Model: GX700 Rugged
RRP: ~£60 (At time of review)
Founded in 1986, Antec have been one of the leading companies in computer components and accessories including power supplies, cases and more recently, audio equipment. With a wide range of products which include the popular True Power and Earth Watts power supply series, as well the practical and efficient gaming chassis the Antec 300 and 900, for years Antec has catered to the needs of everybody while providing market leading products to the majority PC users and builders.
With that being said, under the spotlight today is a case from their GX series, specifically the GX700 case which has an industrial and military aesthetic. Designed for the ATX mid tower market, will this robust offering from Antec be another well designed case? Or will the GX700 be relegated to mediocrity in this highly competitive market? I intend to find out, but first, here is a little bit about Antec themselves.
What Antec have to say about themselves:
Whether you’re a gamer looking for that cutting-edge case or a system integrator seeking a reliable and efficient power supply, you’ve got a lot of factors to consider, from performance to stability to style. As the leading global provider of high performance PC components, we believe in delivering products that not only meet your expectations, but exceed them. Your computing experience should be quiet, efficient, cool and elegant; we don’t believe in compromise, and neither should you. Here are just a few of the core values that set our products miles ahead of the competition.
• 9 drive bays:
– 3 + 1 x 5.25” tool-less drive bays
– Click-on 5.25” drive bay clasps
– Top bay designed for controls
– 5 x 3.5” tool-less HDD tray each with 2.5” SSD/HDD mount
• 7 x PCI-E with thumbscrew access
• Motherboards: Standard ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX
• Maximum graphics card size: up to 293 mm (11.5”)
• Maximum CPU cooler height: up to 172 mm
• Cooling system:
– Includes 2 x 140 mm top fans
– Capable of mounting 240 mm radiator for water cooling
– Includes 1 x 120 mm rear fan
– Optional 2 x 120 mm front intake fans
– Optional 120 mm side fan mount to cool graphic cards
• Water cooling support: rear water cooling grommets
• Enlarged CPU cutout
• Top I/O ports:
– 2 x USB 3.0
– 2 x USB 2.0
– Audio In/Out
• No power supply included
• Unit Dimensions
– 500 mm (H) x200 mm (W) x 450 mm (D)
– 19.7“ (H) x 7.9 ” (W) x 17.7″(D)
• Package Dimensions
– 532 mm (H) x 269 mm (W) x 575 mm (D)
– 20.9” (H) x 10.6” (W) x 22.6” (D)
• Net Weight: 13.8 lb (6.26 kg)
• Gross Weight: 17.2 lb (7.82 kg)
Closer Look – Exterior
The Antec GX700 comes in a large box like many other PC cases, after all it’s still the most obvious and practical solution. On the packaging itself, there are illustrations of both the front panel as well as the top panel. Along the bottom of the box Antec has helpfully evaded any confusion as to what case this is by including the model number. Of course, in true Antec fashion there is a large black stripe down the side with the Antec logo. And for the final bit, the external box reminds the buyer that the GX700 comes with a 3 year warranty. More than enough for any user.
Upon opening the box, I was greeted with the polystyrene inserts which is standard fare in regards to packing computer cases. Antec however, did include a foam insert in the middle to offer a little bit more protection; a touch I found very welcome as cases can sometimes be susceptible to rather serious damage in transit. As for the construction of the box, it’s a very sturdy piece of cardboard so nothing in theory should be damaged, bar flooding and fire but that’s not too common in the UK.
A cursory look of the Antec GX700 itself reveals that it has an all-black frame and flat black side panels. The case seems to have a glossy powder-coated finish. On the sides there is an intake slot on the side panel for the mounting of a 120mm fan meaning that the GX700 is a windowless case. Of course this little bit won’t stop any modders out there wanting to take advantage of the rather plain and detail free palette for some extra modding. However, personally I feel the GX700 would have looked better without the 120mm intake but if someone wanted to add some colour or contrast to the case one could hypothetically use an LED fan and give their build an added ambient lighting effect.
On the back side of the case (opposite of the fan side panel), we have a solid panel which follows the same colour scheme/finish as the rest of the chassis. Nothing too remarkable here.
The front panel has a different look and where I feel the GX700 stands out the most. The front panel has ammo crate like retention panels for the 5.25” drive bays and is painted a military style shade of green. Furthermore, the USB slots and the power button are rather distinctive having their own little bolted on casings. More noticeable of course is the red power switch and the cover for the power switch which looks like a rather nice launch button. I personally like the military themed touch and appreciate the detail on the front such as the red power button, with the reset button on black on the opposite side, it’s rather distinctive and gives some nice differentiation to this case. On a more amusing note, the GX700 also has a green grill with the Antec logo in silver which resembles a dog-tag another addition to the whole military theme.
