to keep wires routed clean on the back side. This was a great addition, but it did lead to some problems with closing the side door. There should be a small amount more of room, because of this some power supply’s with thicker cables may cause you problems. With that being said, the room they did give you is better than most of the cases on the market today. Lastly the hard drive cases that we talked about before are a great addition to this case. They could benefit from a screwless design also. Antec did use thumbscrews on each of them. But even with them you have to remove 24 thumbscrews to clean the three filters on the front of the hard drive enclosures. You will also notice that one of the three hard drive enclosures has a bracket on the back to mount a 120mm fan. You cant use this bracket when you have hard drives in the cage, but it can benefit you if you position it to blow around your video card or CPU. Overall the inside of the Twelve Hundred is amazing, but there is room for improvement. Specifically with the addition of a screwless design and a few small improvements with the fan cables.
After taking a close look at the Twelve Hundred I already had a good idea what to expect with the install. I was also very exited to get it all together and to check out the blue lighting. I started by installing the DVD drive. In order too do that I had to remove a screw on each side to release the front panel mesh, after that the DVD drive slid right in. Next we pulled the middle hard drive cage out by removing the 8 thumbscrews (grrr) and mounted the hard drive with the supplied long screws.
Now that we have the hard dive and DVD drive installed its time to get into the fun stuff. Jumping into the motherboard install we position and install the standoffs into the proper places. The install of the motherboard goes without any hiccups, considering the amount of room inside this large case it’s not a surprise. Without any power our computer wont ever light up and apparently Antec knew that so they provided a 850 watt power supply to install into this case. We aren’t going to talk about it much because we will be doing a review on it very soon. The Antec Quadro was a perfect match for the Twelve Hundred, with the black paint and yellow stripes.
With the power supply installed we started routing the cables into the provided wire management holes. We were able to keep the wiring clean out of the way due to the convenient placement of the holes. The tabs and reusable zip ties made it easier to route the cables on the back. As I talked about before I did find it a little hard to put the door back on with the cables routed behind the motherboard tray, although with a little bit of adjusting I was able to fix it. After getting all of the wiring hooked up and the side panels back on we finally get to turn it on and get a closer look at the lighting.
800mm’s worth of fans not counting the power supply with the possibility of another 240mm, there is no doubt that the Twelve Hundred can move air. You will never have to worry about any of your nine hard drives ever getting too hot with a 120mm fan blowing right over them. So if heat isn’t going to be an issue, with all of those fans is going to make a bunch of noise right? Well kindof, when all of the fans are turned up the noise level goes up quite a bit. All of the fans are large and move a lot of air even at low rpm’s that is where the fan speed controls come in handy. Even with all of the fans on low or medium settings they move more air than you should ever need, but without the noise of everything running on high.
The Antec 900 was an amazing case, they only improved on it when they designed the Twelve Hundred. I don’t think you could ask for a better case for air cooling, atleast short of an open air case (and they are coming out with that very soon). The all black design looks amazing, and its great to see they didn’t miss any part of the case when they were painting. The black with blue LED fans continue that theme and do a good job of lighting up the case. I would recommend picking up a cold cathode to finish up the look if you really want to show it off (and you will want to show it off). The fan controllers are a great addition and make the case feel like a value. I did run into a problem with one of the thumbscrews that secure the side door. It seems that it was cross threaded from the factory. I was able to fix it by replacing the thumbscrew with another, but it still screws in a little tight. Speaking of thumbscrews, the case could benefit greatly from the addition of a screwless setup. Having to remove 8 thumbscrews to pull out one hard drive cage makes it a chore to clean out the filters. The lack of any coloring or labeling for the front control panel was also a big disappointment from an otherwise amazing case. Even those problems are small compared to the good looks and great performance, and cool features of the Twelve Hundred. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a full sized gaming case that doesn’t sacrifice cooling at any cost!