Antec Twelve Hundred V3 Review
The Antec Twelve Hundred V3 case is a big case and comes in an equally BIG box. Which is always a good thing (bigger is better, right?), so right from the start it seems like your gonna get plenty for £130. The case was well packaged and no issues were found during the un-boxing process.
In addition to the case itself there was a user manual, warranty document (3 years!), survey document and a manual addendum that detailed the new (V3 only) USB 3 installation and the mounting mechanism for an SSD.
So let’s have a look at the case and see what’s what…
The front of the case houses 3 120mm blue LED fans (all 3 are adjustable), each one of these fans effectively sits in one of the 3 internal hard drive cages (each cage supporting up to 3 drives). At the top of the front of the case a angled section contains the power and reset switches, audio and mic 3.5mm sockets, x2 USB2 ports, a USB3 port and a blue HDD/SSD activity LED. The very top of the case houses a 200mm fan that is also adjustable via the control panel on the rear of the case.
Below you can see the rotary fan control (first image), one for each of the 3 front intake fans. Each of these fans also has an associated dust filter that can be accessed by moving the drive cage forward about an inch or so. The final image shows the fan control panel that can be found on the back of the case. This panel allows adjustment of the x2 120mm rear fans and the top 200mm, the fans can be adjusted via a switch that allows for a High, Medium and Low settings. In addition to this the panel also allows the LEDs of the top 200mm fan to be switched on/off.
The rear of the case houses x2 blue LED 120mm exhaust fans, both of which can be controlled by the rear control panel shown above. In addition to the regular motherboard backplate and expansion slots the case’s lower expansion slot is specifically designed to allow a USB3 cable to be routed from the front of the case to the rear, providing USB3 connectivity at the front panel. This is not the most elegant of designs, but works none the less. The rear of the Antec Twelve Hundred V3 also has 2 holes (with grommets) should you wish to embark on some water cooling.
The left side of the case (released by a couple of thumbscrews) sports a clear perspex side window that also has support for an additional (not supplied) 120mm fan to provide some additional graphics card cooling. It’s worth noting here that the fan once fitted may be very close to the top of your CPU Cooler if it’s particularly tall…
Once inside you get a feel for the internal space on offer by the Antec Twelve Hundred V3 (it’s vast) and looking at the 6 molex fan connectors hanging inside, the case is already promising to be rather cool (pun intended!). There is also an additional 120mm fan mount (fan not included) in the central drive cage allowing for a additional airflow over the graphics card/s and or CPU cooler. This mount can actually be attached to any of the 3 drive cages providing even further cooling options.
To the right of the PSU mount is a location for a single SSD, the drive is supported by 4 rubber washers that are attached to the case by 4 screws.
The right side of the case has an area for cable management and also houses a very large CPU cut-out, far better than the cut-outs in the last 2 cases that I have looked at (yes that’s you Silverstone & NZXT!).
The power supply sits atop 4 rubber mounts to help reduce vibration through the case.
So it all looks great, so far so good, let’s get my rig components installed and see how it performs!
