Antec Skeleton

Packaging and Appearance

Packaging & Appearance
The Skeleton arrives in a gloss black cardboard exterior which is very thick and should be enough to stave off any unwanted dents and scratches. I was interested in how Antec were going to package the product due to its odd shape and perhaps more so due to its plastic design. I was therefore impressed to see that quality packaging was used throughout with 2 foam side panels holding the enclosure firmly in place. The Skeleton was also bagged in clear plastic to prevent moisture intrusion so the case should arrive to you in perfect condition.
Box Open Box
I was impressed to see that the Skeleton is pre-built so there should be no frustration in getting started with building your system. which is just as well as the included instruction leaflet is sparse to say the least. I can appreciate that it is everyones responsibility to save money but a product such as this definitely needs an instruction leaflet to hand. There is a more thorough online instruction manual but that is of little use if your PC is in pieces waiting to be installed in a new Skeleton enclosure!
Front Side
Back Angle
Well here is the Skeleton in all its glory. One word to sum it up, Marmite - you either love it or you hate it. The design is as odd as it is groundbreaking. Da-Vinci would not have gotten far as an inventor if he was afraid of changing the way people think, so then Antec have also taken this approach. For those above 30 years old reading this review then think back to Zoids, those plastic exoskeleton robots we all loved and you can formulate a feel for this radical new design. For those not of that age yet (you don't know what you missed!), then consider the little nanobots from The Matrix and you are halfway there. I personally like the look of the case, industrial, yet futuristic and one thing is for sure, with that huge fan sitting abreast of the main component shelf, overheating should be a non-issue for all but the most insane overclockers.
 Bottom Accessories
From the base of the enclosure we can see the sliding mechanism unique to the Skeleton which I will cover more in the build section of this review. The accessories are pretty basic - four HD holders, a couple of tie wraps, a bundle of screws and a 92mm HD cooling fan with shroud.
 Fan Top Fan Bottom
The fan itself is 250mm in diameter and is controlled by two switches. One switch for the fan rpm which can be set to three levels: low, mid or high. The other switch is used to alternate between blue, green, red , a mixture the colours or no light at all. The fan is protected by a plastic mesh fitting which will keep any stray fingers safe and is powered by a standard molex.
fan speed/colour switch PCI holder
Above right we see a feature of the Skeleton which is a definite weakness, The flimsy acrylic PCI support has seven screw holes as opposed to the standard six which is a great idea, allowing users to add USB backplates etc. However the material used is not so great. We all know acrylic is brittle at the best of times but using it as a support, albeit not load bearing, is simply a bad design. It appears as more of an afterthought as it stands out aesthetically but for all the wrong reasons and a plastic or metal strut would be more in keeping with the skeletons gun metal grey theme.
Access to the undertray is fairly easy thanks to the removable side panels that unhook with a plastic clasp. Again the plastic clasp is very flimsy and I doubt it would last the test of time. To release the component tray for full access to the Skeleton, Antec have made things very easy and this time, hard wearing. Two thumbscrews are all that hold the component tray in place and rackmount quality sliders ensure that the component tray simply glides out of the frame with minimum effort.
Sliding tray 1 Sliding tray two
Perhaps the neatest thing about this case however, is its ability change components with the minimum of hassle. The main component tray slides fully from the main framework of the skeleton allowing easy access to your motherboard and components. Beneath the motherboard tray is where you are directed to install the PSU, which sits in its own little holder. Now here is the snag. The Skeleton will not fit long PSU's such as the Enermax Galaxy or Silverstone Zeus series. Not only that but it is recommended you use a PSU with a rear mounted 80mm fan instead of the now very popular top mounted 120mm fan. The reason being is that the top mounted 120mm fan would have very little clearance from the motherboard tray and due to the Skeletons open style enclosure, installing the fan downwards is not recommended at all.
Attached to the component tray is the motherboard backplate which is held in place by three screws. Once these screws are removed you can install your motherboard easily, then re-install the motherboard and backplate back onto the tray. Both the main component tray and motherboard backplate are steel so are both hard wearing but again, this is at the cost of weight.
So then, with a slide out main compartment, removable motherboard backplate and removable side panels, building a system in this enclosure should be quite easy, yes? Head over to the next page to see how I got on...
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Most Recent Comments

14-11-2008, 12:50:29

Classed as an enclosure and not a case, the Antec Skeleton attempts to redfine where we mount our hardware. Can it replace the tower case? We find out...

