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  • fatpat268 - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    "While some people may be a little peeved at losing the dual chamber design of the P180 line, I'm not particularly bothered by it."

    I'm not. The dual chambered design is the main reason why I want to get rid of my P182. In my experience, the dual chambers have little effect compared to a standard design, but it makes it twice as difficult to assemble.

    I'm currently looking at new cases right now, and I'm glad that Antec ditched that design.
    Reply
  • Strunf - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I share the same feeling about the dual chamber design (at least on the P182), it's quite a pain to work on the lower chamber, everything is cramped and you have to be extra careful to not let the cables touch the fan that is in-between the hard drives and the PSU.
    If there was a easy way to remove the piece of steel separating both chambers I would do it in a heart beat, the case would be much better then...
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Yep - getting the hard drive cables to not touch the fan can be tricky in the P-182. I still love it, though, just for how quiet it is. I can passively cool my HD4890 using only one case fan (and the hard drive fan) for an almost completely silent system. Glad to see the improvements, though. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    After some time I removed the fan in the lower chamber. I've got only one HDD and the PSU is 80+ Gold (now), so I don't it any more. Still cramped, but much easier.

    MrS
    Reply
  • TeachPA - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    I kind of liked my dual chamber 180. It was pain but once my cables were secure it didn't cause any problems. Reply
  • rrohbeck - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Look at the Define XL by Fractal Design.
    I just bought one and it's great. It has two chambers too, but done right without a fan in the way. And it doesn't have the fans in the top so it's quieter - much better as long as you don't want watercooling or manual fan control. I don't.
    The one thing that the Antec has that I want is the double hinged door. Otherwise the Define XL is nicer and it has plenty of cooling with two additional fans. Enough to overclock the heck out of a Bulldozer with a NH-D14 anyway and it's still quiet.
    Reply
  • kasakka - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    I've got the Define R3 and it has some issues like hard to close side plate, side plate screws not mounted on the plate itself (like they were on the Antec P150), too small reset button and a bit fiddly cable routing.

    It's not a bad case but not a great one either. Personally I really loved the Antec P150 except it had a poor quality power/reset button (easily breaking plastic) and couldn't fit full length graphics cards without taking a hacksaw to some parts.
    Reply
  • geniekid - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I wonder a little bit about the CPU cooler. Would a cooler with a different configuration work better with some of these cases?

    I understand it's important to keep things consistent across different cases, but I can't help but think that cases that do such a good job of ambient cooling (R3, P280) should have no problem with a CPU that has it's OWN cooler attached to it already. It makes me think the CPU cooler isn't doing it's job properly.
    Reply
  • geniekid - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    "It makes me think the CPU cooler isn't doing it's job properly." Or, alternatively, that the case may have been designed with another CPU cooler in mind. Reply
  • Dribble - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Looking at the case it looks like cool air comes in at the front + bottom, turns 90 degrees gets heated by the gpu and then probably wants to exit mostly out the top which is blowing accross the cpu a bit. Another design of cooler might take a degree or two off.

    That said the gpu gets lots of cool air, and being as these days that's the hottest thing in the pc you could argue that it's now more important to cool then the cpu.
    Reply
  • geniekid - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    You're right. The temperature of the air around the CPU is probably the peak temp in the entire case.

    Because hot air rises and there are two fans on top, I think the CPU cooler is kind of fighting against the flow of air in its current configuration. I wonder if a CPU cooler blowing upwards would have an improvement in this scenario.
    Reply
  • Strunf - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I don't think it would matter, natural convection doesn't have much to say when you have fans creating a flow of air, also if you turn the radiator by 90° then you'll be "aspirating" the air around the graphics card and that's counter productive. Reply
  • Folterknecht - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Take a Corsair H50 or something alike. Mount the the fans in the rear of the case (push/pull) and you ll get much better cpu temperatures - promised ;-) Reply
  • Folterknecht - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    addition: The fans should blow/pull the cool from the outside Reply
  • welshy992 - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    ANTEC TAKE MY MONEY! Reply
  • futurepastnow - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    This may replace my old P150, which now has some noticeable chips in its paint, and is awfully cramped inside now that I have a real video card. Reply
  • Belard - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Hope you don't just give them money.... they have enough. Give it to me.

    And then I'll buy the case and send you photos.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I think I missed a trend. I have a Gigabyte P55M-UD4 and the CPU fan control is very adequate, silent in idle and good cooling under load when I want to. Are other mainboards from GB so bad concerning fan control? Because it's been mentioned in a few articles here and in comments.

    Other than that, good article and good case. Though too big for me. :-)
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Don't know.. been using 5 different Gigabyte boards (home + work) during the last ~2 years. Fan control via PWM and SpeedFan has been fine, just not with their own utilities.

