In Search Of The Perfect Mid-Tower (Part 1) - Antec Eleven Hundred, Silverstone Temjin Tj04-E

9/9/2012 6:55:25 PM

Our intrepid case reviewers survey the newest enclosures to see which are worthy of holding your precious components

It's been more than a year since our last big case roundup. In that time, case manufacturers haven’t been idle. The USB 3.0 spec finally got an internal header, new competitors joined the mid-tower market, and the price of a great case has steadily decreased. We gathered seven of the newest and most exciting mid-tower cases, all priced between $100 and $160, and put our two most seasoned case reviewers to the task of separating the run-of-the-mill from the cream-of-the-crop. We'll leave no stone unturned and no metaphor unmangled. Yes, we’re on the case.

Antec Eleven Hundred – goes far, but not all the way

Description: Antec Eleven Hundred

Antec Eleven Hundred

In a weird twist, Antec has delivered a case that's both full on features and lacking in some of the company's sta­ple design elements. Take, for example, the case's built-in fan controller – or lack thereof. We’re used to being able to flick switches to independently con­trol all of the fans within an Antec chas­sis, but after connecting a Molex to the provided circuit board in the Eleven Hundred – annoyance number one – we were displeased to find that the switch only turns the top 20cm fan’s blue LED on and off. You can’t physically adjust the speed of that or the case’s rear 12cm fan.

Antec’s big on allowances: You could stick up to seven additional 12cm fans in the system (including two uglier mounts on the case’s side panel), in addition to six hard drives (using rails), two 2.5-inch SSDs, and three 5.25-inch devices. There’s ample space for stuffing an XL-ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX, or standard ATX motherboard into the chassis, and we especially love all the cable-management tricks that Antec builds into the chassis: four rubber-rimmed holes for cable management (or water-cooling tubes), a huge hole in the motherboard tray for easier in­stallation of aftermarket CPU coolers, and a big inch-wide space between the tray and the case’s side panel for more cable management.

We love how the case’s front panel pops off without a sea of wires dangling behind it, like those for the case’s two USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports (real headers, not pass-through). All in all, installing a system into the Eleven Hundred is a breeze, although folks with bulkier water-cooling setups might want to steer clear. This case of­fers plenty of potential; not perfection, but not a headache, either.







Silverstone Temjin Tj04-E – Keep it simple, stupid

Silverstone’s Tj04-E is a modern take on a classic ATX mid-tower. It doesn’t even have a weird motherboard orienta­tion. That's not to say it's boring.

The TJ04-E is a steel case, matte black inside and out. Its brushed-aluminum front panel has beveled edges and contains four 5.25-inch drive bays. The case ships with three 12cm fans: an in­take fan in the right panel, as well as top and rear exhaust fans, with room for an additional fan on top, on the side, and at the case's bottom. The TJ04-E has lots of drive room. One small cage holds six 2.5-inch drives, a pull-out cage holds eight 3.5-inchers, and the area below can hold either a 2.5- or 3.5-inch drive. To help with cable management, Silverstone in­cluded two of its four-in-one SATA power cable extenders.

Description: Silverstone Temjin Tj04-E

Silverstone Temjin Tj04-E

The drives screw directly into the bays (upside down!), and the case ships with two heatsinks that attach directly to the sides of the drives to keep them cool. The SSD cage can also mount di­rectly into the HDD cage – necessary if you have a long PSU.

The motherboard tray supports ATX, microATX, and Mini-ITX boards, and the tray has nine cable-routing cutouts and one large CPU backplane cutout. There's plenty of room behind the tray for cable routing, and there's even a compartment behind the PSU to hide extra PSU cables.

The build quality is solid, but the side panels pop off easily as soon as the thumbscrews are removed. The only front-panel connectors are two USB 3.0s (with internal header) and HD Audio, and the cables for both are quite long. At $160 for the version with the side window, it ain’t cheap, but if you want refined good looks, great cable management, and a minimalist, classy aesthetic, the TJ04-E is for you.







