Antec P180b ATX Case Page: 1
Introduction

Antec have a long tradition of making good solid PC cases. Today I am looking at their Top-spec P180b. The case market is a very competitive environment with a lot of big companies offering some very nice cases.

I will take a look to see if this offering is worth spending your money on.

Packaging

The packaging from Antec was certainly very good. With a solid box, foam inserts and cardboard protecting the case it should almost certainly arrive to you in great shape.

antec p180b antec p180b

The case displays some nice looking pictures of the case as well as the Antec logo "The Power of You". Full specifications of the case are also included along with some marketing gumph.

The case itself also comes with plastic covering on the sides and front. This ensures none of the paint is scratched. I certainly appreciate this extra care for a case that is as expensive as this one.

antec p180b

My camera evidently didn't like the plastic but you can see how well protected the case is.

One bad thing I did notice was that the inside of the case was slightly damaged by the triflow fan that seemed to be loose inside the box. This isn't a great problem but maybe something Antec need to check.

antec p180b


Below you can see the box with the screws in as well some of the other parts removable in the case. Lots of screws are provided with the case.

antec p180b

Also included is a manual and some bits of paper with tips for some of the parts of the system not covered so well in the manual (such as HDD fan).

Overall a great bundle and well wrapped up.


Antec P180b ATX Case Page: 2
Specification

Taken from Antec's product page:

A case without compromise, whether Silver or Black

The P180 is truly a revolutionary breakthrough in case design. Dual chambers isolate the power supply and CPU into separate cooling zones with up to 5 configurable fans. Three-layer sound-deadening panels dampen noise even in very high-performance systems. Ease-of-use, sleek design and Antec's reputation for quality make the P180 worthy of being the first in a new category we call the Advanced Super Mid Tower.


antec p180b

Features:

* Unique upper and lower chamber structure The power supply resides in a separate chamber to isolate heat from the system and lower system noise

 

* Innovative three-layer side panels and front door (aluminum, plastic, aluminum) dampen system noise, making this one of the quietest cases available

 

* Cooling System:
- 1 rear (standard) 120mm TriCoolTM Fan with 3-speed switch control
- 1 top (standard) 120mm TriCoolTM Fan
- 1 lower chamber (standard) 120mm TriCoolTM Fan
- 1 front (optional) 120mm fan
- 1 middle (optional) 120mm fan to cool graphics cards
- Upper drive cage can be used as a duct to provide fresh air to graphics cards
* Maximum expandability with 11 Drive Bays
- External 4 x 5.25"; 1 x 3.5"
- Internal 6 x 3.5" for HDD

 

* Motherboard: Fits micro and standard ATX

 

* Double hinge front door designed to open up to 270º

 

* 7 Expansion Slots

 

* Front Ports
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire®, i.Link®)
- Audio In and Out

 

* Material: 0.8mm cold rolled steel for durability through the majority of chassis, 1.0mm cold rolled steel around the 4x HDD area

 

* To optimize performance of your P180 the choice of your power supply is crucial. Antec strongly recommends choosing from our Phantom, NeoHE or TruePower series

 

* Silicone grommets in the hard drive cages absorb vibrations and reduce noise

 

* Built in washable air-filter

 

* Dimensions: 54cm (H) x 20.5cm (W) x 50.7cm (D) or 21.3"(H) x 8.1"(W) x 19.9"(D)



Antec P180b ATX Case Page: 3
Internals

The inside of this case is where Antec have really done some work. The "upside down" internals of the case make it look a little different inside from a lot of mainstream cases. This is a trend that we are seeing more and more with manufacturers such as Lian Li and Silverstone putting the PSU at the bottom of the case.

antec p180b

Starting from bottom left:

Bottom left: Power supply enclosure.
Bottom right: Large additional Hard drive bays
Right middle: Hard Drive bay with fan holder
Right middle top: Single 5 1/2" bay
Right top: 3 x 5 1/2" Bays
Top left: 120mm top exhaust fan
Upper left: 120mm exhaust fan
Middle left: Plastic plate to manage cables coming through.

Some close-ups of the drive bays:

antec p180b

You can see way Antec have chosen to lay out their case bays. It keeps everything separate. I think Antec have really gone for the 'modular cooling' solution by separating each part of the case into a cooling zone to maximise cooling.

We see the place where Antec have chosen to put the PSU:

antec p180b

You can also spy the tri-cool fan. This is a high output fan to draw a lot of air through the font HDD bays. I was a little confused as to why this was included by Antec as unless you have the full complement of 4 HDD's in that bay you aren't exactly cooling much else than the PSU. With PSU's nowadays being more and more efficient and cooled very well this seems a little pointless.

One of the features I really like on this case is the top HDD enclosure. With room for two HDD's (enough for all but the most space-hungry of us) this is an excellent modular design with the HDD being screwed onto a 'cage' like device. This can be easily and quickly swapped out.

Here we see the ring that allows you to pull out the HDD enclosure, after removing a thumbscrew.

antec p180b

Just screw this on and put into the enclosure...

antec p180b

antec p180b

There's even a small cubby-hole for your bits and pieces:

antec p180b

antec p180b

I put a fan on it to show how this gets attached if you so choose to attach one.

