Antec P182 Advanced Super Mid Tower Page: 1 Introduction
Antec have been producing quality PC products for a fair number of years now. Last year we took a look at one of their higher-end cases, the P180b . Today i'll be looking at the P180's younger brother, aptly named the P182.
The packaging on the P182 was very close to the packaging of the original P180. On the front we see an overview of the case and some blurb outlining the case's main selling points, while the back portrays a more in depth description of the chassis.
The box had been rather battered during its trip to me. But thankfully, the packaging was sufficient to maintain it in good condition. As you can see the case is held in place by large polystyrene surrounds, with a cardboard cover keeping the case secure. For that additional protection the metal on the case was covered in a sticky backed plastic to prevent scratches.
Included with the case are a few accessories. Firstly there's 3 fans. They are the same Tri-cools that the original P180 used. These are excellent fans which have a 3 way switch that allows you to change the RPM of the fan. There's the 'spoiler', manuals and some curious metal bars that hold a fan in place. I noticed that with the P182, that Antec havn't bothered to print a new manual... instead they have just included the old P180b one. It's not really that much of an issue but Antec could have at least printed some new covers. Also included are the rails that secure the various drives into their bays and enough screws to build a house.
Let's move on and have a look at the Antec P182's specifications...
Antec P182 Advanced Super Mid Tower Page: 2 Specification
The following information was taken directly from Antec's website:
* Attractive gun metal black finish
* Dual chambers structure: The power supply (not included) is located in the lower chamber to isolate heat from the system and lower system noise
* Special three-layer side panels and front door (aluminum, plastic, aluminum) dampen system generated noise, making this one of the quietest cases available
* 0.8mm cold rolled steel for durability used through the majority of the chassis, 1.0mm cold rolled steel around the 4x HDD area
* 11 Drive Bays: - External 4 x 5.25”; 1 x 3.5” - Internal 6 x 3.5” for HDD
* 7 Expansion Slots
* Cooling System: - 1 rear 120mm TriCool™ Fan (standard) - 1 top 120mm TriCool™ fan (standard) - 1 lower chamber 120mm TriCool™ Fan (standard) - 1 front 120mm fan (optional) - 1 middle 120mm fan (optional) to cool the VGA
* External fan control on the rear panel for the top and rear fans in the upper chamber
* Motherboard: Up to Standard ATX (12” x 9.6”)
* Double hinge door designed to open up to 270º
* Rubber grommeted ports on the rear for liquid-cooling tubes allow you to mount external liquid-cooling hardware
* Front-mounted ports provide convenient connections: - 2 x USB 2.0 - 1x IEEE 1394 (FireWire®, i.Link® - Audio In/Out (HDA & AC’97)
* Case Dimensions: - 21.3”(H) x 8.1”(W) x 19.9”(D)
- 52cm (H) x 21cm (W) x 51cm (D)
Antec P182 Advanced Super Mid Tower Page: 3 Externals
From the outside this case looks identical to the P180. There is an special edition variant of the P182 which has mirror finished side panels, but unfortunately that version wasn't available for this review. The P182 is certainly a very sleek looking case, with no obvious blow holes on the front or side panels. The finish is what Antec refers to as 'gun metal black', which to me at least is a rather dark grey. To illustrate this I placed one of the panels from my original P180B next to the P182. As with the original, its panels consist of the 3-ply metal-plastic-metal that was designed too keep the case as quiet as possible.
Here we see the front door of the P182, hiding away all the normal front panel features except for the USB, firewire and audio connectors. Along with the external connectors is the lock, so that if you wish you can stop people accessing what hides under the door. All things considered, it's pretty plain - sporting only an embossed Antec into the top right.
Under the door we see a well thought out bay design, with 4 x 5.25" bays at the top and a single external 3.5" bay in the middle. Also we see on the front the grilled doors that open up to reveal the P182s dust filters. Personally I think these are a neat addition as they do stop an awful lot of dust. The only down side being that you have to clean them regularly.
The side panels are very minimalist. Simply the metal, black panel surrounded by the slightly duller plastic for the lower tier. There are no fan holes or vents on either side.
Moving to the rear of the case we come encounter some of the first changes that Antec have made to warrant the P182 name. The case retains its well thought out rear layout, whilst making some improvements. Firstly, Antec have mounted the speed control switches for the two exhaust fans into the back of the case. Thus making it far, far easier than the previous model to adjust fan speeds. The second change to the back panel is the addition of pre-cut holes, complete with grommets, to accompany water cooling tubing. Essentially it allows the user to run their lines to an externally mounted or free standing radiator.
As with its elder brother, the P182 looks rather ravishing. It maintains its smooth all over approach whilst adding to the existing functionality of the original design. Let's take a look at the innards of the case...
