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First Look: Antec Dark Fleet PC Case

First Look: Antec Dark Fleet PC Case

Manufacturer: Antec

Antec has a solid reputation when it comes to cases, and its upcoming Dark Fleet is no exception, featuring chunky, industrial styling and plenty of features.

We're assured by Antec that the DF-85 is a completely new build, though the main chassis looks distinctly similar to its Twelve Hundred PC chassis. In exchange for the massive "big boy" roof fan of the Twelve Hundred, the Dark Fleet has two 140mm "TwoCool" fans in addition to the pair of 120mm's in the back. This makes it somewhat more streamlined with a flatter roof, and also means you can easily bolt a pair of 2x120/140mm radiators to the outsides.

The front fascia has had a complete make-over and in place of the strong bars with mesh centre are now three segmented grills with fans that directly cool the drives behind. In what could a loose homage to Corsair's Obsidian, Lian Li PC-9 or Zalman's GS1000, each "Fleet-Release" door can be locked for security or opened to reveal the fan behind (for cleaning the integrated filter) and drive install/removal from the front. Like previous Antec cases such as the Nine Hundred Two, the three LED fans each have a control knob for the airflow and noise.

First Look: Antec Dark Fleet PC Case First Look: Antec Dark Fleet PC Case
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Of the two Dark Fleet models Antec is planning on selling, the more expensive will have the four hot "Fleet-Swap" SATA inferface on the inside for hard drives and SSDs that can be moved up or down according to your build preference.

You'll notice even the optical drives have little 'doors' - this is purely for aesthetics to 'hide' the optical drive behind (to some degree) and keep a consistent look with the bay designs below. At the very top of the case there are four USB ports, at least one of which will be USB 3 compatible, plus the usual 3.5mm audio jacks and power/reset buttons too. The notable addition is the 2.5in hot-swap SSD caddy with window in the roof. It feels a little “we must have one too” from Antec and if we're honest, not that well integrated as it looks like a big lump of clear plastic just stuck to the top. There's no security option either, so say goodbye to that £400 boot drive at your next LAN.

First Look: Antec Dark Fleet PC Case First Look: Antec Dark Fleet PC Case
Click to enlarge

Back inside and there's a large cut-out behind the CPU socket to get to the rear brackets large heatsinks are fond of using without needing to remove the motherboard, and Antec also includes support for its CPX power supplies that use a significantly larger 120mm fan. You'll notice the bracket at the bottom can be adjusted up and down, and there's an adapter included so that standard sized power supplies can be used as well. This height difference also makes the case compatible with extended ATX boards (extended down, not wider) such as the upcoming Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD7 motherboard and future motherboards with seven or more PCI-Express slots.