The Antec LanBoy Air Modular PC Case
Antec is a name that pretty much every enthusiast, no matter the level, will know. Antec has been cranking out cases since 1986. Now Antec has a wide range of case for all tastes; they also have their own line of power supplies, fans and coolers.
Today we are looking at Antec's newest case line, the LanBoy Air. The new LanBoy Air is a modular case that can be customized to suit the end user's needs. Nearly every panel, including the motherboard tray and the power supply cage, can be removed and relocated. The LanBoy Air can also accommodate up to fifteen 120mm fans. Out of the box it comes with five 120mm fans: two front LED fans, two TwoCool LED Fans on the side panel and one TwoCool LED fan on the rear. All the fans are setup to blow into the case to create positive pressure in the enclosure. This is what Antec says will keep dust build up down inside the LanBoy Air. We hope that is true, as the LanBoy Air has no dust filters. The LanBoy Air also has room for three external 5.25" devices, six internal 3.5" drive bays and two 2.5" drive bays. To hold spare screws and little parts there is also a small storage box included.
Features of the Antec LanBoy Air:
- Fully-modular chassis
- Open-frame mesh panel construction
- AirMounts™ HDD suspension mount system for up to 6 HDDs
- Advanced cooling system up to 15 fans
- 3 year warranty
- Model: LanBoy Air
- Dimensions(HxWxD): 20.4” x 8.7” x 19.3” (517.5 x 222 x 490mm)
- Weight: 20.3 lbs / 9.2 kg
- 11 drive bays:
- 6 x internal 3.5” HDDs
- 3 x external 5.25” HDDs
- 2 x internal bottom-mounted 2.5” SSD bay
- Standard fans:
- 2 x front variable-speed 120 mm blue LED fans with stepless control knobs
- 1 x rear 120 mm TwoCool™ blue LED fan
- 2 x side 120 mm TwoCool™ blue LED fans for graphics cards cooling
- 2 x 120 mm fan for CPU and memory cooling
- 6 x 120 mm side drive bay fan
- 2 x 120 mm top fan
- Top water cooling radiator fitting
- Rear water cooling grommets
- 1 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- Audio (AC’97 and HDA compatible) In and Out
Packing for the LanBoy Air
On the front of the box there is nice exploded view of the LanBoy.
On one end there is an image of the case completely assembled.
On the other a graphic showing how the positive pressure fan setup of the LanBoy Air pushes the heat and dust out of the case.
On the back there are several images showing the features, configurability and supported video card length.
On the top are the LanBoy Air specifications in 7 different languages.
Out of the box we can see the LanBoy Air comes wrapped in plastic and protected with high density foam caps.
The top of the LanBoy Air is a translucent smoke plastic. To protect from scratches in shipping there is a protective film on it and the Antec logo.
External Impressions of the Antec LanBoy Air
The front bezel for the LanBoy Air is similar to that of Antec’s Dark Fleet DF-85. It has an industrial feel to it. It is not as sleek as Antec’s Performance series but this is aimed as those with a whole other taste in cases. At the top are the front I/O ports, the three 5.25” bays, two 120mm variable speed fans and, finally, the parts storage box at the very bottom. Each of the fan's speed is controlled by its own speed control knob located in the lower right of each of the fan housings.
Looking closer at the front panel we can see the front I/O connections. From left to right: Reset Switch, Activity LEDS, USB2.0, Mic, USB2.0, Headphone, and USB3.0.
The better part of the LanBoy Air is metal mesh. Despite this, the LanBoy Air weighs in at 20.3lbs (9.2kg). The bulk of this weight is from the LanBoy Air’s steel square tube frame. With the ability to hold eight hard drives, three 5.25” devices and up to fifteen fans the LanBoy Air needs a strong frame and the tubing does just that. The thick wall of the tubing also allows for holes to be tapped into it, allowing the modular flexibility of the LanBoy Air.
The side panels are split. The drive bay areas can be accessed via door. The door is held shut with a single thumb screw. The back half of the side panel is held on with 6 thumb screws.
