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Montech Air 100 Review: A Case and 4 RGB Fans for $70?

For RGB lovers with a Micro-ATX rig

Montech Air 100
(Image: © Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

Tom's Hardware Verdict

Montech’s Air 100 offers a tidy Micro-ATX package with lots of RGB, but it could use a bit more refinement.

Pros

  • +

    + Great Looks

  • +

    + Compact Size

  • +

    + Includes 4 A-RGB Fans

  • +

    + Affordable

Cons

  • -

    A few unsightly details

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    No PWM support

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    No intake air filtration

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    Tight cable management space

Montech is a newcomer to the US PC parts market, having recently asked us to take a look at its new Air 100 ARGB chassis. While its design is fairly standard, and its Micro-ATX size means its appeal is limited, when we heard about the price, we were happy to heft this compact tower onto our test bench.

The Air 100 chassis comes in Lite and ARGB variants, with the latter on deck today carrying a price tag of $70 for the black version. Going white will cost about $5 to $10 extra, and cutting the RGB drops the base price down to about $52.

Without further ado, lets find out if this surprisingly affordable chasis deserves a spot on our Best PC Cases list.

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

Specifications

Type???
Motherboard SupportMini-ITX, Micro-ATX
Dimensions (HxWxD)16.7 x 8.2 x 15.9 inches (425 x 210 x 405 mm)
Max GPU Length12.9 inches (330 mm)
CPU Cooler Height6.3 inches (161 mm)
External Bays
Internal Bays2x 3.5-inch
3x 2.5-inch
Expansion Slots4x
Front I/O2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, discrete 3.5 mm Audio & Mic
Other1x Tempered Glass Panel, RGB Controller
Front Fans3x 120 mm (Up to 2x 140mm, 3x 120mm)
Rear Fans1x 120mm (Up to 1x 120mm)
Top FansNone (Up to 2x 140mm)
Bottom FansNone
Side Fans
RGBYes
DampingNo
Warranty1 Year

Features

Touring around the outside of the chassis, it’s clear that this is a case with very simple, straightforward design language, and I quite like it. There’s no fuffing about with extravagant shapes, just clean and simple, with three intake fans as the most aggressive design feature – but they look quite good.

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

Around the top of the case you’ll find the exhaust for the top fans or radiators, along with the IO. The exhaust isn’t recessed for a sleek finish once fans are installed, and although a filter is included to place over it, this top area doesn’t look particularly refined.

IO is very complete though, with two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, dedicated microphone and headphone jacks, and power and reset switches – though the reset switch is wired to the RGB controller from the factory to control the lighting. I’ve been hard on cases for doing that before, but because it’s not actually marked as a reset switch on the outside of the chassis here, I see no reason why that would be a problem with this case.

The case’s panels all come off quite easily – the glass panel has a handle to easily swivel it out, after which you can lift it off its hinge, and the front panel is held in with magnets, so it comes off with just a light tug -- a bit too light though, the magnets aren’t very strong.

The panel on the right side of the chassis comes off by removing two thumbscrews, though they don’t stay fixed to the panel like many other cases do. 

Internal Layout

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

In the main compartment of the chassis, you’ll find room for up to Micro-ATX motherboards and GPUs up to 12.9 inches (330mm) long. Other than that, there’s not much going on here that’s worth mentioning, though I do appreciate the rubber cable grommets for keeping things tidy.

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

Along the rear side of the chassis we spot room for the ATX power supply, a single 3.5-inch hard drive and two 2.5 inch SSDs, though you can secure another drive to the top of the drive cage.

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

This is also where the RGB controller hides.

Cooling

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

At this point we haven’t reached testing yet, but cooling should be one of the Air 100’s strengths – it comes with four 120mm RGB fans, has room for CPU coolers up to up to 6.3 inches (161mm) tall, and can fit up to a 240mm radiator at the top or a 360mm unit at the front (the spec sheet lists a 280mm max, I don’t see why a 360mm radiator wouldn’t fit), albeit at the sacrifice of some GPU space. The fans come with a 1x 3-pin to 4x 3-pin splitter so that you can connect all fans up to a single header.

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • alceryes
    Anyone else see the problem with so many fans in a very small space?
    Last pic on second page says it all. The back case fan and the rad fan right next to it are literally trying to pull the exact same air. I would forgo the rear case fan when using a top-mount rad here. Of course, the pic wouldn't look as pretty. ;)
    Reply
  • Phaaze88
    @alceryesShh, the secret must not be revealed! The world will collapse if too many discover that top and rear fan exhausts next to one another... REDUCES COOLING EFFICIENCY.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    Looks decent, but who's going to buy from a brand called Monotech when Corsair, Lian Li, and Phanteks exist?
    Reply
  • tek3195
    g-unit1111 said:
    Looks decent, but who's going to buy from a brand called Monotech when Corsair, Lian Li, and Phanteks exist?

    Me, and others with limited budget. A quick look at NewEgg for mATX case by the three manufacturers you listed has a price range of $125.64 ~ $199.99. The Montech Air 100 Lite that I just purchased was $52.99. That's a huge difference.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    tek3195 said:
    Me, and others with limited budget. A quick look at NewEgg for mATX case by the three manufacturers you listed has a price range of $125.64 ~ $199.99. The Montech Air 100 Lite that I just purchased was $52.99. That's a huge difference.

    Fractal Design Focus G- $62.99
    https://pcpartpicker.com/product/vPp323/fractal-design-focus-g-mini-black-microatx-mini-tower-case-fd-ca-focus-mini-bk-w
    Cooler Master Masterbox Lite - $52.99
    https://www.newegg.com/black-cooler-master-masterbox-q300l-micro-atx/p/N82E16811119331?quicklink=true
    Antec Dark Phantom - $59.99
    https://www.newegg.com/black-antec-dark-phantom-micro-atx-tower/p/N82E16811129247
    Any of those would be better choices. If you haven't heard of the brand, it's probably crap.
    Reply
  • tek3195
    g-unit1111 said:
    Fractal Design Focus G- $62.99
    https://pcpartpicker.com/product/vPp323/fractal-design-focus-g-mini-black-microatx-mini-tower-case-fd-ca-focus-mini-bk-w
    Cooler Master Masterbox Lite - $52.99
    https://www.newegg.com/black-cooler-master-masterbox-q300l-micro-atx/p/N82E16811119331?quicklink=true
    Antec Dark Phantom - $59.99
    https://www.newegg.com/black-antec-dark-phantom-micro-atx-tower/p/N82E16811129247
    Any of those would be better choices. If you haven't heard of the brand, it's probably crap.

    I admit I didn't go shopping for best deals, I simply clicked on one website and did a quick search for a general idea. I also only looked for the brands you had mentioned in your first post. The examples you've given are not the same brands, but, I would imagine that at some point nobody had heard of them either. Before I bought the Montech case I looked at everything I could find about it, I did my homework. I also didn't buy one of several other better known brands because of cooler clearance, I had to have 160mm for new Frost Commander. The big new cooler was the reason for buying the new case. Even this review didn't call it out as a bad case. There were just a few reviews on you tube and they all seemed to be good. A couple of them raved about it with one calling it his new favorite mATX case. Sometimes you have to give new things a try. Simply never having heard a name before doesn't make for a piece of crap. I mean I've never heard of you before, but I still like you, you're on tom'sHardware.

    Edit: Now that I've built in it, I don't know that there is a better choice at that price point. For the Lite model anyway, it's an awesome performer for $52.00. Yes, the holes for top fans need washers and removable expansion slots would have been nice to have, but airflow is ridiculous. I have the exact same thermals as I had with an open bench setup waiting for case to arrive. I run Linux and with GTKStressTest using Matrix:All methods with 8 workers it runs a max 76C with a 160W load according to powertop. Same hour long test repeated three times with same results. I didn't pay any attention to gpu as I don't play any games so it never occurs to me to really check temps. For me, keeping same cpu temps as an open bench seems pretty awesome. Especially with power limits turned up to prevent any throttling from i7-9700. It will run 4.5GHz all cores for an hour drawing 140W~160W load without a hiccup.

    I did change the way they mount front fans. I moved fans to inside of chassis to increase distance from mesh and to allow use of side vent strips on front panel. I've got 3x Arctic Bionix P120 in front intake and the two Montech 120mm as top intake. I believe I'm going to remove the P120 that I have in rear exhaust spot and see what it does without it. It may as well be mounted to the rear of Frost Commander 140 and can't move as much air, so I don't know if its needed.
    Reply