Introduction

Antec is no stranger to us when it comes to power supplies, and we have tested many of the latest offerings from the Fremont, California based company. We recently had a short look at the Three Hundred case, a budget offering that still provides a good feature set. Antec asked us if we would be interested in reviewing some of their latest HTPC chassis, and we responded in the affirmative.

Anyone searching for an HTPC case probably has certain things in mind. First is a nice and sleek design that will fit in with the entertainment center in your living room. Placing it there comes with another problem: size. The ideal HTPC case should be small and designed to fit together with a stereo amplifier, game console, and/or DVD player.


We have three cases from Antec that provide very different approaches in terms of size and interior space. All of them come with a nice aluminum front bezel that helps create a high quality appearance. All of them also come with software that provides easily access to media data through a Windows application called iMedian. This includes a VFD (Vacuum Fluorescent Display) installed in each front of the chassis. The three models are:

  • Antec Micro Fusion 350 (includes 350W power supply)
  • Antec Fusion Remote Black
  • Antec Fusion Remote Max

The Micro Fusion is one of Antec's latest offerings in the HTPC sector and comes with a good 350W power supply. We tested this separately with our Chroma of course, and we are surprised by the build quality and good performance it delivered. Each of these three cases come with unique features and therefore target different users. We tested the chassis with the following components:

Test Components
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 (2.2GHz)
Motherboard Asus P5E-VM SE
Memory 4GB OCZ DDR2 PC2-8500 Platinum Series
HDD Western Digital 400GB
CPU Cooler Zalman CNPS7700
Power Supply Antec Signature SG-650W

We took readings while idle on the Windows desktop as well as at full load. To fully load the systems we started BOINC for the CPU and the Fur benchmark for the GPU (IGP chipset). All of the preinstalled fans are adjustable with settings of low, medium, and high speed. We will include results for all three fan speeds at both idle and load.

Antec Micro Fusion 350
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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

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