A great mix of style and substance, at a reasonable price
Looks are a boon
Superbly planned interior
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Marking a departure from its previous HTPC efforts, Antec has finally produced a case that doesn't scream 'I'm a PC!' quite so loudly. However, if you did have any intentions of hiding the fact that there's a PC hanging out with your hi-fi, you're out of luck, thanks to the exposed USB and audio ports. There's unfortunately no remote control in this package, but at least when you do get up off the sofa to adjust the volume it's a pleasant experience thanks to the pleasingly tactile amplifier dial.
Antec's reasons for only supporting MicroATX boards in this chassis become clear when you look at the superbly planned interior; each component has its own section, meaning that while the bundled PSU isn't modular, excess cables are confined tidily to a partition.
What makes the Fusion stand out is the attention to detail. The chassis is solid steel; sharp edges are rounded off, and Antec's used white activity LEDs, a welcome departure from the clichéd blue. The case is supplied with dual variable-speed 120mm fans, able to push more air at slower speeds, and covers for unused fan mounts. This allows for a wide choice of cooling combinations.
Drive bays are removable and mounted using vibration-eliminating silicone spacers, and reusable cable ties come pre-fitted. All this makes the case a pleasure to build in, and it wasn't long before our system was humming away quietly.
At their lowest speed, the fans and power supply were barely audible from more than a metre away, and the hard drive dampers stopped drive-graunch. Stepping up the speed increased the volume, but even at full speed the Antec was quiet, fitting in perfectly with our Hi-Fi system. James De Vile
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