Introduction

Antec, Inc. is the global leader in high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself markets. Founded in 1986, Antec is recognized as a pioneer in the industry and has maintained its position as a worldwide market leader and international provider of quiet, efficient and innovative products. Their product lines include PC Chassis, CPU Cooler, PSU, Fans etc. Antec is headquartered in Fremont, California, with additional offices in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, as well as in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China and Taiwan. The company’s products are sold in more than 40 countries throughout the world.

Antec has sent me their 4 products for review purpose. Today, I will be looking at their budget level PC chassis GX 330 Window BLK High Blue. It has aggressive and bold looks to it yet being a moderated mid-tower chassis aiming at the users who can’t afford high end PC Chassis yet want to have style and functionality at much less price.

  • Product:           GX 300 Window BLK High Blue
  • Manufacturer:   Antec
  • Price:               PKR 6499/- [At the time of the review]
  • Availability:      PakDukaan

Specifications

Model Antec GX 330
Form Factor Mid-Tower
Color Black
Drive Bays 1x 5.25” Drive Bay (Removable)

2x 3.5” HDD Bay

2x 2.5” SSD Bay

Motherboard Compatibility Standard ATX, microATX
Cooling System 7x 120mm Fan Mounts

2x 120mm Blue LED Fan Included

Liquid Cooling Support 1x 120mm Radiator on the rear

1x 360mm Radiator on the front with ODD removed

Front I/O Ports 1x USB 2.0

1x USB 3.0

Audio Ports

PCIe Slot 7
Maximum Graphics Card Size 400mm
Dimensions 490 x 202 x 492mm
Net Weight 5.9 Kg
Warranty 2 Years

 

Packaging and Unboxing

The chassis comes in a standard brown colored cardboard box packing. The front side has a picture of the chassis on the main section. GX330 is printed on the bottom left side with almost a stormtrooper look alike picture on top of it to depict the styling of the chassis. Antec brand logo is printed on the top right side. Antec is printed in the vertical layout on the far right side.

The back side has a picture of the chassis focusing its front side. GX330 is printed on the bottom right side. Antec’s brand logo is printed on the top right side. Antec is printed in the vertical layout on the far left side.

The top side of the packing box has the Antec brand name and GX330 printed in the opposite direction on both opening covers.

This side of the packing box has 4 diagrams highlighting 4 features of the chassis. Chassis has window side panel. 1x USB 3.0 and 1x USB 2.0 ports on the front panel. The front side of the chassis has light-up LED badge. Up to 3 120mm fans on the top can be placed.

This side has the main specifications printed on it. Antec is printed on the top side. GX 330 is printed under it.

The Antec GX 330 chassis is covered with a plastic sheet and packed inside two white color Styrofoam paddings.

Accessories

Antec has included 5 zip-ties, various screws for mounting storage drives, fans, motherboard etc, and user guide.

Closer Look

Whenever I hear about Antec, the first word that came to my mind is PSU. Strong brand perception speaking out here. Though, Antec is not limited to PSUs only as mentioned in the introduction of this content. I get to review one of their chassis which is GX-330 Window Black High. It is a mid-tower chassis with strong and bold looks and handy cooling provision. Chassis is made of Steel and plastic with solid build quality. It has a built-in fan controller which is another plus for this budget chassis. Let’s take a closer look at the chassis.

The front side of the chassis has a stylish panel depicting that of the stormtrooper look. On the top side, there is a front I/O panel. It has a USB 3.0 port, USB 2.0 port, Headphone and Microphone ports and a reset button. The last USB port is fully covered without any connectivity option. There is mesh on the top side of the front panel acting as a dust filter. The upper part is removable in case 5.25” drive is to be used.

Antec brand name is pasted on the lower end of the upper half. There is a LED covering the entire length of the front side between the two halves. It lights up in the blue static color and adds a much subtle touch to the overall look and feel. The lower half has a mesh covering the dust filter right up front and is covered with a plastic on the left and the right sides in a designed manner. The backside of the front panel shows the large size mesh as a dust filter on the upper half.

The LED line is clearly visible between the two halves. The lower half has a dust filter covering the opening in the middle. That part has a mesh on the front side. To remove the front panel, insert your hand under the bottom portion of the panel and pull it out towards you. Be careful not to exert more force.

Please note that the front I/O ports are built right into the top panel and they are not part of the front panel. Let’s take a look at the top panel. On the top side, there is a single dust cover mesh covering the entire length of the panel except that of the front. Towards the rear side of the chassis, there are 4 insets which resemble the vents on both sides of the top panel cover. The cover is made of plastic and taking it off needs more force. To remove the top panel, take off the front panel as well which is a quite odd implementation. The mesh has insets on both sides again covering the entire length which adds more to the bold looks of the chassis.

