Computer cases, for a while they were just plain beige boxes that sat underneath your desk. Then people figured out that you modify your case to make it look better as well as show off the stuff you put in the case, kind of geek “Fast and the Furious” thing. These cases used to be confined to those with steady hands, the ability to use a dremel, and some skills in installing windows. Case manufacturers have heard the cry of the masses and have developed pre-modded cases so those of you without any kind of skill with tools (like me) can have something worth showing off.
Antec is one of the companies and they’ve introduced their new LANBOY
case, the first in their new Specialty line of cases. First off, yes the name is the LANBOY
. The marketing folks at Antec who came up with the name really need to taken to the shed and taught what a good name is. I say this due to the amount of crap I’ve taken from my friends and significant other about the name of the case.
The first thing I noticed about the LANBOY
was how light it was. This was my first aluminum case and the weight difference is amazing. Once out of the box it was hard to believe how light weight the case was. The aluminum construction material also helps dissipate heat which is always helpful. Antec also throws in a handy-dandy carrying case that slides right over the computer so you can transport it around easily.
Another nice little touch is the mini-carrying case on the back of the box. It serves two functions: to cover your PCI slots and to store screws or other small bits so you don’t lose them. This is actually pretty handy so there’s no need to dig through a box of screws looking for the right set.
The case itself is rather attractive. It’s a nice dark silver color with a nice sized window on the left side of the case. The case supports four externally accessible 5.25” drives, two 3.5” external drives, and two 3.5” internal drives. The LANBOY
uses a hybrid drive-rail system. You attach one of the rails to the right side of the drive, slide it into the case, and then screw the drive into the chassis. You really don’t have to screw them in but it helps keep them in there nice and tight (this does kind of defeat the whole “quick release concept” but that’s up to you). Nestled below the 5.25” drives are the two 3.5” drive bays. The two internal 3.5” bays are a separate cage that you can pull out and then put back in once you’ve screwed your hard drives into the case. The locking mechanism is pretty nice but it can be a little tough the first few times figuring out how to get it back into place. This is a nice concept and a necessity since the right side panel is riveted to the case and you couldn’t get to that side of the cage if you wanted to.
also had a front door to protect the external 5.25” drives. You either love the clean look of having a door to protect your drives or you hate having to open the door to get at the drives and power/reset buttons. Personally I would have like to have the power and reset buttons below the door so you don’t have to open it to turn your system on.
Below the door are the two external USB ports. These are a nice touch so you don’t constantly have to run around of the back of the computer to hook up devices. The only downside is that since there isn’t much of a standard in the way of hooking the USB ports to the motherboard you have to manually sort through the 10 connectors (5 for each port) to hook them to the motherboard. This isn’t really that bad if you have small hand but it’s kind of a pain in the ass if you have big hands and not so much dexterity with your fingers.
comes with a 350W Antec SmartBlue power supply. Outside of being a pretty decent power supply the Smartblue has a few blue (hence the name) LED’s inside which light up when the system is turned on. This is a nice effect and looks nice when complemented with a blue light inside the case (purchased separately). The light has the added benefit of letting you know when the system is on for those late nights when you think you’ve turned off your system and need a reminder that you didn’t quite hit the shut-down button like you thought you did (this may only be helpful to me though).
The side window is pretty well designed and does a nice job of showing off the parts of the computer. The only problem I had with the window was keeping it clean. The thing is a dust magnet so every time you open the case you have to wipe it off. Of course if you have a window you have to do a good job of routing your wires so it looks nice. It requires a little extra work to make everything look right inside but the end effect is worth it.
Getting everything inside the case is pretty easy and straightforward. The LANBOY
doesn’t have a motherboard tray, something that would have helped tremendously but the typical standoff system works pretty well. The inside is a bit intimate if you have a larger motherboard though. You also have to be careful if you have a long video card as the card may bump into the hard drives in the hard drive cage. You’ll probably want to install the motherboard first, then the drive cage and then the video card to make sure everything fits correctly. This does create some airflow concerns as some of the intake air may not move from the front of the case to the chip and video card where it’s needed. The fact that the case only has room for two 80mm fans (one intake and one outtake) doesn’t really help this problem.
The cables for the buttons, LED’s, and afore-mentioned USB ports are well labeled and easy to install. The USB cords are almost too long but given the different motherboard configurations this is to be expected and it’s not that hard to tuck them behind the drive bays.
Once you have all of your goods installed you need to put in your fans (not included), and then close the system up. This brings me to my next big gripe about the LANBOY
: the lack of thumbscrews. This is a $80-90 case so there’s no reason that a decent set of thumbscrews shouldn’t have been included with the case.
Overall this is a solid case, but there are a lot of little things that detract from the overall score. You either love or hate the name. I took a lot of crap about it but I’ve got fairly thick skin. For every positive (the carrying strap) there is a negative (the lack of thumbscrews on a case this expensive pretty heinous). Another negative is that for a case that is supposed to be taken to LAN parties and such the paint on the case scrapes easily. I only took the case to one LAN party and between that and taking it out for the Zalman review I picked up a couple of nice scratches on the case.
I would recommend this case to someone who wants something nice to look at but who isn’t going to do a lot of overclocking or stuff the computer with a lot of parts. It looks relatively nice (I received a few compliments at the first LAN party I took it to) but if you are a hardcore user then you may want to find something else.
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A solid but expensive case. It lacks a few fine touches that would have made it a great case.