Introduction

The Antec TX 1050B TX1050B Retail Box

Not too long ago, enclosures were but an afterthought when it came to the "Do It Yourself" crowd and system building. Made mostly of tan or black plastic without any personality, "old time" cases were plain hideous devices meant only to hide your system's internal components.

More recently, with faster and more power hungry components requiring better cooling, cases became more of an issue, and with LAN parties and modding becoming more mainstream, no one wanted to be stuck with an "uncool" case. While some companies have embraced colorful designs featuring spaceships, aliens, and bugs, among other things, a few companies like Antec have stayed away from unique and instead focused on functionality and sturdy, yet subtly attractive cases.  

Today is the second in what should be a four part series focusing on Antec's 2005 product line. The Performance TX1050B we'll cover is considered a "File Server" enclosure, however my initial impression makes me believe this case will be equally happy housing anything you choose to feed it.

When Antec's original Performance Series was launched in 1998 it started the do-it-yourself high performance computing revolution. Now we proudly introduce the third generation, Performance TX, redesigned and updated for the latest technologies. All models are designed to meet Intel's Thermally Advanced Chassis (TAC) design guide and come with ATX12V v2.0 power supplies. "

Before we get too far into our look at the Antec Performance 1050B, lets check out the specifics.

Case Type
  • SOHO File Server
Color
  • Black
Drive Bays
- Front Accessible
- Internal
  • 10
  • 4 x 5.25"
  • 2 x 3.5"
  • 4 x 3.5"
Expansion Slots
  •  7
Cooling System
- Rear
- Front
-Chasis
  • 1 x 120mm TriCool (Standard)
  • 1 x 80mm (Optional) front
  • 1 x 80mm - (Optional) HDD
  • 1 x 92mm (Optional) CPU duct
  • 1 x 80mm (Optional) VGA
Power Supply
  • 500W SmartPower 2.0
    ATX12V V2.0
    SP500
Material
  • 1.0mm SECC
Net Weight
Gross Weight
  • 30.7 lbs.
    34.5 lbs.
Motherboards
  • Fits micro ATX and standard ATX
    Up to 12" (W) x 9.6" (L)/305 (W) x 300 (L) mm
Special Features
  • 2 Front USB port, 1 Front IEEE 1394 (Firewire) port
  • Audio in/out
  • Swing-out side panel with handle
  • Washable air filter
  • Quick-release drive bays with release lever
  • Snap-in fan mounts
  • Large front panel vent
Package Includes
  • one 500 Watt SmartPower 2.0
    SP500 installed
  • 1 Power cord 
  • 1 case fan  
  • 1 set of screws and motherboard standoffs
  • 1 complete set of drive rails ( 6 rails )
  • 1 Installation manual
Case Dimensions
  • 20.6" x 8.1" x 18.6"
    (H) x (W) x (D)

  

External Impression

Antec TX1050B

The Performance TX1050B featues the same sturdy design as the Titan 550 I covered last week. Using 1.0 mm steel, Antec placed the emphasis on durability instead of lightweight design. Weighing in at just over 30 pounds the TX1050B will probably not be making many LAN party appearances. As far as color schemes, the 1050B comes in the now familiar matte black, although its sister case, the 1088AMG comes in a metallic grey.

TX1050B front

The front panel also features a familiar Antec design with a plastic front bezel and door assembly. As with the Titan 550 I am a little confused by the use of a plastic front after the rest of the case is so solidly built and attractive. In my opinion plastic gives the impression of cheap and breakable, though this only slighty bothers me and doesn't sway my overall opinion of the case. securing the door assembly to the case is Antec's newest design feature and something used on every one of their 2005 cases I've seen so far, a multi-swivel hinge that allows the door to be opened a full 270 degrees, limiting the chance that it can be damaged while in the open position, and in fact folded back along the side of the case and left open full time.

front door hinges

Hidden behind the front door are four external 5.25 and two 3.5 drive bays, four LED activity lights, as well as the power and reset switches.

external drive bays

just below the door assembly, Antec placed the front I/O ports behind a small spring loaded door. Here you will find a pair of USB ports, a 1394 firewire port, and jacks for speakers and headphones.

Front I/O port

Below the I/O port is grill that covers the internal 3.5 drive bays where your HDDs are stored, Beneath the grill is a washable filter which itself covers a pair if 80mm fans we will cover more in depth when we get to our internal look.

washable filter

Just as with the Titan 550, Antec chose to use plastic rails secured by screws to mount your external drives. I do like the plastic tabbed rails, but again, they break way too easy, and Antec's cases so far seem to put functionality and durability above all else.

