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Antec KS-282

At Fry's Electronics, the case selection is limited to Antec, Lian-Li, Coolermaster, and a handful of other cases. The Lian-Li and Coolermaster are the expensive aluminum models, so most of the time the only good steel cases available are from Antec. The KS-282 is usually the best case with a 300 watt power supply available, and when I need to build a system in a hurry the KS-282 is often the case of choice.

front shot  rear quarter shot  rear shot

Vital specs can be found on Antec's site, but the basics are here. 7" wide x 18.1" high x 17.3" depth, 3x5.25" exposed drive bays, 1x3.5" floppy bay, and 3x3.5" hidden bays. It has top and side panels held on by two screws each and two 80mm fan mounts. Its close cousin, the Antec KS-288 has only a 250 watt power supply standard, but has a different front bezel (2x3.5" exposed) and different fan mounts. It's a mid-tower case- average in terms of size and definitely smaller than my Chenbro Genie. Note: when installing the floppy, check the distance of the floppy to the front bezel, if this is too far away or too close you will not be able to use your floppy drive!

front fan mount Case construction is solid, with the side panels siding off toward the back of the case. I had no problems with sharp edges, although the typically flimsy Antec ATX I/O shield was still present (supposedly on the SX series this has been improved). The rear fan mount is adequate, and while I did not remove the front bezel to examine the front mount, it is potentially adequate if the plastic fan cage is removed and the bezel modified. The 3.5" cage is removable-- a metal lock twists and relieves tension, and the cage can then be removed. It isn't quite as nice as the 3.5" cage setup in the Chenbro Junior but it does provide more positive feedback. No drive rails are used in this design, and the case itself has excellent cutouts to make screwing the drives to the case very easy.

right side exposed  drives installed  top of case

The top of the case is fairly accessible, with the pass-through space for cables being more than large enough for easy access. The front fan mount is plastic and snaps in easily, with the rear fan mounting with conventional screws. The PS simply screws in, as do the ATX motherboard standoffs. The front LED cables are not a single ribbon, but individual twisted pairs which makes things slightly more messy. I didn't have time for my usual neat install when working on this case, but while the LED cables are not very long, they should be long enough that braiding them for neatness is not going to make them too short to reach the motherboard. The motherboard installation itself is simple. Install the appropriate standoffs and install the motherboard-- do not tighten the screws until proper fit is assured-- and is as simple as that.

empty case exposed  empty case exposed 2

This particular system is an Asus CUSL2-C with an Alpha PEP66 heatsink and 10mm thick Delta fan. The clears the PS by approximately 1cm without any installation issues. No case fans are provided as is, but two 80mm Panaflo L1A's were installed. While not the hottest-running system I have built in an Antec KS-282 (that was a classic Athlon 800), the two 80mm L1A's provide sufficient airflow for this system and hotter ones. The lack of HD cooling and the lack of ventilation for the front intake fan are concerns, but the case's side panels are vented to provide for air intake in a negative pressure difference setup and I believe stock cooling is adequate for single HD/single processor systems. I have not explored the modification of this case, but it may prove receptive with extensive intake modification.

The stock feet are a nice touch and I had no problems with sharp edges while working on this case. Cooling is adequate in stock form for most systems and the side panels make for easy access. The lousy front bezel design (only 1x3.5" exposed, and that for floppies only) and poor front intake design are negatives. It's an adequate case with reasonably good quality and cooling. If you need a case immediately for your new single processor system, it's an excellent choice. For RAID or 10k+ rpm hard disks, I would not recommend it.

CUSL2-C installedCUSL2-C different anglerear fan/MB
PEP66 to PS clearancerear HD cage shotCPU/AGP shot
looking up at the passthroughlooking up at the passthrough 2top/front angle

Note the cabling mess and zip ties in the bottom 5.25" drive bay, which are used to secure some excess lengths of cable. Custom length or rounded cables would be very useful; zip ties to secure cables are not so useful due to the scarcity of holes to secure zip-ties to. Also note the 3.5" cage construction, the bottom is fully boxed. On cheaper cases the 3.5" cage is not fully boxed (only 3 sides) and is not nearly as rigid or secure. There are no holes or mounts on the back wall of the case to route the ATX power cable securely, so plastic cable mounts would have to be added. A minor design issue and not something I consider significant. The holes above the PCI/ISA/AGP slots presumably provide ventilation, although I cannot see too much use for them in a case with a negative pressure setup without a card cooler of some sort.