A removable motherboard tray can
be a good thing, or it can be a big pain in the butt -
it really depends how well the case has been designed, and how easy it is
to install and remove the tray. On some cases, you practically have to dismantle the entire enclosure before you
can really remove the tray, so it doesn't always work very well as a time saving device.
On the Antec Plus 1080AMG the
tray is an integral part of the entire chassis and therefore it isn't removable. The power supply is mounted above the motherboard
area, and with the drive caddies removed it is pretty easy to install a mainboard. The only
gripe I have with this case is along the edge where the screws are
to hold the slot cards in place. The edge of the frame overhangs
the screws slightly so you have to angle the screwdriver to get it to sit properly. This problem existed
on the original SX1030B we reviewed ages ago, and it seems the manufacturer has been
unable to improve on it which is a shame.
On the positive side, the trim
is fitted with lots of little spring clips which ensure a tight fit between the
side panel and the rest of the chassis. The side panel is pretty unique as cases
go because it swings open once a little catch is depressed. The panel is also just
the right distance away from the internal chassis supports for a little sound proofing. A
sheet a 1/2" thick will fit in nicely and won't really interfere with anything
The plastic handle on the side
panel is what clips into place to keep it shut, and we're pretty happy with it.
The lock is token, but then again, what computer lock isn't?
Once the motherboard and expansion cards are installed in
the case the next job on the list of assembling a computer
is usually to set up the hard drives. In most cases this can be aggravated
by closely placed video cards which block the path to the
With the Antec Pro 1080AMG, installing hard drives into the removable hard drive caddies is so
straight forward and easy, you wonder why every manufacturer doesn't use the
The caddies pop in and out
with the flick of a catch, no screws required. The catch is easy to engage or
disengage, and the frames the caddies slide into are designed in such
a way that with the video card installed you can still remove them. Only one
of the two 3.5" racks came equipped with a removable plastic fan
never been too much of a fan of 5.25" bays that use slides to
hold a CDROM or DVDROM in place, but in this case they work well, and are
easy to access. In some other rather poor examples of engineering, the entire front bezel must be unscrewed
and removed before the slides will work, and this is just insane. The Antec 1080AMG has small
cutouts on the front bezel the right size for a thumb and finger to get
in and release the spring catch on the drives so they just slide right out.
slides still have to be screwed into the side of the
IDE device, but at least the bezel can remain stationary. The 5.25" bays are set up exclusively for use
with the plastic bay slides which are stored at the base of the entire
case in a special bracket so they don't get lost. The drives are concealed behind a little
door which can be locked shut with the same set of keys used to keep
the side panel locked down. In all reality though, the sliding rails make it
just as easy to steal a CDROM or device, so this case wouldn't be
the best option for public areas where the computers are left unsupervised.