Antec Skeleton

Build Log

Build Log
 
The true test of a case is what it is actually like to work with. Too many times, cases are reviewed with only aesthetics and presumptions of performance in mind but for this review, I intend to log my progress by actually cramming some hardware in there. Hopefully, you will stay with me while I take you through my findings along the way.
 
PSU Mount
 
With the main component tray in it's fully extended position, I removed the component tray and side panels as well as the PSU holder in preparation for the build. Firstly, I attached the PSU to the PSU holder. I tried a Silverstone Zeus first which is server grade PSU extended in length from standard PSU size. Sure enough, it would not fit in the Skeleton. Next I went with a 12cm fan PSU to see what problems I might encounter.  Despite the lack of airflow to the PSU, it will fit fine with the fan facing upwards.
 
HD Mount Side Mount
 
Next, I set about installing the hard drives. The Antec Skeleton has provision for fitting up to six hard drives, four on the exterior and two internally. I tried fitting the first hard drive externally by utilising one of the four included hard drive backplates. While this looks cool, it is not the best or safest way to mount the drives. The hard drives simply hang off the side of the case and can be easily attached/detached from the case, perhaps by accident.
 
HD wobble HD Secure
 
 
 
So then, I had to mount them internally. You would think that a case like this would have tool-less design but sadly this isn't the 'case' (pun intended). Antec would have you believe that all that is required is a single screw type fixing which, when attached allows the hard drive to clip into place once inserted into the hard drive compartment. As you can see from the photos above, the hard drive can still be moved so further screws are required to fully secure the drive in place. Installing the DVD drive was much the same but this was more secure and didn't require the extra screws.
 
 
HD Fan
 
One thing the Skeleton does well and that is to cool the components. As well as the 250mm top fan, Antec have included a 92mm fan cool the hard drives. This is a much needed feature considering airflow beneath the motherboard would be zero without it.
 
Motherboard back Problem
 
Upon installing the motherboard, I was impressed with the thought that had gone into designing the motherboard tray. Being rolled steel, it isn't the lightest piece of kit, so I was happy to see as much weight had been trimmed as possible with cut-outs of various sizes taken from the tray. Designed or by accident, the rear of the CPU area is fully accessible ensuring that a screw down cooler is fully interchangeable with easy access to the underside of the motherboard. Sadly, Antec have forgot that screw down coolers tend to be large. Antec recommend the following coolers which all fit fine :
 
1. SCYTHE SCMNJ-1000
2. ARCTIC COOLING ALPINE 7
3. ZALMAN CNPS 7500
4. BGears XPCPU.4ALL.PRO
 
 
Above right we see that our testbed cooler, the Scythe Ninja, was simply too tall. This is not the tallest cooler on the market either with favourites such as the Thermalright Ultra and Xigmatek coolers being taller. This is a MAJOR design flaw of the Skeleton and something that requires rectifying immediately if this enclosure  is to be successful. Having that huge 250mm fan is pretty much pointless if you are limited to a small CPU cooler. The fan section can be taken off by unscrewing it from the main struts but that is just defeating the object of the whole enclosure.
 
Nearly There side stuffing
 
Done Complete
 
So then, stock cooler in hand I installed the motherboard to the motherboard tray and then attached the tray to the component tray. Everything from here on in went smoothly with no more major hiccups including the cable tidy which was relatively easy thanks to the space available beneath the motherboard. Time to push the button and pray...
 
Push the button  
 
It's ALIVE! Below you can see the numerous colours available from green, green/red, red, red/blue, blue and blue green, Each of the colours can be set or you can set the fan to cycle though them. The light display is actually quite neat and not as tacky as I first thought it would be. The transition in colour is very smooth, the fan is very quiet thanks to the sheer size of it and it shifts a serious amount of air. Mosfets, memory, GPU's and chipsets will get a very good supply of cool air even on its lowest setting.
 
Green Red/Green
 
Red Red/Blue
 
Blue Blue/Green
 
Let's head over the page to the conclusion where I give my overall feelings on the Antec Skeleton...
 
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Most Recent Comments

14-11-2008, 12:50:29

w3bbo
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...

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...190841983s.jpg

Read the full review HERE

14-11-2008, 13:35:42

Luigi
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?

14-11-2008, 13:42:58

w3bbo
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 .

14-11-2008, 14:49:44

Luigi
Quote:
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

14-11-2008, 15:18:01

w3bbo
lol - call me the Ninja

14-11-2008, 15:38:17

FarFarAway
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 on

14-11-2008, 15:59:54

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

14-11-2008, 16:08:31

Bungral
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.

14-11-2008, 17:20:17

JN
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.

14-11-2008, 17:42:11

Pseudonym
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.

17-11-2008, 21:01:57

AntecRep
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.

18-11-2008, 13:34:12

Bungral
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.

18-11-2008, 15:33:41

Rastalovich
Quote:
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.

18-11-2008, 20:04:26

AntecRep
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.

18-11-2008, 20:34:33

llwyd
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

19-11-2008, 06:00:26

Rastalovich
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 ?

19-11-2008, 07:15:47

w3bbo
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.
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