Antec Fusion HTPC Shootout

by Christoph Katzer on 10/9/2008 2:00 AM EST
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  • majdus - Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - link

    I want just to know if either the "Antec Micro Fusion 350" or the "Antec Fusion Remote Black" is compatible with mini-itx MBs.That because I want to put in the zotac ion-itx MB

    thanks for help
    Reply
  • SKiZo - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    Okay I had to register just to post a comment for this one,
    I am a proud owner of one of these cases the Antec 430 Black (the middle one) I am completely satisfied with this case despite the issues I've had with it's power supply.
    I bought it to create a HTPC and it accomplishes this role so perfectly I decided throw in a ATI Radeon 4850 and now I play games on my TV at FULL resolution!! Now I COULD easily go on for a minute about what I love about this case but perhaps I should just address the bad (cause there is so little) if I didn't replace my video card I would have never had this issue but I'm glad I did, it even let me see how prompt and efficent Antec is, basically I needed to replace my PSU with a bigger one 650W so I could power my ATI 4850 (1GB) upon doing this I noticed my PSU did not have the same 3-pin connector as the OEM PSU, This rendered my LCD useless. I emailed Antec about the issue just to ask if I was SoL but they informed me they offer a 24-pin extention with the 3-pin adapter for $8 which arrived several days after purchasing it online... AWESOME! thats all I can say Goob Job Antec I will be building my NEW HPC (High Performance PC) in their Skeleton Case 100%
    Reply
  • D3SI - Friday, October 10, 2008 - link


    The volume control knobs; do they actually work well?

    I'm guessing it adjusts the master volume on the system, similar to volume controls on keyboards?

    Reply
  • fri2219 - Thursday, October 09, 2008 - link

    Which was picked out of a lineup by my wife, no less. You should have included it in the round-up for comparison's sake, at least. Boxing together a silent case with this or one of the Fusion series was painless. (Mini-Ninja, AMDx90G uATX board, 2 Yate Loon 120mm fans, Fujitsu notebook drive)

    Over the last year, it has been a great HTPC case, although the power supply's 80mm fan leaves a bit to be desired- it's either getting a fan swap or I'm putting in a Silverstone NightJar PS.

    The one thing that has kept me from getting any of the Fusion series cases is that the drivers for the VFD are utter crap. They were crap a year ago, they are still crap today, and I suspect they will be crap a year from now. (Oh yeah, you want Linux support? What's that?)

    Reply
  • puddnhead - Thursday, October 09, 2008 - link

    I own the Fusion Black 9I guess they are calling int Fusion Black remote now?), have now for over a year, since almost the day it came out. First let me say I agree with comments so far on VFD and volume knob made so far -- each of them has not bee as useful as I'd hoped. In fact I am seriously considering unplugging the VFD power entirely, if I could just get another IR reader.

    The point I want to add, though, is that if you get this case, and are building from scratch (buying new components, not recycling parts you already have), you would be foolish to get the CPU cooler they used in this review, the Zalman CNPS7700. Don't get me wrong, it is a GREAT cooler, I actually own it myself and it is running write now in the very computer I am writing this post on. But it is not a good fit for this case. The cooler I'm using, one that was practically created for this case specifically, is the Scythe Mini Ninja. The beauty of using that cooler as that I can passively cool the CPU with the Mini Ninja, no dedicated fan at all for CPU! Going even past that, I have actually removed both of the Antec Tri-cools 120mm fans and replaced them with just OEN very quiet 120mm case fan which I have plugged into the CPU fan mboard control, and pretty much constantly spins at 600rpm without the CPU going much above 35-40 degrees C!!! In other words I have only two fans: 1 on power supply, the second for everything else (case, CPU) It is AMAZINGLY quiet, you literally have to put your ear right next to it to even hear the fans.

    Go over to silentpcrview site and read Scythe Mini Ninja review there, it was the inspiration for my setup. Seriously, the Scythe Mini Ninja is the no-brainer cooler for this case, so much so that I don't understand whey Antec and Scythe don't just market them together (probably because Antec wants you to buy their own stuff LOL).
    Reply
  • mikefarinha - Thursday, October 09, 2008 - link

    I don't understand why they put a volume knob on these cases. Most of the time they are cheap knock offs of AV recievers; plus they really serve no useful purpose.