The front side of the top panel has a large size button with almost A letter on it. This is the power button. Right next to it is a slider button. L is printed on the right side and H is printed on the left side. Slide it to control the speed of the fans connected to the built-in fan controller. Though this won’t give you a detailed control over the speeds, having three presets to reduce or increase the speeds is a plus. Keep in mind that this is a budget chassis we are looking at. Up to three 3-pin fans can be connected to the built-in controller.

Let’s take a look at the backside of the top panel. Controller panel is visible on the far right side where the front I/O ports are available. Corresponding cables like front HD Audio, Panel connectors for HDD LED, Power, Reset, USB cables are visible. These are all part of the top panel which in my opinion is not a convenient implementation from the user’s perspective. Ideally, front I/O ports should be part of the chassis frame irrespective of the top or front panel covers. A single dust filter is visible in the middle of the top panel. It runs on the entire length of the cover. It is not removable.

There are four plastic feet on the bottom side with the rubber mounts at their end to avoid any scratching from moving the chassis on the table. These can be taken off as each is secured using a screw. They have provided approximately 20-25mm of height from the ground which is a good enough clearance for the PSU air intake. There is a dust filter on the PSU end. It is removable and washable when need be. Though the dust filter is not magnetic, it is not a complaint as this is a budget chassis.

The rear side of the chassis has a 120mm fan mounting on the rear side. There is mesh on the fan mount position with wider holes. This is for protection purpose and does not act as a dust filter. There is an I/O ports side on the left side of the fan mount. We have 7 PCI expansion slots in this chassis. There is a vented area on the right side of the PCIe slots for air flow. On the bottom, there is a standard ATX PSU mounting area.

The left side has a window panel which is black tinted. The panel slides in/out of the chassis frame and is secured using two thumb screws from the rear side of the chassis.

The panel has an inset of approximately 10-12mm which gives more room for the CPU air cooler. The window is not covering the entire left side but the main motherboard tray side. One needs to have lighting solution inside the chassis to make the build visible due to the tinted black window.

Let’s take a look at the inside of the chassis and see what it offers to the builder. This is open style layout particularly on the right side as we don’t see any storage drive cage there. Motherboard mounting standoffs are pre-installed and are in golden color. There are mounting for the micro-ATX as well. Antec has provided one extra standoff in the accessories. There is a large size cut out in the motherboard tray for ease of installing CPU coolers. There is a 120mm Blue LED fan on the rear. It has a label on the motor hub having Antec printed on it. The body and the blades are transparent. Below that, we have 7 PCIe slots with covers secured using the thumb screws. There is no flex in the mid-sheet and build quality is good.

The bottom side has a vented portion where the PSU is to be mounted. There is a dust filter under this vented area. There are rounded rubber pads on the four sides and on the bottom of the motherboard tray where the PSU makes contact with the chassis. I have used Antec Earth Power 650 Gold Pro PSU for the test build. This PSU has a length of 162mm. 160mm is a standard length of the PSU. Even with this length PSU, I faced difficulties in installing the PSU. This is due to the shroud for the storage drive that is bolted to the chassis. We can’t slide it to make more room or take it out. Even if we can, the positioning of the storage drives cage is in the middle which can obstruct the cables. Idea is to connect all the required cables with the PSU in case of modular one and pass these cables through the bottom cut out located right next to the shroud cover. Then place the PSU inside the chassis and secure it using 4 screws.

There is a CPU cable cutout on the top of the motherboard tray area. Take a note to route the cable through this hole before installing the motherboard as approx. 40% of its area will be covered by the motherboard’s PCB. Then we have a cut out on the top side of the mid-frame from where the front I/O panel cables are being routed through. Below that, we have total three cutouts for cables passing. None of the cut out has a rubber grommet.

Taking a close look would indicate that the motherboard tray side has an inset design to it. The area on the right side is raised by like 10mm or so. The idea here is to do the cable management behind that raised area. Look at the cutouts. They are almost offset to the motherboard tray. There is a plastic stand secured with two screws. This is to hold the heavy graphics card and is definitely a nice touch by the Antec. Its height can be adjusted. We have two cutouts on the raised surface. One is located on the top right side and the other is located in front of the second fan mount.

The storage drive cage is installed under the shroud cover which is extending towards the front side of the chassis. There is an opening on its right side. This is to accommodate the front mounted radiator and fans. A second 120mm Blue LED fan is pre-installed on the bottom of the front side. The shroud is fixed and can’t be taken out. There is a single 5.25” drive bay up on the top right side. It can be removed by taking out two screws from the left side, two from the right side and the two from the front.

