Antec Signature S10: A Second Coming?

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Antec Signature S10: The Second Coming of Antec?

June 28, 2015 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Antec Signature S10
ATX / E-ATX / XL-ATX
Tower Case
Manufacturer
Price
US$499

There was a time when Antec was a titan of the PC case market, a solid brand with which you couldn't go wrong. Enclosures enblazoned with their name were commonly found housing the systems of the most ardent enthusiasts. They were known for their build quality but some models also stood out as fine examples of ingenuity. The mark left by legendary P180 is still visible today as many of its design elements live on in most contemporary towers. A few years ago, Antec quietly lost interest in the genre, and aside from minor updates, their lineup aged and fell out of favor as their competitors continued to battle and innovate. They haven't really produced anything notable since 2011, but the Antec aura is so strong that some models close to a decade old continue to be widely available, apparently still selling.

Antec's reemergence into the case market begins with the Signature S10, a unique chassis that could potentially be another landmark product, in the same vein as the P180. It's a beast of a tower, adorned with thick aluminum panels, featuring a clever design that could give it a distinct advantage over the competition. It also has a shockingly high sticker price, which makes it more a statement rather than a feasible product. It can be taken as a declaration that the sleeping dragon has awakened, a warning to the likes of Fractal Design, BitFenix, NZXT, and Corsair.


The S10.

The S10 has a unique, intriguing layout that may inspire Antec's competitors to copy them, just as they did with the P180. The killer feature is not a thing but rather a no-thing: An almost inch-wide gap separating all the hard drives from the rest of the system. Instead of having drive cages that need to be removed to improve airflow, they're simply out of the equation altogether by being in a different, isolated compartment. The drives are still located at the front like 99% of towers but they have their own separate cooling system.

That perhaps is an overstatement — it's actually just a single 120 mm fan at the bottom blowing air through the vertically mounted drives but in most PCs, hard drives don't need a lot of cooling, so it doesn't make sense to have two or three fans blowing over them. With this layout, the main section's three intake fans are not affected by the drives and have been moved much closer to the hottest components (the CPU and GPU) as well as the three exhaust included fans. The gap supplies fresh cool air from the outside, unimpeded by drive bays, though there still is a pesky dust filter in the way.

The S10 also has an imposing form, standing nearly 24 inches tall and weighing a hefty 39 lb thanks in no small part to substantial 4 mm thick brush aluminum side doors. Thumbscrews cannot support such bulky panels so strong magnetic strips are used to keep them in place, while hinges at the back allow them to swing outward like a kitchen cabinet. The separation makes it seem like the S10 has a head and this combined the slightly angular contours gives it some resemblance to an AT-AT Walker from Star Wars, or least what I imagine one would look like immortalized as a legless Easter Island statue. Oh, and did I mention the price? Just US$499.


Packaging material.


Foam padding.

Given the substantial build materials, the S10 is not shipped in a typical PC case box. Antec uses packaging similar to that of a HDTV, a two-piece solution with a bottom that detaches via four plastic locking mechanisms. Lifting off the top reveals the case sandwiched between thick foam inserts and a good amount of clear tape wrapped around them as a backup measure.


Accessories.

The accessory box contains a manual, a few zip-ties, four 80 cm long SATA data cables (the large gap between the sections makes wiring a little tricky) and a microfiber cloth. The latter comes in very handy as the aluminum panels get smudged incredibly easily and apologize in advance for the number of fingerprints visible in this review.

Relevant Specifications: Antec S10
(from the product web page)
Dimensions 23.7 x 9.5 x 23.2 inches (H x W x D)
Weight 39 lb
Cooling Motherboard Chamber:
Top - 2 x 140 mm fans, 240/280 mm radiator
Center - 3 x 120 mm fans, 240/280/360 mm radiator
Rear - 1 x 120 mm fan, 120 mm radiator
Washable air filter – Large

Power Supply Chamber:
1 x 120 mm fan (optional)
Washable air filter - Medium

Hard Disk Drive Chamber:
1 x 120 mm fan
Washable air filter - Small
Drive Bays 6 x 3.5" Quick Release Tool-Less Bays (HDD)
8 x 2.5" Quick Release Tool-Less Bays (SSD)
Motherboard Size Up to 12” x 13” (304 mm x 330 mm)
Mini ITX / Micro ATX / Standard ATX / XL-ATX / E-ATX
Top I/O Panel 4 x USB 3.0
5.25” Shallow Depth Bay for Control Panels
HD Audio In and Out Power / Reset Button (Tap for Power, Hold for Reset)


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