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 But you could argue the designs are starting to feel a little outdated, and while Antec's recent Solo II was an interesting step forward, it felt like a tentative one.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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  • phantompowerz - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Looks good perfect for my new build.
  • 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. :]
  • 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.
  • squadbumrush - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

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

    This P280 really looks like a nice piece of equipment!
  • 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! :)
  • Nohr - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Don't think I'd buy one, but I'd love to win one!
  • 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!!
  • 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.
  • 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.

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