Introducing the Antec Three Hundred Two

While flagship enclosures are certainly pretty interesting and there are some great deals to be had even just north of $100, competition south of that border is mighty fierce and only becomes more so as manufacturers refresh their lineups with the latest trends and advances in chassis design. We've seen a lot of great options for end users looking to save some scratch, but haven't had a chance to see what Antec can do in this market...until now. Antec is launching their new Three Hundred Two chassis, and if you're an enthusiast on a budget looking for the best cooling you can get without spending up for it, this may be the case for you.

Superficially there doesn't appear to be much that Antec has done to modernize the Three Hundred while keeping the price down, but once you get inside you'll see there's more going on than meets the eye. While the Three Hundred Two is set to be a bit pricier than its predecessor, you'll see there are plenty of good reasons to take the plunge anyhow. Here's the rap sheet:

Antec Three Hundred Two Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25"
Internal 6x 3.5", 2x 2.5"
Cooling Front 2x 120mm fan mount
Rear 1x 120mm Antec TwoCool exhaust fan
Top 1x 140mm Antec TwoCool exhaust fan
Side 1x 120mm fan mount; 1x 120mm fan mount behind motherboard tray
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 8
Front I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, mic and headphone jacks
Top I/O Port -
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 12" (Expansion Cards), 170mm (CPU HSF), 200mm (PSU)
Weight 15.3 lbs (6.9 kg)
Dimensions 20.2" x 9" x 18.5" (413mm x 229mm x 471mm)
Price MSRP $79

It's actually kind of unusual to see a case that doesn't support a top-mounted 240mm radiator these days, but when you're dealing with a $79 case it's an omission that shouldn't feel like a major one. Instead Antec gives us an eighth expansion slot, which in my opinion is actually a bit more useful. I know some users are skeptical, but I've personally gotten enough mileage out of eighth slots in cases that I can definitely see their use. Note also that Antec is again using a negative pressure design, but wait until you see the performance numbers.

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

    The curves on the front edges simply don't fit the rest of the design.
  • GuyIncognito_ - Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - link

    They are hideous.
  • Azsen - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    The 2.5" slot at the bottom of the case does not work at all. I got the Antec 200 v2 recently and an Asus motherboard with SATA 6G cables that bend 90 degrees and look like this:

    So you can't fit your 2.5" SSD in the bottom and use the 90 degree connector because there's no room because the bottom of the case gets in the way. Then you can't just swap the connector ends around and use the straight connector on the drive because on the Asus motherboard the system panel pins (PWR, HDD, LEDs etc) get in the way so you can't use the 90 degree connector there either.

    So my choices were
    a) Abandon the 2.5" slot down the bottom, or
    b) Buy a SATA 6G cable with two straight ends.

    In the end I ended up screwing it into a 3.5" slot from one side and it's suspended there. Probably going to snap off with the weight soon so I'll be forced to shell out for the 3.5 -> 2.5" converter.
  • Burticus - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    At first I thought this was taking the original Three Hundred and changing what I consider to be the achilles heel.... the hard drive mounts. They re-oriented them to face outwards instead of inline which is awesome. USB 3 is nice.

    Front these pics and the ones on Newegg, it looks like they got rid of the front 2 120mm fans and the removable filter. The front filter is still there, and they added a power supply intake filter. But they did away with the front 2 120mm fans and made them "optional". So be prepared to pick up a couple extra fans. Honestly on my original Three Hundred I replaced the 120mm fans anyway because they were a little noisy.

    FYI this is $69 at Newegg right now, so I think we might see some sub $50 sales in the future.
  • bnolsen - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    Side mounted hard drives are vastly inferior for cooling. The brackets block half the air flow even if no hard drives are installed. Additionally it looks as if they got rid of the spacing between the drives.

    From the drive cooling and general airflow this case is a big thumbs down compared with the 300 which is an excellent case for small raid arrays.
  • zero2dash - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    I'm a fan of Antec and have been for years. Loved the P182 (even though it was too big), love my 300, loved building in a 100 a few months ago for a customer.

    That being said - why would anyone buy this over a 300 let alone a BitFenix Outlaw for $49?
    If I'm case shopping, the Outlaw is the case to buy in the sub-$100 market.

    Antec seems to have become fans of redundancy. Forgetting about the Outlaw for a minute - the 100 has a good feature set and a decent price point; the 300, slightly better in both regards. Is Antec's new objective to over-saturate the computer case market with Antec enclosures that are $10-$20 different in price than all their other enclosures, with a minor upgrade here or there? Has Antec really done anything sub-$100 other than take the same case frame, churn out a modified outside, and sell re-hash after re-hash?

    I guess in Antec's world, there is no BitFenix Outlaw (or any other lower end, cheap, high feature-set case....Nzxt Gamma also comes to mind). I guess in their minds, Antec only competes with Antec.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    I'm pretty sure the Three Hundred will be discontinued now and Antec will only make the Three Hundred Two going forward.
  • bnolsen - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    i bought all my antec 300's for $49. I haven't seen this case before, the door is bad, blocking proper air intake. It seems microcenter carries these, i'll probably go take a look since the 302 looks to be a major downgrade.
  • rodrigu3 - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    Buying this case was cheaper than it would have been for me to replace my 6 case fans that have started to die after many years. Seems like a good build.
  • Arbie - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    "Anyway, though I do think AnandTech does some of the best reviews on the net when it comes to cases, I'd love to see them start using the fanbays in these cases. "

    I agree with this. And it would be great to see more discussion of motherboard fan controls, which are the other part of the equation. Mobo reviewers almost always use an open test bed, and either ignore or only briefly mention the hardware and (BIOS) firmware supporting thermal sensors and fan speeds. Some companies (eg Asus) do a far better job of this than others (eg Gigabyte) but get no credit for it on the review sites.

    Personally, I'd much rather have a thorough set of sensors and controls (which I will absolutely use) than a second graphics slot which will just sit empty. And I think that in reality most DIY folks would be better served that way. But fans and cooling are a lot less glamorous than graphics boards, so any mobo built like that would get killed in the press.

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