    MrS
    Reply
  • ehume - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I quite agree. Read the manuals of Gigabyte boards and you learn that they control fans through both PWM and Voltage variation. There is one exception I saw (PWM only), but on all the rest, Gigabyte boards sure beat my PWM-only Asus board. Of course, you must enter BIOS to set this up, and if you haven't read your manual or thoroughly explored your BIOS you might miss it. Reply
  • ezorb - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Its highly suspect that you would not include these legendary cases when reviewing a "quiet" case. even if the price point is off by more than $100, people seeking a quite case need to know if the extra $100 is worth it. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    The FT02 is fair, but unfortunately we never got a P183 in to test and compare. :( Reply
  • mtoma - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    I should also mention the Fractal Design Define XL. It should be a good match for Antec P280. If only Dustin could do a review of that case, many enthusiast would be at rest. After all, the holidays are coming... Reply
  • danjw - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    This doesn't seem to be in the channel yet, any idea when I could buy one? Also, can you measure the space between the top and the motherboard. I would like to know how thick of a radiator + fans can be mounted there. Reply
  • geogecko - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Antec's site says the max CPU cooler height is 170mm. Reply
  • danjw - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Radiator, not heatsink, as in liquid cooling. He indicated there was plenty of room above the motherboard for a "thick" radiator, but doesn't say how thick. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    That's less than in my P182. And that couldn't take a Thermalright Archon. Mhh.. I guess I'd rather have the space on top of the motherboard than behind it.

    MrS
    Reply
  • danjw - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Hmm, the Archon is 170mm, which is what Antec says this one supports. Why do you think the 182 would support a taller heatsink then this one? Reply
  • lithium451 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    I have the P182 also and at some point I found a FAQ on Antec site that the maximum height was about 160 (maybe 162) - which pretty much matches what I see with my 158mm cooler.

    Sounds like its about 8-10mm more room.
    Reply
  • danjw - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    On another website, I found that their is 38mm between the motherboard top edge and the pre-installed top fans. So a 35mm thick radiator should work fine on this case, if anyone else was wondering. Reply
  • TemjinGold - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I really liked the concept of the P180 Mini because I hate big bulky cases. I will never have more than 2 HDs and 1 SSD and I will never use more than 1 gfx card. I also like uATX motherboards. Any idea if there are plans for a P280 Mini or sorts? Reply
  • danjw - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I was looking at the product page for the P180 mini a couple weeks ago and that was up said "P183 mini", it has since been changed back. So that suggests they are getting close to a release of an update to it. Reply
  • danjw - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Opps, just reread this I meant, "... the image that was up ..." Reply
  • albiglan - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Wasn't there a problem on the P183 that the USB3 connections for the front panel were routed in a "flimsy/cheap" manner? I assume from the lack of coverage on the built in wiring that all is well and good now? Thx for the review! Glad to see Antec is on a better path with this case... Reply
  • haukionkannel - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    It would be nice to see how this new P280 compares to P183. The P280 is easier to assemble, but how about acoustic and temperatures. Are they better or worse in P280?
    I am happy owner of original P180. It is really a pain in tha ass to assemble, but otherwise very good and quiet case. So it would be nice to see some results of how taking the dual cahmber away has change the things.
    Reply
  • tomek1984 - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I got one of the first versions of P180, and it's still one of my favorite cases today. I never saw any real advantage of the dual chamber but it did help in cleaning big cable cluster. The only problem i had with this case, was trying to install long video card, basically you cant, unless you take out top hard drive cage. So this new design is quite an improvement.
    My only hope is to see a case which will equal Cooler Master Cosmos 1000 in exterior appearance. It was the first case i had to use a grinder during assembly and the case quality control is not existent ( most screws barely aligned and cable management was completely useless), but that case is second to none in exterior appearance ( together with P180 the only two options i will ever consider in my living room), handle bars also come in very handy when you have to move it around.
    Reply
  • Metaluna - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    The main advantage of dual chamber is that you can cool the hard drives using the PSU exhaust fan only (the middle fan is pretty useless unless you've got four 15k rpm SAS drives down there). It also isolates the PSU from the GPU, though you probably get most of that benefit from just having the PSU at the bottom without the partition.