Drive Rails

moving around to the rear of the case, the 1050B further demonstrates its solid design. One thing I always look at is the rear I/O and PCI slot covers and their strength. while most light weight cases are really flimsy in this area, the TX1050B features the same strong 1.0MM steel featured everywhere else on this case.

side panel lock

For security purposes, antec uses a keyed locking mechanism on both the front door and removeable side panel. Although Antec did use spring loaded side panel lateches, they did not use the same spring loaded thumb screws found on the titan 550. Pity, as those were an excellent idea I'd like to see on all cases.

Lastly, with a case this heavy, I'd like to see the option of using wheels. Antec uses the standard adjustable legs for the TX1050B, the option to use wheels would have given this very heavy case the ability to be moved around easily. this may not be an issue for most, but my Razor mouse occasionally needs to be reseated as it is not powered on every time the system restarts......it was only then that I had an issue with the lack of wheels, the cases overall weight really made moving it a hassle on my carpeted office floor.

I can't emphasize enough how good this case looks, even with the plastic front bezel. I really think Antec is onto something with the double hinged doors, I think it is a great design feature.

   

Internal Impression

motherboard tray

While reviewing the Titan 550 I was a bit disappointed in the inability to mount my ATX motherboards as I looked forward to using the case for my own system. I talked to Antec's developement team and was told that standard ATX boards would fit, but after explaining I had tried with 5 different boards without success, I never got a response from them on how to actually accomplish that. With the TX1050B this will not be a problem! Upon opening the chassis, my prayers were answered by the numerous mounting post options available on the motherboard tray. After testing every board I have, I think everyone will be happy to hear that this case supports everything from a micro up to the standard ATX motherboard.

inside view

The overall interior design is flawless, with no sharp edges or wasted space to be found. I also had no trouble at all installing my Corsair Cool water cooling kit, so cooling options are almost limitless.

5.25 drive bays

When it came to the external 5.25 drive bays I was happy to see that the drives do not rest on each other, instead there is a slight gap between each slot which should keep your components a touch cooler or give you room to hide unsightly wires and cables.

removable HDD cages

HDD cage mounts

The TX1050B features two removable 3.5 drive bay cages which are secured by latches. The top cage lines up with the two external 3.5 drive covers, allowing them to be used for your FDD or other external 3.5 devices, or in unison with the lower cage to house up to six internal HDD. the lower cage also features a fan clip to secure an 80mm fan for coolling your HDD. I wish that Antec had used a 120mm fan here as it is quieter and would cool better, but to be honest, any cooling is better than none at all.

Bottom fan

Just below the bottom HDD cage is yet another 80mm fan mount affixed to the case itself. The placement of this removable fan mount indicates it is simply an additional fan to draw cool air into the case for overall case air flow.

 

sidepanel fans

Moving on to the side panel, Antec decided to install an apparatus which houses a 92mm fan that directs cool air directly onto the heatsink over the CPU. Again, I would have preferred the cooling power and quiet provided by a 120mm fan, but the design is solid and well thought out. I especially like the fact that Antec made the housing adjustable so it can be used with any type of HSF imaginable.

 

adjustable fan housing

Just below the CPU intake is another fan mount for an 80mm fan directly over your systems video card slot. Here Antec chose to put some additional cooling for your other components that need it. The modifications done to the side panel are extremely nice and emphasize Antec's understanding of system cooling and its importance. I personally would have used bigger fans, but I think Antec has the right idea in allowing users to simply buy an enclosure without having to worry about modifying it.

Tri-Cool fan

120x120x25.4 Tri-Cool Fan

RPM

1200

1600

2000

CFM

39

56

79

dBA

26

28

30

The internal rear panel features a 120mm exhaust port using Antec's own Tri-Cool fan. For those of you that missed the Titan 550 review, the Tri-Cool is an extremely quiet 3 speed, adjustable fan. 

PCI Slots

Below the exhaust fan are the PCI slots, and while many other companies have gone with flimsy clips and retention mechansims, Antec decided to use a simple screw mounting assembly. While I used to enjoy the clip mounts, I quickly tired of broken clips that fell off, or simply did not hold my components in place. I think this is the simplest yet most reliable way of doing things, without a doubt. I would rather spend an extra minute screwing in my card, than cussing a broken mounting assembly.

Overall, the interior of the Performance TX1050B is outstanding. The only thing I would even consider changing is the fan selections for cooling, other than that pretty small gripe I could find no flaws at all.  