The top of the LanBoy Air has space for two 120mm fans or a 2x120mm radiator. It also has two carry handles.
The top is made from a translucent smoke plastic.
The Handles swing up when you need them too, and to keep them from flopping around in transit they have small locking tabs that click into the top.
Moving around to the back we can see the default configuration for the Lanboy Air. I say default because you can rearrange it if you like; more on this in a moment.
At the top is the rear 120mm fan; just above it is a small slot. This slot is for running fan wires to external fans that you might have on a top mounted radiator. I found that the slot is also big enough to run the USB3 cable through as well. Below the fan is the high/low speed control switch for the fan.
The LanBoy air has eight expansion slots; each of the slot covers is vented. One of the slot covers is for running the USB3 cable through. Unfortunately, this cover is chrome plated. It would have looked nicer if it were black like the rest of the expansion slot covers.
At the very bottom is the stock location for the power supply cage.
The right side is pretty much identical, looks-wise, to the left. The only real difference is the back half of the side panel cannot accommodate fans; this space is occupied by system wiring routed behind the motherboard tray.
The bottom of the LanBoy air is mostly mesh vent. There are six rubber case feet; they are approximately 3/4” tall.
Looking Inside the LanBoy Air
Removing the door and side cover we can get a good look at the inside of the LanBoy Air.
In the lower front there are mounting holes in the mesh panel for two 2.5” drives. The 3.5” drives are mounted to what are basically bungee cords. Antec calls the system AirMount. There are brackets on the frame the AirMount cords hook to. This allows for you to rotate the drive you choose. You can have the connectors face left, right or to the back.
Moving to the lower rear is the stock location for the power supply cage. The cage slides into a mounting rail that is bolted to the frame. The cage is locked in place with a single thumbscrew on the back of the cage.
At the rear we can see the rear expansion slots and rear fan. The fan has a 4-pin molex connector. The speed control switch is on the back side of the rear panel.
Removing the right side panel and drive bay door we can see the back of the motherboard tray. The tray has a large CPU cutout and several tabs for wire management.
If the five included fans are not enough, the LanBoy Air can accommodate fifteen fans -- fifteen! The left side panel alone can hold seven 120mm fans. It comes with two 120mm fans in the middle of the left rear panel. There are spaces for two more in the top of the left rear, and three in each the left and right side drive bay doors. So, to recap: two in the front, seven on the left, 3 on the right, two on the top, and one on the rear. Now imagine the system with fifteen 120mm Delta’s screaming away.
The side panel fans are the same as the rear fan. They are Antec’s 120mm TwoCool 2 speed fans. They are powered by 4 pin molex connectors and have individual speed control switches for high/low operation.
Configuring the LanBoy Air
The LanBoy Air is a modular case and is designed to be reconfigured as the end user wishes. The manual that comes with the LanBoy Air states there are 34,800 different ways the LanBoy Air can be configured. Knowing that the end user would be adding/removing things from the frame Antec provides a small box to store the screws that are not being used.
At the very bottom of the front there is a small storage box. This box is also where the screws are stored for shipping. With a place to put the screws as they are removed we can start stripping the LanBoy Air to the frame.
Let’s say you don’t like the stock arrangement with the power supply on the bottom, you want it in a more traditional top mount.
First, you pull off the rear panel.
Then, the motherboard tray and its support rails.
Same goes for the power supply cage and its support rail.
Put them back on in the new positions and in under 5 minutes you have the power supply in the top of the case.
Don’t like your optical drive facing front? You would rather have it facing the left?
The rails that hold the 5.25” devices are bolted in on the front and have a clip on the rear. The frame has holes and slots that allow the drive to be turned. You can also move it up and down the frame at set intervals as well.
In removing some of the screws I noticed some were a little harder to remove than others. Looking closer at the holes I noticed there was rust. The frame is steel and there will be rust, but this is a new case. In 6 months to a year the little screws could be harder to get out. We contacted Antec and was told that the case that we received was one of the first made and that it sat around in Asia for a few months before being shipped out and that due to humidity in the region the freshly cut metal rusted where it was not painted. They suggested that we use some WD-40 to lubricate the screw holes and that only a limited number of cases should show rust like this. That makes sense as once these enter mass production and begin being sold they won't have time to sit around and rust up like this.
