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Meet the LanBoy Air. Nearly every part on this case, even the motherboard and PSU mounts, is modular and customizable. Up to 15 exhaust fans create positive air pressure inside the case that blows dust and heat out through panel perforations.
Up front, the LanBoy Air's AirMounts HDD mounting system literally suspends drives in mid-air for unsurpassable vibration and noise resistance.
Along with its two internal 2.5" SSD bays and a front-panel USB 3.0 port, the LanBoy Air is the last word in high-flexibility PC case design.
• AirMount HDD suspension mount system
• Open-frame mesh panel construction - cool air in, dust and heat out
• Optical drives can be mounted in 3 different orientations
• 2 x internal 2.5" SSD drive bays
• Modular motherboard tray and PSU mount
• Infinite cooling - up to 15 fans plus top mount for water cooling
• Built-in toolbox
• Up to 16" / 406 mm graphics cards
• USB 3.0-compatible front port
• Built-in handles for easy carrying and transportation
I have never really been one for the "'l33t g33k' cases... as long as it holds the stuff in one place, gives it juice, and stops bits falling off... that's all I need from it. Until I saw this at a recent tech showcase and fell in instant lust. OK, the one I wanted was the "blue" model, but "yellow" actually looks pretty good too.
Probably the biggest deal... and it really IS a big deal... about this case is the utterly stupendous level of customisation you can apply, in terms of where and how you can place various components. Also, WHAT components too... with room for twin SSDs, 9 storage drives (any combination of HDDs, opticals, card readers, etc) plus on-board ports for 2x USB 2.0 and even a USB 3.0 port, if your motherboard supports it.
Some of the alterations to the 'traditional' layout I implemented:
• DVD burner and Media Reader (fitted into a 5.25" bay adapter) facing out the side, rather than out the front. This is because of where the case sits up on my desk. I also have them located at the BOTTOM of the stack, within closer reach.
• No small side door - Removed to allow free access to DVD and Media Reader.
• Power Supply at the BOTTOM of the case - to allow greater heat-dissipation, and to lower the centre of mass since the case is sitting up on a shelf next to my screens.
• Disabled the case-mounted USB ports - mainly because of how the case sits they are WAY out of easy reach, but also because one of them doesn't want to work.
So, why is this the most configurable case around, and perfect for the 'l33t and 'leet wannabe? Simple - it's entirely modular. You can reverse the entire alignment of components either horizontally or vertically. Want to have your case sitting on your left side, and still access everything? No worries, easy as. Want the PSU at the top, as per traditional cases - a simple matter of undoing a few screws, and moving the MoBo mounting plate down to make room, and then remounting the slide-in/out PSU docking frame to the top. I tried every possible combination of this case, and found I could shift anything to almost anywhere in under 4 minutes.
Heck, if you end up buying two cases, you can even swap your choice of the steel structural bars around too! Waikato colours, Red/Yellow/Black anyone?
Some of the features that make this a real competition-killer as far as I am concerned:
• bungi-sprung HDD mounts - the aptly-called AirMount system. Maximal airflow, maximal shock absorption. Perfect for a case that may travel a lot. LAN party anyone? (Oh, and the built-in carry handles are part of that feature-set too!)
• Pre-designed mounts and ports for water-cooling rigs, perfect for the high-end overclocker who wants to minimise the abuse to his CPU, so they don't turn into ghost chips.
• The *5* huge-as 110mm LED-lit fans, the front two of which have variable-speed adjustments, and the rest have 2-speed switches.
• The finger-tight screw attachment system for the various side panels. Yes, they are slotted for a Phillips cross-head if you really want to, but they can be removed and done up by hand very securely.
• The discrete on-board toolkit and spare 'bits' box. If you didn't know it was there, you wouldn't see it. Great for tucking a spare house/car key in if you go out LAN'ing frequently.
A couple of TINY niggles, and these are just TINY ones for sure... the LED's on the blue case - blue. On the red case - red. On the Yellow case - Blue?! It just really wasn't the colour I would have gone for. Red would be a better 'default' as far as I am concerned. This case is also noticeably heavier than your traditional case. Because the panels are all open-mesh, the metal frame has to be very sturdy to ensure it's load-bearing.
Style-wise this case holds it's own pretty well too. Plenty of lights (though an ability to easily turn the LEDs off on demand might be a good possible upgrade), lots of good black metal mesh, splashes of bright primary colours... it's like something from Automan or Tron! (Yeah yeah, showing my age there, I know. ) It is, however, still quite blocky and lacks that "futuristic vibe" many owners are going for. Never mind! Style doesn't always equal best practice... and Antec do have some stunning cases for the desktop style guru. But for the gamer, who wants style AND structural integrity... this is unbeatable.
Overall, this is a case I am proud to have on display in the office, and one I plan to upgrade all the other computers into. Paired with the Antec HCG-620 620W High Current Gamer PSU (review to come soon), there is enough room, and power, to drive some serious grunt hardware! GAME ON!
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