Date: September 16th, 2010
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Antec
<--CLICK FOR PRICES ON AN ANTEC DF-85 DARK FLEET CASE IN THE UNITED STATES
<--CLICK FOR PRICES ON AN ANTEC CASE IN CANADA
PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH
At the top corner, Antec has provided a switch panel to control the top and rear “TwoCool” exhaust fans. TwoCool as in two speed. Get it? Ahem…let's move on.
The PSU placement will accept a standard ATX power supply or, with the adapter plate removed, one of Antec's larger CP-series PSUs. Large rubber pads on the floor of the blacked-out interior provide support and ventilation for the largest, heaviest power supplies on the market. Curiously, Antec's design demands that one expansion bay be sacrificed to provide egress for the USB 3.0 cable via the chrome bay cover. While this is a perfectly serviceable solution, I don't like having to give up an expansion bay and the chrome cover looks…well…a bit weird in this sea of black. I would probably opt for one of the grommeted tubing holes for this, but it's a relatively minor issue.
Large rubber feet on the bottom of the case will prevent scratches should you wish to place this big boy on your fine furniture, but the DF-85 is probably more suited for floor usage. Note that there is no ventilation for power supply air intake here, so orienting the PSU cooling fan may be an important consideration. Mounting holes near the center of the bottom panel interface with some included rubber mounts to provide placement for an additional 2.5-inch drive (on the inside, of course) in this area.
With the side panels off, let's take a look around the interior of the DF-85. Starting with the front, this case will hold an embarrassment of hard drives. The upper cage supports the installation of up to three 5.25-inch devices, secured with screws in the conventional manner. The lower cage supports the installation of up to nine 3.5-inch hard drives in the front cage and they can all be inserted from the front via the swing out doors. All the drives will benefit from cooling airflow provided by the three front fans and the orientation of the cage maximizes airflow to the rest of the case from these fans as well. Antec also provides several cutouts around the motherboard tray for CPU cooler swaps and cable management and the locking bar for the front fan pods is indicated by yhe white arrow in the above photo. However, the most interesting feature up here is probably the two “FleetSwap” modules attached to the drive cage.
Each of these little jewels supports two 3.5-inch SATA hard drives and can be placed anywhere along the rear of the drive cage. Basically, these modules allow the user to connect the power and data cables to the module, making drive installation very easy. We'll go over these in more detail during installation, but they basically provide pass-through functionality making drive installations and swaps a breeze. I think I'm going to like this feature a lot.