On the rear, the aesthetic changes slightly to a more subdued black theme all around. Personally, I found the rear’s lack of contrast to be disappointing and also the lack of effort put into the side panels and the rear in terms of quality. Another rather sore spot is that the PCI brackets aren’t very good, there are 8 PCI expansion slots with covers that have to be pushed out instead of unscrewed, it’s a cheap addition and it’s wasteful due to the brackets not being re-useable. I certainly prefer re-attachable ones not only because it’s not as wasteful but also because missing brackets can make a build look untidy if they are missing . Furthermore, those pop out brackets have been known to accidentally pop out by mistake so I am kind of disappointed with the fact that Antec couldn’t spend a bit more on adding scres. On the top, there are 2 rubber grommets for water cooling and cable management, not really used that much, but still an addition that I don’t mind. Also in view, is the 120mm exhaust for exhausting hot air out of the top of case and the slot for the I/O shield of the motherboard.
Closer Look – Exterior Cont.
The top panel of the Antec GX700 has a similar style to the front, with an army green top I/O which includes the following
– 2 x USB 3.0 ports
– 2 x USB 2.0 ports
– 1 x Headphone audio 3.5mm input
– 1 x Microphone audio 3.5mm input
The GX700 has plenty of options for connectivity on the front. The thing I feel stands out the most however, is the jet fighter style missile launch system cover which covers the in-built fan controller. This is a hazard like yellow and black striped design on the cover stands out well, giving the case some flair and character. A pretty nice touch I must say.
On the fan controller there are two settings, H which is high and L which is low. Sadly Antec neglected to include a medium speed so there is no happy medium between the 2 but each setting has its own benefit. High will give you better airflow and the low setting will be quieter but at the cost of performance the lack of a middle ground is a bit of a problem. But, whatever setting you desire, please do take time to admire the beauty that is the switch; I really like it!
Here is a closer look at the rubber grommets on the rear which are useful for water cooling and passing cables from internal to external or visa-versa.
On the top of the Antec GX700, there is external ventilation for the 2 x 140mm exhaust fans and it’s nice to see they have included them as standard. The grill itself is raised and has support for a 240mm radiator in the top for all those water coolers out there!
Finally, we have the removable dust filters for the front intakes on the case itself, placed in the front intake brackets which support 2 x 120mm fans (not included) in the front. To remove the front filter, all you need to do is simply unscrew the green front plate via the 4 x thumbscrews in each corner, after this, there is a clip at the top to simply remove the filter.
To remove the filter for the power supply, simply pull the clip out and there you go. Also there are 4 large rubber feet which keep the GX700 elevated off the surface which allows sufficient airflow to go underneath.
Closer Look – Interior
The interior of the Antec GX700 is quite spacious with ample room provided enough that it can accommodate ATX boards with relative ease. The interior is all black and features spaces for cable management for the motherboard, the power supply and for proper management of the 12v CPU 8 pin power input cable. In other words the interior is hard to fault. There are 5 x 3.5” HDD bays with the ability to mount both HDDs and SSDs with the included brackets. In theory the solution is a simple screw-in affair but I have to remark that it did take some effort getting the individual mounts out of the case itself which is forgivable given the price bracket of the case. The brackets themselves though are made of rather thin if flimsy plastic so do take care in handling the drive brackets lest they snap under pressure.
As always, Antec so thoughtfully included at cut out on the rear of the motherboard tray for easy installation of the CPU cooler.
Upon closer inspection there’s a 120mm exhaust fan that Antec included with the case, which is rather nice given how low the price of this case is. It can be configured to push air in should the user desire.
On the top of the case we see a pair of 140mm fans. They’re nothing too fancy, but given that Antec has kindly included two of them I can’t complain personally. It’s good to note that 140mm fans tend to be quieter and more efficient due to the larger size of the fan blades. With two of them at the top the thermal performance should in theory be rather good. Of course for those who desire a cheap watercooling case, the top portion of the case is perfect for a 240mm radiator and perhaps a 280mm radiator if some modding is to be done..
The installation of the system inside the Antec GX700 was simple and painless bar the aforementioned trouble I had getting one of the 3.5” drive mounts out to install my SSD. I would have liked Antec to have included rubber grommets and anyone who knows me knows they are a big plus point for me. They not only help with cable routing/management but they also are pleasing to the eyeballs!
