Articles: Cases/PSU

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Antec NSK1380

The Antec NSK1380 is a super-compact system case, close to barebone systems with its dimensions, but fully compatible with microATX mainboards. It means it offers wider assembly and upgrade opportunities.


It is a short and low cube. It is hard to believe at first that it can accommodate a microATX mainboard. This case is going to be appreciated by people who like compact systems. It is easy to find a place on your desk for this one.

The exterior design is demure and laconic, the three silvery buttons being the only eye-catching elements on the black front panel. These are Power, Reset and Eject buttons. The latter opens up the optical drive located in the single 5-inch bay behind a flip-down cover.

Additional connectors are placed below: two USB ports and two audio connectors. Considering the lack of a 3.5-inch bay, it would be good to have an integrated card-reader on the front panel (many barebone systems have one) but the developer didn’t implement it for some reason.

The ventilation is simple: there are two rows of vent holes going along the bottom edge of the side panels and vertical slits between the center and the sides of the front panel.

The back panel has an odd look. The mainboard lies on the bottom of the case, so its connectors are at the bottom, too. In fact, this is Desktop rather than Tower orientation. Most of the back panel is occupied by a 120mm fan – a very large fan for such a small case. Its speed cannot be adjusted manually. Being integrated into the power supply, the fan adjusts its speed depending on the current temperature.

There is a vent hole at the back of the top panel. It is covered with a metallic mesh.

The side panels are two-layered to reduce noise.

The NSK1380 has simpler feet than the above-discussed models – just four small rubber discs. Now I remove the front panel by pushing it backward and the side panels by pulling them forward and have a look inside.

I also take the cage for optical and hard drives out. You just have to pull its back part up – the cage easily turns on two metallic juts and slips out.

There is a rubber damper between the cage and the panel. The developer follows his vibration-reducing policy consistently.

The case is surprisingly roomy inside. The internal side of the front panel left me perplexed. There is a slit in the chassis a card-reader might fit into but the front panel doesn’t allow that as it has no opening there. There is also no opportunity to install a system fan although there is enough room for it here (running a little ahead, I did try to install a 80mm fan between the front panel and the mainboard but found it to have but a small effect on the temperature of the components).

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