The SmartPower 2.0

Antec SmartPower 2.0

Those of you who are fans of modular PSUs are going to love the TX1050B. Antec decided to include their newest modular design, the SmartPower 2.0, a 500W modular PSU.

Featuring ATX 2.01 compliance, the smartPower 2.0 picks up where the Antec NeoPower 480 left off. Without going into great detail here (I'm waiting to review all Antec's PSU's at one time. I will touch on the improvements the SmartPower 2.0 shows over the NeoPower 480. Other than the obvious 20W difference, the SmartPower shows 70% efficieny whereas the NeoPower was limited to 60%. The SmartPower also ships with a wide assortment of cables including 2 seperate PCI-E power cables for those of you running dual graphics or SLI solutions.

One major difference you may notice from the NeoPower is the use of two 80mm fans for cooling the power supply where the NeoPower used a single 120mm fan. i honestly did not notice much of a noise difference, and my rails were rock solid using ASUS Probe to measure voltages, but as unscientific as software programs are, I'd rather wait and use a more professional method of recording voltage readings.

modular plugs

Switches ATX Logic on-off
Additional power rocker switch
Maximum Power 500W
Transient Response +5V,+12V and 3.3V outputs return to within 5% in less than 1ms for 20% load change.
P. G. Signal 100-500ms
Over Voltage Protection
recycle AC to reset
+5V trip point < +6.2V
+3.3V trip point < +4.1V
+12V trip point < +14.3V
Special Connectors ATX12V
3-Pin Fan Sensor
SATA
PCI Express
Leakage Current  
Unit Size 5.9"(L) x 5.5"(W) x 3.4"(H)
15cm(L) x 14 cm(W) x 8.6 cm(H)
Net Weight 5lbs.2.3kg
Operating Temp. 10C to 50C
Operating Alt. Sea Level-10,000 ft
MTBF 80,000 hours at 25?C
Safety Approval TUV, UL, CUL, CE, CB, FCC
Input Voltage 100Vac to 240Vac +/- 10%
Input Frequency Range 47Hz to 63Hz
Inrush Current 640A @ 115V , 100A @ 230V
Input Current 12A @ 115V, 6A @ 230V
Hold-up Time 20ms at full load
Efficiency 70%(min.) at full and typical loads, 115V/230Vac
EMI/RFI FCC Class B
OUTPUT < +5V  +12V1  +12V2  +3.3V  -12V  +5Vsb
Max. Load

 35A

 17A

 19A

 32A

 0.3A

 2.0A

Min. Load

 0.5A

 1A

 1A

 0.5A

 0A

 0A

Load Reg.

 5%

 5%

 5%

 5%

 5%

 5%
Ripple
m(p-p)

 50

 120

 120

 50

 120

 50

* +5V, +12V1, 12V2 and +3.3V maxload: 480Watts
* +5V and +3.3V combined output: 180Watts

Final Thoughts

The Antec TX1050B

As impressed as I was with the Titan 550, it pales in comparison to the Antec Performance TX1050B.

With a fantastic external look, and an even more impressive interior design, topped with an immense amount of room and excellent cooling properties, Antec is really raising the bar when it comes to high quality enclosues. Though this case is marketed as a Server case, I think the average home user who doesn't attend LAN parties will appreciate this case for its cooling, durability, and looks. Although it lacks a removable motherboard tray there is plenty of room for installation and multiple layout configurations. Couple that with plenty of room to store and route cables, multiple fan mounts, and  not a single rough edge, and the TX1050B is a dream to work with. I also think everyone will greatly appreciate the inclusion of the SmartPower 2.0 PSU, not only are you getting a top notch case, but topping it off with a top notch power supply makes this a great deal.

The only real drawback I could find with this case was the front bezel. Not to beat a dead horse, but to build such a wonderful and durable enclosure, then put a plastic bezel is akin to taking Salma Hayek and having her chase parked cars (For the slow people, a great body with a messed up grill). If Antec had instead used the same 1.0mm steel for the front bezel, this case would be as close to perfect as a chassis could be. Outside of that, my only gripe was the use of 80mm fans for cooling the HDD and PCI/-E slots, 120mm would have been quieter and cooler.

Other than that, the Performance TX1050B is an awesome enclosure, and demonstrates why many consider Antec to be among the best case builders around.

TX1050B inside view

The Legit Bottom Line

Antec's Performance TX1050B is the perfect case for anyone who needs a durable chassis. With excellent cooling and enough room to hide a small child, it fits any need, except the ability to use it as a LAN party rig. the inclusion of Antec's SmartPower 2.0 makes this an incredible deal.

TX1050 Retail Package