Antec SLK3700BQE

Blast from the past: originally published April 14th 2004.

This is our third review of a chassis or case from the Antec Solution line. The Antec [intlink id=”226″ type=”post”]SLK3700AMB[/intlink] was the best mid tower case for the money we’ve ever seen, while the Antec [intlink id=”1698″ type=”post”]SLK2600AMB[/intlink] was a slight compromise for less real estate. This time around Antec has taken the value oriented SLK3700AMB and added features from it’s best selling “quiet” Antec Sonata . It’s a good idea to read our [intlink id=”226″ type=”post”]SLK3700AMB[/intlink] review first to see what makes it so great. The Antec SLK3700BQE is the black quiet edition of the Solutions line.

Let’s work from the outside in. First to notice is the black finish. While the Sonata and the SLK3700AMB have a beautiful glossy finish, the SLK3700BQE is a textured black, as is the plastic front bezel. Same external layout as the SLK3700AMB, with four 5.25” and two 3.5” external drive bays. Four status lights sit beside the power and reset buttons, while two USB ports sit below. A door covers the drive bays and buttons, and gives a satisfying click when closed.

Moving to the rear we see the first carry over from the Sonata: the 120mm fan grill is made of large holes for maximum airflow. Everything else is pretty standard. The cuts in the case to the right of the expansion slots look as if they’re designed for a snap on of some sort, but nothing currently is available.

The left side panel opens by pressing two latches and unfastening two thumb screws at the rear. Once inside we see a few more Sonata features. The hard drive bay is rotated ninety degrees towards the side and has four removable drive trays or mounting slats. Drives are screwed in from the bottom and utilize rubber grommets to reduce noise and vibration. A nice feature, but the SLK3700AMB held five drives and used rubber grommets as well.

This configuration also moves the front 120mm cooling fan slot to the outside of the chassis, under the front bezel. There’s enough room for the fan in there, barely. The front bezel pops off my pressing two tabs on the right side. This must be removed to mount any drives in the 5.25” bays, and to remove the air filter for cleaning. The 3.5” drive cage slides out by moving the lever towards the front of the case. The four 5.25” drive bays use drive rails, but they just come loose in a bag. It’s odd that they’re not mentioned in the specs as coming in the box.

The rear 120mm fan is held in place by four rubber pegs or posts, giving a fairly tight fit and reducing vibration noise effectively. It’s a 1200 RPM model that runs quietly, but doesn’t come with a three pin hardware monitor cable, just the Molex power connector.

The power supply is a SL350S, the “S” for single fan or silent. It’s a SL350 model with only a rear fan, no second fan on the bottom pulling air off the CPU. With the 120mm rear fan there’s really no need for the second fan in the power supply, but I didn’t notice a noise difference between the SL350 and the SL350S.

The big news as far as changes go are the two USB cables connecting to the front mounted ports. Instead of the five individual leads we saw with the SLK3700AMB, the two USB ports connect via one ten pin block. Finally!

Antec is pushing this case as being “whisper quiet” by incorporating features from the Sonata chassis. The drive cage, rear fan mount and exhaust all come from the Sonata, and do lessen the audible noise from the SLK3700BQE. Truth be told I can’t say this case is quieter than the SLK3700AMB or SLK2600AMB, as all are excellent designs and superior builds. I’m a longtime Antec fan and their Solutions line is the best value for a PC chassis, without question. If you like the black colour and the side mounted drive trays, then the Antec SLK3700BQE is for you. If you need more drive space pick up the Antec SLK3700AMB and an Antec Noise Killer kit with the $20 difference between the two.