Antec NSK1300 SFF Case


I've got something special for review today; It is another addition to the New Solution Series or PC cases from Antec. The case I have is the NSK1300, it is a small form factor, cube style case. Now. I was thinking about this review for a while and specifically the introduction, as that is always the hardest part, I wanted to somehow convey my impressions of this case and only one word came to mind: Sexy! Can a PC case be considered Sexy? I think so. Read on if I've peaked your curiosity….



Antec NSK1300 SFF Case

Reviewed by: Kristofer Brozio AkA Dracos

Sponsor: Antec


Tech Specs,Features or the Basic Info:


Antec New Solution Series NSK1300 SFF Case


Small on the outside, big on the inside


The small and compact cubic design of the NSK 1300 allows it to fit into virtually any workspace; at the same time, the inside is spacious enough for your MicroATX motherboard, up to 4 full height PCI expansion cards, and 4 drive bays. This case is so versatile that it can be used as a multimedia PC for your living room, a desktop PC for your office, or even a mobile gaming box for your next LAN party.



4 Drive Bays

1 x 5.25” External drive bay

Up to 3 x 3.5” HDD drive bays

Includes universal optical drive bay cover

Flip-Up drive cage for easy drive installation

Three-layer side panel (aluminum, plastic, aluminum) dampens system generated noise

Thermal interface tape to dissipate heat out from HDD to the cage

300 Watt Power Supply with Universal Input and PFC

Motherboard: Fits MicroATX Form Factor (9.6” x 9.6” or 24.5cm x 24.5cm)

Four Expansion slots

2 x USB, 1x Audio In & Out

Blue LED light on both sides of the front panel to indicate that the power is on

Net Weight: 13.1 Ibx / 5,9 kg

Gross Weight: 13.7 Ibs / 6,2 kg

Dimension: 7.9”(H) x 10.6”(D) x 13.2” (W)

Box Dimension: 10”(H) x 12.5”(D) x 14.5”(W)

$114.95 from the Antec store at time of review.


A Better Look at Things


Sit back, relax, grab a cup of whatever, this is going to be a long review, we have lots to cover, lots of details and lots of pictures. Enjoy!

The NSK1300 arrived to me actually inside of another box filled with air pillows to protect the N SK1300 and it's box during shipment, everything arrived fine of course. The packaging of any Antec product is always cool looking and informative. The NSK1300 box is no different except that it has its own built in carry handle and it's really small. There are pictures of the NSK1300 on the box along with all the specs and info I listed earlier in the review. I threw in my DVD/RW drive in the second picture just for scale effect to show you the size of the box in relation.


I have to say I just couldn't wait to get this open, I was like a little kid on Christmas morning! Opening the box we find the NSK1300 packaged very well and even a handy strap/handle to help get it out of the box.

Once out of the box we find that Antec did a great job on the packaging, making sure that the NSK1300 arrived safely. On the side of the case I found the literature packet as well.


A Better Look Continued….

Ok, now is this Sexy or what? Checking out a few different views of the NSK1300, on the front we find a stealthed DVD/CD bay, power button, reset button, USB ports and audio jacks.

On the sides, and top we find lots of ventilation holes, not the pattern on the top of the case, very nicely done, it could have been just plain like the side but Antec went one step further and added a bit of detail to it. On each side of the front, you'll notice an open space, that does go all the way through for ventilation and when powered on it creates a cool effect, which you'll have to see later. You'll notice small tabs sticking out of the back of the case in the third picture, those are to lock the sides in place, yes the top, and both sides are removable.


Here's a couple more shots of the NSK1300, one has that DVD drive in the picture for scale again, the NSK1300 is really a small case. If you look at the second picture, just take the time to admire it, look how the lines of the case flow together, the case is designed with style and grace in mind.


A Better Look Continued….

On the bottom of the case we find four rubber non-slip feet, and if you look at the bottom of the bezel you'll see it is open to allow more airflow into the case for optimum cooling.

