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Antec Dark Fleet 85 Full Tower Case Review

Dark Mantis

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Antec Dark Fleet 85 Full Tower Case Review
« on: November 06, 2011, 02:27:00 pm »
Antec Dark Fleet 85 Full Tower Case Review

by Dark Mantis






Antec have just very kindly delivered several items to me for me to review. The first one is the very cool looking Dark Fleet DF-85 full tower case. As usual they made sure that everything was well wrapped firstly in bubble wrap and then inside the box with a good amount of polypropelene foam and then inside a plastic bag to keep dust away. This all worked well and everything was in perfect order when opened. This may seem unimportant but it is surprising how many items we have delivered that are damaged in transit before we even get them. There was a manual and plastic bag full of screws, bolts and standoffs located on top of the case. There is a full manual available online at http://www.antec.com/manuals .





Once the plastic bag was removed from the case it was fairly obvious it was an Antec design from the out because of the shaped polycarbonate clear windows on the left hand side panel. These are unmistakeably Antec. One of them has the provision for the fitting of a 120mm fan if required. The siting of this would be ideal to blow directly onto the graphics cards. It comes with soft silicon rubber mounts to cut down on vibration. The windows are covered with self adhesive plastic on each side to stop any scratching before the build. This build is 596mm(H) x 213mm(W) x 505mm(D) and weighs in at 11.3Kg overall. That is a fairly substantial case.





The rear has a dual 120mm fans with red LEDs (included) at the top next to the I/O panel and above this is installed a panel of four fan switches. These have two settings each, high or low speed and are marked for the two rear or top fans, nice touch and another Antec speciality. Below the I/O panel there are seven expansion slots the bottom one already filled with a slotted plate. Next to these there is a perforated area with two rubber grommeted holes for access for watercooling tubing if that is needed. At the very bottom is the usual mounting hole for a standard style of PSU. It also has an additional plate surround that can be removed so one of Antec's special design PSUs can be used instead if you wanted to.





The right hand side looking from the front is perfectly plain apart from at the very bottom in raised lettering is "Antec Design".





On top of the case at the rear are two 140mm fans(included) fitted internally that can be used for air expulsion or to cool an external mounted radiator. To the front of these is a clear perspex moulding with a SSD Hot Swap port inside. This is accessable from the front of the case when in use.





Onto the main part now from outside anyway and that is the business end. The front of the case hoses three square bottom fan cages each with it's own speed control knob, removable filter and is lockable from inside the case for some security. Above these are three 5.25" drive bays that have clippable doors on each. Once opened they give access to the bay behind  which can house optical drives etc as usual. Above these is the control panel with the power switch, reset switch, three USB2.0 ports and one USB3.0 port and the standard microphone and headphone ports. At the peak there sits the Hot Swap SSD bay that I mentioned earlier. This is very accessable but quite well designed so that it can't be accidentally knocked when inserted.





Returning to the three fan cages now, they open by a simple pull with a clip to hold them shut. This can be locked by means of a lever from the inside. In the unlock position the fan door can be opened on a hinge at the right hand side to reveal  the fan itself. All three are included and have red LEDs to light them up. By lifting a tab in front of the fan a mesh filter can be slid up and out for easy cleaning. With the door open it gives access to the drive bays behind. There are three behind each fan giving a total of nine which I think is more than enough for most people.





The side panels are secured by means of two thumb screws on each. Once fixed they are very solid.
 Upon removal there is excellent access to the whole interior of the chassis and one of the first things I noticed was the huge bundle of cables tied together so of course I had to investigate further. These can be split into two groups, there are the double insulated black cables and the standard single coated wires. We will deal with these first. They are all the usual front panel connection to the motherboard wires for power switch, power LED, reset switch and hard disk drive LED. These could have been braided for a better finish. There is also a four pin molex plug, again with unbraided cables to supply power to the Hot Swappable SSD bay at the top. That brings us onto the rest of the wiring. These cables are all sheathed in black plastic and include a SATA cable, three USB2.0 cables terminating in motherboard connectors, the audio connector wiring and a USB3.0 cable. This is not what you would expect though as it is a standard USB3.0 cable the same as you would use to connect an external device to the computer. It is a male plug that is supposed to be fed through the slotted plate remarked upon before in the expansion slots and fed into one of the rear I/O USB3.0 ports. This is a realy terrible way of doing things and I cannot condone it at all. Firstly it is a messy way of going about things, it uses up one of probably only two USB3.0 ports available and leaves an unused motherboard USB3.0 header doing nothing. I can't think who would have dreamt this up!





