Articles: Cases/PSU
 

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After taking the U-shaped cover off, we can examine the interior. Not much of it really because the drive mounting plate block the view. Well, let’s just take them away by unfastening their screws and have a look at the empty chassis.

There is not much to look at, actually. The chassis consists of a minimum of elements and doesn’t even have a solid top frame: the U-shaped cover rests right on the front and back panels that have small stiffening ribs. These panels are only fastened together by the drive mounting rack we have just removed. On the other hand, we cannot say that the chassis lacks rigidity. Being made from 0.7mm steel, it is rigid enough due to its small dimensions. And when you put on the top cover, which is 0.7mm steel as well, the system case becomes quite a neat and solid brick.

The power supply is located in an unusual place if you are accustomed to standard chassis design. It is right behind the front panel and below the optical drive compartment. A power cord is stretched through the entire interior towards it from the back panel. As is often the case with such small chassis, the bundled power supply is not standard. It has a curious L-shaped design with the fan residing in the protruding part. Only one half of that fan is really utilized for cooling purposes as the result. We guess Antec employed this solution to avoid too small fans which are generally far from comfortable in terms of noisiness. This PSU is called Antec FP-150-8. It is capable of delivering up to 150 watts of power (as our small investigation showed, this is more than enough for compact computers with integrated graphics). It offers the following cables and connectors:

  • Mainboard cable with a 20+4-pin connector (25 cm)
  • CPU cable with a 4-pin connector (25 cm)
  • One cable with two PATA power connectors and one floppy-drive plug (25+20+20 cm)
  • One cable with two SATA power connectors and one mini-SATA connector (25+20+20 cm)
  • One cable with two SATA power connectors (25+20 cm)

This is quite a generous selection of connectors to choose from. The cables are sufficiently long and, running a little ahead, we can even say some of them are too long. There is not much space inside the chassis for excess cabling, after all. On the other hand, we didn’t have any problems laying the cables out in a neat manner.

By the way, we’ve got two varieties of power connectors here: the left one is a standard SATA power connector while the right one is the so-called mini-SATA power connector. The latter is smaller and only has a 5V line. Such mini-SATA connectors can be found in all modern slim optical drives which are used in notebooks due to their traditional size constraints. The 12V line is not used anywhere outside the notebook’s mainboard, so the reduction of the connector is indeed appropriate. We can just note that Antec took this feature into consideration when developing their ISK300-150.

The photo above shows a special frame the TriCool fan is installed into. The speed of the 80mm fan employed in this system case is selected from three values: 1500, 2000 and 2600 RPM. The TriCool series is usually very quiet at minimum speed but rather loud at maximum one. This particular fan is no exception. Interestingly, there are two fan seats in the frame, so you can add a second fan or move the existing one to the other seat. In either case you will have to take the frame out of the chassis, which is quite a problem because you have to shift it and lift it up from small hooks but the power supply gets in the way. Thus, you have to take off the power supply first and this is much easier: the PSU is fastened with a few screws and with hooks positioned across the chassis.

Moving the fan to the neighboring seat proved to be useful for our test configuration. On our mainboard the CPU with heatsink was located farther from the edge than usual, and the fan in its default seat wouldn’t blow directly at the CPU.

The last thing you should do when assembling a computer in this system case is install your drives. First you put your optical drive down on the large frame. By the way, you need a cross-point screwdriver with a very small tip for that because slim optical drives are fastened by means of very, very small screws. HDDs are installed onto a separate frame which is then mounted on the large frame and fastened to the front panel above the optical drive. Take note that the ISK300-150 can only accommodate standard-height HDDs. 3-platter models with a height of 12.5 millimeters just won’t fit in.

The assembly process is easy overall. We didn’t have any troubles laying the extra cables out neatly. We can only add that if you are going to use a mainboard with a faster CPU, you will not be able to install a CPU cooler taller than 80 millimeters. And if your cooler is as broad as to get under the drives’ mounting frames (or the CPU socket is located in such an unlucky way), it will have to be no taller than 50 millimeters.

 
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