Antec Micro Fusion Remote 350

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
October 17, 2008
Views
46917
Antec Micro Fusion Remote 350
The Antec Micro Fusion Remote homes in on the entertainment PC market which is a step away for Antec. Antec is a good brand for normal type computer cases, but can it stand up with a media center case?

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Page 1
Intro:

Antec makes superb computer cases for all types of situations. One of the latest markets of custom cases is the entertainment PC. There are specific requirements for a PC that fits with a home theater setup including good cooling and a small A/V form factor. Antec has a new case called the Micro Fusion Remote 350 which targets this exact market.

Packaging:

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Antec usually does a nice job packaging their products even when shipped. The box is sturdy and the case is well protected with foam. This is pretty standard stuff today.

Parts:

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Other than the case, you get a few parts including screws, stand offs, a power cable, instructions, and a remote for use with media center functionality.

Micro Fusion:

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The case itself is black with nice silver accents. This color scheme fits nicely with current A/V components and would look fine in a living room. One thing you will see when using this case is its attention to cooling. There are many fans that or controllable to keep the noise down. The worst thing about an entertainment PC is the noise and thankfully, Antec thought of that with this case.

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The front of the case houses a built-in LCD and a stealthed optical drive bay. The bottom front has the power and reset buttons and a few ports including eSATA. eSATA is increasingly being used in high bandwidth external block devices (like external hard drive) and it is nice to see included on the front of this unit. The bottom left of the unit contains the subtle Antec logo in white.

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Cooling is an important factor in picking a case to use especially when you need to have a quiet system as well. There are a few ways to get good cooling. We'll go over them when looking at the internal parts of the case. The front vent houses a fan and the back vent is for the power supply vent.

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The back of the case contains the motherboard I/O as well as the half height add on slots. Remember that you need to use half height (also known as low profile) cards in this case and there are many varieties of cards than have this form factor. The PSU is a small form factor variant seen on the right.

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The right side of the case features two fans that vent over the motherboard for good cooling. One of the minuses of a smaller case is that you need to use smaller fans. Antec makes up for this by including many small fans. That in turn has another minus which we'll get to later.

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There are two different type of feet on this case. The front feet have a nice shiny metallic exterior and the rear feet have the all rubber look. The front feet are visible and the back aren't which is why there is a difference. This is also a cost cutting measure and with the economy what it is today, we need all the help we can get.
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Inside:

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Taking off the cover of the case (the top) reveals the inside and the amount of space you are working with. There are a few interesting things about this layout. The drive section is located on the left of the image (which is the front of the case) and there is a fan pushing air directly on the hard drive. There is a removable bar above the motherboard that gives the case stability when in use and is removable to install the components.

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The PSU is the smaller variety found in cases such as this. Aside from that, there is ample space around the unit to cool it without problems.

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The motherboard area is also very clear. The theme of this case seems to be proper air circulation. As you'll notice, some of the mounts for the motherboard are inverted and require a specialized wing nut to secure it. I don't know why they did this.

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This is the area below the optical drive cage. The cage pulls out and you screw in the drive. No big deal, but what is a big deal is the amount of space available under it. You can route cables and a few other things. The front connections come out from under the optical bay as well.

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The HDD area is made for two drives. One sites on top of the cage and one gets installed in the cage. There are screws supplied with the case for each of these placements. The area is made for sound dampening as there is padding and rubber in places where the drive would touch and the screws are lined with rubber as well.

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The PSU is the in the 80+ line from Antec and is a 350W unit. Remember that most computer don't need extremely high wattage power supplies and 350 watts is enough to handle a good system. This is an entertainment PC case, remember.

Installation:

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To install the hard drive. You need to remove the LCD from the unit. I consider this a design flaw. The LCD itself is bare once you remove it and it folds down so getting it back in the correct place is kind of a pain to do. It is a minor annoyance, but an annoyance, regardless. The LCD itself is graphical and Linux drivers are in the works for the latest versions of LCDproc. The remote control will also work with the latest LIRC stack. Windows drivers are included in the packaging.

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You can see the amount of space the case gives you. I'm using an ITX motherboard, but you could easily use a micro-ATX sized board as well and have better expansion and better performance with a good CPU. This system was intended to be a MythTV frontend.

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The hard drive is installed in the cage with special rubberized screws to cut down on the vibration. It is things like this that make Antec a top case provider.

Conclusion:

Don't get me wrong. Media center cases are expensive and the Micro Fusion Remote 350 is no different hovering in the $200 range. You have to be absolutely sure of your purchase with this. Do you really need the LCD and remote included? They are nice features but many builders will opt to skip a LCD and buy a better remote control instead of the small one that comes with it.

Antec did put a nice package together and if you're looking for a case that has everything built-in, this is it. Media center junkies need to look no further. The case has fans with variable speeds to slow them down enough to be quiet yet still move air around for adequate cooling. The fact that the case looks like a component in an A/V setup is just gravy. Antec really knows how to make a case and I'm glad to see these ventures into new markets. Now, it needs to be a bit cheaper.

I'd like to thank Antec for supply the case for review.
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