At Computex earlier this year, Antec showed us a prototype of the Skeleton. We recently received a sample of the final product. The whole chassis looks different now, which is good. Let's first start with a quick discussion of the case functionality. Who would need or want something like this? Frankly, I don't. I like small and sleek cases, preferably stored under my desk where I don't see or hear the PC. However, this case may be great for people that frequently change motherboard jumpers, and add or reconfigure other items. Some might even like the appearance of the case, which is a highly subjective area; many of us think it looks rather ugly, but as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

If you're mostly interested in the functionality, the outward appearance is rather irrelevant. Form follows function and that is an important part of this chassis. It looks somewhat like a lunar station with its half-moon structure and the large 250mm fan in the top. The front has the usual buttons and jacks: power, IEEE1394 FireWire, two USB ports, an eSATA port, and headset and microphone jacks. On the left side we find the reset button as well as a small status LED embedded in the plastic frame.

All of the cables hang out the back of the case, since there is nowhere to hide them. In the center of the chassis is a mounting plate for a large ATX motherboard, and as we will below you can slide the tray out of the chassis. The back has a thin clear acrylic frame installed that helps provide support for expansion cards (i.e. graphics cards). Below the motherboard in the back is the tray for the power supply. The sides feature a metal plate perforated with hexagonal shapes, and like the motherboard tray the PSU tray is removable. The fan in the top can be turned on and off with a small switch at the back, and a second switch allows you to control the LED lights.

Installing the components is fairly easy. You can slide the whole inside of the frame out the back by removing two screws on each side in the back. The power supply mounts in a small cage that can also slide out off the main frame. You can use a variety of power supplies, with an 80mm fan or 120mm fan, though a model with an 80mm fan would make more sense in this case since there are fewer obstructions to block airflow. After installing the main components, the motherboard easily slides into the frame and you can tighten the screws.


Houston? We have a problem.

Unfortunately, we couldn't install our three NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultras since we could not slide the motherboard tray back into the chassis. As you can see above, the first and last graphics cards collide with the upper part of the chassis. However, if your graphics card does not have a bulge like the 8800 Ultra you will not have this problem. In addition, we were able to slide the motherboard tray into the chasses without the cards and maneuver them into the slots inside of the chassis (though this required more effort than usual). The installation of all the other components went without problem.

Antec delivers a very sturdy case with the Skeleton and it's already available in the U.S. Europe still doesn't have any in stock, and the one shop that lists the Skeleton is asking €340 ($465) for it. The U.S prices are a little more moderate, starting at $140. Whether you find that price acceptable or not is for you to decide. However, there is another issue to consider. An open case like this does not have any EMI protection, which means in the worst case you will have problems with radio and/or TV reception when the system is on, particularly if it's near your stereo/television. Despite that, the case is something new in a market full of normal, dull cases. The exclusivity alone will attract some customers; there are certainly users who frequently swap components or simply like the unique design who will be interested in getting their claws on the Skeleton.

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  • Ratman6161 - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    I'm a dog person myself, but my wife is a cat person has four of the furry little ba$&@%)$. So in my house, that motherboard would be encrusted with a combination of cat hair and dust within about three seconds! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, October 16, 2008 - link

    I don't know... some of the dogs I know might mistake this for some sort of fire hydrant and decide to mark it as their own. Definitely not a case for anyone with pets or children, I think we can all agree. Reply
  • Ratinator - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    That heat sink near the audio connectors....is it supposed to be bent and looking like it is lifting off the board or is that somethign you had to do to get the video card to fit? Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    I saw that only from the pics, never recognized before. No idea how that happend ;) Reply
  • Randybob - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    No cooling information? Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    Open up your current case, you will then have the same temperature your CPU would have in that case. Since it is open there is not much difference as the mobo would just lie on the table. The additional airflow from the top just keeps it at room temp, can't be less ;) Reply
  • judeau - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    If I opened my current case I wouldn't have a giant fan on top of it blowing air. I don't expect it to drop below room temp but I want to know how close to room temp it stays as you pump power through it.

    How loud is that 250mm fan? How much air does it push? In the article you say you wouldn't want it on your desk because computers are loud. How loud was this case compared to others? Obviously 3 vid cards will make it quite loud but is it possible to get a decent setup that woudl be quiet?

    I think Randybob is just confused since this review doesn't do any of the standard benchmarking/comparisons usually seen at anandtech like their recent review of the HTPCs which had temp readings, fan speed info and noise info.

    Overall I'm a little dissapointed there wern't more details about the case or any testing with it.
    Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    That's why it's called a blog. I want to test it a little longer. In general I use the cases for a few month to check their usability in daily life before writing a review about it.

    As for being quiet, I don't think you are going to build a silent PC with that case :D But the fan is not very loud at all. I will have these readings as well in a following review. Be sure about it...
    Reply
  • judeau - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - link

    My Bad. Didn't realize it was a blog not an actual review. Was showing up top where I usually find reviews and under the "More Reviews" section. It does say blog so I should have realized. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, October 16, 2008 - link

    Most blogs go to the lower area, but there wasn't much else up when I posted this and I figured it was interesting enough to warrant promotion to a "top of page" position. Seems like the number of comments support that, since most blog posts don't get more than 10-20 responses. Even if half of these comments are to say, "Wow, that is one ugly case!" LOL Reply

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