On the base of the case are four fairly large rubber mountings. These are to sit the PSU on and help to stop vibration travelling through the case. Another attempt at decoupling which should be applauded. Also on the bottom are four holes of a sort of keyhole shape, these are to mount a further 2.5" hard drive/SSD with the aid of some more included soft silicon grommets and special screws. On the front drive bays are included four special mounting connection blocks that basically turn an ordinary drive bay into a Hot Swappable bay.These come as two pairs and can be mounted on whichever bays you prefer. The rear of these connectors are just wired up in the same way as you would a standard SATA drive.





The motherboard tray with a good size cut out for CPU access is not removeable but it does have space behind it to help with cable management. It is however limited in size as it measures 12mm (just under half an inch) between the outer case and the motherboard tray. The main material of the chassis is 1.0mm SECC and all edges are nicely rolled to stop cuts. The facia is mostly black ABS plastic and seems to be made to a high standard. Most of the case construction is by the use of blind rivets. There are a lot of red and black wires hanging around the case from the included fans. These look a mess but once clipped out of the way they will be much better. I would say that there are only two main downsides to this construction and the masses of unbraided cables is one of them. The other is the ridiculous way of connecting the USB3.0 port on the front to the motherboard. Apart from that it is a well constructed, well designed case with plenty of extras that are included and not just available for more money and at the incredible asking price this makes a nice change. It also comes with a three year parts and labour warranty which is always nice for peace of mind. Is is powder coated both inside and out with satin black.





All in all this is a bit of quality kit that apart from some very minor disappointments is well worth the asking price and I award it a well deserved 9/10.



Supplier: Antec      http://www.antec.com      Price: From £107.99




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Re: Antec Dark Fleet 85 Full Tower Case Review
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2011, 05:12:48 pm »
 Nice review Dark Mantis . I bought this case about 6 months ago. Love it. ;)

Lots of room for everything. Its also very quiet with all the fans running on low.

I only have  one pic, this was my old AMD setup with a 790FX board. Now it houses my Intel set in my sig.
(I managed to get rid of the rats nest of wires on the bottom with better cable management after changing mobo's)
Plenty of room behind the right side panel for all the wiring.



Dark Mantis

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Re: Antec Dark Fleet 85 Full Tower Case Review
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2011, 06:28:38 pm »
Yes on the whole it is a very nice case and I do like all the little extras that come as standard. I just wish they would change that stupid USB3.0 cable to the front panel. That is the second case I have reviewed that has had the same wasteful way of configuring the connection. Maybe they will bring out a second revision with a more sensible way of wiring the port to the motherboard header and offer it as a customisation to previous purchasers.

It was great to see that all the fans were included and they had built in removable filters on the front ones. The Hot Swap bays were a nice addition too.

I think it could have been a little bit wider though as I did feel that it wasn't as stable as it could have been. I am sure that once the weighjt of the PSU and other comonents were onboard it would have been better but another 20mm or so would have given more room for cable management and better stability overall.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2011, 06:29:16 pm by Dark Mantis »
Gigabyte X58A-UD7
i7 920
Dominators 1600 x6 12GB
6970 2GB
HX850
256GB SSD, Sam 1TB, WDB320GB
Blu-Ray
HAF 932

Gigabyte Z68X-UD5-B3
i7 3770K
Vengeance 1600 16GB
6950 2GB
HCP1200W
Revo Drive x2, 1.5TB WDB RAID0
16x DLRW
StrikeX S7
Full water cooling
3 x 27" Iiy

Grozdan

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Re: Antec Dark Fleet 85 Full Tower Case Review
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2011, 09:51:34 am »
I like it a lot since I'm not a fan of watercooling! 7 fans? Nice :)
Good review!
I must admit that I had some of 120mm Antec fans with 3step RPM regulation and I found it to be somewhat loud in second "gear" and the third one to be annoying...
« Last Edit: November 07, 2011, 09:52:08 am by Grozdan »
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Dark Mantis

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Re: Antec Dark Fleet 85 Full Tower Case Review
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2011, 10:09:08 am »
Yes I would have to agree that the Antec fans are not the quietest but I usually just use them on the low setting and find that is quite enough performance wise to keep everything cool anyway and they are practically silent on that setting.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2011, 10:10:01 am by Dark Mantis »
Gigabyte X58A-UD7
i7 920
Dominators 1600 x6 12GB
6970 2GB
HX850
256GB SSD, Sam 1TB, WDB320GB
Blu-Ray
HAF 932

Gigabyte Z68X-UD5-B3
i7 3770K
Vengeance 1600 16GB
6950 2GB
HCP1200W
Revo Drive x2, 1.5TB WDB RAID0
16x DLRW
StrikeX S7
Full water cooling
3 x 27" Iiy

 

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