The Antec Dark Fleet series consists of four cases: DF-10, DF-30, DF-35 and DF-85. The whole series have the same basic design. Going from smaller numbers to larger numbers also increases the prices and features of the cases. The DF-10 is your basic case with not a lot of features. The DF-30 and DF-35 are your mid-upper range mid tower cases. The only different (that I’ve noticed) between the DF-30 and the DF-35 is that the DF-35, what we are reviewing, has white LED fans instead of the blue ones found in the DF-30. The DF-85 is the only full tower chassis in the Dark Fleet series.
Antec’s Description of the DF-35:
“The DF-35 is a unique chassis – massively convenient, but in a swifter, lighter mid-tower size. It starts with the brilliant white LEDs set in variable-speed, knob-controlled Fleet-Release™ 120 mm access door fans. They open to allow rapid access to the DF-35’s 11 total drive bays and two Fleet-Swap™ modular SATA interfaces, in a blacked-out interior with cable routing. Two more SATA bays – one external hot-swappable bay on the front panel for convenience, and another floor-mounted inside for internal SSDs – round out the feature set. With full-tower capability and convenience and swift mid-tower size, the DF-35 is the paradox that performs.”
The DF-35 has a lot of features built into the front bezel, unlike a lot of other cases. Starting at the top is a hot swappable 2.5” SATA drive bay centered in between the power and reset buttons.
Following down the case are the front I/O ports which include 2 USB ports and audio/mic jacks. Below that are the three external 5.25” drive bays and one external 3.5” bay. Each of the 5.25” bays has a cover over it which is easily opened by pulling open on the left side. This has no performance benefits, but does give an increase to the aesthetics of the drives.
Below the drive bays are what Antec calls Two Fleet-Release™ access doors which are easily opened to gain access to the drives in behind as well as the fans and filters. Since there are two doors there are two 120mm white LED fans behind them. A small knob on the lower left of each door allows you to adjust the fan speed.
The doors open by a simply pull on the left side.
Once opened, the fan filter is easily removed and a large area is easily accessed from the outside of the case.
The top of the case is pretty simple, minus the hot swap port towards the front. A 140mm fan grill also rests near the back of the top of the case.
The side panel of the DF-35 is nearly half window, half panel. The window, bolted on the outside, has its own unique shape with fan grill slits built into it to install a 120mm fan on the inside of the panel.
The black coloring of the case follows to the back where you have your standard ports you find in most cases. There are the bottom mounted PSU slot, 7 expansion bays, water-cooling holes (not punched through), motherboard I/O slot, and 120mm fan grill. Towards the top of the rear are two small switches which adjust the top and rear fan speeds from low to high.
Of course both side panels are secured by two thumbscrews. I actually found the thumbscrews to be smaller than most cases.