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Quiet was the case

Quiet was the case

Antec showed off its new lineup of cases in a plush suite in the Bellagio. The lineup included three tower systems and two component-style boxes meant for your living room. The three towers are the small NSK 3300, the medium-size NSK 4400, and the large NSK 6500. Antec stressed that it places much importance on acoustics. The NSK 3300, for example, features a separate chamber for the power supply at the top of the case, which helps make the cooling more efficient. All three cases feature silicon grommets on the hard drive enclosures, which help dampen your drive's vibrations. Another standard feature: large 120mm exhaust fans, which can spin slower and more quietly than smaller 80mm and 90mm fans. The NSK 3300 accommodates MicroATX motherboards; the two large cases are meant for standard ATX boards. All three will begin shipping on March 15 and will range in price from $89 to $119.

Antec hopes the $99 NSK 2400 will find a perch in home theaters when it begins shipping in March as well. It looks the part, with its stylish brushed-aluminum front panel, and it also promises to provide acoustic joy with its quiet operation. The NSK 2400 is divided into three separate chambers: one for the 380-watt power supply, one for the hard drive(s), and one for the motherboard. Cool air is drawn in through vents on the bottom and back of the case, over the components that generate the most heat, and then pulled out the side panel via the two 120mm fans. An adjustable plastic piece that Antec refers to as an "air dam" sits inside the case next to the back-panel air intake vent and lets you direct airflow depending on your motherboard's layout. It's a simple yet seemingly effective method for keeping the components from overheating while using a minimal number of whirring fans.

Antec is readying another version of the NSK 2400, which it calls the Fusion. It trades an optical drive bay for a small front-panel status display. Antec expects to release the Fusion in May for roughly $199.