    That said, I've always hated the removable drive cage down in that chamber. Such a pain to work with.
    Reply
  • bobbozzo - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    And mounting spinning drives vertically (in the P180) often is discouraged, forcing one to move the drives to the other bays. I also moved the lower bay fan to the front of the upper drive bay. Reply
  • bigboxes - Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - link

    It makes no difference on a drive's orientation. Also, the P183 has removed the fan from the middle. However I added a 120mm in front of the hard drives... all mounted vertically (that's the C: drive and three download drives). The only drive that has died in this case was mounted horizontally in the upper hard drive chamber.

    http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh175/bigboxes/...
    Reply
  • 8steve8 - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    full size ATX is dead, (or should be)

    other than graphics, no one buys expansion cards... micro-atx should be the large board for people who want custom features/expansions, and mini-itx should be the mainstream size.

    I wish chassis developers would put more effort into smaller sizes.
    Reply
  • tzhu07 - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I agree. I would only buy full ATX if I was going Crossfire or SLI. Since I don't, microATX covers everything I need. Reply
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    it's still nice to have a large case, even if you don't have any expansion cards. I have a P-183 just for low noise. It can easily passively cool my HD4890, and I even have a few of the internal fans turned off. If you want a real quiet (but high performance) system, it easier to do with a full ATX system. The room has to be dead quiet to hear any noise from my system. Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I have a microATX board, and thought it was enough. I thought wrong. Between leaving a slot (preferably two) open next to the gfx card, and a sound card, there's only 1 other slot left. This is frequently slot 0, or right between the gfx and cpu. Non optimal.

    My next buy would be a ATX board. To be honest, I think the best place for the GPU is the very last slot, so that there's plenty of space for the oversized cooler and some clearance, while not blocking any other slots.

    Sound card
    TV Tuner card (for kicks)
    SATA / HW Raid Card or two. This case support 8 storage drives + optical drives. Your recent Intel chipset doesn't.
    Additional nic cards
    Serial/Parallel card for tinkering with microcontrollers (Thanks Intel)
    Extra Firewire, USB
    Reply
  • danjw - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Not so much. There are X79 boards that are coming with 8 memory slots. You aren't fitting that on a Micro ATX case. It looks like they may be working on a mini P183, that should satisfy you. Reply
  • rum - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    Not really, especially when it comes to cable management and the such. A bigger case allows you more room to put cables in their place, and when it comes time to upgrading components, you don't have to worry if your case is "big enough" to accomodate that new extra long video card.

    Not saying this is the right size for everyone, but not everyone has small hands and dainty fingers that makes working with a small case easy.
    Reply
  • kevith - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I'm almost sure, that if you added two front intake fans, the case would be very much cooler. It's only fair to review the case out of the box, but two additional fans is a relatively small cost. In my Antec Sonata 3 that made a very big difference.

    In a Zalman 100 GS I had, I reversed the two top fans to intake fans instead, and turned over my Arctic Freezer 90 degrees so the CPU fan was blowing downwards. That took 4-5 degrees off overall.

    I think the possibilities for different configs makes this a better choice than the Fractal.

    And I think it was a good idea with a comparison to the 182/183 as well.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I also wonder why they used 120 mm fans on top. With a case this wide they could have gone for at least 140 mm, maybe even larger.

    MrS
    Reply
  • Mumrik - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    6x 3.5" internally just still doesn't cut it for me. Especially on a case of this size. I'd rather lose one of the 3x 5.25" and get at least 8x 3.5" Reply
  • rrohbeck - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Define XL FTW: 10x 3.5". I just built with one.
    Similar looks, design and price but bigger and better features.
    Reply
  • emgarf - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Congrats on an informative review, although it unfortunately doesn't help those of us using a P182/183 decide whether the P280 is acceptably quiet in comparison. It does certainly seem more convenient to work with. Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Antec should consider including an insert to cover one of/both the top 120 mm spaces. This will help with reducing noise, while leaving open the radiator option.

    I was also surprised that given the height of the case, an additional 120 mm front fan couldn't be squeezed in. This will probably help with cpu temps, as it can get more cool air. Perhaps even accommodate 38 mm thick fans. These are quite efficient. From all the cutouts in the case, these two things will be needed to even have a semblance of a positive pressure case. Copious tape will probably help, and I suppose I could swap out the expansion slot covers.
    Reply
  • Davidlim - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I'd be happy to win one of these. Reply
  • matchan1 - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    This case rocks. Watchout cooler master Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    What I want from Antec is a Lanboy that will hold a 10-slot mainboard.

    A redesign of the Skeleton might get me, but it would have to be a serious re-think, as the Skeleton was an enthusiast's wannabe, which ended up hampering access that it should have made easier. A 10-slot capable Skeleton redesign could be interesting, to me.

    ;)
    Reply
  • auralcircuitry - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    This is actually the case I have been hoping Antec would make for several years now. I love most of their features, but am hesitant to spend $200+ on a housing for my PC.

