Introducing the Antec ISK 110 VESA

We've been having a good run of Mini-ITX cases lately, but most of those cases are designed to still be able to support what are essentially fully-powered systems: standard voltage CPUs, dedicated graphics cards, an optical drive and multiple storage drives. Yet part of the charm of Mini-ITX is that it's capable of fitting into a much smaller space than even a Micro-ATX board theoretically could. If you're gunning just to produce a system that's very small and very efficient, but you don't want to just use someone else's build, a Mini-ITX board and the right enclosure can have you covered.

That's where the Antec ISK 110 VESA comes in. This case is about as small as it gets, and includes the necessary hardware to actually mount it to the back of a monitor. Antec has trimmed about as much fat as you could conceivably hope to trim; there's enough room for a Mini-ITX board, two 2.5" drives, and that's it. It includes an external 90-watt power supply and just enough internal power circuitry to drive low-to-moderate power hardware. With so little room to work in, did Antec make the right decisions, or was there still more they could do?

A few months back we were able to review two complete designs from Puget Systems that employed the ISK 110 VESA, and those systems proved you could still install a formidable machine in the tiny space. Yet there are very real limitations in getting a desktop this small, as well as certain trade-offs that Antec made. Just because there isn't much to pack in the ISK 110 VESA doesn't mean there isn't much to say about it or consider in its design; when you're drilling down this far, real choices have to be made.

Antec ISK 110 VESA Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External -
Internal 2x 2.5"
Cooling Front -
Rear -
Top -
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots -
I/O Port 4x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size Included external 90W
Clearances HSF 40mm
PSU -
GPU -
Dimensions 8.7" x 3.1" x 8.4"
222mm x 78.6mm x 212mm
Weight 2.9 lbs / 1.3 kg
Special Features External 90W 92% efficiency PSU
Price $84

I wasn't kidding when I said this is about as barebones as it gets, but the price is reasonable at least considering you're getting a fairly specialized case, the necessary mounting brackets for placing it behind a monitor, and a power supply.

In and Around the Antec ISK 110 VESA
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  • bobbozzo - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    On page 1, "drive moderate-to-low voltage hardware" should probably be changed to "drive moderate-to-low wattage hardware". Reply
  • bobbozzo - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    My (fanless) firewall is an Atom motherboard running in a Morex T3310 case, which appears to be about the same size.
    It comes with a 60 or 80-watt external power brick and 80-watt internal DC-DC power supply.

    It only holds one 2.5" drive.

    It does not VESA mount.

    From your description of the Antec, the Morex may be easier to assemble, and may be a little better looking.

    The grill mesh is very fine on the Morex, so it's possible airflow would be worse.
    Reply
  • Belard - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    The photos show a VESA mount and a dual drive cage.

    But the heat is enough of a problem with just a single drive.

    It would be better to make it slightly bigger to have proper cooling.
    Reply
  • bobbozzo - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    I was talking about my Morex case. Reply
  • londiste - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    i could get a fairly busy itx motherboard (based on the pictures, at least as busy as yours) into the case without taking out the power circuitry board.

    however, when trying to hide as much cables as possible away from the perforated side, and trying not to cover the ventilation slits in the side at the same time, i did have some trouble getting the side panel back on.

    i have to say that the power brick gets uncomfortably warm after heavy load already with my puny g620. i used to run the same system with a 80w picopsu and 60w brick which stayed considerably cooler...
    Reply
  • nethermancer - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    I have one of these attached to the back of a 22" monitor and I cannot see the enclosure during normal use. This makes it like an All-in-one PC and my daughter really likes the small footprint in her room. I used an AMD A6-3500 triple core CPU and it really flies with an SSD and 4GB RAM. Could have done with a beefier PSU and allowed me to use a decent quad core CPU though. Antec managed a tiny 350W PSU on their minuet 350 case so why not here? Reply
  • Lonyo - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    Well I would expect they should be able to get a 150w PSU in there, but then what exactly are you going to do with a 150w system in such a small case? It would probably burn up.
    Plus 90w is probably actually enough for a quad core CPU, as long as you aren't running it with any other hardware (which you can't).
    Reply
  • MrMilli - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    Why does something like this need to be this expensive? There's barely any use of material, especially compared to full size towers. Reply
  • SodaAnt - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    It includes VESA mounting hardware and a power supply. Reply
  • MrMilli - Saturday, September 01, 2012 - link

    VESA mounting kit: $5
    Delta PSU: $15

    So that doesn't explain the cost.

    You can buy decent mini towers including PSU for less than $50. Why does this need to be $80?
    Reply

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