Read the full review HEREQuote

14-11-2008, 13:35:42

Just had a quick flick through and it seems you had the same experiences as a lot of review places. The height for coolers is just appauling design tbh..

You got lots of interesting angles in there, Nice one!

is there no +,*, - at the end?Quote

14-11-2008, 13:42:58

To be quite honest the case was a total PITA the photograph as the weather is so glum lately getting any natural light is difficult .

I don't go in for the +, *, - m8, a simple hyphen '-' will do for me .Quote

14-11-2008, 14:49:44

Originally Posted by name='webbo'
To be quite honest the case was a total PITA the photograph as the weather is so glum lately getting any natural light is difficult .

I don't go in for the +, *, - m8, a simple hyphen '-' will do for me .
Sorry dude, When I looked at it just now I had no good, bad, mediocre at the end, but it seems to be there now Quote

14-11-2008, 15:18:01

lol - call me the NinjaQuote

14-11-2008, 15:38:17

Spot on, can't believe Antec didn't bother thinking about coolers, frankly an insane oversight.

Plus a plastic case for that price? Pull the other one, it has bells onQuote

14-11-2008, 15:59:54

Shame really. Oh well, makes the Dimas case look even better .Quote

14-11-2008, 16:08:31

That PCI bracket is something else... I find that just as horrible as the fact you can't mount a decent HS&F in there. It's just so out of place and like you say, just looks like someone from Antec was looking at the finished product and thought "OH F*CK"!!" and quickly had to bodge something on there before his boss came in to take a look.Quote

14-11-2008, 17:20:17

Massive shame. That case/enclosure/thing had so much pottential. Really can't beleive that they've made such epic blunders on it considering the popularity and attention to detail of their 'normal' cases.Quote

14-11-2008, 17:42:11

Hopefully, it will stimulate the industry and we'll get some improved versions soon.

I really like the look, but they have made some massive blunders in the design and implemetation.Quote

17-11-2008, 21:01:57

We kept the fan low above the board to improve the cooling on any heat sink that didn't have a fan and even the things that don't have heat sinks like memory. The need for oversized cpu coolers is eliminated. There are overclockers using this case and regular coolers with great results.

As for the PCI support bar, how would you suggest we change the design? And you know Antec listens, since you can see that we've added filters to the game cases, moved the fan controls to where you can get at them from the outside, made the lower chamber in the P180 bigger to accept larger PSUs, etc.Quote

18-11-2008, 13:34:12

I respect an Antec representative coming on to answer the questions asked.

The PCI bracket should just be made of something stronger than brittle acrylic. It sticks out so could easily take a whack. It sticks out in looks too seeing as it's pretty much the only clear plastic part on the entire case. Could have just kept it with the theme of the rest in grey.Quote

18-11-2008, 15:33:41

Originally Posted by name='AntecRep'
And you know Antec listens
For £125 on a test case, I want the option to use whatever the heck cooler tbh.

Granted there's a load of flexibility going on, some perhaps should be in aluminum atleast.

I dunno see. For the £125 bracket, u don't ant any issues or doubts over the unit, u want to be fully concentrated on the gear ur testing.

Maybe it's me looking at the case as a test bed, maybe it's more aimed as a regular case with a twist. But I look at this and the Dimas, I buy the Dimas, despite it's own issues merely on construction. Ideally I'd get both, cut them in half - lower half Dimas, upper half Skeleton. Both are overpriced imo, but the Skeleton more-so for me.

At this point, I stick with my 4x LL mobo trays for $25 a piece, and a fistful of switches/leds from Maplins for around £6.Quote

18-11-2008, 20:04:26

I got to show this case to herds of people at different events, and there was probably a few percent that thought it was "like" a bench unit. Most felt it was not a bench unit. I don't know, it's a case that seems to absolutely polarize people.

The Dimas is fabulous, but I would never show it to anyone if I had one. :stickpoke j/k The Torture Rack is another matter. You can send Danger Den your artwork and they will etch it into the acrylic of the case for you with their laser equipment.

I get a new bench delivered on my doorstep at least once a year and it's free. You know, that yellow book that's out of date before it makes it to the porch? Throw that under whatever mobo I'm testing, hang the PCI brackets off the side so the cards don't lift, and ta-dah!

