Mini-ITX Case Final Thoughts
I’m going to say this; this is not a case I would recommend for anyone looking to build their next performance PC. Other ITX cases such as the BitFenix Prodigy may be more expensive, but they actually feature the ability to create some moving airflow in the case. I think Antec is looking to place this case in the office or the living room, with a more subtle, compact design that features plenty of noise reducing features. I daresay you could some parts in, add a quiet Noctua fan to the rear or an AIO system, (Corsair comes to mind with Corsair Link to control the fans) and you’ve got a quiet system that will blend in well anywhere you put it. You start dropping some high end components into the ISK600 all you will really create is a space heater for your feet.
Antec ISK600 Case Conclusion
Antec set out to create an affordable Mini-ITX case designed to appeal to the working CEO or the family looking for that media center PC in the living room. With that in mind, it succeeds nicely, boasting an overall sturdy construction and a design that is not to terribly difficult to build a system in. I could see this PC hooked up to a couple of monitors to provide a seamless workflow for the office, or perhaps connected to your Xbox via Windows 8 to provide excellent media streaming to your console and even additional screens via Microsoft SmartGlass.
Performance wise, this is a nice little case for the previously mentioned purposes. Don’t expect any good gaming performance, but slap an i3 or Phenom processor in with a nice quiet fan and a couple of SSDs, and you have a quiet, unobtrusive media center PC. Air buildup could be a problem, but if you purchase a blower type GPU such as the EVGA 660 and a water cooler for the CPU instead of a large heat sink, it likely won’t be as much of an issue for the kind of system you would most likely build in the ISK600.
The Antec ISK600 is a simple box, but it does look attractive with the muted blue led on the front and the brushed aluminum cover. My only complaint is the ease with which the brushed aluminum can get marked up or scratched, and fingerprints are very noticeable and difficult to remove.
The ISK600 is sturdy, especially the main frame of the case and the top mounted drive bays slide in and out nicely. The PSU bracket seems a little on the thin side but as it shouldn’t need to support the PSU’s weight I doubt it will be an issue. Remove the entire cover of the case to access the interior was a nice touch that makes it easier to access your internals, and the cover overall is only a little flimsy on the sides and fairly easy to replace when finished.
With the option to mount up to five internal hard drives, the ISK600 certainly isn’t short on storage. And being able to mount a standard ATX power supply provides the power necessary for the more powerful, lengthy graphics cards the ISK600 can fit. The numerous vents on the case are slightly questionable, given the fact that most of them won’t be anywhere near moving air and could currently bring more dust into the chassis.
Here’s where the ISK600 loses most of its ground to the competition: value. Currently priced for $64.99 (Amazon | Newegg), it’s closest rival, the BitFenix Prodigy, sits at a mere $5.00 higher while boasting many of the same features plus compatibility with larger graphics cards, more storage and more water cooling. Of course, the Prodigy is also much larger than the ISK600, but unless size is an absolute issue the ISK600 has some trouble competing in a head to head comparison. On the lower end of the Spectrum we have the Cooler Master Elite 110 and 130 at $15.00 less. While both are smaller and have less options for graphics and storage, it could also fill the same roles the ISK600 is intended for. I think that $55 for the ISK600 would make it a better value (At the time of this article Newegg had a rebate offer for $10.00 off to make it $55.00).
Again, Antec has come up with a good product in the ISK600. It’s a basic case that fills a niche in the market for an office or media based PC while still offering features usually found in larger, more expensive cases. I won’t go as far as to say it’s a “must buy” as there are other cases than can fulfill the same role(s), but you cannot deny that Antec has created a solid product with the ISK600.
+ Sturdy construction.
+ Simple component installation.
+ Compatible with standard ATX PSUs and long graphics cards.
+ Simple, attractive appearance.
– Cooling is pretty lousy, and heat will buildup in this chassis.
– Aluminum finish attracts marks and scratches easily.
– Price is just a tad bit high.
– Lots of unfiltered openings will likely cause high dust buildup within the case.