    I just built a PC about two months ago and ended up using a cheap NZXT that already has dead fans and is falling apart. Lesson learned, spend the money and buy a real PC case! If this model existed two months ago I would have bought it without hesitation.
    Reply
  • KUColBond - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Looks like a real step up from the Three Hundred I've got now. Reply
  • hudey123 - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    My many, many years old Super LanBoy is really starting to show its age. Even though I love the size and the brilliant little tool drawer under the front door, I'm ready to move on. I LOVE the looks of this case, and that to me is mostly what a case is all about. Great review, thank you! Reply
  • pentijum - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Great case... I want to build a 100% silent PC and I am 100% sure that this will be the case I will use... Reply
  • confused one - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Water cooling is becoming mainstream, with both processor manufacturers offering water cooling as a factory option. You mentioned the case is designed to accept a cooler but you don't test the fitment. I know you can't try all the options; but, I though you all might start test fitting oem radiators and letting us know how well (or not) they fit. Thanks. Reply
  • knurdtech - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Looks perfect for a server build Reply
  • Toshio - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Thanks Dustin for the great article! Of all the sites I read every day, Anandtech is the only one with consistent quality, thanks for the effort guys!

    Back on topic, I like most of the changes in the P280 (compared to my good and aging P182). I only find a couple things to improve: covers for unused ventilation holes (as previously mentioned) and I'm not sure if I like the HDD arrangement, you need to take off the right panel to replace a disk. P182's 3.5" lower cage is a pita to work with, but you only needed to take out the right panel.

    Question: compared to P18x, does the construction feel solid enough? are the new acoustic panels on par with the old generation?
    Reply
  • lvang - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Nicely revised from it's predecessor, a little surprised at the overall temperatures though. Either way, it wouldn't hurt to sport one of these! Reply
  • Etern205 - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    A proper Antec case! It looks simple, sleek, and elegant.
    Did they canned that guy who design cases for 12 year olds?
    Note that Antec 300 wasn't that bad, except wire management sux.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    It's also $40. IMO it needs to be updated for usb3, ssds and a not so bright blue led and it'll be good for another 5 years. Seriously, the blue led is ridiculous. I took a back sharpie to it and it's still kinda bright. Reply
  • romany8806 - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Hey Dustin, thanks for the review. Tempting case - I abandoned my P180 because it was horrible to work in and the door hinge eventually gave out because of the constant wear and tear to access power, ports etc.

    I'm running a Cooler Master 690-II Advanced at the moment and love it, but wish I had an 8th expansion slot. Curious to see how the two compare performance-wise. I don't suppose you've got access to one for testing?
    Reply
  • Belard - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I checked newegg....

    It looks very much like the case I need for a build.
    Reply
  • GhostMagic - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I've owned two antec cases, but for my next build I'd been looking at corsair just because it felt like Antec's cases were standing still. This one looks nice, maybe I'll win one? Reply
  • KDu - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Nice case, glad they updated the Sonata series Reply
  • corvisrex - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    good, review, it is nice to see the reviews themselves giving actual numbers relating to sound dampening and noise. Major issues for me when case hunting, and too often merely observational, rather than real data. Reply
  • EliteOrion - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Man this case looks slick!!! Reply
  • phantompowerz - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Looks good perfect for my new build. Reply
  • Nexis47 - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I love Antec Cases. I could really use this for the next rig I put together with my bros so we can LAN. :] Reply
  • gurumarkb - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Interesting design and the solid front is similar to my Solo case I've been I've been running my Core i5 660 in for a year. But recently i got to install an Antec 300 Illusion case and I have to say I really like it. While the 300 Illusion does not have and USB 3 ports up front it's not a big deal as most motherboards don't have USB 3 headers yet so plugging the USB 3 device in the back is ok for now, The primary reason I prefer the 300 Illusion case is the front is all mesh and with the 2 120mm fans you can pull in major air to keep the computer cool. The rear 120mm and top 135mm fans blow the warm air out. Setting the front fans to low speed and the rear fans to medium speed makes for a quiet but cool computer. Reply
  • squadbumrush - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Pork chop sandwiches! Reply
  • MikesHeadRoom - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    This P280 really looks like a nice piece of equipment! Reply
  • ribi - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Now I feel a bit sorry I bought a new case a few weeks ago. It was an almost used Themaltake Xaser V - an older case but I got it very cheap and it still is way better than what I had before. This one seem to be well worth the price increase, though. Way to go, Antec! :) Reply
  • Nohr - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Don't think I'd buy one, but I'd love to win one! Reply
  • waveblaster200 - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Great review and read. Makes me think its time to get a Antec case again, Miss my old super lan boy!! Reply
  • phimac10 - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    The case look so good, I have the P182, which I modded to my liking. The main reason that I like the Antec dual chamber is that I can hide my pump. Reply
  • ehume - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Finally Antec adds a forward top fan position. Their prior cases of this type always had one fan in the back. As if no one would ever want a top intake. It is disappointing that they only have spots for 120mm fans up there. Spaces for two 140mm fans would carry the forward fan further forward, so that more of its output can feed the face of the cpu heatsink intake fan.

