WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL about a case? Or a power supply, for that matter? Well, the case defines the exterior look of your PC, while the PSU ensures that a reliable source of sufficient power at all required voltages is provided to your components. For overclockers and other enthusiasts, a unique case look and top notch power are important to get the best out of their systems, whether for showing off or pushing the performance of the whole contraption.
Antec is one of the better-known companies in the high-end case and PSU markets. Its all-black product line focuses on unusual case and testbed designs, as well as powerful PSUs. Here we have a quick look at two new offerings from Antec seen at the Computex show in Taipei last month - the Dark Fleet DF-85 case with its unusual design and the TruePower Quattro 1200W heavy duty power supply.
The DF-85 sits at the top end of the Dark Fleet range, with a design that looks as if it could have been taken from an alien spaceship. It has modular front panel components and three adjustable 120mm red LED fans, each with a washable fan filter. There are also two top-mounted 140mm and two rear 120mm fans, as well as an optional 120mm side fan to cool graphics cards. Water cooling tube openings are also present, as are four USB connectors (one of which is USB3) and the usual audio ports. A dedicated top-mounted hot-swappable SATA and SSD-compatible drive bay combines with internal Fleet-Swap SATA drive interfaces for hard drive swapping and installation convenience.
The TruePower Quattro 1200W PSU mounts at the bottom of the case and has impressive specifications: six +12V rails with 85 per cent or more efficiency at 20, 50 and 100 per cent load, and the 80 PLUS Silver energy efficiency rating. Other features include the Powercache capacitor that delivers an extra power reserve during peak load spikes, a quiet Pulse Width Modulation fan, and over and under voltage and current protection. Interesting features of this PSU include adjustment dials for both the fan speed and the +12V voltage output, which you can fine tune between 11.8V and 12.6V.
The power connector is a heavy, square 16A, 250V plug, as you can see here:
So keep in mind that you'll need the correct power cable as well as, probably, a robust house power circuit - something strong enough to, for instance, drive an overclocked Dual Xeon EVGA SR2 mainboard at full blast with four GPUs and the associated peripherals. Since the case in question here doesn't accept such large mainboards, I tested how well would it take the largest ATX-class mainboard around: the Gigabyte X58A-UD9 that I am presently benchmarking. So, I put the board in and, after some work, it fitted in the case. There was no space margin between it and the power supply, as you can see - a few millimetres of additional space there would have helped the Dark Fleet DF-85 case a bit.
When it's turned on, the system is surprisingly quiet for such a configuration. That said, I did lower the speed of the front fans as there was no need for such high ventilation. The idea of easily plugging SSDs in and out with various operating systems is great for repeated benchmarking and testing work, as well as fast full SATA-speed backups and file copies from your main drive.
The Antec Dark Fleet DF-85 offers a very attractive front panel design with a reasonable weight and good modularity. Having a Full ATX version would be beneficial since workstation users might like a combination of a high-end modular case and dual-CPU mainboards with a powerful power supply. The PSU has unique features as well, although I'd like a version with a standard power cable connector. µ
Outstanding design, modularity, ease of installation, top-notch power supply.
The handle on top could be just a little stronger for carrying the case, the PSU power cable connector could be standard.