In terms of GPU fitting, the fitting of the beastly AMD R290x graphics card was rather tight but all in all, was nothing short of a perfect fit with a small bit of room to spare. This means that graphics cards up to 11.5” or just short of a foot, will fit. If the GPU is anything longer then you will need to consider another chassis unfortunately.
All in all, I feel the Antec GX700 looks quite good with a full system built inside and with the current rig on display, it would decimate any game at 1080p and more than handle games at maximum settings at 1440p also.
Here is the CPU cooler installed, the Noctua NH-12S isn’t the largest cooler in the world, but it just about fits in with about half an inch to spare in terms of distance to the side panel which isn’t the best, but it’s not too bad. Behemoth coolers such as the Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme would not fit in this case with the side panel on so that cooler size would need consideration.
At the bottom of the case, we have the cable routing for the power supply. As you can see, there is ample space with modular power supplies for clean and simple builds but might become congested if you are using a non-modular PSU. Although the cables will fit, if you are using a non-modular, try and plan your cable management a little in advance to avoid excessive tangling.
On the rear of the case, there are thumb screws to attach your PCI devices securely to the frame of the case. There is also a door which hides the thumb screws from the rear and allows you to easily access them to install or remove them. With it closed, it is near impossible to remove them without having thin fingers, and with me having fat ones, it was certainly impossible.
Having had the pleasure of trying out the Antec GX700 on my desk for the past few days and testing it rather thoroughly, it’s time to wrap this whole review up and see if the GX700 is worth a buy or not. Will the GX700 be a worthy case to buy for budget enthusiasts or will it merely be a blip in the very competitive case industry?
The first thing to be addressed then would be arguably one of the GX700’s main selling points: the aesthetics. In terms of the aesthetics there are good points and bad points in regards to the industrial aesthetic that Antec chose. What I means is that there are very nice aspects of choosing this aesthetic namely the top panel and the amazing jet pilot type switch for the fan controller. But the rest of the case seems a bit boring and plain in comparison and honestly I would’ve appreciated a more generous attention to detail to the rest of the case. That being said, the GX700 does deliver on the front of having some nice extras such as the rather awesome fan control switch, the removable dust filters, and the ample interior. In fact the GX700 is surprisingly versatile given that the case has ample room for water cooling and room to support all but the biggest air based CPU coolers. The fact that it could fit an R9 280X isn’t bad at all given the rather low price bracket for this case.
To be honest the GX700 is actually decently surprising in regards to cooling. It’s spacious design allows for plenty of cooling options including support for a 240mm radiator to be mounted top and even possibly a 280mm if one was feeling adventurous. There are also plenty of compartments for storage devices like HDDs and SSDs. Furthermore the 5.25” drive bays are more than adequate for housing optical drives as well as pump/res combos if you decide to go down the water cooling path. So if anything, for the rather low price that one would pay, the GX700 offers enclosure real estate in spades. Something many cases can’t claim to do.
On the other hand, cable management could be better but for a £60 case, I am more than satisfied with what Antec have put together. I would have liked to have seen rubber grommets and would have complimented the design perfectly, also the lack of a window might put some people off but I actually think the case looks better this way given the clean lines and the rugged nature of the case; This case should appeal to those wanting a clean, quiet build without too much focus being on the aesthetics of the hardware.
Overall, the performance and the design really do stand out and in my honest opinion, for £60 you can really do a lot worse. With that being said, Antec have done a good job with the GX700 overall and if they had done what they had done to the front panel and rolled it out over the entire case, it would have been a contender for a design award but this was not to be.
Price wise the case sits at a very congested price point with many different offerings from lots of different companies. Is this a contender? Of course it is and I would say it was very good value considering what it offers and the price bracket. The only negative point regarding the construction would be the side panels, they feel a little cheap and flimsy but then again, heavier and sturdier panels would certainly have added to the price of construction so it’s understandable. The thing I still can’t get my head around is the lack of pre-installed intake fans, this is something you are going to need in my opinion and I find it rather unreasonable that there isn’t at least 1 included.
With everything being taken into consideration, I can’t give any awards to the Antec GX700 today as I feel there is room for improvement, but it isn’t far off from being excellent and for £59.99, you really can’t go wrong if you’re in the market for a budget enclosure. If you are looking for a case that requires little effort to build in, appears stylish and striking in appearance and has a rather unique cool fan controller, then the Antec GX700 is the case for you!
Thanks to Antec for the sample and I look forward to seeing more in the near future.
The Antec GX700 has a lot of good things going for it and if you are in the market for a rugged case then the GX700 would be one to certainly consider. At a crowded price point, it did very well for it is and with water cooling support available if you wish to go that route, it will appeal to make enthusiasts looking for a good quality mid tower.