    The forward-facing IO ports are a blessing for those who must put their case under a shelf.

    I love that they went whole hog on their cpu cooler window in the motherboard tray.

    But I wish they had put room for four slots in their 5.25 bay: some of us put intake fans there.

    Finally: why oh why is there a rear grill? With no grill, if you run all intake fans you can let air quietly escape -- no fan needed.

    Otherwise, decent case.
    Reply
  • NGneer - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I won an NVidia Quadro 4000 as a doorprize at a SolidWorks 2012 presentation a few weeks ago and now I need to build a workstation around it (for cheap). This would be a nice case to house everything in. Reply
  • jesh462 - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I do appreciate the p280s aesthetics. The extra expansion bays are lost on my needs, I'd rather see more acoustic dampening. For the money, I'd still pick an R3 or modded Shinobi. Reply
  • MisterDonut - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    If only my Antec 900 wasn't alive.... Reply
  • hatwell - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I really like black cases. When you throw in all the other features - you've got a winner! Reply
  • Jettubby - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Great reviews as always! Reply
  • yadir - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    I needed a case for a new build and I think the P280 would be a great 'brother' to the P182 I have. Reply
  • lowryd1000 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Nice case, sign me up. Reply
  • havoti97 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    I have the P182 and love it. Might look into this in the future for a build. Reply
  • justben314 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Any chance on some of these case reviews to get more detailed information posted on the specs of the stock fans installed? Even if it were just information from the manufacturer, would be a welcome detail for enthusiasts.

    It would probably be a pain to setup testing for, but Anandtech's detailed reviews would be a welcome addition to the world of case fans and other fan systems outside of CPU cooling.
    Reply
  • justben314 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Upon further review, it's nice that you have included the fan type (Antech TwoCool) in this review. Not normally in other reviews, so was unexpected, but as previous post states, very welcome. :) Reply
  • Skydmark - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Dustin your reviews are spot on and very detailed. Keep up the good work.

    Where's the P280 Mini? This would be money in the bank.

    I have an Antec Sonata II and Sonata III and love them both, because they are so quiet and elegant looking.

    But there are a few things wrong with these cases. The cable routing is non-existent. The motherboard tray doesn't have a CPU cut out for mounting after market coolers. The back panel isn't removable. And changing out hardware is a royal pain in the behind.

    Fractal Design turned my head today, because I discovered they make cases that incorporate all this functionality and look elegant at the same time. The ARC Define MID Tower, Define R3 and Define Mini are everything I’m looking for. The drive sleds look like they were taken right out of my Sonatas and painted white. I can’t believe it! This is where Antec should have taken their Sonata line up in the last few years. What happened Antec?

    The P280 is a step in the right direction for Antec and the design incorporates changes that people want to see nowadays, but the case is way too big for my taste. Shrink it into a P280 Mini and it might just win me over.
    Reply
  • War - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    My first build was with an Antec case. After that I tried a couple other brands but my favorite by far was Antec. This new case looks like it holds to excellent engineering that they started with and does it one better. Reply
  • StepanPepan - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    I have no idea, why did they put only two in the top? Why not three? There is enough place for them and having ability to place 360 rad there would be very nice!

    I have a question for reviewer: what is the gap between side of the HDD cage and left door? I placed pump there in R3 and the gap is large enough to conveniently pass the tubes there. I am wondering if this could be done in this case too?
    Reply
  • lithium451 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Considering the two year wait since P183 I'd say somewhere between a single or double.

    - I'd love to see 140mm capabilities for the fans

    - Can't see from the pictures, but I'm guessing the power and reset button on the top may be too easy to get pressed by accident.

    - Where their main competitor provides covering for unused fan openings, it seems like a pretty big oversight for Antec not too.

    - Not exactly sold on the pointy corners at the top of the front door. Would at least like to see darker color door option to de-accentuate.

    The big selling point for me is the 170mm cooler clearance (I think Define R3 is published as 165mm).

    The pricing I've seen online ($120-125) does seem a medium premium for a medium increase in quality over the R3. Not sure which way I'll go, but the good news is the R3 price online does seem to have just dropped back to $99 (from $109).
    Reply
  • Gabby-Dave - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    I have owned a couple of P180's, which I liked. Except for the dual chamber - a real pain.

