Introducing the Antec Three Hundred Two

While flagship enclosures are certainly pretty interesting and there are some great deals to be had even just north of $100, competition south of that border is mighty fierce and only becomes more so as manufacturers refresh their lineups with the latest trends and advances in chassis design. We've seen a lot of great options for end users looking to save some scratch, but haven't had a chance to see what Antec can do in this market...until now. Antec is launching their new Three Hundred Two chassis, and if you're an enthusiast on a budget looking for the best cooling you can get without spending up for it, this may be the case for you.

Superficially there doesn't appear to be much that Antec has done to modernize the Three Hundred while keeping the price down, but once you get inside you'll see there's more going on than meets the eye. While the Three Hundred Two is set to be a bit pricier than its predecessor, you'll see there are plenty of good reasons to take the plunge anyhow. Here's the rap sheet:

Antec Three Hundred Two Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25"
Internal 6x 3.5", 2x 2.5"
Cooling Front 2x 120mm fan mount
Rear 1x 120mm Antec TwoCool exhaust fan
Top 1x 140mm Antec TwoCool exhaust fan
Side 1x 120mm fan mount; 1x 120mm fan mount behind motherboard tray
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 8
Front I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, mic and headphone jacks
Top I/O Port -
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 12" (Expansion Cards), 170mm (CPU HSF), 200mm (PSU)
Weight 15.3 lbs (6.9 kg)
Dimensions 20.2" x 9" x 18.5" (413mm x 229mm x 471mm)
Price MSRP $79

It's actually kind of unusual to see a case that doesn't support a top-mounted 240mm radiator these days, but when you're dealing with a $79 case it's an omission that shouldn't feel like a major one. Instead Antec gives us an eighth expansion slot, which in my opinion is actually a bit more useful. I know some users are skeptical, but I've personally gotten enough mileage out of eighth slots in cases that I can definitely see their use. Note also that Antec is again using a negative pressure design, but wait until you see the performance numbers.

In and Around the Antec Three Hundred Two
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  • Stuka87 - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    I own an original 300, and the filters up front do a VERY good job of keeping dust down inside the case. I get almost no dust build up after 2 years of running. I just clean the filters every 2-3 months. Reply
  • Ratman6161 - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    I've had my original 300 from (I think) about 2 years ago that I got for $39 at Microcenter. This case just can't be beat for the price.

    My experience with the filters is also very good. We have 4 cats in our house and once a week or so I just run my hand over the front of the case and wipe the accumulated hair off of it. None gets in the case through the front. Some cat hair and dust does get in via the side fan though.
    Reply
  • Montrey - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    Odd, my experience with my 300 is just the opposite. I have it on a stand about 18" off of the floor, and it is the only machine in the house that gets dust on the inside, despite the filters and a not particularly dusty house. I have the 120mm mounted on the front behind the filter, and the 140mm on the top exhausting, both set on low. I have to blow out the fins on my Arctic Freezer 7 at least every month or they get completely clogged. I suppose I could try upping the speed on the front intake fan, but I trade the convenience for quiet. Reply
  • MilwaukeeMike - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    I experience this with my Antec P180. It uses negative pressure and I get dust build up on all the little cracks around my unused 5.25 drive covers. The filters do their job and get most of it, but i do have to spend a little extra time cleaning because of the setup.

    I should just move my fans and be done with it.
    Reply
  • rodrigu3 - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    As I understand it, negative pressure systems work if you have a large filter that allows for low resistance airflow. The majority of air will flow through the path of least resistance and so will probably enter through the relatively large opening in the front of the case through the filter, rather than all the tiny little openings. So, the majority of air entering the case will be filtered, although some dusty air will still get through. You can minimize that on this chassis by putting high resistance filters on the side panels without any fans and just using the two fans that come with the case. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    The original is a fantastic budget case that really is impossible to beat for the $30-40 on sale with free shipping you can regularly find on Newegg. Guess that will be coming to an end as its replacement is finally here but it was great while it lasted. Just starting to read the review but wanted to mention this before I forgot. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    Wow I'm shocked you didn't give at least a silver award for this case!?!?! Similar to the original this case's performance is far beyond its pricetag. Reply
  • Stuka87 - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    I have an original 300, and i love it.

    However, I am looking at this case, and it looks like it only came with 2 fans, rather than the previous generations four fans? The first 300 had two intake fans on the front behind the filters. This case doesn't have those fans, or the filters?

    I am thinking it would have been a bit cooler if it had them, although possibly a bit louder. Although mine set to low is barely audible.

    I am also glad they made the opening behind the CPU larger, as I had to cut this area on mine to get the rear bracket for my CPU heatsink on there.
    Reply
  • ZekkPacus - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    The original stock 300 only came with 2 fans (top and rear), it was the Illusion that came with 4.

    Anyway, though I do think AnandTech does some of the best reviews on the net when it comes to cases, I'd love to see them start using the fanbays in these cases. For example I just swapped cases (from a 300 actually to an 1100), and instantly added two more fans to the stock two. That turns the case from a negative pressure design to a neutral or slightly positive pressure design, which improves dust and also lowers temperatures somewhat. Negative pressure is easiest to achieve when you're talking only stock fans, which is why these designs are so common, and when a manufacturer's making a sub$100 case, they need to cut corners to make a profit out of it. Getting positive or neutral pressure out of a stock design of only two fans would involve a high-RPM screamer in the front bays and the 140mm top fan. That config would likely please no one.

    But it's very very unlikely that anyone buying these cases will be using them with stock fan configuration, a little bit of sense from AT concerning where your fans would be best placed out of the many options (I agree with the earlier poster about the uselessness of behind-the-CPU fan bays) and what you can expect out of them would be great.
    Reply
  • SBTech86 - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    looks okay but for $79, i would go for corsair 400R (64 ish when sale) Reply

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