  •  Rebuilding The Dream (Machine) (Part 3)
  •  Rebuilding The Dream (Machine) (Part 2)
  •  Rebuilding The Dream (Machine) (Part 1)
  •  Toshiba Satellite C840 Review (Part 2)
  •  Toshiba Satellite C840 Review (Part 1)
  •  Maintaining Your Windows XP System : Checking Your Hard Disk for Errors (part 2) - Checking Free Disk Space, Deleting Unnecessary Files
  •  Maintaining Your Windows XP System : Checking Your Hard Disk for Errors (part 1)
  •  BenQ XL2420T : Best 3D monitor
  •  Falcon Northwest Tiki: Size really doesn't matter
  •  Thermalright Silver Arrow Sb-E
  •  Origin Eon11-S : The little gaming notebook that could
  •  Windows 7 : Migrating User State Data - Understanding USMT Components
  •  Windows 7 : Migrating User State Data - Planning User State Migration Using USMT
  •  Windows Server 2003 : Backing Up Data
  •  Windows Server 2003 : Selecting a Backup Medium, Developing a Backup Strategy
  •  Ivy Bridge Laptop Attacks The Market
  •  Lenovo Introduced Two AMD Trinity Chipped Laptops In Japan
  •  Lenovo Upgrades A Mass Of Laptops With Ivy Bridge Chips
  •  Windows Vista : The Wired Ethernet Network - Add PCs
  •  Windows Vista : The Wired Ethernet Network - Personalize Your Network
    Top 10
    Smartphone HTC Desire C - Yet Shrunken Down
    Audioengine W3 Wireless DAC Review
    KWA 150 SE – The Most Expensive Amplifier Of ModWright
    Olive 06HD Player For Audiophiles
    Pioneer HTIB Surround Sound Systems With Prices Ranging From $360
    Windows Vista : Scripting and Automation - Command Prompt Scripting (part 3)
    Windows Vista : Scripting and Automation - Command Prompt Scripting (part 2)
    Windows Vista : Scripting and Automation - Command Prompt Scripting (part 1) - DOS Commands, Batch Files
    Windows Vista : Scripting and Automation - Wacky Script Ideas
    Windows 7 : Programming Drivers for the User Mode Driver Framework - Required Driver Functionality, UMDF Sample Drivers
    Most View
    Exploiting SQL Injection : Automating SQL Injection Exploitation
    iPhone 3D Programming : Adding Textures to ModelViewer (part 1) - Enhancing IResourceManager
    Windows Server 2008 : DHCP/WINS/Domain Controllers - Enhancing DHCP Reliability
    Windows Phone 7 Development : Understanding Trial and Full Modes (part 3) - Simulating Application Trial and Full Modes
    iPhone Application Development : Getting the User’s Attention - Generating Alerts
    In Search Of The Perfect Mid-Tower (Part 1) - Antec Eleven Hundred, Silverstone Temjin Tj04-E
    Case Modding: simple case modding techniques
    Preparing Your Windows 8 PC : Connecting to Wireless Networks
    Server-Side Browser Detection and Content Delivery : Mobile Detection (part 4) - Device Libraries
    Logitech S715i iPhone - iPod Dock
    Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 91z - Centre Of Thought
    Windows Server 2003 : Using Backup - Planning for Failure, Handling Backup and Restore Problems, Third-Party Backup Utilities
    Oloneo HDRengine
    iPhone Application Development : Building a Multi-View Tab Bar Application (part 1)
    Becoming an Excel Programmer : Navigate Samples and Help
    Strip HTML of Tags
    Handling Mobile User Input (part 3) - Building the UFO 2 Example
    Windows Server 2008 : Domain Name System and IPv6 - Other DNS Components
    Windows Vista : Make Your Hardware Perform (part 1) - Get Glass
    Moving a Dynamic Disk to a New System