Antec One Hundred: Great Taste and Less Filling
When we started our build a PC series this year Doug went out on a limb and picked a case he had not seen except in pictures, the Antec One Hundred. Priced at around $50 this case sits squarely at the bottom of Antec’s Gamer lineup. It’s price point puts it below the Two Hundred and the Three Hundred at suggested prices but right with them in the real world. According to it’s publicist the One Hundred is, “More Features, Less Funds” for gamers, lets find out.
The box as you can see is typical Antec in it’s design with a lot of information on the box about the case you are getting. Prominently displayed on the front of the box is the large tray at the top front of the case as well as the front panel showing 4 USB ports.
I think a bit of history is in order before we begin. When the Three Hundred was released I was one of the first to review it and I fell in love. A $50 case that offered great cooling and was well made, what more could we ask for? Since it’s release I have been firm in my belief that the Antec Three Hundred was one of the best value cases on the market.
So when I saw the pictures of the One Hundred I could not help but see how it resembled the Three Hundred in style. Opening the box I was even more convinced this was a Three Hundred with some new clothes.
From the front it is easy to see that the Three Hundred played a large part in this design. The case has three 5.25” bays for optical drives at the top as well as adding a 3.5” bay between it and the lower bays for hard drives as well as the mounting of two 120mm fans for air intake. While the 3.5” bay is new the real think to first grab my attention is the addition to the top.
Gone is the flat top of the Three Hundred with it’s straight out facing front panel. In it’s place is a riser that holds a beautiful and very functional tray area. This is one the features I have loved from back with the Nine Hundred. While it might not be the sexiest tech or make the case cool better, it does have the advantage of being a feature that is used every day in the real world. I use my PC as a Phone charger, Nook charger as well as use the tray to hold various USB keys I need access to quickly so an easy access tray at the top of my PC case is a god send. This new tray is designed much better than the ones on the Nine Hundred and Twelve Hundred, a nice soft interior cover and raised sides makes it great for change, wallets and keys if need be, a real world useful feature like I said.
Another change that caught my eye is slight angling of the front access panel, a feature we have seen in the Nine Hundred, Twelve Hundred and Six Hundred. While this might not seem like a big deal it is a small change that makes a huge difference in everyday use. The light angle makes it much easier to put in USB devices if you are using this case on the floor as it is intended. Again, this might not be impressive tech but it shows an attention to real world functionality that is thoughtful and very helpful. This access has been enhanced with 4 USB ports as well as the clearly color coded headphone and mic jacks, no hard to read etchings here. While it does not have a USB 3 port the extra USB 2 ports are a welcome addition.
Opening the side panel you can see how more the the Three Hundred’s influence on this cases design. The picture at the right is a Three Hundred and One Hundred side by side. The first change most will notice is the painting of the cases interior, not really a performance changer but it shows an attention to detail You will also notice the massive CPU back plate cutout, this is huge, seriously the largest I have seen in any kind of budget case.
A closer look shows that the case uses a hybrid approach to cable management. The PSU cables can be routed behind the tray or they can use the area created next to the HD bay, like the design of the Three Hundred.
I want you to look closely at the cables we have pushed up through the PSU cable hole. Those are the front panel cables. As you can see I routed them through the top behind the tray area and out the bottom and still had enough cable to EASILY reach the connections on most ATX Boards. This is really nice as all to often in budget cases these cables seem to barely reach if ran straight down.
There is however one aspect to this interior I did not like. Notice in the picture on the right, the mounts for the motherboard are too close to the 140mm exhaust fan at the top. This narrow area will make mounting a motherboard a bit tougher as you need a long and narrow shaft screw driver to get into the space effectively. We looked at the interior vs. the Three Hundred and it has a lot more room in this spot, the cases are basically identical in height taking off the tray area so I am not sure why this part of the case would have such a tight fit.
The top and rear fans are both 2 speed fans using the newer Antec fan design. This new design has cut almost a full half inch of diameter off the center hub meaning more blade area for air flow. The front of the case allows the addition of two 120mm fans for air intake as well as one 120mm fan can be mounted in the side panel. The Three Hundred had two drive cages on the front of the case for these fans, where as the One Hundred removes the cages and mounts the fans directly to the front bevel. This results in a less open area at the case front than the Three Hundred when you compare the front covers. However this also removes the grid work built into those cages which created obstructions to air flow, meaning the new design actually should see better airflow.
The cases promotional material says it comes with washable filtering, this is only true in the rawest sense of the word. The 5.25” and 3.5” covers have a foam piece in them that could be considered a filter. Notice I said could be, the reason is these are not great at letting air through and are so dense that they will clog with dust near instantly. They are held in place by folded metal clips which means after being removed a few times the clips will likely break. Additionallly none of these “filters” are in a position to actually filter the air intake from the two optional fans. The simple fact is this case does not have any filtering, despite claiming it does. In place of the filters Antec has made the grill work finer than on it’s other cases of this line, this will reduce the dust a little by catching some as it passes but is not in anyway a filter.
The rear of the case is pretty basic with the 120mm exhaust as well as the speed controls for the top and rear fan. The expansion covers are the popout type which is disappointing but to be expected at this price point. There is also the expected water cooling cutouts.
The Antec One Hundred is not a flashy or gimmicky case. It is a solid, functional case with simple looks and features that are useful in not just the computer build and use but in the everyday life of the PC user. The plain looks however are actually a feature for some. The basic design means this case is a blank canvas for anyone that wants to mod it. This might not sound like a selling point but speaking to some case modders I have met this is a big deal to them. The fact they do not need to work around a lot of features is worth a lot to them, as is the low cost. After all working on a case mod and having it go wrong, ruining the case is easier to swallow when the case costs $50 than when it cost $150.
For the price this case is a great buy. It has some excellent features and the real world functionality is just Bac-O’s. The lack of the filter and the narrow top area are definite dings to rating this case. However condiering the cases price and the other great features these can be worked around.
Since it came out the Three Hundred has been my go to budget gamer case however with the One Hundred the Three Hundred has been retired. The One Hundred has a great feature set, nice improvements over the Three Hundred and costs less money.
At the beginning of this article we quoted the tag line Antec has for this case, ““More Features, Less Funds”. This is definitely true, the One Hundred is a great budget gaming case.
Antec One Hundred Review Segment Aired Live 3 April 2011