Antec/Veris Fusion HTPC Enclosure
I would like to thank Antec for supplying the review sample.
Antec's website has a very refreshing "About Us" page, with the following text:
While we have not mentioned the new brand name "Veris" within this review, this is what Antec will be calling their HTPC range of cases, as well as different accessories like the A/V rack cooler and the HDD enclosure they displayed at CeBIT 2007 this year. The addition of the new name should give buyers a better overview as to what these items are geared toward. We refer to the new case as the "Antec Fusion", but it may be called Veris Fusion in the near future. For further information on Antec's newest products, take a look at our CeBIT coverage here. We have decided to keep it simple for this review and have not used the Veris brand name within the review, but will do so as soon as the packaging or item itself reflects the name change.
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<td scope="row"> Black/Silver</td>
<th scope="row">11 Drive Bays </th>
<td scope="row"> 1 x 5.25"<br />
2 x 3.5"</td>
<td scope="row">Aluminum front & SECC Steel </td>
<td valign="top" scope="row">17.4lbs/7.8kg (net)<br />
<th valign="top" scope="row">Form Factor </th>
<td valign="top" scope="row">Micro ATX (9.6"x9.6")</td>
<th valign="top" scope="row">Expansion Slots </th>
<td valign="top" scope="row">4 standard slots </td>
<th valign="top" scope="row">Case Fans </th>
<td valign="top" scope="row">2 sidemounted 120 mm TriCool™ 3-speed fans</td>
<th valign="top" scope="row">Dimensions</th>
<td valign="top" scope="row">5.5"(H) x 17.5"(W) x 16.3"(L)<br />
14(H) x 44.5(W) x 41.4(L) cm</td>
<th valign="top" scope="row">Power Supply </th>
<td valign="top" scope="row"> High-efficiency 430 Watt<br />
ATX12V v2.0 power supply<br />
Universal input<br />
Active PFC and high efficiency design</td>
<th valign="top" scope="row">Switches</th>
<td valign="top" scope="row">Power, Reset</td>
<th valign="top" scope="row">Front Access </th>
<td valign="top" scope="row">USB, Audio, FireWire </td>
Packaging & Contents
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The packaging of the Antec Fusion is full colored and features a big picture of the case itself on the front. The back lists all the features in multiple languages and, while an easy read, is nothing you would be able to decipher from more than a meter away. Once opened up, a very well packaged and secured case can be seen. Antec has placed the bag of accessories to the case right on top instead of inside the case itself.
The case is shipped inside a clear plastic bag and secured with foam molds. Foam may be more expensive when compared to Styrofoam, but has the advantage of surviving a drop without breaking or denting permanently. Inside the plastic bag are two covers for fans, a bag with screws and standoffs, a manual and a CD with the display software. The booklet contains detailed installation instructions in multiple languages - something sorely missed from many other case manufacturers.
A Closer Look
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The front of the Antec Fusion is made of a single, five millimeter thick aluminum piece. It looks great on the case and should fit perfectly on an A/V Rack. The back of the case does not feature anything out of the ordinary. As you can see a power supply is included with the Antec Fusion. The bottom of the case does have some unique features. Antec decided to use two solid and two rubber feet for the case. This gives the case a solid stance and does absorb some vibration. There are four holes to secure hard drives from the outside of the case. It would have been better if Antec already placed some sort of mountings inside the case, instead of forcing the user to secure hard drives on the bottom of a potentially full case during installation.
One one side of the case there is only an air grill, while the other side features two large 12 cm fans.
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The front can be divided into three parts. All the way on the left you will find the LCD and the single optical drive cover. The usual front I/O connectors, consisting of two USB 2.0, one FireWire and headphone/microphone jacks can be found in the center. All the way to the right you will find a large volume knob, a small reset button and a power button. All of these are made from aluminum, to keep the high quality look and feel of the case.
