Antec Eleven Hundred: The P280's Gloves Come Offby Dustin Sklavos on April 9, 2012 12:00 AM EST
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In and Around the Antec Eleven Hundred
It doesn't make too much sense to keep belaboring the comparison between Antec's P280 and the Eleven Hundred because as I discovered in the process of working on this review, there are some major differences between the two. The front bezel of the Eleven Hundred is almost completely ventilated, and that includes the shields for the 5.25" drive bays. It's actually a bit surprising that Antec didn't include any front-mounted intake fans, but given the basically wide-open-but-not-really design of the fascia coupled with the massive 200mm exhaust fan in the top of the enclosure, the Eleven Hundred may simply not need them in its default configuration.
One of the elements I especially like about the Eleven Hundred is the I/O port and button placement: the ports along the top front of the face and the power button and reset button on the front of the top of the enclosure show that Antec understands and expects the case to be placed on the floor, but doesn't force you to pick a side for you to set it. When you do get to the top, you'll see that 200mm exhaust fan. It glows bright blue, but thankfully the LEDs can be toggled off depending on your taste.
The side panels are fairly interesting. On the left side, Antec includes a window, pegs, and silicone grommets for mounting a pair of 120mm fans laterally. These intakes are lined up pretty specifically with where you can expect multiple graphics cards to be, and there's no side intake for the CPU cooling. Instead, there's a spacious panel behind the motherboard tray that's slightly bowed out to make it easier to route cables, but also a 120mm fan mount designed to intake cool air against the back of the CPU socket.
Both side panels are mounted using thumbscrews, and they're hinged rather than needing to be lined up and slid onto the chassis, making it much easier for the end user to close up shop. Removing them reveals the interior of the Eleven Hundred, which features the usual rubber-lined cable routing holes around the motherboard tray along with a sizable cutout for heatsink mounting brackets. The drive cage features six mounts for 3.5" drives (using rails included with the enclosure that snap into the drive's sides securely) and two toolless mounts for 2.5" drives. There are also four internal 120mm fan mounts; two are in the front of the enclosure (the front fascia is easy to snap on and off) while two are actually inside the case, behind the drive cage.
All told, I personally find the aesthetic of the Eleven Hundred to be a lot tamer than many of the other gaming cases Antec sells. I liked how the P280 looked, and even though the Eleven Hundred is much tarted up, it's still not the plastic-and-LED "gamer-oriented" design the Six Hundred and Nine Hundred series have. Internally, it looks relatively easy to assemble, too, and certainly spacious enough without outright wasting real estate.
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Dustin Sklavos - Monday, April 9, 2012 - link"Why didn't you place the fans here? Why didn't you do x/y/z?"
It's a can of worms that oftentimes isn't worth opening. There are so many different fan configurations many of these cases are capable of that invariably SOMEONE is going to ask for/gripe that the configuration they would've used wasn't tested. It's a slippery slope. From there you also have to ask "what kind of fans." Are we going to use SilverStone APs? What about a pair of Scythes? Or just some regular off the shelf 120mm fans? There's too much variance; simply put it's much more practical to test an enclosure in its stock configuration and then speculate on its potential.
The P280's readings can't be shown in the graphs because they pre-date the current testbed. I can't keep stacks of enclosures on hand just so I can go and retest them later, it's not like when I did the review of the P280 I thought to myself "better keep this around in case I decide to change how we test cases."
And finally, telling you what the ambient temperature is will just tell you how hot the components and case are in my apartment at the time I tested it, not how hot they will be or how efficiently the case will actually remove heat. I don't make it a point to specify exactly what the ambient temperature was because it ultimately isn't relevant to the comparative results; the ambient actually varies even between test runs as the room heats or cools depending on air conditioning, weather, how much heat the testbed spews out, etc. Right now my apartment's been pretty consistently between 22.5C and 24C, but when summer comes that's going to go up.
This is something Anand was concerned about when I discussed these revised procedures with him, that the data wouldn't read as well. But I'm sorry, I'd rather be producing accurate, useful data than something that just reads better. If you have to ask why I'm not making the ambient temperatures evident in the charts, you don't understand why we made the switch.