    As far as the iMon LCD, I have a SilverStone case that has the iMon LCD and I think it is overrated. It's not that it is bad it just isn't super useful. I think the next cool thing would to have some sort of 4-6 inch multi-touch LCD that could be easily configured through Windows' sideshow feature.

    I know that some highend HTPC cases have the LCDs built into them... now they just need multi-touch :)
    Reply
  • steveyballme - Thursday, October 09, 2008 - link

    These things look sharp!


    http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com">http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com
    Reply
  • Zak - Thursday, October 09, 2008 - link

    Anyone I know, including myself, wouldn't care for two reasons: I shoot RAW and I never show my images to anyone before they're cleaned up and edited on my desktop computer. This is like the last thing I'd need in a HTP:)

    Z.
    Reply
  • rjc - Thursday, October 09, 2008 - link

    I purchased a fusion black a few months ago for a htpc. Due to the better igp i went with amd and a 780G motherboard and low power 4850e cpu.

    As the review mentioned the case is solid and quiet. I have to mention though:
    1) The poor quality of the iMon lcd, the blue colour looked great in the promo material and completely hideous in real life. The contrast is terrible, and displayed text illegible from more than few feet away.
    2) The lcd includes a ir receiver that works really poorly unless the remote is placed directly in front of it.
    3) Included antec drivers are poor and old as well as the ones on antec website, ones downloaded directly from iMon website are much better.
    4)The fans on the side of the case are not software controllable in any way. Have to open case to adjust speed, say faster for middle of summer or encoding overnight, or slower in winter or watching quiet movies.
    5) Insufficient length on the 4pin atx power cable, which ended up stretched across cpu cooler, sure it will set fire to my place sometime in the future. Didnt even have a graphics card which would have made the situation worse.

    Anyway, i guess i could tape across the lcd. It lights my whole lounge room at night, giving everything an eerie blue glow. God knows what the neighbors think. And i guess the ir receiver intermittent functioning is helping my fitness.
    Reply
  • Chris Simmo - Thursday, October 09, 2008 - link

    With the latest iMon software available from the iMon website, you can adjust the LCD contrast, dropping it down a bit leaves the screen very readable, with the background really the only bit that drops its lighting.
    I hate the iMon reciever though. I have set mine up for use purely with the remote (though still need a keyboard as windows isn't exactly perfect, got a logitech diNovo mini, suits really well for HTPC), and the reciever is not active when you resume from sleep, due to it not having a human interface driver. So I disabled it and use a windows media remote reciver.
    I don't think its much of a problem with the fans. I recently upgraded but the original was a P4 3.0 with an 8600GT in it, and it was always quiet and only warm with the fans on low, even in an enclosed space. Now switched to a phenom tricore with gigabyte 780G based MB and its just as good. Did replace the stock HSF cause the standard one sucks.
    I got the Fusin black 430, it comes with an antec 430W PSU, and it had plenty of length in the cables, though for most PSUs, the 4/8pin conections arn't long enough for alot of antec cases due to the posisioning of the PSU.
    Reply
  • Chris Simmo - Friday, October 10, 2008 - link

    Just read on the iMon forums that the newer cases remote recievers have had that HID problem fixed. I still don't think they are reliable though Reply
  • joeythecat - Thursday, October 09, 2008 - link

    More comments.

    I have the silver Fusion which comes with a VFD instead of the LCD, and contrast looks much better. But like you said, driver support is horrible and my VFD consistently freezes or displays garbage, and I have to actually unplug the power cable to reset it, just rebooting the PC doesn't do it.

    And yes the IR receiver sucks. Although one nice feature is that it works with the MS MCE remote. But its easy enough to disable the IR from the software and not have to deal with it.

    Overall, I'm fairly happy with the case, but I wish I got the one WITHOUT the built in VFD so that I can put in a card reader instead.
    Reply
  • jajig - Thursday, October 09, 2008 - link

    Expanding on a couple of your comments with my thoughts:

    1) I have the same case and agree that iMon LCD is of poor quality. I wouldn't say it is as bad as you make out though. The contrast is adjustable; it took me about 10 minutes, but the display looks nice now.

    2)ir receiver is useless. For some people it is too sensitive and gets interference from other remote controls and for others it just doesn't seem to work.
    Reply
  • SirKronan - Thursday, October 09, 2008 - link

    AGAIN Antec misses a HUGE feature that should be included or at least a possibility! There's nothing more convenient than pulling that card out of your SLR and immediately being able to display your high resolution photos on your big screen after a trip. Antec again fails to even provide a SLOT for such a device. Only one 5.25 bay.

