Antec 300 Computer Case Quick Review
Antec + Arch LinuxWhat goes inside a computer case matters more than the case-- but a nice case is a pleasure to use, and it runs quieter and cooler. Here's a quick look at the excellent Antec 300.
Even with all the nice specialized network storage devices to choose from, I still like using a PC running Linux as a file and backup server. It's the most flexible option, and I usually have spare parts needing jobs, so it's also inexpensive.
My latest project is building a new backup server for home. We generate a lot of large files: audio, photo, and camcorder, so my chosen storage medium is a big SATA drive. Or two. Or four. Or more. I already had a motherboard with CPU and RAM, power supply, and graphics adapter so all I needed to buy was a case and some hard drives. I like Antec cases and ordered an Antec 300.
The 300 is billed as the ultimate gaming case, but it is also a superior mid-tower case for a server. It is well-built, sturdy, and roomy, and easily accomodates a full-sized ATX board and expansion cards. The side panels and front panel are easy to remove and replace. It comes with two 140mm fans, one at the rear and one on top. The PSU mounts on the bottom.
The front panel has a washable dust filter and room for two optional 120mm fans to cool your hard drives. Everything is held together with nice big thumbscrews; even the hard drives mount quickly with thumbscrews. The internal drive cage holds six 3.5" drives without rails or other fussing, just slide them in from the front and attach them with the thumbscrews. Fast and secure. There are three 5.25" external drive bays.
There are other nice touches like cable organizers, two front panel USB ports, and two front panel audio ports. The power and reset switches are distinctly different from each other, and the reset switch is recessed so you can't press it accidentally. The power and hard drive LEDs are stylin' blue.
My only gripe is the fans have big Molex power connectors instead of nice little 3-pin motherboard connectors. If I really want 3-pin connectors I suppose I can spend a couple bucks for an adapter.
I installed Arch Linux on the new server via a USB thumb drive. My master plan is to automate everything: nightly backups of all computers, automatic shutdowns when the backups are completed, and wake-on-LAN to start everything up in the morning. Stay tuned for details.
Carla Schroder is the author of the Linux Cookbook and the Linux Networking Cookbook (O'Reilly Media), the upcoming Book of Audacity (NoStarch Press), a lifelong book lover, and the managing editor of LinuxPlanet and Linux Today.