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Wired2Fire Diablo MaXcore Gaming PC - Wired2Fire Diablo MaXcore
The Antec Three Hundred Case is unapologetically square but maintains a very clean look. The only curves to be found are on the plastic surround cradling the metal meshwork at the front. The case is quite compact, measuring only 458 x 465 x 205mm (WxDxH) and can be had for as little as £35 online - but that just proves that it's a bit of a bargain, not that it lacks quality.
A small plastic section at the top offers two USB ports, headphone and microphone, but there's no e-SATA here unfortunately. Next to these are the stylish power and reset buttons. Both buttons are well constructed with a good feel when pressed - reset is narrow and recessed making accidental presses unlikely.
Despite its external dimensions, the Three Hundred's excellent layout makes it very spacious. Two fans come standard with the case; a 120mm one at the back, and a 140mm one at the top. The fans have hardware speed switches which are both set to medium, providing a theoretical balance between noise and ventilation. These alone already give you good air-flow, but there is provision for a further three 120mm fans. Two of these are mountable behind the Antec's front mesh, where an air-filter is already pre-installed. Here Wired2Fire has mounted an extra fan to pull air in at the front, as well as giving the austere case a bit of gaming bling with its red LED lighting.
Opening the computer up is achieved by simply removing two thumb-screws. Inside Wired2Fire has used normal screws, even though Antec does provide a whole bag of thumb screws. So, if you want to replace or change anything you'll have to get your screwdriver out. While this is a pity, it must be said that the company has done a great job on the rest of the computer's internal layout, which is very clean. Cables are routed to maximise airflow, with any slack folded away using cable-ties.
A factor which also contributes to tidy layout is the modular Thermaltake ToughPower 850W PSU. Of course Wired2Fire has only attached the necessary cables, though again you do get the rest in the box. Unfortunately, I have discovered that the company is switching to a non-modular SilverStone model for retail samples, but excess cables should be nicely tucked out of the way.
The motherboard used is Asus' P5N-D, based on nVidia's nForce 750i SLI chipset. While Asus is generally a great name in motherboards, we're not bowled over by this model, especially when compared to the excellent MSI P7N-SLI Platinum we reviewed. The selection of the P5N-D's legacy ports alone is enough reason for disappointment. You do get Gigabit LAN, FireWire, four USB 2.0 ports and both co-axial and optical digital audio outputs in addition to the six analogue ones. But in 2008, I fail to see the need for PS/2, serial or parallel ports on any consumer machine, let alone a cutting-edge gaming rig! Also a major dent is the lack of any e-SATA ports, again something any modern gaming PC should have. At least Wired2Fire has installed the optional USB bracket, giving you a further two USB ports at the MaXcore's back.