Antec P100 Case Review
Antec may have been strangers to the pages of OC3D of late, but they are no strangers to PC case manufacturing. An aimless amble through their website will leave you in awe of the sheer number of cases they produce, and that's before you even look at some of their recently discontinued lines. For its part in this massive brand the P100 joins the "Performance One" line, and as you might suspect from looking at it, the emphasis is on low noise and elegance as opposed to balls out high airflow gaming. That's not to say though that you can't build a perfectly decent gaming rig in here, because as we'll see later in the conclusion the P100 is no slouch when it comes to cooling options, even if Antec don't seem to want to honk their own horn.
As always let's dissect the case and see what it's about, warts and all. The build quality of the P100 is good, Ok so it's not blow your socks off good as is the case with the likes of Silverstone and Lian-Li for example, but good none the less and at a greatly reduced price premium as a result. There were a few things that particularly caught our eye, for example the bloomed metal effect finish of the front panel was so good we actually had to go back and check it was in fact plastic. We were also very impressed by the Rubber grommets, being held in place as they are by small rubber barbs they are near impossible to dislodge. These might seem like little things, and to you they may not matter, but to us they do, as its attention to details such as this that separates what is essentially one PC box from another.
The P100 is also well specified inside. A huge CPU cut out dominates the interior, surrounded by rubber grommeted cable management holes. There's room for 7x3.5"/2.5" drives as well as 2x5.25" drives. Seven PCI slots mean that Tri SLI is on the cards should you so desire and with 12.5" of room you should be able to get a decent if not huge GPU in there. It'll certainly take both the R9 290 series and the 780 based cards with no problem.
We mentioned that Antec don't appear to want to blow their own trumpet when it comes to cooling. Sure, they say that the P100 can accommodate a CPU cooler up to 170mm in height and that there are tube routing holes in the rear for external rads etc, but they totally fail to mention that the P100 has native water-cooling support in the roof. With 68mm of space to play with it's entirely possible to pair some 25mm thick fans with any sub 40mm thick, 240mm rad and even some 280mm units. Given the lack of a window to show of your custom loop though it is perhaps more likely that the P100 will be paired with a 240mm or 280mm rad based AIO solution. Just watch the inter-screw spacing on the 140 fan mounts though as at 20mm the Kraken X60s 15mm spacing is not supported. Still, an H100i will fit just fine.
The P100 is priced well at £75 but that's not to say it isn't without its competitors. Both the Fractal design ARC Midi and Silencio 650 fall into this price category and both offer much the same in way of build quality, if not slightly better. The Fractal case offers greater water cooling support at the expense of low noise, where the Silencio although lacking water cooling support gets our silence award. The P100 then appears to offer a little of the best of both in that you have a low sonic foot print combined with native water cooling support.
In looking at cases, or any item we review for that matter we always like to look at where the item could be improved. Sometimes we're just picking nits (we are OC3D after all) and sometimes we have to point out more serious failings. We think that with the P100 the only real trick that Antec have missed is not making the 3.5" storage rack modular, or at the very least removable without getting the drill out. In doing so Antec would have enabled the accommodation of larger GPUs as well as opening up the option of having native water cooling in the front of the case. Oh, and while we're at it Antec, how about you start securing your fans with four screws and not two.
We doubt what we've mentioned above will impact on your decision as to whether to not to buy the P100, after all, there is very little that passes through our hands that we don't find some kind of issue or fault with. The niggles do however prevent it from getting the coveted Gold award. It is, at the end of the day a pretty damn decent low noise case. It has sleek, elegant and understated looks, a good feature count and more than acceptable build quality. It can take decent sized CPU coolers and GPUs and despite Antec's reticence to tell us about it, it also has native water cooling support. If you're looking for a Silent case the P100 needs to be on your short list.