Antec's existing Performance One series, peaking with the P183 and P190, has become a standard for silent, high performance computing. These enclosures have been extremely popular from the word "go," and for a long time the P180 and its descendants have been easy recommendations. But you could argue the designs are starting to feel a little outdated, and while Antec's recent Solo II was an interesting step forward, it felt like a tentative one.

The new P280, on the other hand, is a major evolution. Intended not as a refresh of the P183 but to exist alongside it, the P280 features some radical changes for Antec in terms of design while lowering the cost of entry for the entire line. Is it a smart evolution, or did Antec's engineers split too many decisions in trying to appeal to both silent computing and high performance markets?

Speaking candidly, I think any enthusiast worth his or her salt was more than a little interested when Antec first announced the P280. The Performance One line has practically been an institution for a long time, but Antec's engineers have gone back to the drawing board with the P280 in a very big way, implementing a host of new ideas while adopting some of the modern design cues brought forth by vendors like Corsair and SilverStone. I had a chance to meet with Antec's representatives, including one of the designers of the P280, and it's pretty clear where they were coming from when they made this case: as enthusiasts first who had the opportunity to design the case they wanted to see and use.

Antec P280 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor XL-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25"
Internal 6x 3.5"/2.5", 2x 2.5"
Cooling Front 4x 120mm fan mount (two in the front, two internal behind the drive cage)
Rear 1x 120mm Antec TwoCool exhaust fan
Top 2x 120mm Antec TwoCool exhaust fans
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 9
Front I/O Port Mic and headphone jacks, 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0
Top I/O Port Power and reset buttons
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 13" (Expansion Cards), 180mm (CPU HSF), 300mm (PSU)
Weight 22.3 lbs. (10.2 kg)
Dimensions 20.7" x 9.1" x 22.1" (526mm x 231mm x 562mm)
Price MSRP $139

I'll concede that I haven't been wholly impressed by Antec's enclosures as of late, but the P280 is a completely different beast. It has the DNA of the Performance One series, but internally you'll find a design that diverges radically from its predecessors, and your first clue should be the nine expansion slots. Antec calls the P280 a "super mid-tower," but at this point the lines between a mid-tower and full tower have been so heavily blurred that each enclosure should be taken on a case by case basis (pun wholly intended.) The fact is, the P280 is big, but it has a lot going for it.

In and Around the Antec P280
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  • Rob3 - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    I sort of like it. Looks like a nice box. Built a few. This box looks like a nice one. Reply
  • Jerryph40 - Friday, January 06, 2012 - link

    My first build was in a P180. As a novice I found that it was an excellent first choice, but strictly by accident. It forced me to learn things that I wouldn't have learned otherwise. It turned out to be an excellent case that went through many modifications and upgrades. I am glad to see Antec finally upping their game for the next generation. Am building a gaming rig now in a Cooler Master case because it met my needs and I really wanted the industrial look for this build. I am currently, though, gathering parts for a folding@home computer and only have the case and mobo left to complete. I really like the sleek lines of this case and if it is only half as quiet as my old P180, well the decision is easy. Just need to get my hands on one... Thanks Antec. And thanks Anandtech for the review. Reply
  • peter29 - Wednesday, February 08, 2012 - link

    Would you recommend this case for installation of one lowend card (display) and 2xgtx580? Iam building PC for CAD/GPU rendering. My concern is balance between noise and thermals. Iam looking for case which keeps system very quiet while iam modeling/drawing. But it must hold temperatures below 85C when rendering (2x gtx580 under full load - yes i know it wont be quiet when rendering). Motherboard will be Asus Maximus IV P67 + i5 2500k slightly OCed. Thank you for help. Reply
  • HyperDuckling - Thursday, May 30, 2013 - link

    which one should i pick: Bitfenix ghost, Antec P280 or Fractal Design Define R4? i'm looking for a silent case which still has a pretty good airflow (at least has to be better than CM Elite 430!) Reply

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