    The 120mm fans and superior design are wins, and I would love to have one of these, especially the Fusion, as part of my home theater, but I don't want to have to plug in my camera or use an external card reader. More sleek and simple is always preferred in home theater setups. Not everybody needs a card reader in their HTPC, but it's still a PC and a logical place for a convenient card reader.

    It doesn't have to even be visible. Cover it by a flap or put it on the side, as I have seen some cases do. All that space on the front, the MAX even has a flap, and still no option.

    /rant
    Reply
  • puddnhead - Thursday, October 09, 2008 - link

    "Huge?" you're kidding, right? They put the standard interface USB ports right on the front. Every media format in the world has a USB reader available for it like $3. I have this case, and I have two cameras, one xD and one SDHC. maybe i just have more manual dexterity than you but I have no problem plugging either of these into a converter & that into the USB.

    In fact, thank god they just put the USBs on here, instead of some ugly "11-in-1" set of ports for SD, xD, miscroSD, miniSD, CF, blah, blah, blah. I want this to look nice and sleek in my living room, not like some kind of crappy computer with plug sockets all over it that looks like it belongs in an office.
    Reply
  • RMSe17 - Friday, October 10, 2008 - link

    More manual dexterity? How about more childish behavior? The user makes a constructive criticism of the case, and what do you do? Regardless of your view on his opinion, how about acting civil? Reply
  • SirKronan - Friday, October 10, 2008 - link

    Maybe you don't want that feature, but I think a card reader dangling off the front of my home theater equipment, or a USB adapter sitting out a port is ugly, and inconvenient for something we use all the time. And like I said, it doesn't have to be visible. I've seen cases put it under a flap or even on the side.

    My wife likes to be able to bring the SLR home and stick the card right in the front without attaching anything, and I finally found a case that has them integrated. It still looks dang nice (1/4 inch black aluminum front bezel) and the card readers aren't an eyesore at all, as they are completely black, too. This is a convenience that we wanted, but that doesn't mean everyone does. I know another friend of mine returned his Fusion because of this, and I bought something else because of this feature. I wouldn't mind having at least an option to install one, either. Several Silverstone cases have a 3.5 inch external bay hidden behind a flap.

    Oh well. To each his/her own.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, October 10, 2008 - link

    I was going to post the same thing you did. I can see not including a card reader on the Micro model, but especially the largest case with the door should have a card reader behind it. Using a USB card reader is a lot more of a hassle and looks far more out of place than a reader integrated into the system.

    Now I generally wouldn't use this with my SLRs as I shoot all RAW and process, but for family pictures and such would be useful.
    Reply
  • SirKronan - Friday, October 10, 2008 - link

    Yeah, I shoot in RAW for jobs I do for clients, too, but I use the same camera for family stuff too. (some day I'll be able to afford a second body!!) a It's nice to just stick the card right in and sit down with the family to view photos from a trip or a day at the park. My wife takes pictures at all her country concerts, too, and she loves being able to just slap it into the card reader and do a slideshow right on our TV. From there she can instantly burn the images onto a DVD, too. Card readers are much faster than plugging in the camera (up to 15MB/sec on reader vs. 5MB/sec plugging in camera). And Vista (with a free patch) gives you native raw support to at least preview images. Reply
  • ceefka - Thursday, October 09, 2008 - link

    In that case (no pun intended) I suggest you buy a USB adapter stick that can accept whatever card is in your camera and keep that USB adapter close to your HTPC. Reply
  • Windblazer3 - Sunday, July 11, 2010 - link

    I'm looking at buying the Antec Fusion Remote Black case, and I noticed that you said a PSU with an "80 mm fan at the front" would work well with this case.

    I really want to get a quiet, efficient PSU in the 550-650 Watt range, and I was looking at the Antec Signature 650 that you reviewed here (http://www.anandtech.com/show/2632/2), where the 80 mm fan is located at the BACK. Is that PSU not really compatible with this case, then?

    I was also looking at the Corsair VX550W PSU (however, that one seems to run a bit louder in the ranges I'm likely going to load my system) and the Seasonic X-650 PSU.
    Reply

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