Assembling the Antec Three Hundred Two

Given that the Antec Three Hundred Two is a fairly simple and staid affair to begin with, it stands to reason assembly would be just as simple and staid. That's mostly true. It's not as easy to put together as something from Corsair might be (currently my standard for ease of build), but it's close enough.

Antec graciously has four motherboard mounts already in place, something Cooler Master couldn't be bothered to include in an enclosure four times as expensive, and once again it's a small touch but it's a welcome one that speeds up the assembly. Where things do go a little bit south is in the wiring for the two Antec TwoCool fans that are included; their fan controllers are both externally accessible on the back of the enclosure, but the 140mm fan requires a four-pin molex connector while the 120mm fan's three-pin cable is too short to actually reach the fan header on the motherboard. As a result I had to use an adaptor cable I had laying around to actually wire the rear fan. Obviously, choice of motherboard plays a role here, so YMMV.

Nearly everything else after that point was smooth sailing. The toolless rails that Antec includes for mounting 3.5" drives are slick pieces of engineering; they slot into the screw holes on the drive, but you can actually pick up the drive by the rail and it won't fall off. 5.25" drives also benefit from a toolless locking mechanism that's among the best I've seen in the enclosures I've tested, feeling remarkably secure despite only locking in on one side.

The two places the assembly got at all hung up were the 2.5" drive mount on the bottom of the enclosure, and the metal extrusion from the motherboard tray that holds the power supply in place. I'm still not a fan of having to screw a 2.5" drive into the bottom of a case, and there's just no good way to orient it. If you face the drive's ports to the open side of the case, there's barely enough space to get a power cable in there, much less a SATA cable. If you face the drive's ports to the back of the case, there's no cutout in the tray to route the cables and you have to feel them out.

Mounting the power supply was a bit of an ordeal until I just grabbed a pair of pliers and bent the metal extrusion upward. It took some pressure off the power supply, but also allowed me to fit the thing in there to begin with. Problem solved. Again, component selection could help here; our SilverStone Strider 750W PSU is by no means massive, but it is 180mm while other PSUs are only 160mm.

Wiring everything up after all of this was mostly a breeze, though the Three Hundred Two would've benefitted from slightly bigger routing holes in the motherboard tray. They're rounded off to make things safe, but they could stand to be larger. That said, most of the complaints in assembly are minor; the Three Hundred Two comes together quite well, and getting the back panel on was surprisingly easy. Where assembly is concerned, the Three Hundred Two is a smart design.

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

    What's the point? For the one person who has a Zalman Reserator still?
    That said, nice enough case, but my go-to case is still the Fractal Design Define R3. It just seems to do everything for everybody (as long as your graphics card fits), in a compact size, and sleek P180-esque design.
    Reply
  • cjs150 - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    I love watercooling my rig but have never used the water cooling holes on any case.

    Even if I were to use the holes, the positioning on the Antec is just weird. Because the Antec is not too tall you could place a radiator on top of the case with fans actually in the case either pulling cool outside air through the rad and into case or pushing slightly warmer air (not as good but good enough most of the time) from case through radiator and out. Either way you would want the water cooling holes to line up with the inlets on the radiator - and they do not so you would have to mod the top of this case.

    Is a bit of a shame because this could be a nice case to use for watercooling with a 240 radiator in front and on top - need to rip top off and remodel though.

    I guess I will go back to the Arc Midi
    Reply
  • bassetwrangler - Friday, January 27, 2012 - link

    As a regretful former owner of a Zalman Reserator, I find it an obvious fantasy that there still exists even one functional example. I dismembered the over complicated carcass of mine, recycling as much as possible, so that it might never reconstitute itself once again into a worthless beeping nightmare. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, January 28, 2012 - link

    I have a Silverstone TJ08-E and had to cut holes in the back myself (used the place above PCI brackets) because I use an external radiator mounted to the side of the case. A lot of people with high-end water cooling use external radiators with 3x3 120mm/140mm fans and need those holes. So there are good reasons for having them and usually they don't bother those who don't need them. However, here they are unfortunately placed very strangely and viewable. :-/ Reply
  • doctormonroe - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    I am not a fan of having fan holes behind the motherboard, I used to own a Thermaltake V9, which had such a feature and all it did was allow dust to accumulate on the back of the motherboard. Reply
  • Arbie - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    A case vent behind the motherboard is actually a good idea. Even if you don't put a fan there, it is one of the few places where a simple hole makes sense. Being shielded from the main cavity, it won't let much noise leak out. But air will find its way, and will circulate around much of the mobo perimeter and rear surface to get there.

    This assumes, of course, that you are running at least a slight positive pressure, which I think is the only sensible thing to do (see other posts). Otherwise you will get dust, as you note.
    Reply
  • sajid - Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - link

    this is reply to "Fan behind the motherboard tray" by Sajid at 11:41 AM Reply
  • Boogaloo - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    I managed to get an original 300 for $30 through a rebate and sale lining up. Didn't need it at the time but figured cases don't go bad. Then USB 3.0 came out :/ Reply
  • Taft12 - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    Cases don't go bad thanks to devices like this!

    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82...
    Reply
  • KineticHummus - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    How can that supply usb 3.0? it uses a usb 2.0 internal connection... Reply

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