Installing Parts into the LanBoy Air
Antec provides all that is needed for you to mount all your hardware and customize the LanBoy Air. All you need is time, parts, and a Phillips head screwdriver.
I started by mounting up the hard drive to the AirMount rails. The mount bolts to the side of the hard drive and then clips into the hard drive cage.
The way the LanBoy Air is designed you can turn the drive 3 ways to suite your likes. I did notice, however, the bracket can slide back and forth on the bungee cord. If the system is moved the drive could slide and smack into the fan or side panel depending on how it's turned. I found a small zip tie on the cord on each side of the bracket stopped the sliding.
The front panel wires are more than long enough to reach where they need to go, but I noticed there was an extra wire that’s not normally there.
The front panel has a grounding wire that needs to be run to the back of the case and bolted to one of the power supply mounting screws.
Installing the rest of the parts into the LanBoy Air was quick and easy. I did notice that the need for a modular power supply is a must with the LanBoy Air. With the whole case being pretty much mesh there is just no place to hide unused wiring.
Since my water cooled system was in need of a new little kid friendly home I was thinking the whole time working with the LanBoy Air about how I could cram all my water cooling in it.
Borrowing a modular power supply for mock up and a few hours of tinkering, pulling parts off, and making a couple brackets I was able to shoe horn my whole water cooled rig into the LanBoy Air. I still need to work on hose routing, but it all fits.
Wire routing for the large main power connector was snug. I had to put pressure on the side panel to get it back on. So PSU's with the flat style cabling would be a benefit.
And here we have the system powered up.
Final Thoughts of the LanBoy Air
Antec has been known for great cases over the years, and the LanBoy Air is another in a long line. The case is well built, well thought out, and unlike most cases you can change it with a little time and a Phillips screw driver. The overall design of the LanBoy Air is very well thought out. In moving parts around I never had a situation arise that the holes didn't line up or something didn't fit.
The ability to rotate the 5.25" drives is nice as well; there are users out there that prefer the drive point this way. The drive can also be covered with the drive bay access door on the side for the hidden effect. The new hard drive AirMount system is interesting, I like the shock absorbing aspect of it, but I am not too keen on the drive being able to slip up and down the length of the bungee.
With the ability to hold fifteen 120mm fans air flow shouldn't be an issue for the LanBoy Air. The thing I have a hard time accepting is the positive pressure design blowing all the dust out of the case. I guess with 15 fans pushing 60+ CFM of air into the case then it would keep things stirred up enough that the dust can't settle on the components. The kid in me wants to fill it with 15 screaming 4,000 RPM, 150CFM Delta fans running at full speed just to see the look on people's face when I fire it up at a LAN.
Now, the LanBoy Air has a $219.95 price tag, and when I first heard the price I thought it was a bit high; that was before I used it. There are plenty of cases on the market that have the space inside to hold the parts I put in the LanBoy Air, but to do it involves a lot more tools and work than a couple of hours and a simple Philips head screw driver. The LanBoy Air is in the same price range of some pretty big gun cases like the Corsair Obsidian 700D and 800D, as well as the Cooler Master HAF-X. I have used all of the cases I just listed and the LanBoy Air is the only one I could move every part on the case to suit me. The only thing I could see that couldn't be done was flipping the motherboard tray for right hand access rather than left hand access. It wouldn't be hard to make it that way; just have to drill a couple more holes in the frame.
The Antec LanBoy Air is available for $219.95; for that price you get case that is very customizable and has room for the biggest hardware available at this time. If you want to customize a case but don't have a lot of tools or the skill, then give the LanBoy Air a good look because you just need a little time and a screw driver. It will also be available in three colors: Red, Yellow and Blue.
Legit Bottom Line: The new Antec LanBoy Air is a highly customizable enthusiast chassis that pretty much anyone that can use a screwdriver can modify. The ease comes at a price, though, but for some $219.95 is a small price to pay for that ease.