Antec GX 300 : The Budget segment grab
[Disclaimer : Title caption not to be confused with the Born of Osiris track of the same name.]
When one hears the words “Budget”, & “Entry level”, it’s pretty hard to get excited about anything. Be it a once-premium,now entry level, value-for-money-product like an Intel Core i5 2500k, or an AMD/ATI Radeon HD 5870, anything with the aforementioned tags makes demoralization so very easy. But, there’s always the inherent enthusiasm that comes with getting my hands on similarly tagged products from the stables of Antec, because, for instance, where else would you get a better freemium experience?
The Antec GX 300 Windowed PC Case is what I’d call “Pretty”, but then most people call a Master Case pretty so I guess the aesthetic quotient stays invalid here.The case is entirely black and sits slightly at an angle, due to the front stand, giving the chassis a distinct posture. Overall the paint job comes off as being pretty good, as the plastic and metal elements don’t look different in terms of coloring. Speaking of materials, the GX300 is almost exclusively monochromatic steel and plastic, which is used mainly for the panels and stands. The grayish-black theme spreads throughout the outer periphery of the case and the insides fare similar, a testament to the fact that this still is, at heart, a budget spec PC case. The front panel has mesh grill vents all over it and openings on the sides are left to supply fresh air for the optional 2 x 120 mm front intake fans. It’s a standard fare mid-tower enclosure, with room for ATX, m-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards, up to three dual-slot graphics cards maxing out at 400 mm long a piece, a 140 mm CPU fan, and up to 6 3.5″ or 2.5″ drives. The Power supply unit is to be mounted at the bottom of the case and the case allows for adequate thermal dissipation via multi-chambered lateral air-flow. The case also has slots for three 5.25″ optical drives at the front, which our turbanized folks from the land of overheated systems and hyperactive disk retailers might heave a sigh of relief for.
Taking a look around the case , it’s actually a swell sight. The build quality is cheap,yes, but it’s good enough for a case in this price bracket. Both side panels are extruded to make the case slightly more spacious on the inside, seeing as a the market for higher grade CPU coolers has been steadily rising and for said cooler that sits high up to be installed and space for cable management still maintained effectively, adequate space for all the aforementioned features is always a must have. The top panel has a few utility openings as well, for the exhaust air, and is entirely made of a mesh grill. Examining the top panel further, I found the integrated fan controller right next to the drive bay, audio jacks, reset and power switches, which are actually quite tactile and easy to press, a first for any entry grade Antec case I’ve ever come across. The front and back stands are reliable and provide enough grip for the case, and they seems to complement the overall “freemium” look of the case. They’re made of hard plastic and have a distinct, non-slippery material attached to them to absorb vibrations, and to ensure that the case won’t wobble around. As I’ve said before, the case slopes down the front end, and this is facilitated by the front stand which maintains this angle. Nonetheless, it gives the GX300 its own,signature look and, I for one, quite approve of this design parameter. The stands are secured by four small screws and the case’s rear feet share similar dimensions as well.