The vertical space available for coolers is, unfortunately, an engineering issue. I doubt I'll have any luck in getting that changed. You know that the fans on a CPU cooler are smack on top, zero space. As you move a fan away from what it is cooling, without some kind of air guide, it becomes less effective as governed by what is called the "Inverse Square Law." If you double the distance, the cooling is a quarter as effective. It's a common principle that applies to sound, light, etc. Small changes in the distance between the fan and mobo will have profound effects on cooling.

I have looked at the way the fan shroud is attached and have some ruminations on some kind of flip-top that might be a doable mod if you're determined that you can't get sufficient cooling with a standard cooler and a 250mm monster fan. Anybody with one of these cases who takes a look at the top metal frame / plastic shroud, and the screws, will probably end up thinking the same thing... (it's a miracle that this one grew back? Narf!) :rollingla

I'm looking into the choice of acrylic for the rear bar, and it turns out that in order to make it resistant to the turning of the screws and more rigid to hold the cards in place required that it be of a little more brittle material. I checked with support, and actually they haven't had a report of a broken one yet! I think the only better material would be metal. Makes me wonder if it wouldn't be better if it were part of the mobo tray? What do you think?

Thanks for the thoughts so far. Quote

18-11-2008, 20:34:33

Kudos to Antec for posting

The fan to me seems a bit of a catch22. To fit a good cooler you need the fan further away... but with a bigger cooler there isn't a great need for such a fan. In my eyes, if the fan was able to move up, down, back and forth (and maybe tilt) within its support frame then THAT would be a kick-ass setup. It would allow for users to fit oversized components to the board, move the fan out the way but still point it where its needed.

The PCI bar does look a bit silly. Fair enough that the perfect compromise between strength and brittleness is hard to find but having it colour coded, or even offering an after market metal one for heavy users would do a world of good.

Granted, keeping the design slick would be difficult but I think the level of aesthetics seen here on the top half are slightly more than is needed when contrasted with the body of the case. I'm sure many will disagree however.

Tell you what else would be super sweet, and im just fantasizing now, but two solid 1/2" tubes with threads at each end running from the lower half to top half for the fitting of a semi permenant waterblock and interchangeable lower half (pump / rad / res - infact a built in res would also be sweeeeeeeeet )

Great to see someone doing something new btw. Very striking looking bit of kit Quote

19-11-2008, 06:00:26

Hey Mr Antec, I just had a thought - what about setting a thread inside the pci bracket ?

I mean having the current material, but a metallic receiver thread set inside so there is no acrylic vS the screw when it's used ?Quote

19-11-2008, 07:15:47

As previously stated - Kudos to Antec for posting. Yet another example of Antecs excellent customer service!

I recently replied to an email (Ellen) stating in more detail my views which hopefully you will have recieved and which I won't go into here but answer the majority of the points you raise. I have edited the review to clarify some points which hopefully provide a more balanced arguement.

I personally wouldn't say the need for oversized coolers is eliminated because a 250mm fan is used. I would like to think that the use of a 250mm fan would serve to enhance oversized CPU coolers. I appreciate that a larger fan will push more air over the CPU (and surrounding areas) and as such this will result in cooler temps but for the most part, the larger the heatsink, the greater the cooling due to the greater surface area and heatpipe of the HSF with which to wick the heat away more efficiently.

I don't doubt that there are some folk who do have success with small coolers but this all depends on what success we are talking about and was that success stifled? Could they have overclocked more if a better HSF was used. I don't think there can be any doubting the fact that the current crop of top end performing HSF are all oversized and as such, the market you are aiming for (enthusiasts?) will want to make use of the best heatsinks possible.

With regards to the PCI bracket, I would like to have seen it in a metal format as with the component trays or perhaps as reinforced plastic as used in the side frame. Acrylic, despite its weaknesses, also stands out like a sore thumb on the enclosure and is not in keeping with the overall theme.

The top fan and mount would be great as a 'flip-top'. as you suggest. This would also make adjustments to the setup so much easier than using the sliding component tray.

This is something I am in the middle of attempting by unscrewing all of the screws holding the top frame to the side frame but adding a hinge to the rear of the enclosure. With a little dremmel work to shave a few cm's off the fan shroud and maybe a couple of cm's extension to the top frame attachment by extender bars I am sure an oversized cooler will fit which will dramatically alter my perspective of the case. I will post my findings when I have completed the 'mod' which will possibly give Antec a few ideas for a future revision.

Thanks again for posting Antec, it is highly appreciated.Quote

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