Antec’s new case is placed next to GX700, in the GX series line up of cases, which now consists of GX500 and GX700. With budget in mind the company has designed GX500 to be as efficient as possible, while remaining quite cheap – thus in the article below I’ll try to thoroughly test and review Antec GX500.
In a standard fashion for most cases, GX500 arrived in a slightly colored carton box, pretty light in terms of weight and perfectly intact exterior wise. One side of the box there was a black/white picture of the case’s front panel and throughout the entire carton packaging there was a black stripe with Antec’s logo and “Designed by Antec in California” inscription.
|The side of the box||GX500 protective packaging|
On the other side the box there was a picture of a disassembled version of the case with all removable parts and some technical specifications of the chassis. After examining the carton box and getting to know what it held inside I eagerly proceeded with the unwrapping process. While opening the packaging I noticed that GX500 was wrapped with a nylon bag and supported by two thick styrofoam pieces, that protected the case entirely and helped it to arrive in perfect condition. After removing all protective covers I was able to check out the actual case and what it looked like.
Antec GX500 Exterior
GX500 is painted in black all around. The front panel features a mesh design and between the two fan slots sits a badge with Antec’s logo. The case is clean looking, modern and stylish, with nothing “too much” in the design and is very simple, yet interesting to look at – the top panel, that has vehicle-like grill, slightly curves at the front panel’s I/O and looks a bit streamlined. The chassis has physical dimensions of 525 mm (H) x 512 mm (W) x 248 mm (D).
|GX500 rear/side view||GX500 side view|
|GX500 bottom view||GX500 top view|
Paint job is rather good as between the plastic panels and the metal chassis there was little to no difference in the coloring. The case stands on four feet with some rubber material to absorb any vibrations during operation of the system inside and they actually do the job perfectly well. Definitely a nice touch, because some other cases in this price range offer plastic feet that are extremely slippery and cheap looking.
|GX500 accessory box||GX500 user manual and guide|
Inside GX500 there was a small white carton box, containing everything that comes supplied with the case – product overview, installation guide and accessories.
- Speaker and screws
- Dampening materials
- Eight brackets for HDD installation
- Four spare screws for additional fan installation
- Sufficient amount of cable ties
Antec GX500 Interior
This case is able to fit motherboards like standard ATX, microATX and Mini-ITX, with up to seven expansion slots and four 3.5″ drives, one 2.5″ drive along with two 5.25″ drives and one 3.5″ floppy drive, both featuring tool-less design.
At first sight inside GX500’s interior I immediately noticed the lack of rubber grommets on the cable routing holes, which is a bit of a setback, but not a deal breaker. One more thing that raised my attention was the fact that all PCI brackets were not made to be in any way screwed on, only removable by breaking them, so be careful which ones you remove when building a system as they leave holes, which are not eye pleasing and disrupt the looks of the build.
I reached the motherboard tray by removing the right side panel and was surprised by all the cables hanging for a case this size – all of the cables were nicely labeled with big, readable letters for easy navigation and installation. CPU cutout was huge, considering the overall size of the case, which is really pleasing as CPU cooler installation/removal should be relatively easy and hassle free. Antec also left some zip tie mounts on important spots for better cable management and tidy build.
In a typical DVTests fashion I will try to disassemble the case so that only the chassis is present and then put it back together, while explaining the removed parts in detail. I was able to remove all the parts in some 5 minutes…extremely easy case to disassemble, and this is what it looked like:
|GX500 chassis||GX500 chassis – behind MB tray|
Overall my impressions are fairly good in terms of rigidity of the case, it won’t fall apart when a system is placed inside, although there a couple of complaints I would like to share in order to be completely honest – side panels are flimsy and bend very easily. At random places the steel’s thickness does seem insufficient and feels very soft to the touch, but again – the overall structural integrity of the case is good enough.
These are all the removed parts from the GX500:
- Left side panel
- Right side panel
- Top panel, including all the I/O cables and integrated fan controller sliders
- Front panel
- Front mesh grill
- Front dust filter
- PSU dust filter
- Three 120mm Antec fans with their respective cables and 3-pin molexes
- small amount of screws used for attachment of all the parts
Antec GX500 Fans
I shall begin with fan installation first – Antec GX500 comes with three preinstalled 120mm fans out of the box.
Sadly, there is no specification printed on the fans, and none is also present on the official website. They are standard 120x120x25mm in size with a seven-blade black propeller and a sturdy all black plastic frame. The fans are powered by a 3-pin fan connector with long non-sleeved flat black cables – also a nice touch as the cables are invisible inside the case and do not need to be additionally sleeved if you undergo a case mod.
So, the fans are attached to the chassis with two screws for each fan, because there are two bumps (again for each fan), acting as a replacement to the other two screws, which you would actually put in a normal fan installation. This way, Antec makes fan removal/installation faster and more convenient. Out of the box fan setting for Antec GX500 is two at the top, one at the rear, all acting as exhaust. Due to the CPU cooler I would use, I switched the two top fans and mounted them at the front panel as intakes, the rear fan I left as originally installed (I will regret changing fan position later in the article).
Antec GX500 features a fan controller, supporting up to five fans, meaning you can add two more fans. The fan controller is located at the top panel and has two switches with Low, High and Stop setting. Antec GX500 is capable of housing a total of six 120mm fans (two at the top, two at the front panel, one at the rear and one on the left side panel). All the slots available as fan mounts are limited to 120mm, which is good enough for air cooling, although at least two 140mm fan slots would have been a nice addition, due to lower RPM operation and lower noise levels.
