Let’s try to figure out how you are supposed to install HDDs in this system case.
First of all, you open the door by releasing three latches in the left part of the case. Yes, the front panel is actually a door. You can see now 5-inch bays with brackets you have to tear off. The bottom 5-inch bay has rails for a floppy drive or card-reader. At the bottom there is another door with an air filter. It is closed by means of two thumbscrews.
It’s simple with the optical drives: you take a pair of guides from the bottom of the case, attach it to the drive and insert it into the appropriate bay. By the way, there are two sets of guides – the second set is hidden at the bottom of the HDD cage.
The card-reader’s rails are quite ordinary.
Now you can open the second door to access the HDD cage. I recommend you to remove the external door altogether for the sake of convenience. It is easy – you only have to pull it up. Frankly speaking, I don’t understand why the doors open into different directions. It is inconvenient especially as each door opens by about 90 degrees at most. When the PC is assembled, it is easy to access the HDDs from here, but why does the external door have locks that are not accessible without opening the side panel?
There are two ways of fastening HDDs in the cage. One is simple: you attach rails to the drive using soft damping pads and long screws. Then you insert it into the cage.
The second way is original. It uses the mentioned caps connected with rubber bands. The HDD is inserted between two pairs of bands. To fix it in place you have to remove the caps corresponding to these bands and turn them clockwise (or counterclockwise as Antec is not specific on the point). When the bands get tight, you return the caps back into the case.
Antec proposes this fastening method to minimize vibrations but I wouldn’t recommend it to you. The damping pads on the rails are quite enough while being much more reliable. If you use the rubber bands, the HDD may just slip out them because of vibrations or misalignment. And you have to open the other side panel to use this fastening mechanism, which is inconvenient.
The mainboard and expansion cards are installed easily using a screwdriver. There are no screw-less fastenings here. Well, I am not against innovations that make the user’s life easier but it is already quite easy to insert poles and screws and have as secure a fastening as could possibly be.
I want to thank the manufacturer for the handy cable straps and wish the case were a couple of centimeters longer. My Radeon HD 3870 fitted in but its power connector nearly hit against the HDDs, provoking some problems.