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Old 01-22-2013, 01:57 PM   #1
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Gigantopithecus's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 7,665
Default Mini-review of Antec's new budget-priced VSK-3000

My go-to budget cases (i.e. $40 or less) are the Fractal Design Core 1000 and NZXT Source 210. The Source 210 has been out of stock at Amazon for a couple weeks, and neither have been on sale at Newegg recently, unfortunately, and I needed some cheap cases for budget builds.

This cheap case appeared on Newegg a week or two ago and I picked one up for $20 shipped via FedEx SmartPost. FedEx SmartPost took over a week to get this from CA to WI, and the box came damaged, but fortunately the case is in fine shape, so its packaging is apparently sufficient.

My impressions after building a system in it:
- The case is small and light. This is good because it's easy to carry around/deliver/carry up stairs and such. It will also be cheaper to ship. This is bad because the steel is very flimsy. The plastic front panel is cheap and brittle - I was very concerned that it would snap when I took it off, but fortunately it did not. The clips will not hold up to repeated dismounts/remounts, though.
- The thermals are not that good. There is a 92mm fan front intake mount and rear 92mm rear exhaust mount. The fan comes mounted to the rear; I found moving it to the front as an intake and using the PSU fan as the sole exhaust dropped CPU temps by 5 degrees and board temps by 3 degrees, using a 95W TDP Athlon II X4 CPU and cheap 760G chipset mATX board. I would not use this for hotter CPUs, especially older higher-wattage CPUs. I doubt I'd put anything more than a very low end GPU in this case, either. Compared to the Core 1000 it runs about 8 degrees warmer and about 10 degrees warmer than the Source 210 with similar (but not identical) configurations.
- The acoustics are not that good. The thin steel, small fans, thin plastic front, and large side grille let noise leak out. That said it's no louder than the Source 210. It is definitely louder than the Core 1000.
- The quality control might be lacking. One of the middle mobo standoff screw holes is about 1mm too far up and is unusable in the two mATX boards I checked this with. This isn't a major concern, but it shouldn't happen even in a cheap case. I've not encountered this issue with the Core 1000 or Source 210.
- The steel is SHARP. The PSU and I/O cut-outs are especially wicked. Watch your fingers with this one. Again, this hasn't been an issue with the Core 1000 or Source 210.


Back: Note there are only two holes for mounting the 92mm fan. The other two spots have divots but you can't easily punch them out. I guess making them functional might have cost Antec another two or three cents in manufacturing cost? It's not a big deal but it shouldn't happen.


To sum, at its MSRP of $40, there are better cases. I'd rather pay $40 for the Core 1000 or Source 210 than this Antec VSK-3000. At $20, it's hard to beat. At its current Newegg price of $25, I'd probably buy it again. At $30, then I'd pony up the extra $10 for a Core 1000 or Source 210.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:39 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Thanks, nice job. I agree, the Source 210 would be a much better option, I mean why do they still make cases with top mounted psu's anyhow?
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:52 PM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Yah same for me, for $25 or less I really like this case. I paid $20 for mine. Would buy again. Perfect for like a grandparent type of setup where you never need to upgrade it ever again.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:11 PM   #4
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Posts: 33,049

I'm concerned about all of these reports of sharp edges. Hasn't the industry moved on from finger-cutter cases? At least, most of the even cheap cases I buy, aren't that sharp. It's a step backwards, IMHO, and one that we shouldn't put up with. If I had my druthers, I would boycott any case that has copious sharp edges.
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