Boning Up On Antec's Skeleton

Chassis and component manufacturer Antec just released a new enthusiast case called the Skeleton, which is just that -- the framework of an enclosure, without the walls. The Test Center assembled a PC using the case, which Antec says people either love or hate.

The front of the Skeleton is where the optical and hard drives are housed. It is also where you'll find the power and reset buttons, as well as two USB ports, a FireWire port, an eSATA connection, and audio jacks. The 250mm "Big Boy" fan on top of the unit provides enough airflow to cool most of the components, but is surprisingly quiet.

The component tray slides out from the rear of the chassis, allowing for access to the motherboard and power supply. Note the slots on the top of the side screen panels which permit the user to "hang" four additional hard drives (two on each side) in addition to the two that can be mounted in the case.

The plastic PCI Mounting Bar sits along the top of the back and provides a bracket to screw in PCI cards. The Skeleton is 3-way SLI ready, so there is enough space to install up to three 11-inch PCI-e graphics cards.

The motherboard tray sits on top of the component tray and is removed with three screws. This makes it very easy to mount any size board.

The power supply mount sits directly below the back of the motherboard and easily pulls out by lifting the metal tab. After attaching the PSU, the mount slides into the chassis using either of two tracks, depending on its size. Reviewers found mounting the component simple, but finding a place to route the thick cables was much more difficult.

The rear of the completely assembled computer looks a little jumbled. With a little more effort, some of the tangled wires could probably be hidden. Notice that the I/O panel is not used on the Skeleton. Antec recommends that it be kept in a safe place in case you decide to move the motherboard to a traditional case somewhere down the road.

The front of the completed system looks a little bit neater. There is a mount for a second optical drive under the first one, and two, 3.5-inch hard drives hide behind the detachable 92mm fan. All the drives are mounted with a single screw that locks into place by sliding it into the slot. They are also quickly removable by just depressing the appropriate tab.

The fan on top of the unit has a speed control switch that the user can set to one of three different speeds. There is also a simple button that changes the multi-color LEDs into a variety of different colors. By default the LEDs cycle through all the options.