There are 3 120mm mounts on the front with the OD bay removed, one 120mm on the rear and three on the top. Taking a peek at the top from inside, we can see three 120mm fan locations on the top side. To reduce the confusion, there is no fan mount on the top but there is another mechanism to mount the fans on the top and yes we can place 3 fans on the top so total 7 fans can be set up in this chassis.

Let me show you how to mount the fans on the top side of the chassis. You would have to remove the top panel cover. It is not necessary to take out the I/O port cables. Up to three 120mm fans can be set up here.

Above picture shows the top side of the chassis with the panel cover removed. The red color marked areas are where the latches of the top panel go inside. You would need to place the fans between those latches and mount the panel back on the chassis. I tried to place the fans directly on the chassis and then putting the top panel on which was quite a hassle. The fans need to be in the middle of the fan marking location with the clear sides on both ends for the latches to make their way back inside the chassis. Take a look at the below two pictures.

It is much easier if you would place the fans inside the latches of the top panel as shown in the below pictures and then mount the panel on the chassis. Don’t forget to route the power cables of the fans before closing the panel. I would strongly suggest using the fans with the rubber pads to avoid vibration noise and if and where possible the flat power cables.

Let’s take a look at the backside of the chassis. We have a similar side panel though it does not have a window as is on the left side panel. There is an inset of approximately 10-12mm in the side panel to make more room for the cable management as there is no such provision right behind the motherboard tray. Opening and closing mechanism of this side panel are same as on the left side.

Starting from the left side, we have two SSD brackets in a top down approach. Take off the bracket by removing the thumb screw. Install the SSD and put the bracket back on using the same thumb screw. However, it is designed in such a manner that Power and SATA ports will be on the top side of each bracket not on their bottom sides. This could impact your cable management so plan ahead.

There is a cut out on the top left side of the top bracket and another cut out in the middle of the two. On the right side of these brackets, there is the backside of the cutouts as I have earlier discussed. Chassis cables are nicely tucked along this route. There are approximately 8 cable tie spots. I was expecting a few more. It is evident that there is no space behind the motherboard tray for any cable management but space comes from the inset in the side panel which is approximately 12mm or less.

On the bottom, we have an HDD cage with two cadies. Take a look at the space between the cage and the right side border of the frame. This is the space from where the PSU cables are routed from the left side to the back side. On the left of the cage, we can see ample space for the radiator and the fan.

The user can mount a 3.5” Hard Disk Drive or a 2.5” Solid State Drive on these caddies. Total 4 storage drives can be installed in this chassis which is good enough for any budget build. Antec has covered this aspect rather well.

The front panel and top panels can be taken off. Here are the pictures of the skeleton of the chassis with the panels removed.

It is evident from the first pic that there is no fan mount on the top side of the chassis but the fans need to be placed above the top of the chassis between the chassis frame and the top panel. Also, keep in mind that no fan can be installed between the front panel and the chassis due to the space constraints within the front panel.

Test Build

Following is the test build configuration to check this chassis:

  • Intel i7 8700k
  • Asus ROG Maximus X Hero
  • Ballistix Elite 2x4GB DDR4 @ 3000 MHz
  • Cryorig H7
  • Nvidia GTX 1080 FE
  • Hyper X 120GB SSD
  • Thermaltake Tough Power DPS-G 750W PSU

Above configuration is definitely not a budget build but that is what I have at the moment and it will do the job to test the chassis. During while assembling in this chassis, I made some observations some of which I have already discussed above. These are: –

  • Route the CPU power cable from the top left cutout above the motherboard tray before installing the motherboard. Once the motherboard is installed, there won’t be a possibility to route this cable through that hole.
  • The rear LED fan is installed in such a way that its power cable side is facing the PSU area. If you want to connect this fan to the chassis fan controller then it would be better if you remove the fan and install it so that the power cable side faces towards the backside of the chassis. This will allow you to extend the reach of the power cable and have a better cable management on the front side.
  • To install the PSU, first, connect all the required cables to the PSU in case it is a modular one and then pass all the cables through the opening on the left side of the storage drives cage. Then place the PSU inside the chassis.
  • Fans can’t be mounted in the spacing between the chassis frame and the front panel cover or the in the spacing on the top side between the chassis frame and the top panel cover.
  • 5” SSD can be installed on the dedicated brackets at the backside of the chassis. However, they are designed in a manner that SATA and power connector can only be installed on the top side, not on the bottom side. Keep that in mind for the cable management.

Overall, the building experience was fine and I did not encounter any issue other than the observations mentioned above. The chassis front I/O panel cables were routed through the same cut out from where the PSU cables are going out. All the connectivity was done at the bottom of the motherboard.

