In our recent hands on video preview of the Antec Eleven Hundred Chassis, we took you through every part of the case. And like many of you, we were impressed with this one a whole lot more than we have with any Antec case that has come out in the last couple years. This case really gets Antec caught up with the pack. Along with the recently released P280, the company has really shown strong focus in building something that maintains the signature elegance of their line, but doesn't shoe horn today's necessities as an afterthought.
Now that we've had ample time to let the honeymoon phase wear off a little, it's time for us to report back and give you our findings on what we think of this case. Since we've already gone into detail in the preview, we're going to get right to the nuts and bolts. We'll touch on parts of the case that we thought deserved a more detailed look and most importantly, let you know what we really think of it.
A Closer Look at the Antec Eleven Hundred
One thing that immediately stood out to me was the lack of liquid cooling options. While there were a pair of rubber grommets in the rear for hoses and an external loop, there was nothing inside the case to mount anything larger than a self contained 120mm liquid cooling system. Anyone looking to mount at least a 240mm radiator or larger is out of luck on this case without modifications. But what it is built for is a high performance air cooler.
With a good number of well placed fans, even extra spots for more on the back of the drive cages should you load them up with drives, and the fan bus at the top, it seems to support that assumption. It is unfortunate though that they only include one fan at the back of the case, which has a few issues that we'll elaborate on shortly. I believe that every case should have the bare minimum number of fans needed for reasonable cooling out of the box, even if they are cheaper units that just do the job.
Antec has built this case with SSDs in mind. They providetwo 2.5 inch drive bays at the top of the drive cage. While there is sufficient pressure to secure two drives without additional hardware, you can pop a screw in the side easily to keep things more secure. Whereas many cases give you options to mount both 3.5 inch and 2.5 inch drives with the use of a specialized tray, some could argue that you're taking away a 3.5 inch drive cage by creating a specialized 2.5 inch mounting space. On the flip side, you do gain two 2.5 inch bays in the space of a single 3.5 inch drive bay. With hard drive prices as high as they are and SSDs looking more attractive every day, I don't think it's an issue at all.
I mentioned in the preview how beefy the front panel connectors were. Particularly the headphone and mic jacks. Well, they are still beefy, but I discovered a couple of other things in the details. I found that the whole assembly is one separate unit from the case. What that means is that in case any of your jacks get damaged, you can replace the assembly with the removal of two screws and it's easy to do. So instead of chucking out the case or doing surgery to replace a bent or fried USB port, you can just pop the whole thing out and put a new one in.
One thing that did come up was that the USB 3.0 ports are using the new front panel connector that many new motherboards are starting to come with. But if you don't have that connector on your motherboard, you can't use the USB 3.0 ports at all, even as a USB 2.0 ports. They sit around and do nothing. Luckily, Antec saw the need for an adapter at this price point and has volunteered to send any early Eleven Hundred adopters an adapter that will allow you to use them as USB 2.0 ports till you make your move to a new board. The adapter takes the front panel connector and turns it into a standard USB 2.0 internal header. Nice move Antec.
What's In The Box?
As far as included accessories go, there isn't much extra in the box. You're going to get your motherboard stand offs, drive screws, rails for mounting your 3.5 inch hard drives, and additional hardware to mount fans on the plexiglass window and ones that mount fans to the two 120mm spots at the front of the case. A minimal number of zip ties are included as well as a basic instruction sheet. There's nothing that really sets this apart from any other case on the market in this respect.
Test System Setup
The Antec Eleven Hundred is one of few mid-towers that is capable of housing a full XL-ATX board like the GIGABYTE G1.Killer Assassin. This makes the case a potentially interesting choice for a multi-GPU setup that is actually portable. We've used the following parts to assemble a system to weed out any installation and setup issues you may want to know about.
- Motherboard - GIGABYTE G1.Killer Assassin X58 LGA1366 Motherboard
- CPU - INTEL Core i7 LGA1366 960 3.2GHz CPU
- CPU Cooler - Antec Kuhler H20 620 Liquid Cooling System
- Memory - Kingston T1 Black Triple Channel 1600MHz 12GB Memory Kit
- Video Card - GIGABYTE GTX 570 Super Overclock Edition 1280MB
- Hard Drive - Seagate Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid 750GB Hard Drive
- Power Supply - Antec High Current Pro 850Watt Modular Power Supply
- Operating System - Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
This system represents a fairly typical high performance single GPU gaming system that should provide a good level of challenge for the build and should be a reasonable test subject for noise and thermal performance. But first, let's see if we ran into any issues trying to put this rig together.