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You have to remove a single thumb screw to take off the top cover of the Fusion. As you can see there are three general compartments - one for the mainboard, one containing the hard drives and a third which houses the power supply and optical drive. The PCI slots for the mainboard have air vents while there is another grill above the mainboard as well. The air vents inside the PCI covers are rather large, as compared to the fine variants used in the Thermaltake Lanbox we reviewed here. The power supply is placed upside down inside the case, but you may choose to turn it around if you wish. Antec has constructed the case so that you may use any normal ATX power supply within the enclosure.
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The two afore mentioned fans can be found in the mainboard compartment These two fans blow air out of the case and use a 12V Molex connector. The interesting part here is the fact that each of the fan comes with a switch to vary the speed at which it turns at. Antec has also placed a plastic sliding door between the power supply and mainboard compartments, which should aid in cable management. The screw to secure the door is easily accessible as long as the case is empty. You will have problems reaching the screw as soon as a mainboard and graphic card are installed.
The optical drive can can be removed to allow for easy installation. Even though it may look like two drives can be installed, this is not the case. The top space is blocked by the LCD. Antec will also be offering a budget case, based on the same internal design of the Fusion, but without the display. These have the NSK model name and will also feature two optical drive bays. The hard drive mount can be taken out of the case by removing four normal screws. There are rubber mountings to absorb any vibrations the hard drive may produce.
The Power Supply
The power supply inside the case is the Antec SU-430. That model cannot be found on their website. It utilizes a single 8 cm fan, which is fairly quiet.
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<th colspan="10"><div align="center">Antec SU-430 430W </div></th>
</tr><tr><th>AC Input</th><td colspan="9"><div align="center">115V/230V 10A/6A 60/50Hz</div></td></tr><tr><th>DC Voltage</th><td align="center">+3.3V</td><td align="center">+5V</td><td align="center">+12V1</td>
<td align="center">+5VSB</td></tr><tr><th rowspan="2">Max. Output</th>
<td colspan="2" align="center">130 W</td>
<td colspan="2" align="center">372 W </td>
As you can see, it is a dual rail power supply, with 16A on each rail. That is just 2A short of the maximum allowed by specification for each 12V rail. It should be able to power a fairly capable system, hands down.
The power supply has the following connectors:
<table class="resulttable" border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="5"><tr><th rowspan="2">Connectors</th><th align="center">Main Power</th><th align="center">5.25"</th><th align="center">Floppy</th><th align="center">4 Pin CPU</th><th align="center">SerialATA</th><th align="center">PCI-E Aux Power</th></tr><tr><td align="center">ATX 20+4 Pin</td>
As you can see the cable lengths are nothing out of the ordinary. Antec has decided not to ship the power supply with anything shorter than you would find in any retail product. The interesting aspect would be, that there are way to many connectors, considering the limited expandability of the case.
Installing the mainboard is quite straight forward. Antec has already placed some spacers for a mATX board at the specific locations, but three of them needed to be added by hand. The mainboard connectors for the front I/O and the power, reset and LEDs are quite straight forward and just like any other found in most cases these days.
Antec has supplied plenty of screws to secure the optical drive. These come in a separate bag to avoid any confusion between the larger variants used for the mainboard and hard drive. Installing the optical drive is quite easy as well. There are two possible positions, but one was so far off, that it could be eliminated by simply looking at the overall construction and fit of the drive cage.
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The hard drive screws are far from normal. These are required as Antec is using rubber spacers to absorb vibrations of any installed hard drives. The installation of the hard drives may seem simple at first, but the bottom screws to secure the drive in place at a vertical position need to be screwed in at the bottom of the case. This means that you will either install the hard drives first and flip over an empty case or, as it was the case here, carefully stand up the already filled case to gain access to the screw holes on the bottom of the case. Antec should have supplied fixed metal prongs with a rubber spacer on the bottom of the case instead, to eliminate such a problem.
The LCD panel is connected to the USB header of the mainboard or routed through the case out back and plugged into a normal USB port. This type of connector can only be found on Soundgraph VFDs. The supplied software and functionality of the display is identical to that of the Soundgraph iMON VFD we reviewed in the past, but simply without the remote control or IR receiver.
