902 Midi Tower Case & 750W PSU
Founded in 1986, Antec is recognized as a pioneer in the high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself markets, and has maintained its position as a worldwide market leader and international provider of quiet, efficient and innovative products. They recently sent us their 902 Gaming case and a 750W power supply to test.
We’ll start with the case and then move to the PSU.
Clicking on any picture in this review opens
up a larger, more detailed image and in some cases may be the only way to spot
fine details such as the front mounted fan speed controllers.
Shipping in a sturdy box the 902 weighs in at
13.5 kg with only 2kg being accounted for by packaging material. Speaking of
which, we were pleased to note the soft flexible foam and not expanded
polystyrene surrounding the case. This offers better protection, last longer
(for case re-use later) and does not break off in small particles when taking
the case out.
this is a gaming case the clear window is a must for modders just as a side
mounted fan is essential for overclockers. The two side panels are held on with
thumbscrews and not tool is needed to add or remove them.
inside the power connectors for the 4 fitted fans are apparent and we were able
to daisy chain them all to run of just one power connector while still tucking
the cable away unobtrusively. This saves the need to plug them into the
motherboard and for this reason there are separate fan speed controls for each
front shows the vast grill and the 9 bays running the full height of the case.
The air intake potential is huge and should pose no bottlenecks or contribute to
annoying acoustic related noises. You can just make out the two small dials that
control the speed of the front mounted fans.
back shows the bottom mounted PSU position and the default shield (remember to
use the one that comes with your motherboard if you can) The two holes are for
liquid cooling and allow a radiator to be positioned externally at the back of
the machine. The expansion slot covers are of the re-usable type in case later
re-arrangement of cards is required. There are no feet unlike our Chieftec and
Coolermaster cases but the width is such that there were never any stability
issues, especially with the heavy PSU at the bottom.
top view shows the feature that excites overclockers the most – we don’t
mean the space to hold an i-pod or the useful front connectors but rather the
large 20cm fan which only blows air out (at quite a rapid flow rate too). The
two USB connectors, external SATA connector and headphone/microphone sockets are
just in the right position to be useful but sadly are not labeled or color
coded. We can envisage that at some point someone unfamiliar with building PCs
will try to stick a USB connector into the E-SATA connector and/or vice versa so
even just including some labels on a sticky sheet would have been useful.
case comes with ample accessories including a 3.5” converter for the front
bays (for hard drives and SSDs) and plenty of screws. The internal fan mount is
detachable and given the positioning of the two front fans may never be needed
except to blow air over an SLI/CrossFire setup from close range. Cables of ample
length are provided for the front connectors and are easily tucked away when
assembled (in our experience PC builders tend to be much more tidy when the case
has a window – even if they are not planning on a fancy light show).
width of the case was enough to allow us to use any type of Cooler available for
both Intel and AMD platforms and with everything in place if was obvious that
the placement of the side, rear and top fans was perfect in terms of the
components whose cooling needs they were addressing.
The comparison with our other cases shows a significant improvement in performance even at low fan speeds, no doubt mainly to the huge top fan and the side intake. We suspect the GPU temperatures would be even better if we fitted a side fan and the optional internal fan as the air from these would flow over the GPU slot.
Antec TruePower New 750W PSU (available in several different glowing colors
during operation) was also sturdily packaged but in a more traditional
“egg-carton” type of cardboard. This is rated for SLI/CF use (we had no
trouble with quad SLI although Antec’s PSU selector tool does recommend a
different, more powerful, model).
The cables take up more room
than the PSU unit itself and consist of two varieties. The essential ones are
permanently attached and there are several other cables that fit onto the
modular connectors (more on that later). This allows clutter to be minimised in
a simple system but still gives plenty of options in a fully loaded PC with
multiple HDDs/SSDs, dual GPUs and other add-in cards.
Unlike some other power supplies the Antec TruePower has an exhaust grill that takes up the full rear of the PSU thereby ensuring that every component gets a breeze of cool air without straining to push through a smaller opening.
The sticker shows the important
details of power by voltage and rail and it is crucial in our opinion to
understand the way the power is distributed (treating the 750W as a lump sum
could lead to problems if things are not carefully balanced in a heavy duty
system. We recommend downloading and reading the detailed manual on Antec’s
web site (we can’t post a direct link as its dynamic).
A close up view of the modular
connectors shows the intended uses for the different rails. It’s a good idea
to stick to these intended uses unless some formal training as an electrician
has been undertaken. The red connectors provide power for an SLI setup or very
demanding GPU and the HDD ones have extra SATA connectors for systems with many
drives. Cables are provided for all of these uses.
Finally, the PWM fan can be seen here. This fan and all the others in the 902 case are made by Antec themselves and this fan is specially designed to run at full efficiency at low speeds. Simply reducing the voltage would not work beyond a certain level so PWM fans overcome this problem.
The Antec TruePower New 750W had no trouble handling any of our tests with a confident blue glow and barely a whisper. The fan was more noticeable with the others in the case turned off but from a normal seated position could not be heard at all even on the highest setting above the noise of CPU and Graphics Card. Although not designed for quad SLI, we were able to run two Nvidia 295s in SLI mode (4 GPUs in total) by carefully ensuring each pair was drawing power from a different rail and still have plenty left for the Core i7 processor and other components.
The Antec 902 Midi Tower Case and TruePower New 750W PSU, when combined, reach new heights of performance in thermal dissipation in a PC case. Our last test rig used a seasoned Chieftec Dragon case but even with the full complement of fans became worryingly hot during load testing. The inclusion of a side and especially large top fan with ample front air intake (full length grill) means a huge amount of air is being continually shifted to keep the case temperature as close to ambient as we have come in a non-aluminum case. The importance of this for overclocking the CPU and GPU cannot be understated. A quick Wiki search on thermodynamics shows that the ability of heatsink/fans to cool down hot components like a CPU is directly proportional to the difference between it and the case temperature. What this means is that if you reduce your case temperature by 5 degrees then your CPU temperature falls by a similar amount. If this allows you to lower your CPU temperature then you can either stick with that to extend the component life or overclock it further to take advantage of the additional threshold made available by an efficient case.
With the exception of lack of labeling on the front connectors on the case, we can find no negative issues with either product and we will be using Antec’s case and PSU as the basis for our next test rig and have no hesitation in awarding both products our Gold Award.
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