Antec 1100 Chassis Review

BluePanda - 2011-11-13 18:27:39 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: BluePanda   
Reviewed on: November 22, 2011
Price: $129.95

Introduction:

Very often, I find that people have a hard time deciding whether they prefer a mid-tower or full-tower chassis. It's a debated compromise between extra room inside for hardware swapping and additional space taken up by the chassis on a desk or office floor. Our friends at Antec have come up with a new chassis that seems to solve the issue – a “Super Mid Tower.” Looking to fill the gap between a mid-tower and full-tower, the Eleven Hundred fits right between Antec’s familiar Nine Hundred and Twelve Hundred series chassis. If you aren’t too familiar with those, the Eleven Hundred comes in at a height of 20.7 inches and a slightly fatter body of 9.3 inches. It’s a case designed for extra internal space while also allowing ease of fit in any office space.

Being more than a box to hold all your modern hardware, we’ll take an in-depth look at Antec’s Eleven Hundred and determine whether it will be up to your standards. While I personally have a preference towards full-towers with lots of space, I have also worked with many mid-tower chassis claiming fame to “extra space”, so it will be interesting to see how this chassis compares. Let’s take a look at this new release!

Closer Look:

The Eleven Hundred showed up at my doorstep in a full color box. The front of the box gives a nice glimpse of the case, with a full photo of its upper portion which presents the I/O panel and modest top 200 mm blue LED fan. Taking a look at the back of the box, we catch a peek at some of the case’s key features including the fan mount behind the motherboard, the cable management grommets, and the dedicated 2.5” bay slots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sides of the box provide even more insight to the overall look of this chassis. Antec seems to have nothing to hide, as they expose all angles of the chassis on the box. Both the left and right sides of the box present an isometric view of the case – one showing the windowed side, the other showing the cable management panel with mount for an optional fan. It looks pretty nice and shows that Antec really took the time to show off this chassis with a very nice package design.

 

 

The top of the box, before I carve it open, presents you with the typical chassis features listed in, this time, 7 different languages. These features and more are listed on the “Specifications and Features” page of the review on page 4. Slicing the tape and cracking open the box, we see the case very well packed. Rather than using annoying polystyrene foam end pieces, Antec chose to include nice open-cell foam that doesn’t break apart or create a huge mess around your house. It also protects the case a lot better, as it doesn’t break in shipping. I’ve had far too many cases show up with missing feet, due to rough delivery men and cheap foam. The chassis is also wrapped in plastic and the window protected on both sides with a nice film. A cardboard cutout covers the top to prevent any other potential for damage.

 

Closer Look:

Out of the box finally, we can take a look at what Antec and their box has promised us. Upon first impressions, I’m anything but disappointed – this chassis just looks nice. The front of the case is a nice height and quite a bit fatter than what I’m used to seeing, but it fits. The mesh front also allows for ease of cleaning and nice airflow. Antec proudly writes their name at the bottom with an aluminum-coated plastic carving – it’s subtle and doesn’t take over the chassis. As for the I/O panel, we’ll talk about that in a little bit.

On the rear panel of the chassis, we find two grommets for water inlet/outlet – they can also be used to route random connectors in and out of the chassis. The entire chassis is finished in a black powder coating, giving it a nice clean appearance that looks ready to fit in anywhere you choose to place it. The entire back panel has a nice mesh, once again increasing airflow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a look at the sides, I’m quite happy. Personally, I love chassis with large windows – I like to show off my running hardware, even when it isn’t all that impressive. On the Eleven Hundred, the window takes up over half the side panel in width and nearly the full size in height. It also includes two pre-drilled 120 mm fan spots for the addition of your own fans and aid cooling without hampering the view too much. The other panel behind the motherboard tray has a single 120 mm fan location for cooling from the back. This is perhaps one feature that most chassis still don’t provide today. It’s a simple addition and placing a fan here should bring your temps down even more.

 

 

With another full look at the case, front to back, you can’t deny that this is one excellent-looking enclosure. The full paint job both inside and out, like most chassis today, completes the look on the build. Overall, it is a very solid case. I’m not worried about any structural integrity issues either, as this one seems like it would almost make a good stool if I wasn’t going to put my precious hardware inside.

