The accessories that come with the Twelve Hundred seem a little lacking at first, but it really has everything covered. You get all the mounting hardware, couple re-useable wire ties, and the 3.5” bay adaptor.
When I got around to installing the hard drive I noticed a couple of things Antec did to ease the pain of installing the hard drives into the cages. They sleeved the holes in the cage with a plastic tube to keep you from having to have a magnetic tip screw driver and trying to drop it through a hole. In doing this you can no longer use a standard screw to mount the hard drives; no worries about what hardware to use as Antec provides you with enough hardware to mount 12 hard drives.
Installing the rest of the system was very easy since the Twelve Hundred has loads of room to work. Hiding cables was easy. I was able to get a nice looking routing with little effort. With a bit of time, a tuck here and there one could have a very tidy case. Since this system is not the system that will be living in the case permanently I didn’t want to spend an afternoon making it perfect. This was done in less than 30 minutes.
Is the Twelve Hundred the “Unbeatable Gaming Case” that Antec says it is? Well, it has all the good things and corrected most, if not all, of the flaws of the Nine Hundred. If you liked the Nine Hundred, you will love the Twelve Hundred. As for the rest of us who have not been face to face with a Nine Hundred, the Twelve Hundred has a lot of nice style to it and it is very easy to work with and in. It also lends itself to be more user tailored than any other case I have used in a long while.
Now, most likely one of the questions on your mind is about the fans. Are they loud? It depends on the speed setting. If you have them on the medium or low settings they are nice and quiet; they are running in the mid-low 20dBA range. Put all of them on high and you will be turning up the TV as they are now running in the mid-high 30dBA range. This is mainly due to the open mesh and vents all over the case; there just is nothing to absorb the sound, good for air flow but bad for noise reduction. With the fans on low the 120’s are running 1200 RPM and pushing 39CFM and the 200 is running 400RPM and pushing 89CFM. On high the 120’s are running 2000RPM and pushing 79CFM and the 200 is running 1000RPM and pushing 167CFM. Running the 120mm fans on medium and the 200mm on low I felt was the sweat spot, somewhat quiet and still moving a fair amount of air through the case. Now for the lights, the LEDs in the fans are not harsh on the eyes in the dark; they provide more of a soft glow than anything else. The option to turn the LEDs on the 200mm fan seemed a little out of place to me because you can not turn the LEDs off on the 120mm fans. If you want to turn one off, it stands to reason you would like the others off as well.
Now the hard core guys are thinking, “what about water cooling?” Well when we first spotted the Twelve Hundred was at Computex 2007 and it looked as if there was going to be an option for this case to have a massive radiator mounted to the top with the 200mm fan, but sadly this has not come to pass yet. HOWEVER, all is not lost. There is still tons of room. If you only use a single hard drive and optical drive you can cram a 3×120 radiator in the front if the case, and still hang a 2×120 on the back.
One thing I would like to touch on that I haven’t done yet is weight. Empty, the Twelve Hundred comes in at 32lbs, which is nothing compared to the 63lb P190 behemoth, but is not a light-weight, either. This is both good and bad. Good for the fact that it is built to take a beating and last forever, as all Antec cases are. Bad for your back, with a full decked out system with 12 hard drives, couple of video cards, and a good quality PSU (which is almost never light); a couple of trips to the local LAN and you’re going to be looking for a way to put wheels on it. Then again, it’s a full tower. If you’re thinking of using a full tower for a build then removal of the word ‘light’ from your list of things to call your rig is a given.
So is the Twelve Hundred “unbeatable?” It might be. The Twelve Hundred can be found on our shopping link for an average street price of $170, that’s $70 more than its predecessor. For that $70 you get a better looking case, more room to accommodate the biggest of air coolers and video cards on the market, and can allow for the transition to water cooling without needing to cut up the case.
Bottom Line: The new Twelve Hundred is the most well built and laid out case I have seen yet this year.