When it comes to PC cases and coolers especially those on a budget and to get the job done just right, Antec is a brand that leads the bandwagon. They are just virtually unbeatable in terms of price to performance ratio when it comes to the budget segment products.
Today after a brief break they've sent me over one of their most unique products for review, today I have with me the Antec GX300 Mid Tower Chassis for review! Being the smallest in the famous GX series cases from Antec the GX300 comes with a competitive price tag and is loaded with almost all the bells and whistles one can ask for.
An interesting feature of the case from the get go is that its available in three colors namely as black, white and orange so you can pick the one that best suits your taste or build theme. The case has a transparent side window & supports six HDD/SSD in total and comes with two 120mm blue LED fans pre-installed just to complete the deal.
Packing and Closer Looks
The Antec GX300 comes in a brown non colored cardboard box with the photograph of the product printed in black lines on the front side. The GX300 is printed on top in a now customary military font along with the Designed in California motto occupying the left side of the box.
Inside you'll find the case securely resting in a clear plastic wrap pressed on top and bottom by thick styrofoam blocks which is good enough to protect a product weighing in at just over 5Kgs.
Inside you get a generous amount of accessories including --
> 9 x ATX screws
> 8 x Fan long screws
> 5 x Power + VGA screws
> 8 x ODD+SSD screws
> 2 x rubber plugs for USB ports
> 2 x rubber plugs for audio jacks
> 5 x plastic, non-reusable zip ties
> Long screws for all of the HDD bays.
> 1 x additional MB stand off
Looking at the case you immediately notice that the case is slightly raised from the front and has a nice angular transparent window on the side. On the top end the case is a bit bulging with grills tracing the entire length. The matte black paint job is done in a splendid and homogeneous manner on metal and plastic parts of the case alike.
The front has a chunky support that not only raises the front end but also gives the GX300 its signature look. Its also a lock for the front removable fascia for the case to which I'll come later on.
The front side of the GX300 is quite clean yet appealing. Due to its slim width of 180mm this design imparts a tall structural look to the product.
Grills are neatly punched in to provide good amount of ventilation to the front fans. The Antec logo is printed in white over the glossy plastic strip in a manner that gels well with the entire theme. Also you will notice a clear white line on top end of the fascia, this glows in blue once you turn on the power...hell of a power indicator I'd say!
At the bottom you can see the feet covered with rubber grommets to minimize noise and vibrations. A flimsy removable dust filter at the PSU opening is provided which is good enough to stop dust particles but can't be removed without turning over the case & unscrewing the back feet set, so its more like something is better than nothing situation over here.
On the back end there is nothing much to offer a set of seven expansion slots and a standard ATX PSU opening is present. An opening for a 120mm fan is occupied by a pre-installed blue LED fan, no opening for custom liquid cooling loops are present unlike its big brother GX900.
The top is as interesting as it gets, you get a grill covering the entire length of the fan mounting area which lets you mount a pair of 120mm fans for enhanced ventilation! A layer of soft foam runs under the grills to filter even the smallest of dust particles. A depression in the front is provided for more aesthetic purposes than practical ones though you can still keep your spare flash drives or car keys there to say the least.
For the I/O panel you get a reset button, a pair of audio jacks and a USB 2.0 port in black and one USB 3.0 port in blue. Strangely an additional underpopulated USB cap is provided indicating to a last minute design flaw more than a design. The power button is big and looks cool and has the HDD activity lights rights on top of it.
Coming to the finishing touched the Antec GX300 comes with fan controller that is build in the same streamlined design as the case. You can set the fan speed to high or low but on the down side it works by lowering the voltage provided to the fan from 12V to 6V so fans with higher voltage requirements might not work at all so usage of standard fans are advisable.
Time to open the front fascia and see what's inside. By simply unscrewing the four screws on the bottom base/stand you can unlock the front fascia and pull it out normally.
On the inner side of the fascia you can see the layer of foam underlying the outer mesh to damp noise and to provide an extra layer of dust filtering. This style is pretty much a signature to the GX series cases now.
Antec has installed a 120mm blue LED fan in the front with provision to add an other 120mm fan on top of it to make a total of two fans in front for taking in cool air. The fan is a three pin Antec F29 rated at 60CFM spinning at a maximum 1800RPM. These are good fans and Antec did a brilliant job by bundling them with the GX300.
On the inside we can see a very clean layout in the same matte black color as the outside. Plenty of wire routing holes are provided for neat wire management, though they lack rubber grommets but at this price its acceptable plus they are not sharp so you won't scratch or hurt your fingers while routing cables.
At the back you have enough places to tie the zip ties while routing wires and a rubber stopper for keeping the side panel away from the wires is also provided.
The hard drive bay provided has provision for six drives. The top bay is fully removable or slid-able inwards to accommodate long graphics card, in case of the latter the bay will become a 2.5' SSD exclusive bay. The bottom bay is a part of the chassis and cannot be removed.
InstallationFor installation I tried to put a Corsair H100iGTX 240mm liquid cooler on top to which I failed drastically! By removing the top bulging compartment I did manage to put the radiator inside the case and the fans over it but the thick foam layer of the upper compartment just wouldn't let me close the panel without obstructing the fan's spin!
So the Antec GX300 is not at all liquid cooling friendly but the brand doesn't claim of it either, you can only install a 120mm liquid cooler at the rear opening which is a good enough cooling for medium to heavy gaming rigs.
At last I settled for the below configuration --
CPU: Intel i5 4670K
Motherboard: ASUS Z97 Maximus VII HERO
Graphics Card: MSI AMD R9 280X GAMING 3G
Memory: A-Data XPG 8 GB Dual channel, 1600 MHz
Storage: SkHynix Canvas SL300 500GB || Western Digital 640 GB Black Series
Case: Antec GX300
Power supply: Corsair RM750 W
Cooler: Noctua NH-U12S
I've moved the rear fan to the front as intake and put a Corsair SP120 120mm fan in the back as exhaust. The maximum temperatures for the components were well within the safe mark and noise level were barely noticeable since each Antec fan doesn't cross over 19dB on full speed.
When turned on the Antec GX300 is a treat to watch and a gamer's delight. The side window is heavily tinted so you can't see much of the components since the cooler, graphics card etc don't have any LED on them.
My VerdictTime and again Antec proved as a solid player in the budget PC chassis category and the Antec GX300 priced at just Rs 4500 is no exception! The case checks all the right boxes from looks to please a gamer or system builder alike and even high quality pre-installed LED fans.
I didn't like the capped USB port on top but with all the other features its something that I can live with. The chassis is build solid and the side panels slide in nicely without bending or warping even after multiple trials and installation attempts.
Antec has taken care of small tits and bits to make the GX300 near perfect by seeing that it delivers exactly what they've promised. Its an ideal case for gamers and system builder who are on a budget and rate performance and looks at the same level!
I give it a 8/10