    Although it's a bit heavy, if it helps keep it quiet then that's OK. I especially like the connectors placed at the top front of the case for convienience. And the interior is a rock-solid layout too.
    Reply
  • DrForBin - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Antec installed a vent for the PSU. With a filtre no less! Good on them. Reply
  • infoilrator - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Changes (updates) were needed and it looks like all "issues" have been more than addressed. I like it.
    Design and Egineering were looking ahead, and succeeded.
    Workable, buildable, quality, longevity.
    Reply
  • ouch8s - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    now that I've moved all my HDs out of my main workstation and put in an SSD, i'm ready for a new case that will help reduce the noise even more. looking forward to playing with this one. Reply
  • tmheroes - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    22.3 lbs. seems rather light. Reply
  • hawktrio - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Back in the late 90's I owned a computer shop and the best decision we ever made was to use Antec cases and power supplies in all of our system builds for customers. After mucking about with cheap PSUs in enclosures (very common in those days) that used to tear your hands apart worse than your neighbours cat, I hardly remember an Antec PSU coming back for warranty! Years later my shop is long gone but I am forever keeping tabs on Antec and still own a number of their fine cases... something like the P180 series and now this new P280 will only continue to pique my interest... thanks Anandtech and Antec... I love you both! Reply
  • IceDread - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    With that ugly front it's a no no. Reply
  • tarv - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Me want ones! Reply
  • LeeF - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    ... now if only you guys would actually compare it to them. :)

    I'm still rockin' the P180 I bought in 2005. It is a PITA to swap out hardware, but I've never minded because of the looks and the quiet. I actually prefer its looks to the P280, but I think I'd still happily switch to the P280 for the ease of upgrading and the drive rails that accommodate 2.5" drives. I just installed an SSD in mine, and I had to use a horrible kludge of adapters to mount it in a 5.25" drive bay because I couldn't find any 3.5" adapters that would line up with the screw holes in the P180s HDD rails or lower drive cage.

    The noise and cooling performance will be the crux of the decision for me, though. I have a Zalman CNPS 10k Quiet cooler which fires toward the back of the case, so the top fan positions are entirely superfluous (and possibly detrimental) in my case.
    Reply
  • ZappedC64 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Decent case. Reply
  • TGMGroup - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    I remember when Antec was the best of the best, before companies such as SilverStone and Fractal Design came out. It's nice that they're doing their best to get better. Reply
  • NoWayMan - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Would like to build a new system in this case - a lot easier than the P180 I have. Reply
  • cstuss - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    It's been a real struggle to find a decent case with top port access that was quiet and not covered in 'cool' led lights. This case looks like a winner to me. I'd love to build a system in this bad boy. Reply
  • Upinsmokes - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    another nice case from antec. great review too. Reply
  • racerx_is_alive - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    I like to install those USB card readers in my computers, and they usually fit in the 3.5" bay- but this case doesn't have one of those. Do they have a faceplate to adapt one of the 5.25" forward facing slots to handle a 3.5" drive like the card reader? Reply
  • MKBL - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Is PSU to be mounted downward? I have Antec HCG-620, which is sitting upward at the bottom of Three Hundred. and by the look of its branding, I thought it was naturally built to be mounted upward. Can it be reversed, upside down? Reply
  • mwmccormick1 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    I've used the p180 series in a few server builds and they have worked wonderfully. Reply
  • furrymike - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Just bought the Corsair 400R. Now this review has me thinking. The Corsair is diappoiningly noisy and this new Antec should be quieter and is a looker. Not quit Corsair ease of assembly but close. Reply
  • jfish2d - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Let's be honest. The flashy windows to view all the cool components are all well and good. But it's those who don't flaunt their junk who make successful ganks. This is exactly the case for doing just that. Somewhat normal on the outside (though beautiful), the Antec P280 is full of smart design and excellent execution. Reply
  • siderst - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Sign me up! Reply
  • GrJohnso - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Definitely a step in the right direction... Looks roomy enough without being quite the monster that my Corsair 800d is... Would make a nice addition to my stable... :) Reply
  • funkstrong - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    I know Antec has the straight forward design look, but this could use some help styling-wise. Reply
  • abnderby - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    in the past i have unfortunately usually opted for workstation chassis'. Mostly Intel ones due to having adequate drive options. IMO most of the so called power user and gamer cases were appalling in looks, case layout and drive options. I have never understood the whole 5 or 6 5 1/4 drive bays and only 3 or 4 3 1/2 bays for hard drives. I have 2 dvd drives and a usb card reader, I need hard disk space!

