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Antec S10 10-Slot EATX Premium Case Review

Antec goes beyond its normal budget-to-professional range in its solid-aluminum paneled S10, but does the performance of this premium-material case help to justify its premium price?

Our Verdict

Offering superb performance and a good layout, Antec's S10 is arguably fancy enough to justify its high price. Unfortunately, small design issues prevent it from becoming our ultimate choice.

For

  • Excellent layout • Sturdy 4mm-thick black-anodized aluminum side panels • Superb cooling-to-noise ratio

Against

  • Minor cable management issues can defeat the magnetic door latch • Plastic face detracts from the perceived “worth” of a case with 4mm-thick side panels

Specifications, Interior And Exterior

A new case form factor emerged way back in 2008 when Foxconn announced a 14.4" tall (server guys call this "width") motherboard design that it never actually produced. Several case manufacturers hopped aboard the "Ultra ATX" bandwagon with 10-slot models, and those same cases later became a great place to put 13.6" by 10.6" XL-ATX boards. The rest of that story quickly became history as motherboard manufacturers tried once again to shrink the boundaries of their boards to something that resembled ATX, and eventually combined the 12" height of standard ATX with the 10.6" depth of XL-ATX. Some of these boards had a graphics slot in the bottom, so case manufacturers responded with 8-slot cases supporting boards up to about 11" deep. And then, for the most part, they stopped.


Lacking an official form-factor for 12" by 10.6" motherboards, motherboard manufacturers started labeling these "EATX." The problem for case manufacturers is that to qualify for the EATX label, they needed room for a 12" by 13" board. Suddenly, people weren't buying the cases that were specifically designed to support their 12" by 10.6" boards, for the simple reason that the case was labeled ATX and the board EATX. From a marketing standpoint, the only option available to case manufacturers was to scrap existing "right sized" cases and come up with new EATX-compatible models.

Enthusiasts still need more expansion slots than specified by EATX, and Antec is the third company in our review series to combine all of the maximum dimensions needed for the full range of enthusiast-class consumer hardware.

Specifications

Exterior

The S10 is both EATX and Ultra ATX, supporting boards up to 13.5" deep and 14.4" tall. Knowing that enthusiast "EATX" boards aren't EATX, Antec offers that space as a place to put large cooling components. The company was even able to keep the total depth of the case below 24", just so that it will fit under your desk, by leaving out front-panel bays that many enthusiasts believe to be clutter.

The S10 still has provisions for front-panel 5.25"-format devices on the top panel, but this bay is only 3.5" deep. That makes it suitable for many fan controllers and port panels, but unfortunately not large enough for the Asus OC Panel that comes with its Rampage V Extreme. We knew a few of you were thinking about that.

A closer look at the S10's 3.5"-deep 5.25" bay also shows its stealthy power and HDD LEDs, which shine through tiny access holes.

The large gap that separates forward (drive bay) and rear side panel sections serves as an intake vent for the S10's trio of 120mm front-panel fans, which are served by a slide-out air filter and can be moved upward to make room for the lower tank of a 3x 120mm radiator. The maximum-supported total radiator length is about 16", maybe a fraction more depending on the shape of the top tank. 

Interior

In addition to supporting motherboards up to 13.5" deep, Antec's S10 has ten ISA slots. That's my cheeky reminder that even though Antec calls these PCI-Express slots, any device that conforms to the legacy ISA bracket standard (including PCI cards and slot fans) will fit.

Antec designed the S10 with separate HDD and motherboard cooling zones and cooling directions. A bottom-mounted exhaust fan in the forward section draws air through vents in the top panel and past vertically-mounted drives, defying "convectional wisdom." A filter at the top of the drive cages catches any dust that hasn't already stuck to top-panel vent holes.

A plastic gate opens at each of the three sections to allow access to two 3.5" drive trays and a 2.5" drive slot. That's six 3.5" drives and three 2.5" drives in the front section, along with the slide-in filter shown at the top of the photo above.

The S10's power supply section contains a second cage able to hold five additional 2.5" drives, and the tray separating upper and lower sections has both a wide slot for power supply cables and a small one to ease the grasping of drives.

The S10 power supply bay features both a pull out filter and foam vibration-dampening. Lower hinges are also shown, into which catch tabs of the side panels engage.

S10 top panel fans are attached to a drop-down tray with screws on the left edge and catch tabs on the right. This panel supports both 140mm (included) and 120mm fans, and has enough space above the motherboard to add a 1.2"-thick radiator.

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  • youcanDUit
    for 200 bucks you'd think they would throw some of those super thin cables. that usb 3.0 port plug thin and at a right angle would've been sweet. 200 bucks tho. geez.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    17312919 said:
    for 200 bucks you'd think they would throw some of those super thin cables. that usb 3.0 port plug thin and at a right angle would've been sweet. 200 bucks tho. geez.
    Has that even been done before? The people I've talked to say it's not possible. Remember that each cable feeds two ports, so it's two cables, and each of those two cables has to carry separate USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 signal wires.

    Reply
  • Scorpionking20
    I'm a consumer of higher end cases. This thing doesn't appeal at all to me. Plastic? Please, no. I'm hoping to see more aluminum cases with tempered glass in the future.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    It doesn't appeal to me very much either. Good review though!
    Reply
  • Adhmuz
    Typical Antec design, cable routing behind the mother board tray was not thought of, it never is. For being a "Server" oriented case I would have liked to have seen more 3.5" slots for real storage, considering the lack of ODD bays you'd think the front of the case would have been nothing but 3.5" with adapters for 2.5" units. I really find it hard to understand why cases need room for so many 2.5" drives, I doubt people will have the need for more than two SSDs, they've gotten to the price where it's easier to upgrade to a larger unit and hand me down the smaller one to another system. They could have easily put 8 or 10 3.5" slots, but I guess then they wouldn't be able to do the worse thing ever which is appose the natural convection of heat and blow it out the bottom of the case? What we're they thinking... And it comes in at a monstrous 38 pounds, I never like Antec cases, this one gives me even more reason to dislike the brand.
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    Newegg has this on sale for $200 right now. Not a bad deal.

    Reading this, it seemed to me to be a more professional looking CM HAF X ( that things looks horrid to me ). I see a lot of good ideas in here, like the split side panels for separate drive / mboard access and the hidden external bay compartment. Combined with great cooling and less noise, it definitely sparked my interest. But yeah, panels popping open and the segmented cable paths trip it up at the finish line. So frustrating to see a product so close to being great, but miss out because of the small obvious things.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    17315048 said:
    Newegg has this on sale for $200 right now. Not a bad deal.

    Reading this, it seemed to me to be a more professional looking CM HAF X ( that things looks horrid to me ). I see a lot of good ideas in here, like the split side panels for separate drive / mboard access and the hidden external bay compartment. Combined with great cooling and less noise, it definitely sparked my interest. But yeah, panels popping open and the segmented cable paths trip it up at the finish line. So frustrating to see a product so close to being great, but miss out because of the small obvious things.
    It was $300 when tested. At $200, I think some people will want to consider whether they should tolerate the cable management workaround (pulling some of their cables through the motherboard compartment), in order to get a case with a super-high cooling-to-noise ratio.

    Reply
  • gilbadon
    I would love to see a water cooled build (custom) inside this thing.
    Reply
  • joex444
    I want to see a Mini-ITX board in there.
    Reply
  • Daniel Ladishew
    This is a case specifically designed for the EATX and larger mobos, yet testing was done with the normal test bench... WHY? I think it's very obvious that normal components are going to fit, what we need to see is how everything fits and works when your using the parts the case was designed for.
    Reply