I did not use any other fan except that of the pre-installed two 120mm fans. Airflow inside the chassis is not restricted which is a good sign. Here are the pictures of the build.

Testing

Thermal and acoustical performance of the build was tested using the Perfect Prime WD9819 anemometer and the Fonseo Digital Sound Meter, both are factory calibrated. Ambient temperature was 19°C. To test the CPU thermals, the AIDA64 stress test was run for approximately 30 minutes with stressing the CPU, FPU, RAM. Graphics card’s thermal performance was checked with the actual gameplay. Here are the results:

72°C was the maximum temperature on any core. My chip is doing 4.8GHz out of the box on Auto and in doing so the voltages are spiking to 1.300V VCore. Temps are fine overall. The maximum temperature on the GTX 1080 FE was 80°C which is expected for being a reference edition design. It is easily reaching 80°C in an open bench setup so inside the chassis it has done well.

System was left at idle for some time to measure the acoustical performance. Keep in mind that this is the system’s overall noise level not just for any fan. 18 dB(A) was sound level when it was idling and 42 dB(A) when under load. Much thanks to the reference edition card inside the chassis and the three 120mm fans running at full.

Conclusion

The Antec GX330 Windows BLK High is a chassis outfitted for the gamer who likes performance and style in the budget. The chassis has aggressive and bold looks and has well all round features to stir the competition in this range. It is a mid-tower chassis with the dimensions of 490mm x 202mm x 492mm. It has a window side panel which is black tinted. It has 7 PCIe slots. It has up to 4 storage drive mounts. There are two 2.5” SSD mounting brackets and a storage drive cage with two caddies. It comes pre-installed with the two 120mm Blue LED fans. There is a built-in fan controller which can control up to 3 3-pin fans with the three preset modes which are Off, Low and High. To control the speed there is a stylish slider button on the top panel right behind the power button.

To make the looks more pleasant there is a light-up LED line on the front panel which lights up in the blue color. The front panel is designed to mimic the Storm Trooper concept from the Star Wars. The front I/O Panel is implemented in the top panel cover of the chassis and this is not a convenient implementation for the users. The top panel needs some force to pull out and while taking it off, be careful not to put extra pressure as the I/O port cables are pre-routed inside the chassis and it may damage any cable. In order to remove the top panel, the front panel needs to be taken out as well. Again not a handy implementation. Also, take care while pulling out the front panel as the power cable for the LED is pre-routed and connected with the power source. Over pressure could damage the cable or the LED terminal.

There are dust filters on the front panel cover, top panel cover and under the PSU mount under the bottom side. The bottom side dust cover can be removed for cleaning and it is not magnetic. The other dust filters are fixed and can’t be removed. The chassis has support for Standard ATX and microATX form factor motherboards. Graphics cards of up to 400mm length can be installed in the chassis. The CPU Cooler height clearance is up to 150mm or so though there is no such mentioning in the specification of the chassis. PSUs up to the length of 160mm can be installed though there is much room for the cables between the PSU and the storage drive cage.

The storage drive cage is fixed in the middle at the bottom side of the chassis and it has a beautiful shroud that is extending towards the front side of the chassis but not covering the entire length so as to make room for the radiator and the fan on the front side. There is a 5.25” OD bay at the top which can be removed by taking out 6 screws on three sides of this bay. Remove it to make room for 3x 120mm fans on the front or 360mm radiator on the front. There is a graphics card’s support bracket as well in the chassis which is definitely a nice edition.

In terms of the cooling provision, the Antec has gone at length and has provided the ultimate cooling possibilities with this chassis. They have provided two 120mm Blue LED fans preinstalled in the chassis. One is at the front bottom and the other one is on the rear. It is good to see a budget chassis with two fans in it. Up to 7 120mm fans can be installed in this chassis which is mouthwatering for this budget chassis. . 3 fan mounts are on the front, 1 is at the rear and 3 on the top.

The Antec GX330 is listed at PKR 6499/- at the time of the review. Competition is stiff in this price segment. We’ve Corsair Spec-04 listed at less price. We’ve Cooler Master MASTERBOX LITE 5 ATX, Thermaltake Versa N25, N27, Cooler Master 590 III to name a few. Thermaltake has improved the quality of their Versa line with the later models making this segment heck of tough competition.

Given the ultimate cooling potential with 7 120mm fans possibility, number of storage drives mounting, 2x pre-installed fans, overall solid build quality, three dust filters, built-in fan controller, LED lighting on the front and the aggressive design the Antec GX330 can outshine the competition in totality. It comes with 2 years warranty.

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