    So here we are a clean case all black inside and none of the hideous teenager looks on the outside. Very professional and adequate disk space. Way to go Antec, you did your home work.

    Question for testing though (being a Software QA guy) why is most all case testing with only 1 or 2 drives? Should we not max this thing out with the hottest PS, video cards and every drive bay filled and a fan in all slots? this would really tell us how quiet it is and just how cool it will be with everything going at once.

    i run currently 5 internal drives, OS, Temp, Data1 and data2, virtual machine drive, would run 6 if i had the room. I do not know what most power users run but normally if i have the space and connections available i fill them and use them for something.

    Anyway good article, great looking case it is a win, win for me and it would be next on my upgrade list
    Reply
  • Nightmare9 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Did anyone else think there were 2 motherborads in the photo with the video card installed? The color of the card they used is exactly the same at the case.

    I'd love to win one, I'm just about to build a new PC.

    Thanks
    Reply
  • faZZter - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Looks like a good case, would work great on my new build I am working on for ToR release. Reply
  • doggod - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    As a P182 owner the design changes look good, the dual design in theory was good but in practice left a lot to be desired..Opening the door to power up the system was a niggle -system was rarely power down but trying to manipulate a large power supply and its cables in the bottom compartment was a pain with be having to dump the center fan. Having the motherboard a fraction on an inch above the divider was another unhappy experience with a rampage formula motherboard.

    What Ive never understood is why case designers
    (working to a standard designed between them and gpu manufactures)
    haven't put some sort of a way to funnel air from the front of a case to dump outside air as close as possible to the gpu fan which generally is the hottest component in a case, even by some sort of flexible construction.
    As it is its only the air within the case which is being heated by every other component that get drawn into the gpu .
    Reply
  • PCHPlayer - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Not sure if it's worth upgrading from the P180. Perhaps in the next system build. The isolated PS chamber was interesting in the P180, but it did make the power cable routing a bit tricky. Reply
  • dacrazydude - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    The P series were never really big enough to require dual chambers imo. Reply
  • hescominsoon - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Definitely an improvement from the mediocre cases I have seen from Antec Lately. Reply
  • Rakanishu - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    I'm using the P180 now and I dread having to install or un-install a piece of hardware from it. HDs especially, the new outward facing design is 100 times better imo. Reply
  • AntiNova - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    I won't deny that this is a nice looking case. I was just hoping that it would be more "adaptable" features... it just seems like a polished up redesign of previous cases Reply
  • rrohbeck - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    now that the new version is available. It seems that most of the wishes/concerns that the other posters have are answered by the Define XL. I love it (except that the finished system is back breakingly heavy.)
    Yes it looks like Fractal Design has shamelessly stolen ideas from Antec and others but that's a good thing IMHO.
    Reply
  • stretchmonkey - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Comment! Reply
  • camerone222 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Beautiful case. I hope I win, good luck to everyone. Reply
  • n3com3300 - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    Finally, an Antec chassis that can accommodate the H100 water cooler. Reply
  • tryb - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    Antec has always been my choice for cases and this is a step in the right direction. Losing the dual chamber is a plus in my opinion. After switching from the P180 case back to my aluminum P160 Antec case, the following features are just two reasons to make me finally upgrade my case.

    "The enclosure is bigger and easier to work in, and has more room for expanding the system inside. There's plenty of space for mounting a good, thick 240mm radiator at the top, cable routing is slightly better, and the two internal fan mounts invite experimentation."

    "Toolless locking mechanisms for the 5.25" drive bays are in place, as well as six drive trays that can support both 3.5" and 2.5" drives, with silicone grommets for the 3.5" drives to minimize vibration."

    "There's now a massive cutout in the tray to maximize compatibility with aftermarket cooling, and rubber-lined holes surround the tray for routing cables to the back."
    Reply
  • deararis - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    Oh I want one! Reply
  • rak500 - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    I'm a big fan of Antec products but I must admit I am disapointed in the lack of CP PSU series compatibility!
    Still looks fabulous though, I will most definitely get that for my next build!
    Reply
  • winglerw28 - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    I always remembered holding off on a P182 for cost restrictions and because of the middle bar, and I'm glad I did that because it looks like the P280 is fantastic in comparison. I wish my case could be anywhere near as quiet as some of the systems shown here :P Reply
  • scottmchsd - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    Good looking case Reply
  • as1099 - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    The thing about cases is that they last so long. I'm still using the Antec SL-3000B (i think that's what it was called) which i bought for GBP35 7 years ago. It's witnessed 3 different builds and many upgrades besides.