The insides are well designed if a little strange in places. Certainly well laid out though.

It is worth mentioning that the fans in the case each have their own fan controller in the form of a rather nifty little plastic switch. This goes on three speeds: High, Medium and Low. The highest setting is a little loud considering the quite of this case but the medium is a great balance between quiet and power. Another nice touch.

asntec p180b

Continue for external appearance


Antec P180b ATX Case Page: 4
Externals

So how does the Antec fare on the outside?

The case has an innovative aluminium-plastic-aluminium design. This is meant to dampen the sound of the internal components.

When I first took a look at the case I thought it was a little too plastic. I have a Lian Li as my main case and this case is not the complete Aluminium quality that that is. After spending some time with the case, however, I have changed my mind. The plastic adds to the overall well built quality feel of the case. It does detract somewhat away from the looks of the case, but the overall look of the case is one of quality. Antec have made an interesting approach to making this case and I do appreciate this.

antec p180b

antec p180b

Here we see the front case door open. The front of the case and the general finish of the case is very nice. Note the plastic surround.

antec p180b

antec p180b


The case shows up finger marks pretty well as you can see, but the finish of the paintwork is pretty nice. Here we see the upper view with the grill that looks slightly like a spoiler on a car.

antec p180b

antec p180b

Here is a closer picture of the fan grill and the fan without the surround. definately completes the look.

antec p180b

antec p180b


Here is a view of the bottom of the case with the feet. There are rubber efforts and keep up the quiet aspect of the case, making sure vibrations are kept to a minimum.

antec p180b

I was slightly disappointed that the case only had thumbscrews on one side. The side that you are taking off the most has them but the back side does not. I think this is a strange omission as Antec tout this as a top-spec case.

antec p180b

Note the 120mm fan right over the PWM and CPU area. Nice planning.

Onto installation


Antec P180b ATX Case Page: 5
Installation of components

To test the thermal properties and quietness of this case I installed some parts I had lying around:

AMD 64 3200+ Venice skt 939
AMD Stock Heatpipe Cooler from an X2
Abit AT8 32x Motherboard
Sapphire X1600Pro
1gb OCZ Platinum Rev 2 TCCD
Hitachi Deskstar SATA II 160gb HDD
Pioneer DVD-RW
Silverstone Strider 560w PSU

There is a manual with the case and some additional paper that goes over some of the installation procedures. I did feel that this was slightly inadequate for installation as I could have done with perhaps a couple of pictures as pointers. Having said that: most case manuals are pretty poor and Antec's provided manual was better than most.

Cable Tidying

Cable tidying was a slight issue with this case. I did my best but the results weren't as good as I have managed with previous cases. However this was a quick tidy during a review so I am sure it could be improved.

The bottom section of the case was separated from the main part of the case by a plastic screen. The metal holes from each chamber can be closed off by a cleverly placed piece of plastic that does up using thumbscrews. The size of the holes can be adjusted to suit what wires you want to put through the hole.

antec p180b

It is also worth mentioning that Antec have provided wire-tidying with their front-input cables. This is very impressive and shows how Antec have put that little bit of extra thought into the overall package with the case.

antec p180b

I used the easy-to-install top HDD area to install the HDD's into the case. Installation was a breeze and cabling here wasn't as difficult:

antec p180b

Installation took a little longer than I would have thought with such a basic system inside but this is perhaps because I am slightly fussy with wire routing. Generally the case was easy to install to and for a 'Super Midi' tower not too hard or fiddly.

antec p180b

The PSU was very easy to fit with a removable holder around it. It stands on a rubber surround in the case for noise dampening. Yet again: another nice touch from Antec.

antec p180b

All in all the case was easy to install to and I think the result looks ok. I think a couple more hours and you could get this case cable-free without the time limitations of a review. I am impressed with the quality built interior of the Antec P180b

antec p180b

antec p180b

Sound and Thermal performance

I did not measure the thermal performance or sound with any measuring devices but thought that this was worth a mention at this stage. Once turned on the system is very quiet. Apart from the slightly noisy X1600 fan I could barely notice the PC was turned on. This is a testament to Antec's three-layer design and included very quiet case fans. The system also stayed at a very reasonable temperature. I would definitely recommend this case to those wishing for silence in their enclosures.

antec p180b

As you can see the case does a great job of dissapating heat from the system. The temperature in this room is currently very high but the P180B maintains a very cool (comparatively) 30°C. This managed to keep the CPU temperature nice and low.


Antec P180b ATX Case Page: 6
Conclusion

The Antec P180b is a great case for those wanting silence and performance. I was hesitant at first due to the amount of plastic use in the build but it has definitely grown on me.


The build quality is top-notch and the case feels solid and durable. While the plastic looks and feel may not appeal to some this is not something that should put you off of the P180b. There is a lot if great features in this case that make it stand out. Antec have clearly designed this case for silence and performance and have done a good job at it.

Pro's

+ Unique looks
+ Excellent cooling
+ Great Features
+ Extreme Silence

Con's

- Plastic may not be to all tastes
- Slightly hard to cable manage

oc3d silence award

oc3d recommended

Thanks to Antec for the product sample. The Antec P180 can be purchased from SpecialTech for £76.88

antec

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