Antec GX500 Panels/Dust Filters
|GX500 Front dust filter/grill||GX500 Front panel|
Equipped with plastic brackets for easy installation and removal, the front panel of GX500 includes a big removable honeycomb dust filter, which locks into place via a small slider, located on the bottom. It’s always good to see that dust filters are present, even on lower-end cases, because dust build up really makes temperatures go insane and also clutters on fan blades. A small, easily accessible dust filter is also present under the PSU.
The top panel was a bit cheeky to remove as it has all the I/O cables attached, that go trough a small opening in the case, but of course, you will probably never need to remove the whole panel, as the top grill removes just like the front panel, via a slider, so that you have access to the two top fan slots.
On the top panel you can find the Power and Reset buttons, a nice wide Power LED and a smaller HDD activity LED. GX500 features a total of two USB 3.0 ports and two audio jacks. The Power and Reset buttons are easy to press and have good feedback, followed by a nice click sound when they activate.
Side panels were the last parts that had to be put back together – they fit perfectly well, but require some adjustment in order to be locked into place. Before wrapping up with the case examination I have to explain how the HDD cage works. Antec GX500 is designed to be a gaming case with serious GPU support – up to 380mm in length. Inside you won’t find the typical 6+ drive bay slots, but only four, with additional SSD mount, meaning five storage slots available – good enough by standards nowadays. The HDD cage is completely tool-less and worked flawlessly.
|HDD brackets||HDD ready for installation|
Brackets included in the package are designed to be mounted directly to the HDD just by clicking them into the corresponding openings and then sliding the whole assembly into the HDD cage. The drive was secured into place with no movement whatsoever. Now that I’ve covered most of the chassis features I believe the time has come to assemble my test rig inside this case and put it to the test.
The test system is as follows:
- Motherboard: AsRock Fatal1ty Killer Z87
- CPU: Intel I5-4670K; Load tests will be performed at standard clock frequency 3.4 GHz (at 1.029V, set to Auto when not OC-ing)
- CPU Cooler: Box Intel CPU Cooler (Silverstone Tundra TD02 was predicted for installation)
- Video card: MSI AMD R9 270X HAWK 2G
- Hard drive: Western Digital 640 GB Black Series
- Power supply: Corsair RM750 W, Modular
- Memory: A-Data XPG 8 GB Dual channel
NB! Although Antec GX500 is compatible with top 240mm water cooling radiators there was no way for me to install Silverstone Tundra TD02. Don’t be alarmed as probably a standard size and thickness radiator should fit perfectly on the top two 120mm fan mounts, it’s just that the TD02 is a large and thick radiator not suitable for smaller size cases.
|Behind MB tray||Antec GX500 Test rig|
Building the system inside Antec GX500 was relatevely easy and hassle free, although I found some small issues, regarding the case’s internals. First issue was the fact that after installing the motherboard to the stand offs I was unable to route the 8-pin CPU connector via the precut opening – it’s just a bit smaller than it should be and I had to remove the top screws of the motherboard to connect the power cable. The second issue, or should I say an operation that requires a bit attention is how the side panels are closed – they need a bit force applied in order to be closed firmly and securely. Cable management was fine, but could be improved a bit, I have no big complaints about that.
After system installation I believe it is time to show you how the case performed in real world situation. Ambient room temperature is about 25 degrees Celsius. Here are the performance results of Antec GX500:
|Antec GX500 Idle temps, Low Fans||Antec GX500 Load temps, Low Fans|
|Antec GX500 Idle temps, High Fans||Antec GX500 Load temps, High Fans|
Final thoughts and conclusion:
1. Antec GX500 appearance – Having a sleek and stylish look, GX500 is a case few would consider non-attractive. The chassis has clean looks and very pleasing overall design from the big top grill, right to the mesh front panel and big Power ON LED. With all the black exterior and interior the case is sure to be a purchase for many gaming PC builds if looks are pursued. I personally like the whole exterior of the case with its unobtrusive design and its streamlined shape.
2. Antec GX500 performance – Here things get a bit mixed up and not because the case has insufficient air cooling capabilities, but rather because the factory fan setup is odd – having three 120mm fans as exhaust and no fresh air going into the case’s internals means noticeably hotter temperature on all the components. I couldn’t fit Silverstone TD02 as CPU cooler, and the BOX Intel heatsink seems to be struggling with the CPU temps even at High speed set to the three Antec fans. I would definitely recommend changing the fan setup of this case, whether you purchase it, with at least one fan acting as intake. However, with some additional fans installed, the case has really good potential in air cooling, I presume.
3. Antec GX500 noise level – Antec supplied the case with a dual channel fan controller – this is the most prominent feature of the case in my opinion, as you can control up to five fans. When you browse the internet or watch a movie, the fan controller could be set to Low, maintaining whisper quiet operation with the three stock fans. At High speed, the case gets considerably louder, but I guess that High speed setting might only be used if overclocking is done or intense gaming sessions are being played. All in all, I am a fan of the integrated fan controller and very pleased with the Low speed setting of the stock fans.
I think Antec GX500 deserves the following reward:
Official price (MSRP): Antec GX500 – $50, 48 Euro
Warranty: 36 months
Special thanks to Antec for providing us with a test sample.