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Last Update: 2004-07-22
Antec Aria mATX Review Page
I finally got tired of my old ATX tower case that was the old housing of my Pegasos2. It felt somewhat clumsy and wasteful considering the small size of the pegasos motherboard, so I finally made up my mind to update my big old tower with a proper MicroATX case that makes the pegasos some justice.
After some consideration my final choice became the Antec Aria MicroATX case. One of the nice features of the Aria is that instead of an external floppy drive slot, a built-in 8-in-1 memory card reader is provided with the case. Considering the fact that Jens Schönfeld and Individual Computers seem to have gone on a personal crusade against the Pegasos and MorphOS and won't ever release fully working (promised) drivers for my Catweasel MK3, this seemed like a perfect choice!

Well... I bought the new case, unpacked it and reviewed what was included. In short; The whole case screams of quality, and today this isn't as common as one would want. Included with the case are the ordinary screws and bits you need to assemble it, but also alot of other goodies you never get with a cheaper alternative.

The opening-mechanism of this case is very clever and easy to use. Each side-panel has a locking tab at it's rear, while the top panel is fixed with a screw (one of thoose you can unscrew without a screwdriver).

After unpacking everything and stripping the the case into parts, I carefully replaced the provided backplate with the one for the Pegasos2 and fitted the motherboard into the the new housing. I have to say; It has to be one of the most perfect fits I have ever experienced. No need at all to bend and push the motherboard around with brute force like you have to do with certain case/motherboard combinations.
Another big plus with the Aria is that you only have to fasten two screws to get the board seated, the rest of the screw holes have been replaced with little clip-on standoffs that are preinstalled and just waiting for a board.

Next task was to fasten the HDD and CDROM into the provided drive-cage. This is a good solution that eases things up if you later want to remove the harddisk quickly out of the case. The drive cage has thermal tape on the sides of the 3.25" housing; this will help transfer heat away from the HDD and into the cage. Antec also included screws with rubber coating on the inside, this reduces the noise caused by vibrations from the HDD. Two thumbs up for this!
In the case, there are also two vertical 3.25" drive-bays incase you want to install additional HDD's, theese are ofcourse also coated with thermal tape!

The CPU card of the pegasos was quite dirty and needed a cleanup, so I removed the fan/heatsink and carefully whiped of the old thermal paste. At this point I decided to skip using the normal CPU fan and only use the Zalman ZM-NB47J heatsink for cooling the G4. Instead of using that fan I wanted to try to use the fan bracket that was included with the case and use a 80mm case-fan. (Hoping this would result in better and more quiet cooling.)

Getting the CPU card seated onto the motherboard was a tight squeeze, but it did fit quite perfectly with almost no space left between the PSU and the card. It almost seems as if the case was especially made for the pegasos; if you look closely the PSU housing is "carved out" exactly where the CPU card sticks up! The pegasos wouldn't even fit into this case otherwhise.
One thing that that was rather annoying was that the wires from the PSU for the main motherboard power were a bit to short, so I had to pull them in behind the CPU card in order to reach the socket on the pegasos. This makes it rather crowded back there but actually works quite well, the CPU card hides thoose particular wires and gets them out of your face.

Next, I connected the provided fan bracket and adjusted it right over the memory and Zalman heatsink so the fan would cool them both. I have to say that this solution is alot more quiet than the original one with the small fan mounted ontop of the heatsink. The CPU also seems to be runing alot cooler this way!

Last but not least, I connected my expansion cards to the pegasos; one AGP Radeon card and one PCTVRave card. Did you think the case should allready be running cool enough? Well, Antec has provided yet a little goodie and it's a blower that you connect over one of your free pci card slots. The blower is ultra-silent and barely even makes a noise, so there is no excuse not to use it if you happen to have a free slot, I put mine right under the Radeon card to cool it a little extra.

After using the case a bit I can report that the card reader works like a charm and the Poseidon USB stack finds the inserted card(s) and mounts them correctly. There are no heat problems whatsoever and the case is actually runing suprisingly cool even tho it is so small.

I highly recommend this case for anyone looking for a high quality mATX housing. It comes with alot of extra goodies, runs cool and is extremely quiet! The case itself also looks very nice and glows blue'ish in the dark.

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