courtesy of Antec
- 13 drive bays
– External 3 x 5.25″; Internal 9 x 3.5″ for HDD, or
– External 6 x 5.25″; Internal 6 x 3.5″ for HDD, or
– External 9 x 5.25″; Internal 3 x 3.5″ for HDD or
– External 12 x 5.25 for HDD
– Internal 1 x 2.5″ SSD bottom mount also included
- Maximum video card size: 17.5″/444mm (Note: some video cards may require removal of the adjacent hard drive cage)
- Compatible Motherboards: Mini-ITX, microATX, Standard ATX
- Unique power supply option: Mounts either a standard size power supply or Antecs exclusive CP Series power supply
- Perforated front bezel for enhanced air intake
- Washable air filters reduce dust build-up in your system
- Advanced cooling system:
– 1 top 200mm Big Boy 200™ blue LED fan
– 2 rear 120mm TriCool™ blue LED fan
– 3 front 120mm blue LED fan
– 1 (optional) side 120mm fan to cool graphics cards
– 1 (optional) middle 120mm fan to cool CPU or graphics cards
– Water cooling platform for reservoir or pump
– Compatible w/ Antec’s 200mm Radiator (designed exclusively for the Twelve Hundred)
- CPU cut-out allows for easy installation of CPU coolers
- 7 expansion slots for greater customizability
- Top mounted I/O ports for easy access
– 2 x USB 2.0
– 1 x eSATA
– HD Audio In and Out
- Top component tray stores your music player, camera and more
– 22.9″ (H) x 8.4″ (W) x 20.2″ (D)
– 582mm (H) x 213mm (W) x 513mm (D)
I have been aware of the Antec Twelve Hundred case for some time and to be honest I have always wanted to get my hands on one. So it was great to see the Twelve Hundred arrive at pcGameware in its latest V3 form. First impressions are great, a good looking sizeable case with 13 drive bays, x3 120mm intake fans, x2 120mm exhaust fans and a 200mm exhaust fan. Couple this with adjustable fan control (yes that’s right all 6 of them!), USB3, water cooling options, additional fan options and blue LED lights, what more could you want?
The case is made from high quality materials throughout, with the main construction of the case being steel and plastic. I could find very little (well nothing!) to really moan about as far as quality and design goes. If being really picky I would ask, do we really need 6 separate molex connectors for the fans? 1 or 2 may have been enough and would keep cabling down to a minimum. Also the front USB3 is a basic implementation and obviously could be better, but I know this was just a mod of the case (V3 only) specifically to bring USB3 (replaces the V2 eSATA port) to the front of the case.
Big cases, like the Antec Twelve Hundred, are great to work with due to the ease of installation brought about by the fact that you don’t find your self hanging upside down using just your little finger to try and fit a component. So as you would guess the installation of my rig components was rather easy and totally painless.
My rather large Corsair AX1200 power supply was fitted atop the rubber mounts and secured via the 4 normal screws without issue. Once the motherboard and its associated components (MB, CPU, Cooler & RAM) had been assembled the MB was installed into the case and secured to the case’s MB stand-offs with 9 screws.
It’s worth mentioning (again) at this point that the Antec case has a large well positioned CPU cut-out that easily provided access to the rear mount points for my CPU Cooler. Something that other case manufacturers seem to be struggling with!?
The case also easily swallowed my pair of GTX 580s, again without issue. Although it was noted that due to the length of the NVIDIA GTX 580 the optional fan mount could not be used as the fan fouled the back of the card. With shorter graphic cards this would not be an issue.
Finally it was time to mount my SSD, there is only one specific mount point for this, and it’s located on the base of the case. The SSD sits above 4 rubber mounts and is secured by the way of 4 screws. With the components now inside then case it was time to look at connecting it all up.
First the cables that provide USB2, USB3 and audio to the front of the case were loomed out of the way in the top drive cage as I don’t use these and I hate unsightly cabling (the less cables the better AFAIK).
As the Corsair AX1200 is fully modular the first task was to fit the 2 main power supply cables to the MB. These were routed through the cable cut-outs with the majority of the cable hidden in the right side of the case. Next up the 4 PCIe cables were fitted to power up the 2 GTX 580’s followed by the power and data cables for the SSD.
Finally it was time to power up the 6 fans and at this point I was a little disappointed to see (well I did spot them earlier, obviously!) 6 molex connectors. Now as my power supply cables only support up to 4 molex connectors per cable, that meant that I was gonna need 2 cables (that’s right one more than I wanted to use).