    However, this very thorough review of an apparently awesome case may be my reason to finally upgrade! The whole cable routing thing will be totally new to me, having not purchased an enclosure since 2004...
    Reply
  • GLudlow - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    I prefer these lower-profile cases to the more visually busy ones. Reply
  • vrmuds - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    Looks pretty cool! Reply
  • bkiserx7 - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    even sexier than my ole P180B...drool Reply
  • Alexvrb - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    This would look great on my mantle! I mean desk! Reply
  • intelpen2002 - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    This case takes best ideas from existing models and combine them with a few original ones to give one of the best of it class. Very good product overall. Reply
  • worde - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    I had already decided on the Fractal Define XL when I saw this case and now I'm not sure anymore. I have some issues though. I was wondering if it's possible to remove the fans on the top and cover the inside of the top panel with noise insulation. Furthermore the insulation on the side panels looks so thin I'm not sure how effective it can be, is there room to add a thicker layer?

    Otherwise this one looks like a winner, spacious, low noise, subdued looks. I seriously can't decide between this and the XL.
    Reply
  • TheStork - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    Well, this is certainly going to give the Corsair 600T some competition. I bet that's why I see the 600T $120 USD AR at Newegg. Reply
  • NatoR812 - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    Nice Case, great desing, black sharp. Reply
  • harun90 - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - link

    Just another comment. Maybe I'll finally get lucky :) Reply
  • Teizo - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - link

    I got the original P-180 when it first came out and I loved it. The chambered design was nice, but it did make assembly a bit tedious. This new spacious design is really nice. Reply
  • HeavyDuty - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - link

    Looks pretty good, but perhaps a bit larger than what I'm looking for right now. Reply
  • Gerr - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    Debating between this P280 case, the R3, and the Thor V2 for a new case this Xmas to replace my Antec 900 that is too much of a dust magnet. Would love to see a comparison done between these 3...;) Reply
  • Mr-Happy - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    Doesn't look like an evolution per se but is certainly a nice choice for multiple applications. Wouldn't mind stacking one of my servers in there and truly giving the airflow a test with it loaded up with 15K SAS drives. Reply
  • Curt4Computers - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    Awesome. Looks like just what I need. Reply
  • faxbandit - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - link

    Sweet case!! Reply
  • Renzhe - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - link

    I've got a P180 and generally like its acoustic and cooling properties, and I don't really care about the dual chamber design; I only assemble a computer once in a few years. The P182 got it right IMO, as it enabled using longer power supplies. This P280 is kinda ehh for its price. There's the Fractal R3, for half the price or less, whose fit and finish isn't as good, but does pretty much the same thing. Reply
  • macheesy - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - link

    i could use this for sure Reply
  • Urinal Mint - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    I'd love to revamp my case setup on my HTPC with a 10-yr-old Antec housing it. Reply
  • chrcoluk - Thursday, November 24, 2011 - link

    this to me fixes the main weaknesses of the p180 design.

    My p180b is good but in my view has 2 key weaknesses.

    The bottom chamber is too compact.
    The hdds are too much work to take in and out especially when add the fact removing the hdd tray upsets the cables which are hard to keep away from the fan.

    In addition I think the fan placement in the bottom tray isnt optimal for hdd cooling, the fan is better as an intake on the front of the case, which is the situation on the p280.

    So for me the p280 looks a great evolution. However I wont be buying one soon as the p180 is working well enough for me at the moment and I dont fancy rebuilding my rig
    Reply
  • JohnnieBeBlue - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    Was thinking about the Corsair 650D, but this is giving me second thoughts. Any input? Reply
  • hardwarehero - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - link

    i really think this case is amazing and it would be awesome if i won..i saw an unboxing of this and thought this could be the perfect gaming case and great for my first build Reply
  • Rushedman68 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Nice review, although I'm used to that here.

    I do prefer Antec's cases whenever I can, and I like the look of this one. I usually harp on the need for cooling when I build boxes for friends, and this would be one I'd be easily able to suggest using.
    Reply
  • dagor - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    I am putting this case into serious consideration after reading the review. I really don't like the fan and blowhole at the top of any case though. Not only does it usually leave a potential place for noise to leak through, it can easily be blocked or covered by items. I like to leave a cleaning cloth on to of the case for cleaning the screen. If this cloth gets pushed too far back on this case it could mean a disaster for potential overheating. Heat rises naturally, but let's push it out the back, away from danger with all these fans that we have in our cases. Reply
  • DJShadow - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    I like the clean face of the case. Very smooth. Reply
  • kmetek - Sunday, December 04, 2011 - link

    ANTEC P183 V3
    ANTEC P280
    FRACTAL DESIGN DEFINE XL USB 3.0

    i have ANTEC P182 atm.
    Reply
  • 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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