Once everything was installed and connected, it becomes apparent how effective the divided compartments become. Even though the mainboard fits perfectly with no room to spare, the compartment itself is empty while the hard drive and power supply compartment hold all the excessive cables. When looked at from an angle, the benefits of a clean interior become apparent. Now imagine the case with the cover on and note the obstruction free air flow of the mainboard compartment. The only downside lies in the hard drive part, as there is no active air flow within that compartment.
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Once turned on, the white ring of light, which denotes that the computer is on, can be seen. The choice of color further adds to the great looks of the case. The LCD turns on as soon as the Antec software is installed. There is not much to be said about the software, as it installs without further user intervention. If you would like to read up on all the functionality of the display, be sure to read or Soundgraph iMON VFD review here. The drive bay button works perfectly fine on a DVD drive with an indented power button, which is harder to reach than the usual kind. This means you should not have any problems with the variant that sticks out a bit as well.
The case looks great once turned on. The only downside of the case are the two fans, which are by no means quiet. When turned up all the way a stack of loose papers can be blown away by the air flow created. While this does keep the mainboard compartment cool, the noise created at such speeds makes the high as well as medium setting unbearable over time. They are only bearable on the lowest setting at which they still push a considerable amount of air, which should suffice for any hardware you would place inside the Antec Fusion.
Value and Conclusion
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<td>The Antec Fusion sells for just under 160€ or just under $170 USD. This is a very good price, considering you get a great looking case, including a VFD and Antec power supply.</td>
<td>The Antec Fusion may not surprise you with its front looks. It does have some similarities to an A/V receiver, which makes it the perfect addition to such a setup in a living room. The case really shines once it is turned on. The VFD, solid build and white power LED are certain eye catchers. The biggest downside are the two included 12 cm fans. While it is commendable that Antec included these, they are quite loud and push immense amounts of air. It would have been wiser to include silent fans, which just simply create an air flow. The inside layout of the Antec Fusion is quite unique and does take a bit of time getting used to, but the result is a very clean motherboard compartment while the HDD area does not receive any active airflow. Speaking of hard drives - the installation is definitely not the easiest, but Antec makes up for that with rubber spacers which should absorb all the vibrations of the drives.<br />
The Antec Fusion is a well priced, complete and beautiful case which will blend much better with your A/V rack than most other cases out there. We can definitely recommend this case, as the fans can be exchanged, the price tag is much smaller than similar offerings from other companies and it comes complete - with 430W power supply and VFD.</td></tr>
Just my two cents, I bought this case a few months ago and the VFD / volume knob died on my unit after about 2 weeks and the aluminum front is not grounded. Not grounding it could be a safety issue but my issue was that whenever I touched the aluminum front I would get a shock (static shock like) and the system would reboot. I ran my own ground wire now and the problem is solved, just an FYI for people using this case and getting random restarts, ground the front panel.
I just noticed, as you mentioned it. I will make a picture asap and add it to the review.
see the cable which comes out the whole in the middle of the front part of the case and goes up straight just under the edge? that is the cable I mean. Do you have that in your case?
too bad this is only mATX ...
I am wanting to buy this case from Newegg along with a HIS Radeon HD 4870 1GB.
My concern is that the graphics card will not fit in the case, or will cause an airflow issue. Has anybody had an experience putting a rather large card in this case? If so, what were you temperatures like?
Just got the case yesterday; anything longer than 9.5 inches wont fit in this case, ie everything worth putting in. Tried to throw in a MSi gtx275 but it fell short but a measly inch (not that it mattered, coz the SATA inputs on the mobo are blocking the bottom too lol). After being pleasantly surprised about the exceptional case design, it's annoying to see it ruined by a non-essential hard-drive support panel.
Gonna try ATI but the 48xx's have the power connectors coming out the back, which means it's going to be a very tight fit in there, should be about a 1/5 inch gap leftover at best.
I'll prolly end up pulling out the metal shears and hacking the useless panel to bits :ohwell:
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