UK price (as reviewed):£59.40 (inc VAT) US price (as reviewed): Currently unavailable
It's rare to see cases where low noise is a genuine priority and a guiding design principle in the lower end of the market. In most such cases, the sheer cost of the extra materials (foam, rubber, thicker steel etc.) compared to 'normal' cases puts them at or around the £80 price point, as is the situation with Fractal's Define R4 and Nanoxia's Deep Silence duo, or even over £100 when you up the dimensions and material requirements, as we recently saw with Fractal's Define XL R2 and the NZXT H630. We were intrigued and a little excited, therefore, to receive the Cooltek Antiphon, a sub-£60 ATX chassis with silence as its key focus.
As a small German company, Cooltek has very little presence on these shores. Currently, there's only a few UK retailers that stock its products, and the Antiphon is the first of its range that we've come across too (although its all-aluminium cuboid CoolCube range of mini-ITX and micro-ATX cases also looks interesting).
Click to enlarge - The Antiphon's exterior design is the definition of minimalism
First impressions of the Antiphon are that it's heavy for a budget chassis, which is reassuring, although it's definitely lighter than costlier cases from Nanoxia and Fractal. A few years ago, the super sleek, minimalist design the Antiphon boasts would have been jaw-dropping, but by now the existence of numerous similarly styled cases makes it less of a showstopper, although that's not to say it isn't attractive, and three other colours are available.
Impressively for a £60 case, the coating on the front door is constructed from real aluminium, rather than dressed up plastic, and this creates a lovely finish that many more expensive cases fail to match. The Antiphon is also solidly built with no issues of sturdiness, balance or loose panels. The foam lining on the feet will anchor the case to most surfaces, but don't provide as much grip as rubber alternatives.
The front door also has a smooth action thanks to its use of magnets, and the inside of it is fully lined with foam. Behind the door are four clip out plastic grilles; three for the trio of optical drive bays and a large one for the pair of 120mm fan mounts. Each of the grilles is backed by dust filtering material too, but the clips holding them in place require a little bit more pressure to release than we'd like. Both of the fan mounts are filled with Cooltek's CT-120 models, which draw air in from the ventilation along either side of the front panel.
Click to enlarge - The aluminium front door is line with foam and hides the optical bays, fan cover and fan controller at the bottom
Cooltek has even included an integrated fan controller with the Antiphon. While this is always good to see in cheaper cases, its position at the bottom of the case behind the front door is hardly the most accessible location, but users shouldn't need to reach for it too often. It can power up to three fans, running them at high or low speed or switching them off altogether. The plastic slider is a little flimsy, but the actuation points for the three modes are clearly defined and easy to feel without looking.
The I/O panel is well located and smartly designed, and the power button is particularly well built. We would have preferred a second USB 3.0 port over the USB 2.0 one, but the essentials are all there. Moving away from the front of the case, the steel roof and sides are all flat and featureless, with no extra fan mounts to speak of. While this does limit both your CPU and GPU cooling capabilities, it's understandable that Cooltek has opted not to include extra fan mounts in a budget case that prioritises low noise over high airflow, with solutions like Fractal's ModuVent blanking plates likely to drive costs upwards.
Click to enlarge - The Antiphon features a smartly designed I/O panel and dust filtering material beneath it
A third CT-120 fan is found in the rear 120mm exhaust position, and having a trio of fans is always nice in a £60 chassis. Two small holes covered by secure rubber grommets can be used for external water-cooling too. A fourth, unfilled 120mm fan mount can also be found on the bottom of the case, and this along with the PSU intake area is protected by a thin sheet of dust filtering material that will require you to get underneath the case to remove or clean, but at least it's there.
Dimensions (mm) 195 x 500 x 445 (W x D x H)
Material Steel, aluminium, plastic
Available colours Black (reviewed), anthracite, silver, white
Front panel Power, reset, 1 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3, stereo, microphone
Drive bays 3 x external 5.25in, 4 x internal 3.5in, 5 x internal 2.5in
Form factor(s) ATX, micro-ATX, mini-ITX
Cooling 2 x 120mm front fan mounts (fans included), 1 x 120mm rear fan mount (fan included), 1 x 120mm bottom fan mounts (fan not included)
CPU cooler clearance 160mm
Maximum graphics card length 320mm
Extras Removable dust filters, dual speed fan controller