A military-inspired chassis from Antec looks to conquer the budget market
The Antec GX700 straddles the fine line between budget and mid-range for an ATX case. It faces stiff competition from the likes of Xigmatek’s excellent Midgard II, as both cases now retail for the same price.
While the majority of its exterior is dominated by black steel, the front and roof areas feature military styling. The army green metal on the drive covers and front fan cover also makes an appearance on the roof-mounted front panel and fan control, which is hidden under a yellow and black flip open cover. Even the big red power button resembles something straight from Air Force One.
While the majority of its exterior is dominated by black steel, the front and roof areas feature military styling
With few exceptions, build quality is very good and the case is sturdy and well machined. Rubber case feet would have been better than the plastic ones, but this is a minor irritation. Antec supplies two 140mm roof exhaust fans and a single 120mn rear exhaust fan with the GX700. The lack of an intake fan may be worrying, but Antec found success with an exhaust only setup – its One case last year, too.
No dust filter is provided for the extruded roof section, which could be problematic when your system is off. However, easily removable filters are provided for both the PSU and dual 120mm front fan mounts. An extra 120mm side mount is also provided, as are two holes on the rear of the case for external water coolers.
Two USB 2 and two USB 3 ports make up the front panel, so there’s a healthy amount of connectivity. To the right of this is the dual speed fan controller. This has a single channel and can control up to four fans, switching them between low speed, high speed and off entirely. It’s nice to see a controller with an off state, as it would allow you to keep noise to an absolute minimum during idle times and less demanding tasks.
The side panels are easy to remove thanks to thumbscrews, and while the front panel also can be pulled off, optical drives and front fans can be installed without doing so. Once inside the chassis, you’ll find a standard ATX layout complete with a large cutout for installing CPU cooler back plates, but there’s no vibration dampening rubber or foam in the PSU area.
If you’re a fan of the design, it’s unlikely to let you down and is good value too
Water-coolers tend to stay away from the budget case market as, typically, support for liquid cooling is poor. The Antec GX700 will only allow you to mount a half-height 240mm radiator with fans in its roof, for example. However, as this is enough for 240mm all-in-one CPU coolers, it should still be adequate for most setups that this case is likely to house.
Optical drives simply slide in from the front of the case and are secured using a pair of plastic turn-to-lock clips. Users can also use screws if they wish, but the clips provide a tight fit. Five plastic trays, which slide in and out of place tool free, can each house 3.5” and 2.5” drives inside the case. Larger drives are held in place with pins, but smaller drives and SSDs will require screws. You can’t remove the drive cage itself, but you’ll still have 293mm of room for your graphics card.
Space behind the motherboard tray is a little low, but otherwise cable routing options are still very good. The routing holes don’t have rubber grommets, but are sensibly placed and large enough to take a host of power cables through them without much fuss.
Antec supplies two 140mm roof exhaust fans and a single 120mn rear exhaust fan with the GX700
However, with the three fans on high speed, CPU temperatures were still worrying high and only on par with cases that feature just a single exhaust fan. GPU temperatures were also on the warmer side, and both temperatures the fans to low speed. I also performed a test with the fans completely off, and unsurprisingly the system nearly cooked itself. Naturally having the fans off is not at all recommended for overclocked systems or during demanding tasks.
Sensing that something was wrong, I disabled the front roof exhaust fan, and the CPU actually became significantly cooler. The problem was that this exhaust fan was drawing cool air away from the CPU cooler before it could be blown across it. This is even more of a problem when you realize that due to the absence of other 140mm fan mounts, the disabled fan can’t be utilized elsewhere I the chassis.
Despite this design flaw, there’s a lot to like with the GX700. If you’re a fan of the design, it’s unlikely to let you down and is good value too.
However, Xigmatek’s Midgard II would perhaps make for a better purchase, as it has a few extra features and more balanced cooling as well.
§ Ratings: 8/10
§ Manufacturer: Antec
§ Website: www.antec.co,
§ Required spec: ATX, micro-ATX or mini-ITX system