Antec 1100 Chassis ReviewBluePanda - November 22, 2011
» Discuss this article (8)
Pulling off the side panels, we finally get a look inside the chassis. Any case can look amazing on the outside, but if it is a pain getting my hardware inside, you can count on me scrapping it completely. Upon first impressions, the Eleven Hundred looks pretty good. The left six standoffs are already mounted for use with a full ATX board – perfect for me. All I have to do is add the remaining three to get my board supported securely. Drive rails are also included in a box and oddly enough, go back to a much more reasonable old school style. For those of you who loved the simple click-in mechanism involving two separate rails that clip onto both sides of your drive, they are back in full force! No more bending those silly trays and hoping the pins don’t pop out – no need for screws either.
There are only three bays for 5.25” drives, though it’s not too uncommon. None of them use screws – you can’t use even screws if you wanted to, as they lack the pre-drilled holes to do so. However, considering I was able to mount my half depth XSPC water bay using the built-in clamps (which was always a pain to mount into a case without standard mounting holes), you shouldn’t worry about getting your odd bays peripherals to fit. Turning it around to the back, there is seemingly infinite room for cables. Due to the option of installing a 120 mm fan behind the motherboard, it creates more room than most other cases. Alongside the included zip ties and cable management cutouts, moving cables out of the way becomes much easier – I’m rather impressed.
Looking up top at the 5.25” bays, we can see that Antec has nicely tied up the I/O cables to run down to your motherboard. Unfortunately, the placement wasn’t too well-planned as far as aesthetics go, but if you run them through the grommet cable slots, they don’t look too shabby. Ahead, you will see a picture of what I did to deal with them (don’t worry, it’s not too painful). The removable fan filter for the PSU pulls out easily – considering that fur balls seem to build up in my PSU, I’m excited to see this here.
Next to that fan filter, Antec threw in a bit of their own flair. As you upgrade your rig, you will be reminded of your piece of “Antec Design” right on the bottom. Again, it’s a subtle addition and I don’t think it really adds too much nor takes much away from the chassis – just a little nifty “something”.
As I had mentioned before, the drive slot sliders are individual rails. Personally, I love these things – they keep the overall tone of simplicity within the case and don’t get in the way of good airflow by otherwise requiring you to keep empty drive rails sitting in the HDD bay slots. Plenty of screws are also included, along with some zip ties and a rather brief manual. Few of you tend to open manuals when you get a new chassis, but I think it’s worth mentioning that this one isn’t going to help you out too much unless you are attempting to learn a new language. It merely mentions features, but not really how to use them.
As I started filling up the chassis with my hardware, I realized I still hadn’t provided you all with a shot of that fan power connector in the back of the case. The top 200 mm fan and rear 120 mm fan are plugged in here by default. You must remember, though, to connect a Molex plug from your PSU to power this before you attempt to start up your rig – or you will be untying cables to get a Molex plug to reach up there. The location of this is a bit odd and causes the included 120 mm fan to have a rather short cable, so don’t be expecting to use this fan anywhere else in the case. Unfortunately, the location of the connector puts quite a damper when mounting my radiator and fans for water cooling – I’ll explain this more once we get the rest of the hardware in.
Alright so the build is complete, and it looks pretty sexy; no cables hanging out and nicely open for the best airflow the case can offer. While putting my SSD in place here, I felt like it should have gone back a bit further than it did, as it appeared to be in the way of the side panel. In reality, it really wasn’t in the way – what you see is as far back as it would go. I would recommend connecting your power and SATA connectors prior to pushing in your SSD if you have one. If you don’t pre-wire them, you’re going to need some pretty small hands. For me, it wasn’t an issue – then again, my hands are rather petite.
I promised I’d come back to the I/O connector cables. For a rather clean looking setup, I routed these carefully through the top grommet hole and back out the bottom hole. As a whole, I’m rather pleased with cable management and oddly enough, it looks better than my results with a lot of chassis wiring that I’ve had to spend hours on. The back side had clean cable management as well. The only cluster ended up being formed by the three SATA connectors to my drives – well hidden behind the panel, though, it didn’t matter too much. The only annoying thing I found was the usual difficulty of running the 8-pin power connector to the top of the motherboard. It seems like this and the Molex connector might get in the way of that back panel fan. I would think that Antec would have considered this before placing the fan connector where they did – perhaps it’ll be moved somewhere more reasonable in the next revision.
Wired up and running, you can see the issues of that Molex cable powering the fans in the back. Unless you have some magical low-profile Molex connectors, your typical fan/radiator setup will not really fit. Mounting my modified ECO ALC to the rear, I was not able tighten down the screws all the way, which is why the fans seems a little crooked – it’s because they are. They are fixed well enough though, and won’t be falling off or going anywhere any time soon. It was just a little frustrating to get set up, so I worry about how the actual ECO ALC, Corsair H80/H70, and other all-in-one water cooling setups will work with such odd tolerances. I can only hope they would fit alongside the Molex connectors, but I suppose you could always reroute the top fan connector somewhere else if you can’t make use of that little PCB.
In the end, this case looks amazing when fully up and running – I just love the appearance. The top fan is a little noisier than others I’ve heard, but the blue LEDs aren’t too overpowering on the black fan blades. I also like that you can turn them off, so you can watch a movie at night or just go to sleep. I honestly have to say this is one good looking chassis.