Moving to the back of the NSK1300, the first thing that strikes you is the fan, it's huge, it is the PSU fan, but it also acts as the exhaust fan. There is also a single thumbscrew used to hold the cover on.

Antec included a universal i/o plate, again I still have yet to find a motherboard that one of those universal plates fit.

You'll notice the PCI slot covers, check these out, they are made to help promote airflow in the case, how come no one ever thought of that before? The PCI slot covers are also removable and replaceable. The system that Antec uses to secure the PCI cards is interesting, you'll notice six screws there, the entire L shaped bracket comes off or can just slide up and down, you PCI cards won't be moving at all once locked in with this system. I don't think I have to mention about the power connector, but I will, it is above the PCI slots and it is actually not housed in the PSU like normal, it is connected to wires that come out of the PSU.

Ok, here's a better look at the top of the case, the screen window you see is located directly over the PSU when the top is installed. The lid is fairly thick actually, it is three layers, as are the side, the top and bottom of the lid are aluminum while there is plastic in between.


A Better Look Continued….

Once the lid is off we can see into the NSK1300, but we can't see too far with the drive cage in place, and the sides still on. The drive cage itself is not actually attached to the case, it just floats there and the round black thing you see on the cage are rubber, these touch the top of the case and hold the cage in place.


While we are on the subject of the drive cage, let's check it out. Below are three pictures or views of the cage, I felt it needed to be shown this way. You can fit one 5.25” device into the large area of the cage, and three hard drives, one HDD sits in the middle directly under the 5.25” device, while the other two sort of hang from the top of the cage, it's an interesting and creative use of space. You'll notice in the pictures that in the HDD drive bays there is what looks like gray tape, that is actually thermal transfer tape to help the HDD dissipate heat into the cage, it also acts as a buffer to help silence the drives.


Let's take the sides off the NSK1300 and get a real look at it. You'll notice two boxes inside the chassis, one of brown the other is white.


Here are some shots of the chassis naked…. You'll notice there are only two stand offs installed in the case, and there is lots of room to work, the chassis is a mere frame. In the second picture you can see a silver metal clip like thing where a stand off should be, that is a stand off actually, but not the normal kind. To install the motherboard you only use two screws to secure it in place, the rest are those silver clip that have a tiny lip on them that holds onto your motherboard, cool system.


A Better Look Continued….

The next picture is the front of the case from the inside, notice it is basically all ventilation holes. There are also the standard mobo connectors and a Molex power connector to power the LEDs.

The back of the case is where the PSU is located, it is small but puts out 300Watts and features active PFC. From this view we can also see those silver stand offs again and the skeletal PCI slots covers. The PSU has your standard connections, Molex, SATA and ATX power connectors.

Remember the two boxes that we saw in the case earlier, well the white on had a nice surprise in it, an Antec Low Speed Cyclone Blower to help cool your case. The blower fits into the standard PCI slot and helps circulate fresh air in the NSK1300.


The other box, the brown one, has all the accessories in it for installation, including a sleeved IDE connector to help keep the NSK1300 clean and promote better airflow within. Antec included screws with rubber grommets on them for the hard drives to help make them quiet. The bag on the bottom of the picture has a setup for installing and additional fan directly above the CPU to help cool it. This bracket gets attached to the side of the PSU actually.


So what do you think? Is this one Sexy case? I think so, it is very well designed and made of quality materials. The included extras are a very nice bonus, the blower and the IDE cable were a big surprise actually. Antec has done something great in their New Solution Series of cases, they've improved upon something that was already excellent. I've always held Antec in high regard for the quality, style and craftsmanship of all their products, Antec knows how to make a PC case.

The Antec NSK1300 is very well made and is rock solid when put together, it will survive many trips to many lans if need be.

That's that, let's install my system and see it get really cramped in their….



