- Created on 17 November 2008
PC cases tend to come in two very familiar forms: the desktop case stands horizontally and the tower case stands vertically. However, Antec seems intent on breaking the mould with the new Skeleton case.
The Antec Skeleton (as the name may suggest) is a case cut down to the bare bones. There are no distinct panels to the case or indeed anything to really prevent access to the internals. With this in mind, it isn't really suitable for use as a family computer. However as an open and easily accessible system for component testing or overclocking it has real potential.
The main frame of the Antec Skeleton is manufactured in silver from reinforced plastic with a rolled steel subframe for component installation. The overall dimensions of the skeleton are 33.02 cm(H) x 37.6 cm(W) x 41.9 cm(D) giving it a footprint slightly smaller than that of a standard desktop case. The bar across the front of the case houses ports for two USB 2.0, a FireWire (IEEE1394), an eSATA, and also in and out audio (AC97’ and HDA compatible) ports.
Installation (even with the limited manual included) is very simple with the removable tray design. The metal subchassis of the case can be removed by undoing two thumb screws. The motherboard is installed on the top of the tray system directly beneath the large fan system. There is room for seven expansion cards although we found installation of PCI expansion cards a slightly worrying prospect due the flexibilty of the clear plastic bar that they are secured to, but there were no breakages even though we tested it quite rigorously
Beneath this at the front left of the case is space for installation of two 5.25” optical drives and the the front right room for two 3.5” hard drives. There is room for mounting a further four 3.5” hard drives along the sides of the case although this seemed to us rather a risk to drives. The Skeleton case doesn't come with a power supply installed although Antec provide a great range of power supplies (as our recent review of the Antec Signature 850W attests). Installation of the power supply is straightforward in a simple removable housing secured by a sprung metal clip and screw.
Ventilation and cooling aren't really too much of a concern with the Skeleton case with a top mounted, three speed 250mm fan with multicolor LEDs (with various colour schemes, including off) and an optional 92mm fan for cooling the two internal 3.5" bays. Whether the fans are really totally necessary with such an open system is difficult to determine, but it is important to maintain airflow of some kind over the northbridge to aid heat dissapation.
In summary, there are going to be in our opinion people that will love this case and those that don't. As a test bed the Skeleton case is excellent, providing easy access and superb cooling, however as part of a more standard setup for family computing it is definitely flawed due to the very same accessability. Definitely a concept case for the future, and potentially a new blueprint for further case design and adaptation, you can be sure that there isn't anything else like it out there!
Amazon: Antec Skeleton