The Antec Nine Hundred is a steel case, painted with a matte black finish and its design is angular in a way reminiscint of a stealth fighter plane or the "tumbler" batmobile from Batman Begins. Very militaristic looking. Although mostly made of steel - the front and top are molded plastic - the many preforations and openings created for the fans made the unit feel lightweight compared to its size, weighing in at just under 20 lbs. The front of the Nine Hundred sports no less than nine 5 1/4" bays, all with perforated plates. The lower six bays are divided into three bay cages, each cooled off by a 120mm Antec TriCool fan mounted directly behind the mesh and in front of the placement of the drives, with switches that control the speed.
Above the bays, the unit slopes upward featuring a "front" panel and what amounts to a recessed holder where the rubber mat gets placed. The placement of the panel was necessitated by the mesh openings of the front bays, and may or may not take some getting used to. When sitting above the Nine Hundred, the placement is perfect. If its placed on a desktop, or other location above your sitting height, it requires looking up and over to find the buttons or ports. Located in the panel are the power and reset buttons, as well as a blue activity LED. The buttons are flush with the plastic, lessening the chance that they might get pushed by accident. Two USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, and mic and speaker jacks complete the assortment. Oft used items, such as a joystick or digital camera, can be placed in the tray behind the panel for easy access. Behind the tray is a huge 200mm fan called the "Big Boy 200". It also has a speed control for maximizing cooling or minimizing noise output, and allows heat to escape directly out of the top of the case. The only detriment here is that the fan placement prevents putting anything else on top of the PC (which is perhaps why they put the tray where it is) and it also has large openings in the grating that could allow screws or other small pieces to fall through, landing on the CPU or video card below.
The sides are held in place by two medium-size thumb screws, making it quick and easy to access the internals of the unit for installing or cleaning. Each side door has something we very much appreciate, which is rounded off edges. We were able to run our fingers all around the edges without cutting ourselves once, or even hitting a snag. Gone are the days when simply opening a case could turn into a trip to the first-aid box. The doors also slide on and off smoothly, making the seam tight and secure. Very little effort is extended in the opening or closing of the case, which is more than I can say for some others we have tested, including the Asus Vento 3600. To this day, I still cannot get the door on that chassis to sit correctly on its rails.
The left side panel is windowed, but in a way that only shows off the board and cards. It is not a full window, as can be found in many other cases, but we prefer this since it does not show off the drives and allows us to hide the cabling somewhat. An opening in the window allows for ventilation, but also has plastic clips on the inside for popping in an additional fan, not included in the package. We opted to throw in another 120mm Antec fan to pull in air and blow directly onto the video card beneath.