Finally the cables for Power, Reset and the LED indicator were fitted and the rig was good to go…
As I also fitted a new SSD (see here) during the build, a new installation of Windows 7 Home Premium (Service Pack 1) was installed, along with the relevant Drivers. I will be using Prime95 and Core Temp to help evaluate CPU temperatures and I will be using MSI Afterburner to help evaluate the GPU temperatures. To help generate some heat in the case I will also be utilising the following benchmarks:
CPU performance tesing was carried out using Prime95 to stress the CPU. Each run was timed at 30 mins and the max temperature reading for each core was noted. Testing was carried out at both 4.3GHz and at 4.8GHz.
GPU performance testing was carried out by running each benchmark for 15 minutes and then recording the maximum GPU temperature recorded (2 temps in my case (no pun intended!) as my rig has an SLI setup).
From a performance point of view the main area that we want to focus on is cooling. Let’s see how the CPU and GPU cooling of the Antec Twelve Hundred V3 compares against my default case the Silverstone FT02 among others.
- CPU Cooling Results – (all fans at high)
|Case||CPU Speed||CPU Voltage||Ambient Temperature||CPU Temp (avg cores)||Delta Temperature|
|Antec Twelve Hundred V3||4.3GHz||1.272||23.0||58.25||35.25|
|Antec Twelve Hundred V3||4.8GHz||1.460||22.0||73.00||51.00|
* This table shows the cooling capability of the case at both 4.3GHz & 4.8GHz.
- CPU Cooling Results Antec Twelve Hundred V3 – (fans @ Low, Medium & High)
|CPU Speed||Fan Speed||Ambient Temperature||CPU Temp (avg cores)||Delta Temperature|
* This table shows (Antec only) the scaling of CPU temperatures across different fans speeds at both 4.3GHz & 4.8GHz.
- GPU (GTX 580 SLI) Cooling Results – (all fans at high)
|Case||Benchmark||Ambient Temperature||GPU 1 Max Temperature||GPU 2 Max Temperature|
|Silverstone FT02B||3DMark 11||22.5||79.0||73.0|
|Silverstone FT02B||Metro 2033||22.5||81.0||73.0|
|Silverstone FT02B||Unigine Heaven||23.0||81.0||73.0|
|NZXT Phantom||3DMark 11||23.0||82.0||74.0|
|NZXT Phantom||Metro 2033||23.0||83.0||74.0|
|NZXT Phantom||Unigine Heaven||23.0||84.0||74.0|
|Antec Twelve Hundred V3||3DMark 11||22.5||80.0||70.0|
|Antec Twelve Hundred V3||Metro 2033||22.5||81.0||70.0|
|Antec Twelve Hundred V3||Unigine Heaven||23.0||80.0||69.0|
* This table shows GPU cooling ability across various benchmarks for my SLI GTX 580s
- GPU (GTX 580 SLI) Cooling Results Antec Twelve Hundred V3 – (all fans at low)
|Benchmark||Ambient Temperature||GPU 1 Max Temperature||GPU 2 Max Temperature|
* This table shows (Antec only) GPU cooling capability at low fan settings
Well to be fair I think the results speak for themselves; to achieve better CPU cooling than the Silverstone FT02B case is an awesome achievement, as the Silverstone is known to be one of the best (if not the best) CPU Coolers out there! To be within less than 1 degree of the Silverstone at Medium fan speeds is just the icing on the cake.
GPU Cooling is just as good, well to be honest it’s better than good! While GPU1 temps between the Silverstone (the NZXT doesn’t come close) and the Antec are similar, GPU 2 temps are noticeably lower, some 3 – 4 degrees lower.
While High fan speeds brings a greater degree of noise it’s far from unbearable and Medium fan speeds are just fine. So in the big fight against heat the Antec Twelve Hundred V3 wins.
Couple this with a great looking well built case that comes with a long list of features (inc additional cooling options!) and a 3 year warranty, it seems like Antec has the competition licked. Even the price (£130) seems like a bargain when you consider that the Silverstone retails at closer to £220.
So the Antec Twelve Hundred V3 easily wins a pcGameware Gold award. In fact I am so impressed with it that the Silverstone is destined for eBay and my rig page will need updating. Yes that’s right, I’m keeping it!