Antec DF-30 Externals
Dark Fleet. The name conjures an image of a case themed around sci-fi and futuristic ideas and, to a certain extent, the DF-30 delivers upon this pre-emption. As expected, the enclosure is entirely black in appearance giving the chassis a dark, mysterious vibe with front panel employing a formulaic, structured layout.
A total of three external 5.25” drives are catered for in the design each with an individual hinged cover. This cover serves no real purpose other than its appearance as well as being fully removable if the user so chooses eliminating any possible annoyance from having to open the cover every time the DVD drive needs to be accessed.
A further external, hot-swappable 2.5” bay (intended for an SSD) is attached to the very top of the DF-30 with a see-through cover allowing a view onto the connections. Whilst at first this appears a very neat function and indeed it is, it’s questionable how many users will actually use an SSD as a hot-swappable device. Still, as a next gen case it offers something new and possibly a concept that will become more widespread as a result.
The power and reset buttons are built into the external 2.5” drive bay structure with the ports just below: 2 x USB 2.0s and microphone and headphone jacks – unfortunately the jacks are not labelled though leading to ambiguity as to which is which.
Moving further down, dual 120mm intake fans are present. A hexagonal, honeycomb structure is in place over the removable dust filter – useful in that it not only prevents dust from the entering the chassis but the removability makes cleaning much easier.
Another useful function is the ability to adjust the fan speed of individual intake fans via the small dial in the bottom right hand corner of each fan cover. This means that cooling over the hard drives can be adjusted in line with where the drives are situated as well as being able to manipulate noise outputs.
A large see-through window is inbuilt into the side panel with a vent for an optional 120mm fan to be fitted for specific cooling over the graphics area although a filter is not in place here.
Flipping the case completely around, reveals the back panel and in truth, it’s a fairly standard affair as mid tower enclosures go. A 120mm exhaust fan sits adjacent from the motherboard I/O slot with seven PCI slots below. The power supply is bottom-mounted but there isn’t support for Antec’s own-brand form factor which goes by the name of CPX. Then again with the units being much larger than a traditional ATX power supply, perhaps they are saved for only the larger cases like the DF-85.
Finally, right at the top of the rear panel are two small switches to flick between high and low speed operation of the top 140mm and rear 120mm fans; it’s not quite the flexibility of a fan-speed dial but at least it’s something.