 

 

Back to that promised front I/O panel, we find the front lip supporting 2 x 3.0 USB and 2 x 2.0 USB ports, which can be easily connected to your motherboard. The usual headphone and mic jacks are also included without the annoying pink and green plug connector. After a few uses, you should be able to figure out the placement of your mic and headphones inputs – if you can’t do this, then this case might require you to draw some colored dots above the jack. It’s okay though; I won’t make fun of you too much for that. The power and reset buttons are right on top and click with a nice little press. The reset is a relatively smaller-sized button, as always, to keep you from that unintended reboot. I really like its overall look and can’t wait to get my hardware inside.

Closer Look:

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.

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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.

Specifications:

Case Type:
Super Mid Tower
Motherboard:
XL-ATX (10.3 inches x 13.6 inches), Standard ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX
External Drive Bays:
3 x 5.25 inch (tool-less)
Internal Drive Bays:
6 x 3.5 inch (tool-less) & 2 x 2.5 inch (dedicated)
Expansion Slots:
9
Product Weight:
20.0 lbs
Max GPU Length:
13 inches
Front I/O:
2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, Audio In/Out, Power/Reset Buttons
Dimensions:
20.7 inches (H) x 9.3 inches (W) x 21.5 inches (D)

 

Cooling:

 

Features:

Testing:

Testing the Antec Eleven Hundred required pushing my hardware to heat things up! Using HW Monitor, we recorded maximum temperatures for the CPU, GPU, chipset, hard drives, and overall system during both idle and load phases. Load was simulated by running small FFTs in Prime95, HD Tune, and 3Dmark Vantage for one hour. It is important to note that every case is tested from its factory setup, including location of fans, unless otherwise stated.

However, one modification I tend to apply for every case is the removal of the rear fan. In order to mount my water loop with its 120 mm radiator and dual fans, I must remove the rear fan and replace it with this configuration on the rear panel in exhaust. Other than this modification, the remaining fans including the large 200 mm exhaust in the top will remain in place.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After filling the case with heat from all my hardware, I was rather impressed with load temperatures on the CPU and GPU. The idle temperatures for both of these components are about on par with the other cases I tested. At load, it has become my new baseline for lowest CPU and GPU temperatures. However, the chipset and HDD temperatures seem to ride higher values, with which I wasn’t too surprised. On cases such the Storm Trooper and 500R, the HDDs tend to have better temperatures due to intake fans near the bays. If fans were mounted in the front optional fan slots on the Antec Eleven Hundred, I’m sure these temperatures would be comparable to competing cases. Otherwise, I attribute the nice load temps on the CPU and GPU to the lovely 200 mm exhaust at the top of the case – though a little noisy, it really removes heat.

Conclusion:

Ultimately, the Antec Eleven Hundred really surprised me, making a perfect fit between a mid-tower and full-tower chassis. If you aren’t ready for that full chassis or just doesn’t have the room for one, this case really is for you. It looks good, performs well thermally, and is a sturdy beast. If you are looking for extra room to clean up your cable mess and ready to start showing off your goods, this is the chassis for you. If you have a pre-built loop, you might need to make a slight mod to get your radiator set up in the back, but it shouldn’t keep you away from this chassis. Beyond this little blip of thought in regards to the fan connector, Antec really hit this one on the spot. This is a great chassis overall!

The massive acrylic window provides a nice addition to this case. For those of you who like to hide your hardware, it’s too bad – unless you mount some blinding LED fans on the window, everyone is going to know what you are running. Personally, I prefer showing off my components. At a LAN party, I want people to know why I’m kicking their butt or perhaps why I’m falling behind. I also really liked that you can turn off the LEDs on the top fan. They are blue, my favorite, but when trying to watch a movie in a dark room, I tend to dislike the blue glow up the wall. Antec really thought ahead on this one.

A detailed Instruction manual can be found on Antec's website under Support and Downloads.

Overall, I think I’ll be leaving my hardware in this chassis for a while – at least until I have to take it out to review something else. For the price, the Eleven Hundred is going to be a hard one to beat.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: