Antec, founded in 1986, is a name that will ring in familiar with long time PC enthusiasts as a manufacturer of cases and power supplies. One of the first cases I ever owned was an Antec SX1040, a very popular case which was actually a re-branded Chieftech Dragon. Antec would improve from the SX1040 and later release highly awarded and praised cases such as the Sonata and their first chambered case, the P180, which were designed in-house rather than being re-branded products. These were Antec's glory days and its safe to say that they would like to return to them, because for those of us who weren't building our own systems a decade ago, Antec probably won't come to mind as a premier case manufacturer among the likes of Corsair, NZXT and Phanteks.
It has been several years since Antec produced a case that really turned heads and got enthusiasts excited. In fact, Antec had alienated enthusiasts with releases such as the Nineteen Hundred, which was met with reviewer dislike for being overpriced and not meeting enthusiast needs. Antec had rested on its laurels and was comfortable to ride on their past success, but consumers took note and soon turned to different brands who were paying attention and catering to the needs of PC enthusiasts. Antec has noted consumer feedback and with their latest release, The Signature Series S10, they hope to get enthusiasts excited and talking about the Antec brand in a positive light once again.
Let's hear more about the Signature Series S10, directly from Antec:
Antec went with an outside design firm, Astro Studios, to assist them with the overall design of the Signature Series S10. Astro Studios has worked with several Fortune 500 companies and was the studio behind the design of the Nike Fuel Band. Hiring outside design studios is an interesting concept, but it does cost money and will definitely add to the production cost of any product, which is reflected in the price of the Signature Series S10, which rings in at $319.00 shipped after rebate (MSRP is $499). The standard version of the Signature Series S10, which we are reviewing today, has well-constructed aluminum side panels that collect fingerprints really easily. A version with nicely toned, well-built tempered glass side panels, the SG10, is supposedly coming soon, but we can't seem to find it for sale anywhere as of this review being written.
Beyond producing a subjectively good looking case, Antec has high hopes that the Signature Series S10 hits all of the marks necessary for an enthusiast chassis, because it's current asking price puts it in a very exclusive category with other high end cases designed to house huge, watercooled systems with extensive component setups, such as the Corsair 900D and even custom units from CaseLabs.
The Signature Series S10 is packaged in a large cardboard box with a graphic of the side profile of the S10 printed on it, which is otherwise devoid of any information. The packaging is very understated and plain. Antec has also printed 'Signature' in a lightened cursive text on the side of the box. Compared to other boxes from Antec, such as the one the P380 ships in, you get a sense that Antec purposely wanted the box to almost evoke mystery and elegance.
Antec has packaged the S10 in between very thick Styrofoam inserts that are held together with a large amount of tape, which of course made the Styrofoam fall apart when we peeled it apart. Within the Styrofoam, the case is protected by a plastic bag and there is an Antec-branded plastic tray being used to hold the case doors shut during shipping. Antec has thought out the packaging of the Signature Series S10 very well and the case arrived well-protected and without any apparent damage, though unpacking it was a bit of a task. There is a large QC sticker on the bottom of the case base, as well.
The Signature Series S10 ships with a very basic, almost bare-bones accessory kit containing screws and five zip ties, though the Antec-branded microfiber cloth they've included is a very nice touch since the aluminum panels are going to pick up fingerprints. This is the complete accessory pack. Antec does include warranty literature with the case and the manual for the Signature Series S10 is huge, with information on how to build into the case. With this case carrying such an elite price tag, I would have expected to see more zip ties, Velcro wraps and other accessories to assist the end user in cleaning up the wiring on their builds.
Antec has included all of the screws in one bag, which isn't labeled. Most manufacturers, even with cheaper cases, put screws in individual bags that are labeled. This is inconvenient, as getting to the screws you need will mean fishing through a bunch of others you may not even end up using. This can also cause confused users to accidentally use motherboard mounting screws for drives, or vice versa.
Given the height and chambered design of the Signature Series S10, standard SATA cables may prove too short to reach from your drives to your motherboard, especially when using upper drive bays. Antec has addressed this by including four extended SATA cables. Given the price, I feel that Antec should have included more of these cables in the accessory pack.
This microfiber cloth came in handy when working with the case, as the side panels loved to pick up fingerprints, dust or anything else that they could possibly attract.
There isn't an 8-pin CPU power connector extension included in the accessory bundle, either. An 8-Pin extension cable was included with the last two cases I've reviewed, both of which were a fraction of the price of the Signature Series S10 and neither of which actually ended up requiring me to use the connector. The Signature Series S10 is a tall case and most users will likely require this cable extension, but Antec has omitted it. With the price premium carried by the Signature Series S10, the accessory bundle is lacking, to say the least.
Let's take a look a closer look at the external features of the Antec Signature Series S10, now.
Antec Signature Series S10 Full Tower E-ATX Case External Impressions
The primary external feature of the Signature Series S10 are the heavy, beautiful, 4mm thick aluminum side panels. There is no windowed side panel option, which is going to be a factor for many enthusiasts. Antec expects that users building into the Signature Series S10 are going to be making the case the focal point of their build. The tempered glass version of the Signature Series S10 is reflective and hard to see through, but will offer a better view of internal hardware.
The side panels are very thick, heavy and reinforced at the corners where they attach to the case to prevent long term damage or loss of shape. Since they are made of brushed aluminum, these panels will pick up dust and fingerprints very easily.
There are individual tabs that you push to open the case doors, with the word "Door" clearly labeled on them so you are aware of their function.
The tab on the bottom is similar to the door release tab and allows you to remove the filter for the primary chamber fans so that it can be cleaned on a regular basis.
The Antec logo is cleanly displayed on the lower portion of the front panel in silver lettering. In fact, the only thing on the front panel at all is the Antec logo. Our sample came with the lettering already peeling up and a quick wipe caused the stickers to lift even more. With the Signature Series S10 being a premium priced chassis, you'd think Antec would opt for a metal logo, like other manufacturers. They could have at least gone with a higher quality sticker. This just screams cheapness, which shouldn't be happening on such an expensive case.
The top panel is very simplistic and features four nicely spaced out USB 3.0 ports, headphone and microphone ports, along with a very small power button. The power button has a very spongy feel to it and depresses quite a bit, allowing it to be caught under the case, which is something I wouldn't expect out of a premium chassis in this price range. We like the way the top panel slopes down to give the case an aggressive look, almost similar to the hood of a race car.
While there is a 5.25" inch drive bay cover on the top of the case, the area beneath the cover is very shallow and won't accommodate much more than a short fan controller or card reader. Perhaps Antec will be selling modules later on to use in this bay or planned on using it for something and later scrapped the idea?
The top panel features vents from front to back and dimples where there are no vents to keep the look uniform. The front chamber draws air in through the top while the chamber that houses the motherboard uses the top vents as an exhaust. This design is simple enough, but there isn't a top panel filter or any noise-blocking covers to keep dust from falling into the case, which is a letdown given the price point of the Signature Series S10. Rather than remove the top panel to work with fans or add a radiator, which is possible, you can simply remove the included fan bracket via thumbscrews, as the top fans are mounted similar to how the front fans are mounted.
The rear of the Signature Series S10 reminds us a lot of the Nineteen Hundred and shows us the impressive PCI-E expansion capabilities of the case. The 120MM fan vent is slightly pushed out to reduce noise and keep fingers safe. There are just two rubber grommets for watercooling and the back of the case is void of any GPU area ventilation, as we've seen on many other enthusiast chassis. These rubber grommets are properly fitted and don't have any issues with falling out due to being too loose.
The filter for the PSU is easily removable from the back of the chassis for cleaning. This filter is like the others and is an open mesh style that will let smaller particles through, so you would still want to take some compressed air to your PSU often to keep dust from building up.
The side panels are held on by brackets that are screwed into the rear of the case. The brackets appears to be well-built and strong, so they should hold up fine over time, though the plastic tabs holding the side panels onto the brackets are a cause for concern.
Why does such an expensive case have a huge plastic base with no rubberized feet? Cheap cases feature rubberized feet or even complete rubber strips on the bottom of the feet to aid in noise reduction, but Antec is just giving us huge plastic. The base has a unique shape, holds up well and keeps the case stable, but it definitely could be improved on to give the end user a better sense of quality. Since the case is so heavy, we didn't have any issues with it sliding on glass desk surfaces.
The unique shape and style of the Signature Series S10 is bold and visually appealing, though I feel that the there is too much plastic here and that it takes away from the overall visual appeal, as well as build quality, of the case. The aluminum side panels are manufactured well and look great, though. The shape of the case is unique and flows nicely, with the sloping front giving the Signature Series S10 an aggressive, yet subdued look. I only wish that Antec had used more aluminum on the exterior, as excessive plastic on such a premium product is tacky. I understand that aluminum costs more than plastic, but this is a $370 case and other cases that cost a lot less are built with full aluminum construction. We also are concerned with the quality of some of the external components, such as the Antec logo sticker and plastic base. While the base arrived without damage, we have to wonder why such an expensive, heavy case, is being supported by plastic? Plus, the base has no rubberized feet, so vibration and noise will transfer more easily.
Antec Signature Series S10 Full Tower E-ATX Case Internal Impressions
The side panels of the Signature Series S10 are held to the case by a magnetic strip that is glued to the door. This is the only attachment mechanism keeping the door shut on the case and there is no way to lock the doors to keep curious hands out.
Once we press the "Door" latch, the door is pushed open and swivels out. All this latch does is bump the door forward, so it is very simple. Though these are made of a cheap plastic that doesn't complement the beautiful aluminum of the panels, the door opening system works well. One good thing about these latches being plastic is that they aren't as prone to picking up fingerprints and oils, like aluminum.
There are rubber stops on the case rear to keep the door from hitting the metal on the case when opened all of the way. The side panels are only held on by these swivels and can be easily lifted off. We worry about the long term durability of these swivels, because there is a plastic tab that couples the door into the swivel. Having plastic support such heavy metal can definitely cause fatigue over time.
Once we open the main chamber, we see a E-ATX layout, with cable routing holes with rubber grommets to the side, top and bottom of the motherboard mounting area. These grommets sit quite a bit away from where a standard ATX motherboard will sit, so their effectiveness in cleaning up cables is limited on smaller motherboards, since the cables will still have to run across the motherboard tray. Also, the grommets are partially covered by the fans and come out very easily. The motherboard tray has six standoffs installed, which is a nice time saver, though I doubt people are going to buy the Signature Series S10 and run anything less than a full sized ATX board, so Antec should install nine standoffs. Overall, the main component chamber is standard, with adequate cable routing holes, a solid motherboard tray and plenty of PCI-E expansion capability.
There are three 120MM Antec fans attached to a removable bracket in the main chamber of the Signature Series S10. If Antec truly wants to please enthusiasts, including premium fans in their case would have been a nice step, as the included fans are basic OEM fans without any type of speed control. Another issue is that the top half of the intake is blocked off. Where the top thumbscrew is on the fan bracket is where the intake is cut off and there is solid material behind the fan. Why have three intake fans and then choose to cripple the performance of one of them?
Removing the fan bracket takes just seconds once you remove the two thumbscrews and removal allows for easier installation of front radiators. The top panel fans feature a similar bracket, as the top panel cannot be removed.
Once the fan bracket is removed, you have better access to the cable routing holes. This is a good design element, but Antec didn't execute it as well as they could have by blocking off intake areas and omitting cable route tie downs on the bracket itself to better organize the fans.
It's nice to see that Antec has made the header panels all black, but the audio cable is throwing me back a few years. Again, this is a premium chassis that is designed towards enthusiasts. Who uses AC'97 audio anymore? Certainly the type of consumer purchasing this chassis is going to be using a modern motherboard with HD Audio, if not a standalone sound card. Antec should have ditched AC'97 and extended the cable wrap to the end so that no colored wires are showing. This is a premium chassis, so these little details are an expectation. I also have to note that the header cables are stiff and not as flexible as others we have worked with, with a lot of small kinks and bends from the factory.
There is a single 120mm exhaust fan installed in the rear of the main chamber. There is no support for 140mm exhaust fans here, nor can you adjust the position of the fan upwards or downwards, which is disappointing, given that this is a flagship case targeted towards the enthusiast market and most other enthusiast cases are now offering these provisions.
Ten PCI-E expansion slots are available on the Signature Series S10, which makes it an ideal candidate for a multi-GPU setup, especially if the GPU's are to be air cooled. Antec is using quality, removable metal PCI-E slot covers with slits in them aid with airflow. The slot covers are all attached via thumbscrews with rubberized outsides.
There is a routing hole with rubber grommet on the floor of the main chamber of the S10, which will allow you to route cables to graphics cards in an aesthetically pleasing fashion.
Removing the front fan filter is very easy. Just push the "Vent" tab and the filter will pop out slightly and you can then pull it out the rest of the way to easily clean it. Kudos to Antec for making this filter easy to remove, as it is responsible for filtering the entire main chamber intake and will get dirty in no time.
Unfortunately, The Signature Series S10 comes with a coarse mesh type of filter, which will let lots of dust through. On the plus side, this type of filter should allow for optimal airflow vs. a filter using finer materials. Cleaning is simple, just run the filter under water and let it dry.
The front chamber design on the Antec Signature Series S10 is limited in functionality and doesn't offer much in the way of expansion. Support for six 3.5" hard drives and three 2.5" SSD's in this dedicated chamber is disappointing when you consider that all this chamber is dedicated to is storage. This chamber cannot be used to house other components, sd the cages can't be removed in favor of watercooling equipment or optical drives. We think Antec really could have done a lot more with this dedicated space to really make the Signature Series S10 more functional.
Antec could have included caddies compatible with both 2.5" and 3.5" drives and gotten rid of the dedicated SSD slots in the drive cages, thus allowing the case to support nine storage drives of any type in the front chamber. Recently reviewed mid-towers like the be quiet! Silent Base 800 are able to run seven 3.5" hard drives, while retaining support for several SSD's, all using a traditional case layout with removable drive cages. While ambitious, the front chamber design of the Signature Series S10 is lacking and I don't think it will end up appealing to many enthusiasts.
The Antec-branded fan at the bottom of the front chamber is actually blowing down and is designed to pull cool air from the top of the case through the ventilation holes. The chamber is protected from dust by the same type of mesh filter as the main chamber, albeit smaller. This filter simply pulls out, though it was a bit tricky to pull out at first, as there isn't much of a handle to grab onto and most of the handle sits in the cutout space.
This design unique and different, though I have to question how effective this is versus traditional cooling where the drives are cooled by fresh air pulled from the front intakes, as there is nothing really forcing cool air into the case except for whatever small amount of pressure the fan can generate to pull air through the filtered top vents in the chamber.
The bottom chamber features a non-removable six-bay 2.5" SSD cage that drives simply slide into and then lock with a clip. This is a nice mechanism and should work well, but why is it non-removable? This part of the case would have been perfect for a pump in a watercooled setup. Antec could have done something really innovative with this space, but instead riveted the drive cage there, limiting the function of the bottom chamber to storage for six SSD's. Going back to the front chamber, if Antec had thought things through, it would offer enough support for any combination of nine 2.5" or 3.5" drives, which is going to be adequate for most users. Instead, they've limited the capabilities of both the front and bottom chambers of the Signature Series S10 through bad design choices.
The power supply is mounted on thick foam strips, which help reduce noise and also keep the PSU straight, since the cases angled design would offer no underneath support for the PSU, otherwise. The PSU area is filtered and the bottom intake isn't restrictive, so your PSU can intake adequate air to keep itself cool. Unfortunately, the PSU chamber itself is cramped and there is no way to remove the SSD bracket during your install so that you can install modular cables more easily.
There is also an optional fan mount in the lower area, but it's functionality is limited, at best. SSD's don't generally require additional cooling and this fan would merely serve to create additional noise. Also, there isn't a dedicated exhaust area, so air that is taken in doesn't have a clear path for removal.
Looking at the rear of the motherboard tray, we see an ample amount of cable tie-down points and a ten-fan hub that is powered via 4-Pin Molex. This hub is not able to be speed controlled by the motherboard like ones we've seen from Phanteks and NZXT and doesn't support 4-Pin fans, so it's functionality is limited at best.
Antec should have included a high quality fan controller with the ability to connect to the motherboard for RPM control. We've seen several areas where Antec has skimped on this case when they could have gone with higher quality components for just a slight increase in manufacturing cost. This is a $370 case, why is Antec including a two dollar fan hub?
There is a very small area to route cables behind the motherboard tray from the bottom chamber and it's frustrating, because it means that with most power supply units you can't run the 8-Pin CPU connector behind the motherboard tray, as it simply won't be long enough. The hole you see is cutout from a bar that runs alongside the bottom of the tray and chamber. You cannot run cables over this bar. Antec should have put an additional break in the crossbar to allow for a cabling run for the 8-Pin connector.
Running data and power cables to your drives must be done through the small area we've outlined in red. This is frustrating, to say the least, as this area is very tight and it's hard for me to envision running power and data cables to multiple drives, let alone running them to a fully populated front chamber. This small cable routing area is just another frustrating design element we've noticed and we haven't even built into the case, yet.
The width of the bar you see is how much room you have to run cables and we've placed a SATA cable on the bar to give a better perspective on how little actual space there is behind the tray. If you run cables past this bar, you can't shut the panel. You can't do the old smash the panel down and slide it trick if you have a lot of cables behind the panel, either, since these panels swing shut and are only held by a magnet. The wiring space is adequate, but if one were to really populate the Signature Series S10 with multiple drives and components, running cables would get to be quite a pain.
We've taken a look at the internals of the Signature Series S10 and while there are solid traits, we've come away somewhat unimpressed. The lack of cable routing space and other small issues we noted, such as the loose grommets, cheap fan hub, blocked off fan intake and more, make us really wonder how Antec could have overlooked so many minor things? It's as if Antec hasn't taken any queues from the enthusiast community and continues to do their own thing, while other manufacturers actually have modern internal features that are enthusiast friendly. The Antec Signature Series S10 does have a very well-made, sturdy frame, with very nicely machined metal that will last for a long time, but Antec needs to be aware that PC enthusiasts want a well-built chassis that allows for excellent cable management and ease of use, not a monolithic tank.
Now that we've looked at the external and internal features of the Signature Series S10, we're going to build a system into it and note anything unique we may run into.
Antec Signature Series S10 Full Tower E-ATX Case Build Overview
We used an H97 PC Mate motherboard from MSI along with a load out of basic components for this build. While we could have opted for a larger, more involved, enthusiast build, we think it is best to detail the Antec S10's build process with standard hardware, omitting an optical drive due to a lack of support for one in the S10, despite the huge size of the chassis.
Installation of the PSU went just fine, but for this type of case design, we think a rear-sliding PSU would have been best, as the chamber is tight and installation of larger PSU's is going to take some time and thought.
There is very tight spacing to plug in modular cables due to the drive cage in the bottom chamber, which isn't removable. The space shown is the amount of room you will have to work with when installing and running modular cables. Our RM650 from Corsair fit just fine, but it is a standard unit that doesn't extend very far. Even with our RM650, we had a difficult time installing cables once our 24-Pin ATX and 8-Pin CPU cable were installed because we were left with less room for our hands to be able to plug in modular cables.
For such a large case supposedly targeted at enthusiasts, the Antec S10 is cramped when it comes to cable routing for the PSU.
Since our H97 PC Mate board doesn't have mounting holes on the right side of the board, the pre-installed standoffs were adequate for installation. The motherboard fit in the tray without issue and looks tiny in the spacious interior provided by the S10 Signature Series, which can house E-ATX motherboards and have plenty of room to spare.
We like the use of uniform, black header cables on the Signature Series S10. The all-black SATA cables are a nice touch, as well.
We are unable to run the 8-Pin CPU connector behind the motherboard tray because it's just not long enough. As previously mentioned, there was no 8-Pin extension cable included, which is a huge disappointment.
Our motherboard only has one USB 3.0 header, so the second header for the S10 cannot be attached. Antec didn't include an adapter to run the USB 3.0 into a USB 2.0 connector, which we've seen with other cases. This isn't a huge problem, as most enthusiast motherboards have two USB 3.0 headers.
Hard Drive installation is simple, as Antec is using simple drive mounting caddies for 3.5" drives. These caddies are not compatible with SSD's, which I think is a huge oversight. Our drives lined up just fine with the caddies and snapped into the tabs without issue.
Once the drives were in the caddies, we slid them in the lowest section of the chamber, where we felt they would get the most benefit of the bottom-mounted cooling fan.
The OCZ Vertex 480A SSD slid into the SSD cage without issue, though it moved around quite a bit and left us feeling like the mounting mechanism was cheap.
Once all of the drives are installed, you push the clip back into place to lock them. I'm not a big fan of this mounting system for a couple of reasons. In my experience, mounting drives on their side causes more vibration than mounting them horizontally. Also, there is nothing really preventing the drives from vibrating excessively, as the drive mounting is just flexible, thin plastic and the internal cages are also made of plastic.
Do to the installation position, the SSD won't have it's connectors flush or lined up with the HDD's, which will make it more difficult to run cables. While the rear of the HDD's are accessible, we c an see that the SSD rear is actually a fingers length past where the HDD lines up. I think we've done a fair amount of harping on the drive mount system, but this design element is just plain annoying. It wasn't thought out very well, or Antec is out of touch with what enthusiast builds typically require in 2015. Again, Antec could have used 2.5/3.5" compatible cages here to alleviate many of these issues.
While we're only running three storage drives, the cable routing area provided is already congested. If we add more drives, it's going to become a real chore to route the cables.
Here we see the small channel that all SATA cables must pass through. Running multiple drives in the front chamber is going to require taking additional time for cable management and we wish Antec would have afforded more space for this routing.
Throughout the build, the rubber grommets would come out partially, even from just moving a cable, as seen here. We decided to just wait until the build was complete to try and finesse them back in. These are the most flimsy rubber grommets I have ever worked with, yet the Antec Signature S10 carries a higher MSRP than any case I've ever reviewed.
All of the stock fans for the Signature Series S10 have been plugged into the included fan hub. Given that the case has seven stock fans, the fan hub was a necessity. We had one of the connectors lift up when attempting to install a fan, as the hub is very cheap and the connectors reflect this. Like other manufacturers, Antec should have used a decent PWM fan hub that is cable of being motherboard controlled. The solution here is cheap and offers no user-control. For such an expensive case, the fan control situation on the Antec S10 wasn't thought through very much, at all. Antec could have used that wasted space on top of the front chamber for a fan controller and shown enthusiasts they actually put some thought and effort into the design of the case. This hub seems like a cheap patch that Antec included because they pretty much had to. AZZA included a fan controller with hub on their full-tower Nova 8000 case, which comes in at just over $100. NZXT includes a fan hub with PWM controller on several of it's offerings that are in the $100-range, as well.
Running cables behind the tray wasn't an issue, except for that we had to run the 8-Pin CPU connector over the motherboard, which is a throwback to pre-enthusiast chassis. While our component setup is very basic and likely not indicative of the type of build somebody who buys the Signature Series S10 would be completing, we still had a tight fit when it came to cable routing.
Issues with component quality came up throughout the build, as the rubber grommets were frustrating to work with and we ran into issues with the rubber door stops falling off of the rear of the case. Users who are going to run multiple hard drives and extensive component setups in the Antec S10 are going to be in for a headache. For it's asking price of $400, building into the Antec S10 Signature Series should have been a fun experience devoid of quality control issues and cheap components, but that is not the situation at all.
We will point out a few positives. The Signature Series S10 is dead quiet, especially given it has seven fans. When it was powered on, the most noticeable sound in our system was coming from the hard drives. With the thick side panels closed, running our zero-RPM power supply and Thermaltake quiet HSF, we could barely hear the system running at all. Drive installation is easy, but we don't like how SSD's sit in their trays loosely, with no way to truly secure SSD's or Hard Drives to their mounting mechanisms. Overall, we were underwhelmed and felt that the internal build quality of the Signature Series S10 didn't reflect the price point and after completing our build, our feelings are amplified.
Antec Signature Series S10 Full Tower E-ATX Case Conclusion
While the Signature Series S10 is certainly an improvement over Antec's Nineteen Hundred, it also has some glaring issues that are likely to make it a tough sell. I have to wonder who exactly this case is geared towards? It's not an ideal watercooling case, nor does it really appeal to users with massive storage needs, since it only supports six standard 3.5" drives. The front chamber is going to likely end up wasted and underutilized, since most enthusiasts are using SSD's paired with one or two large HDD's. Low quality components like a cheap fan hub, inexpensive fans and mesh-style filters all stand out on the Antec Signature Series S10, as well. The overall build quality, while not outstanding, is solid and didn't leave me frustrated, though the plastic tabs holding the doors on cause a bit of long-term concern over their durability and small issues like the front sticker peeling left me with additional quality concerns. If there's one thing the Signature S10 has on its side, it's that the metal used on the frame and side panels is very high quality and well-made. If Antec applied this type of build material to a more enthusiast-friendly chassis with better cable management and thought out feature set, they would be taking a huge step in the right direction. The Signature Series S10 looks great, but there are so many weaknesses under the hood that it's awesome looking brushed aluminum panels and aggressive lines just can't save it.
If I told you that a major case manufacturer released a case with aluminum side panels for $499, but that the top, front and base were all made of plastic, the rubber grommets are easy to pop out and that there was limited watercooling support, would it hold interest? Now, what if I told you this same case requires an 8-Pin extension cable if you want to route the 8-Pin cable behind the motherboard? You'd assume that an extension cable would come with a case in that price range, right? I think that pretty much sums up the Signature Series S10. It's a decent case that has a solid foundation, but it also has so many minor issues and was clearly cheapened out on when it came to component selection that it's almost a slap in the face to consumers who were looking for Antec to come out with something truly amazing.
If Antec wants to make the Signature Series S10 more viable, an immediate price drop needs to be considered. This case is a tough sell at anything more than $300, as that's around the current selling price of the Corsair 900D, a chambered case that is capable of more drive expansion, more expansive watercooling capability, better cable management and, get this, is made completely of aluminum. Right now, you can purchase the Antec Signature Series S10 for $369.00 shipped at Newegg with a $50 rebate. This brings the final prce down to $319.00 and that is the lowest price we've been able to find on the case.
It is hard to recommend the Signature Series S10 at its current price point because, beyond its looks and a frame built like a tank, it simply doesn't offer anything compelling over rival cases and the three chambered design, while unique, is limited in functionality and likely won't be of interest to most end users. Customers buying the Antec Signature Series S10 will likely be doing so because they love the looks of the case, as functionally, the S10 is average and doesn't offer user-friendly cable management features. We really wanted to love the Signature Series S10 and were hoping Antec had a winner. Instead, they have produced a cool looking, decent performing case with a dreadful price tag and some questionable design elements. Rather than consulting an outside design studio, perhaps Antec should have consulted with actual PC enthusiasts and modders to help with the design of their case? Antec has attempted to take a step forward with enthusiasts, but we think they've stumbled with the Signature Series S10.
Legit Bottom Line: With the Signature Series S10, Antec has produced a unique looking case with a well-built frame and interesting design, but failed to deliver a case that enthusiasts truly want. A lack of focus on cable management, component quality and small details makes the Signature Series S10 seem like a half-baked product that Antec is trying to sell at a premium price. Unless you really like the way the Signature Series S10 looks or are a modder with grand ideas, you're likely better off spending your money on a different case.