Iketh - Monday, April 9, 2012 - linkI'm sure he was referring to the uniqueness of the mobo fan and not that you're required to test every possible combination... it would seem a no-brainer to me to test what effect this fan has on the system.
Robert in Calgary - Monday, April 9, 2012 - linkHello Dustin,
If I restrict myself to just one case, I'm hoping you can bring back the Solo II for testing on the new set-up.
haukionkannel - Monday, April 9, 2012 - linkI would very much see p180 compared to p280 in the new test bench. Does easier set up means any functional differences?
Belard - Monday, April 9, 2012 - link"The front bezel of the Eleven Hundred is almost completely ventilated, and that includes the shields for the 5.25" drive bays. It's actually a bit surprising that Antec didn't include any front-mounted intake fans," - I see this in many reviews, about the lack of front cooling fans.
I don't think these are really needed in many cases and the top fans are simply over-kill... (not so much for gaming PCs of course)
If the PSU and a large fan in the back are sucking in AIR from the front, then they will do just fine - as long as there is not over-kill in vents, such as on the sides - as on cheaper non-gaming cases. Adding front fans adds noise, cable mess and cramps the space.
I have the Antec P150 case (5 years old) which is a bit smaller doorless version of the P180. it has a single large fan in the back, running on LOW (3 speed fan). The air filters still get dirty and my CPU and GPU stay cool enough to run. Yes, I can save 2-3C in temp by going to MED setting for the fan... but seriously, most people cannot hear my Q6600, 2 3.5" drives running. Yeah, I'm looking to stick a i5-35xx in there next month or so.
I have an old ATI 4670 card, but I specifically bought the HIS with its dual-slot cooler which does NOT dump heat into the case. Its huge fan runs at a slow RPM, so it too is almost silent.
My previous GeForce 7600GT was a $190 fan-less version (its huge and looks great) because I wanted silence... but I had to run the rear fan on MED because of over-heating of the case... there goes the silence.
So, for low-noise, get a fanless card (non gamers) or a dual-slot that doesn't dump heat all over the inside of your case, making your CPU, memory and drives warmer.
Again, because the single rear fan and the PSU, the case is able to draw in enough air to keep the HDs cool and everything else.
Iketh - Monday, April 9, 2012 - linkYou must live in a dust-free environment. Negative case pressure is a magnet for dust in my home. Everything from my optical drive to the case lights to the door hinges gets clogged with dust. Having front fans (with rpms higher than exhaust fans, if any) ensures air enters only through the filters.
While we're on the subject, I'm so SICK of seeing case designs with filterless side vents. That is a 10 year old design. Why in the world are cases still being made this way? You would think AT authors would gripe about this the same way they do laptop keyboards, etc...
Arbie - Monday, April 9, 2012 - link@Iketh - Write to Antec. I did so on that very subject and got a good reception.
Belard - Monday, April 9, 2012 - linkI see what you mean, I get a bit of dust around the drives. But that seems to be most cases... From experience, more fans = more noise, more cables, more power, more vibrations. My son's computer gets a bit more dustier than mine on the inside, his case is more generic and has a front fan. its a lose-lose situation.
I don't use the cheap home air-filters either ($1 each), but go with the 3M $18~24 filters.
In one of the offices I do work, it has excellent filtered air. Over the period of a year, almost no dust... not even the huge 6 fan Mozart TX.
I agree with you about the side-vents. They do sell aftermarket fan-size filters. I usually just try to avoid such cases... or simple tape black cardboard or plastic on the inside.
TrackSmart - Monday, April 9, 2012 - linkFor mid-range systems, I'm in strong agreement with Belard. If you seal off extraneous side vents, you can get away with a single, top-rear 120mm fan + the PSU, which has it's own fan.
Summary: The top-rear fan exhausts hot air. The front intakes pull in cool, fresh air. And you get nice flow from front to back without side-vent interference.
Yes, you need to dust the inside of your case every 6 months. So what? That's a small price to pay for a quiet, reasonably cool case. Extra front fans made a difference of about 1-2C under load for my case. Not worth the extra noise or cost.
entity279 - Monday, April 9, 2012 - linkDustin,
The 1st page table only specifies the available fan mounts. I couldn't find any explicit mention regarding which of the mounts come with pre-installed fans when you buy the case.