quaint little rutted bucket

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Career Inventory Results

These results are similar to the results I had a couple of years ago in DB... strange that things haven't changed much. Sir Litor (DB counselor) told me that as far as career goes, I was pretty much in the middle of things.

Withdrawn (I) 52.63% Outgoing (E) 47.37%
Realistic (S) 50% Imaginative (N) 50%
Emotional (F) 54.05% Intellectual (T) 45.95%
Organized (J) 51.28% Improvised (P) 48.72%

Your type is: INFJ
You are a Guide, possible professions include: career counselor, psychologist, educational consultant, special education teacher, librarian, artist, playwright, novelist/poet, editor/art director, information-graphics, designer, HRM manager, merchandise planner, environmental lawyer, marketer, job analyst, mental health counselor, dietitian/nutritionist, research, educational consultant, architects, interpreter/ translator.
Take Free Career Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Review: Antec SLK3700-BQE Casing

I got a new case for my PC today: an Antec SLK3700-BQE, from PC Options Gilmore.

And there it is, all pristine in its packaging.

The box contained:
  • The casing (duh.) with an Antec SmartPower series 350W ATX PSU
  • an Antec 120 mm silent fan for exhaust
  • User Manual
  • A bag of 5 1/2" EMI Contact plates
  • A bag of 5 1/2" drive rails
  • A bag of screws and other small bits and pieces
  • A black wire tie
  • A short white cable tie
  • Power cable
  • Antec case badge

This is how things came out of the box

First off, the bad: the manual could be improved. While I had an easy time moving the innards of my PC to its new home, I'm afraid some users, particularly those who are new to DIY PC assembly may find it hard to follow the instructions, as it is somewhat lacking in detail. It could also use illustrations. Preferably printed, but if Antec could provide a webpage with all the necessary illustrations, then I guess that should suffice.

In addition, the door opens left. For those who keep their PC casings to their left, this may not be a problem, but we "righters" consider this a minor inconvenience. Maybe Antec could follow CoolerMaster by enabling its casing door hinges to be mountable on either side.

The included power supply may not be the most capable in the world, but for Juan de la Cruz's PC, this ought to do the trick. Compared to my Enermax 350 watter, the Enermax features better amperage ratings for both the +12V and +3.3V rails, with only the +5V rail short of 2A versus the Antec. These are pretty good ratings, as Enermax is considered one of the best in PC power supplies.

I was thinking of using the SmartPower, but aside from the amperage rating, another thing prohibited me from doing so: the SmartPower PSU only had an exhaust fan, while the Enermax had a CPU exhaust. The Antec also had less connectors compared to the Enermax I had. One cannot entirely discout the importance of amp ratings, as a PC puts a pretty hefty load on power, especially if you have more than a single 7200 rpm hard drive and a mid-high end video card.

There are also no front audio ports for this thing. Maybe Antec was intending this casing to be used in a business/enterprise setting, but they should've included that as some sort of add-on or something. I've come to rely on front mounted audio ports for headphones and the occasional mic use.

The casing is very spacious. Despite its lack of a removable motherboard tray, it was easy to get my A7N8x board inside and mount it. The mounting was made easier with engravings present on the metal plate itself, indicating where the standoffs for, say a MicroATX or a full-size ATX board should go. Little things like these go a long way in my opinion, as it says a lot about Antec's attention to quality and detail.

The hard drive cage (for internal 3.5" devices) is also something to be commended. It mounts hard drives sideways, putting them directly in front of the intake fan. The interface and power cables go towards the rear of the drive (left side of the casing, away from cluttering the rest of the PC) except for Serial ATA drives, where Antec recommends orienting the drives the other way around. (This is not really an issue, as Serial ATA power and interface cables are thinner and more manageable than old school parallel ones.)

The 3.5" external drive cage is nice, as it lets you take out the cage and mount the drives out of the case and just put the cage back when you're done. Nothing new, yes, but this is the trademark of quality (read: quality) casings.

The 5 1/2" drive mounting mechanism is also impressive. You install rails onto the 5 1/2 device, and this contraption then slides right into the casing without much of a problem. (Just remember to remove the front plastic panel. :)

FYI, BQE stands for Black Quiet Edition: Antec's use a silent fan, power supply and rubber grommets to dampen hard drive noise are a testament to this claim. The black finish is quite similar to Dells, with just a bit more refinement. ;) With my Thermaltake Volcano 7+ set to 'Low' and that stock Antec silent 120 mm wonder fan as exhaust, this thing is so quiet I can finally hear myself think. (Bwehehe. =)

Antec also provided this casing with 2 USB 2.0 external front ports, plus a couple of hard drive indicator LEDs. Yes, a couple. There are actually three LEDs all for IDE hard drive activity. This will surely come in handy for those looking to this case as a file or application server casing of sorts, as these LEDs should easily mount onto another PCI/PCIe-based IDE/SATA drive or even an add-on RAID controller. There is also a filter for the front mounted intake fan, ensuring that the air going inside the casing is dust free.

Comparing the temps with my previous setup, the Antec's performance is pretty much the same, with my old setup having somewhat better (-2° C) temprature figures. That is undoubtedly due to the 92 mm Papst intake + 80 mm Thermaltake Smart Fan 2 exhaust my old setup had; this Antec only has a 120 mm as exhaust. Score one for the Antec, as its performance could easily be improved with another 120 mm as intake. (Besides, the 80 mm TT SF2 was running a moderate-high speed, whereas the Antec 120 mm was only running at around 2000 rpm. Take that, TT.)

Overall, this casing is pretty much what an enthusiast would want. The price is reasonable, and considering that it already comes equipped with a PSU, it then becomes something you should not miss when you're in the market for a casing. Except for the relatively minor gripes I have, I must say that the wait for this casing was well worth it.

I've thought of modding it too... but let's leave that for later. :D