Antec P182 Advanced Super Mid Tower Page: 4 Internals
The interior of the P180 was well built, well designed and had very few major flaws. I'm pleased to say that this has carried over to its younger sibling. The steel innards are solid and there aren't many sharp edges to snag your fingers on while installing your hardware. In terms of the layout, not much has really changed since the original. The P182 still sports the 2 chamber design with the soft edge guards to eliminate as much heat travelling from one compartment to the other.
It still sports the twin exhaust fans on the upper rear and rear upper of the case, ensuring that there's never any hot air left around the CPU area.
The 5.25" and 3.5" bays still use the same rail system that the original had.
The 3.5" bays in the top compartment of the case can be adapted, using the supplied metal clips, to take 120mm fans.
As you can see the basics of the case haven't really changed that much...so what have they changed? Well, Antec have listened to end-user feedback and have altered it for the better in one particular area - cable management. To address this issue, Antec pulled a few neat tricks from up their sleeves. Firstly the mass of thick, loose front panel connector wires that made the case look such a mess have been properly wrapped and given the appropriate block headers. This alone brought control to a lot of the mess that plagued the original case.
Next up Antec decided to poke some holes in the motherboard tray in roughly the right places for the majority of the connectors that you can run behind the tray. They have even cut a slot out the base of the upper section to accommodate cables from down below, such as the PSU and HDD cables. And with that, they have included rings stamped out of the tray itself to hold the wires in place.
Next I will be looking at how easy it was to install a complete system into the P182...
While this system isn't the fastest around these days, it certainly produces a lot of heat, and is more than enough to test the overall case performance.
Installing the components to the case was a similar experience with all standard ATX cases. The P182's size however, greatly assists you in getting the components into the case safely and securely.
I chose to install the hard drive in the lower of the 2 compartments as it keeps the top half tidier. This is as simple as screwing in the special retaining screws, through the rubber grommets and into the drive. The drive is suspended in its cage, with no direct metal to metal contact...minimising the risk of vibration noise that the drive emits when it seeks. The CD drive installation was totally painless. Simply screw on the rails and slide it into the bay. The arms click into place and holds it quite securely.
With more time I could have easily hidden a few more wires away. The unruly molex chain in the middle being the most obvious. Unfortunately due the the hardware I used the 24-pin cable tidy hole in the motherboard was rendered redundant, however when i went to route the 4-pin P4 connector around the back it simply wasn't long enough to make the extra difference. I checked the length with an old Hiper 350w PSU and a Seasonic M12 and neither were long enough either. I feel Antec could have included a 4 and 8-pin extension for this purpose, but alas it's not present.
Overall the installation was reasonably quick. Minus the time I spent testing 4-pin lengths it only took about half an hour. In order to make the most of the extra cable tidying features, you would need to take the layout of your motherboard into consideration however.
To test the thermal properties of the case, I set all the supplied fans to medium, and added a 4th tricool directly behind the upper fan filter on the front of the case. It was then sealed, booted and left to idle for 30 minutes. Then I used ORTHOS to force the presler core to emit as much heat as possible for a further 30 minutes. Temperatures were taken with Everest Ultimate Edition and ambient throughout was 25.°C (+/- 0.5).
As you can see the P182's airflow was more than adequate to keep the 925 perfectly cool under the stress of ORTHOS... managing to sustain a respectable 49° throughout the test period.
One of the P182's main selling points is that it claims too be extremely quiet. I must say that it lives up to its claims. The tricools 3 settings give exactly what they say, low, medium and high, in both airflow and noise. The low being very quiet indeed, while shifting a reasonable amount of air. The medium being a mid-point and high being rather noisy, but shifting a lot of air. I ran the 4 fans I installed at all settings and in my opinion, the medium setting gave the perfect balance of silence and airflow.
The vibration dampeners on the PSU bay & 3 ply panels help keep the noise levels down. But the most effective feature is the hard drive dampeners - these really do eliminate the rattle of your drives spinning up, to the point where its barely audible.
Flip the page for the conclusion and overall rating of the P182...
Antec P182 Advanced Super Mid Tower Page: 6 Conclusion
Overall the P182 is an excellent chassis. It provides all the features we've come to demand from modern day enthusiast cases plus that little bit extra. As a standalone case Antec have produced a fantastic product. Ironing out all the major gripes people had with the original P180 illustrates that they are prepared to listen to the opinions of their customers.
People who already own a P180 and are looking to upgrade would be better off buying some tools and modifying their current case. But people thinking of investing in a P18x case would be crazy not to go for the 182. As well as being functional, the P182 looks fantastic.
The Antec P182 can be picked up from Tekheads for the nominal fee of £116.33. Which is a more than reasonable price for an enthusiast chassis.
Pros: • Looks good • Cools well • Very quiet • Cable management sorted out • Option to water cool made easier • Plenty of drive space
Cons: • May need PSU cable extenders • Only includes 3 out of 4 fans it can accommodate
Thanks to Antec for making this review possible. Discuss in our forums