Introducing the Antec Three Hundred Two

While flagship enclosures are certainly pretty interesting and there are some great deals to be had even just north of $100, competition south of that border is mighty fierce and only becomes more so as manufacturers refresh their lineups with the latest trends and advances in chassis design. We've seen a lot of great options for end users looking to save some scratch, but haven't had a chance to see what Antec can do in this market...until now. Antec is launching their new Three Hundred Two chassis, and if you're an enthusiast on a budget looking for the best cooling you can get without spending up for it, this may be the case for you.

Superficially there doesn't appear to be much that Antec has done to modernize the Three Hundred while keeping the price down, but once you get inside you'll see there's more going on than meets the eye. While the Three Hundred Two is set to be a bit pricier than its predecessor, you'll see there are plenty of good reasons to take the plunge anyhow. Here's the rap sheet:

Antec Three Hundred Two Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25"
Internal 6x 3.5", 2x 2.5"
Cooling Front 2x 120mm fan mount
Rear 1x 120mm Antec TwoCool exhaust fan
Top 1x 140mm Antec TwoCool exhaust fan
Side 1x 120mm fan mount; 1x 120mm fan mount behind motherboard tray
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 8
Front I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, mic and headphone jacks
Top I/O Port -
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 12" (Expansion Cards), 170mm (CPU HSF), 200mm (PSU)
Weight 15.3 lbs (6.9 kg)
Dimensions 20.2" x 9" x 18.5" (413mm x 229mm x 471mm)
Price MSRP $79

It's actually kind of unusual to see a case that doesn't support a top-mounted 240mm radiator these days, but when you're dealing with a $79 case it's an omission that shouldn't feel like a major one. Instead Antec gives us an eighth expansion slot, which in my opinion is actually a bit more useful. I know some users are skeptical, but I've personally gotten enough mileage out of eighth slots in cases that I can definitely see their use. Note also that Antec is again using a negative pressure design, but wait until you see the performance numbers.

In and Around the Antec Three Hundred Two
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  • TerdFerguson - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    It runs a cable from a USB3 port on the back of the machine.
  • Ammaross - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    "It runs a cable from a USB3 port on the back of the machine."

    Which, NOTE TO ARTICLE AUTHOR, is an excellent use of those water-cooling holes in the back of cases. :)
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    I'd be more inclined to agree if it wasn't for 20-30% of reviews being 1 or 2 egg wasn't the norm for almost all devices like that. That many unhappy customers means that something is definitely not being done right.
  • bill4 - Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - link

    Well why dont you just look at the reviews? There's only 12 of them.

    It appears most of the poor reviews are whining that it doesnt add a USB 3.0 port it just reroutes from the back. Well DUH. The other thing is people whining that the card readers are only USB 2.0.

    Damn, Americans are whiny. If people focused 1/10 their energy on what our govt is doing as they do whining about corporations and products, we might be ok in this country.
  • justaviking - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    "but anything sound of 40C"

    I expect you meant to say "anything SOUTH of 40C"
  • Peroxyde - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    And how about ""anything below 40C"
    It's shorter and it says exactly what it means. Why use convoluted words which, in addition, could be misleading. South is interpreted differently between habitants in Northern and Southern hemispheres.
  • justaviking - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    What am I missing? Airflow is airflow.

    Whether the flow is induced by pushing air in (which must exhaust somewhere), or by sucking air out (which much come in from somewhere), what's the difference? The two critical things are the amount of air that flows over your components, and if that air has already been warmed by flowing over other components first.

    It's not like we're significantly pressurizing the case and increasing the air density.

    Can someone please educate me?
  • Arbie - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    With negative pressure - as you note - the air has to come from somewhere. It comes in through every opening in your case, no matter how small. So you get dust all over the internals. This impairs heat transfer from those elements, thus degrading the overall cooling. So you don't want it; simple as that. Why it keeps popping up as a good idea is beyond me.

    I don't know this case myself but imagine that it can just as well be arranged for a moderate amount of positive pressure, by changing fan directions and possibly adding filters. Or find a better-designed case. Unfortunately, not many manufacturers really think about what we need.

    And the situation isn't helped by niggling about $10 more or less in price, as this article does. That's down in the noise level for people designing and building their own PCs. I probably spent $200 experimenting with fans on my last build, until I got everything just right. An extra $50 spent on getting a properly designed case (lots of input fans with removable filters) would be well worth it.
  • justaviking - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    That makes sense.

    Dust coming in "randomly" from all over, rather than being forced through filters (which can be cleaned) allows more dust to accumulate on the components.

    So it's less about the airflow and more about dust management. I never looked at it that way before.

  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    Don't forget that a lack of dust management can quickly come to impact long term airflow as well.

    While a case utilizing negative pressure might still perform adequately in reviews like this one (great review by the way!), long term performance might degrade appreciably if dust isn't regularly cleaned.

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