Installation, Testing and Comparison

The system I will be installing in this case is of course of the Micro-ATX variety, specifically:


BioStar T-Force 6100 Socket 754 motherboard

AMD 3700+ CPU

PowerColor Radeon X1300 Video Card

2 Gigs of OCZ Spec Ops Ram

DVD/RW drive

40Gig Seagate IDE HDD drive.

I've played lots of games with this setup and while they don't play with all the eye candy on they all play fine. The BioStar T-Force is an excellent choice for a motherboard, while it does have an on board GeForce 6100 video chip that plays games well, I figured I would use the ATI card for the full install in the Antec NSK1300.

First up I installed the drives in their cage, in the following two pictures you can see the DVD/RW installed and get a close up of the thermal tape for the HDD's as well. Installing the DVD/RW was easy, just a couple screws.


I installed the HDD in the spot under the DVD drive, the screws Antec included have the rubber grommets pre-installed to help quiet the drive.

One thing to note is that a lot of wire management is needed with the NSK1300 to keep everything nice and the air flowing smoothly through the case. It would have been nice had Antec included a dozen or so zip ties to help with this..hint..hint…



Installation, Testing and Comparison Continued:

You can see there is not much room in there, but being an SFF case that is to be expected after all.


I installed the blower into the first or last PCI slot, you can see in the picture that I used quite a few zip ties to manage the wires floating about in the case.

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Originally I had installed an Arctic-Cooling Alpine 64 (see my review HERE) CPU cooler on my CPU, but forgot to take the PSU into account so it did not work. So I got out my Zalman CPU cooler and used that instead, and you can see in the following picture that is barely cleared the PSU. So large CPU coolers are out of the question in the NSK1300, but there are many small ones that perform very well.

The wires of the PSU can be routed to the left or the right, I choose the left side as the CPU cooler was in the way, time and planning are the key to an install in the NSK1300.



Installation, Testing and Comparison Continued:

There really wasn't any place to put the extra wires so I kind of bunched them together and hung them in mid air, the Zalman has no fan guard so it was important to keep the wires out of the way.

Edit: I've had lots of emails about which Zalman cooler this is, well it's the ZALMAN CNPS7000B-AlCu LED 2 Ball Blue LED Light Cooling Fan/Heatsink.

Once the drive cage is installed is gets really tight in the NSK1300, so any wire management has to be done before it is installed.



Overall the install was fairly easy, had I thought about the PSU I would have chosen the right CPU cooler for the job in the first place and not had to install a CPU cooler twice. I have to say Antec dropped the ball on not including zip ties with the NSK1300, but they are readily available and at a low price pretty much anywhere, but still, a few would have been nice to get started.

Now let's power it up… The HDD activity Led is blue as are the power LEDs that are located inside the front vents. Antec also included a stylish case badge as well. The effect of the LEDs inside the vents is actually pretty cool.




The NSK1300 is virtually silent, even with the Zalman CPU Cooler, Antec Blower and the PSU fan going I could only hear a slight hum coming from the case. I saw no drastic temperature increases, only a couple degrees from a 'regular' case. Apparently the design is very good to keep everything nice and cool. I'm truly impressed by the NSK1300.





Now you have to admit the Antec NSK1300 is one Sexy case right? Once again Antec has proven that they know their stuff, everything I have ever reviewed from Antec has been excellent, from the craftsmanship and manufacturing to the design and presentation, everything about an Antec case is amazing. The Antec NSK1300 New Solution Series SFF PC case continues Antecs' traditon of making quality products. So, if you are looking to buy an SFF case then this is the one, I can easily and honestly recommend it.


DragonSteelMods gives the Antec NSK1300 SFF Case a 5 out of 5 score and our Recommended Award as well.


-Excellent quality and design

-Fairly easy installation

-Looks great

-Virtually silent

-Nice included extras



-Lack of cable/zip ties for wire management




I would like to once again thank Antec for the chance to review the NSK1300, and for their continued support of DSM.