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Antec calls the P160 a "Super Mid Tower" case. The height is 20.3", exactly 2" taller than the SLK3700 and 3.5" taller than the Sonata. The extra height appears to be directly related to their new top front control panel. More on this later.
The case has four
external 5.25" bays, two external 3.5" bays and four internal 3.5"
bays. The internal bays are laid out in the same 90° orientation of Antec's
Sonata and SLK3700BQE and include the same type of snap in, easily removable
drive trays with grommet mounting points for the drives. These trays are constructed
from aluminum, as is the majority of this case. The external 5.25" bays
utilize the familiar snap-in drive rail system that Antec uses on their other
cases, albeit, out of aluminum instead of plastic and steel.
The sheet metal is
1.2 mm anodized aluminum, which is thicker than the more common 1 mm. The edges have been deburred
and most are rolled over to prevent cuts while working inside the case. Many
of the slots and holes, while not having any burrs, have been left fairly sharp.
I never cut myself working inside this case but a lot of the wires had their
insulation shaved a bit while being pulled through various bulkheads.
Both sides of the case are removable, the right side via a set of four thumbscrews,
the front two of which are only accessible after the front bezel has been
removed. The left side door is held on by a set of two thumbscrews on the
back wall and a set of rotating latches on the upper side of the case door.
One of these latches has a barrel lock built into it to prevent unauthorized
access to the interior of the case. Both side doors swing open from the top
and then lift up out of the case. If you're working in a cramped location,
this method is slightly easier than the normal Antec method of swinging open
and being removed from the back. I've come to like this door. It's real easy to grasp
both latches, turn them 90° to open the door and then use the latches
as a handle to lift the door away from the case.
This front bezel represents
a design departure for Antec. With the P160 Antec has combined a new styling
exercise with functionality. The bezel attempts to carry over the silver
theme of the main body with a plastic silver painted face and chrome trim.
The silver edging that goes around the main faceplate integrates many small slots that open into the chassis front, and possibly provides a secondary path for air intake.
The use of plastic rather than aluminum will disappoint many who especially like the brushed aluminum on the most visible, front portion of the case. Whether Antec's is successful stylistically is certainly a matter of personal taste, but it doesn't do much
for me. This decorative chrome is too busy and a little over the
top for my sensibilities but it does go along with the silver theme
so at least it's not glaringly out of place. (MikeC's comment: Way too James Bond for me.)
previous bezel designs have pretty much conformed to standard case style:
a set of 5.25" and 3.5" drives, perhaps covered by a door, power
buttons and lights, a set of louvers to cover the fan grill underneath the
bezel, and on the newer cases a set of USB and perhaps Firewire ports. The
P160 bezel ventures into new territory.
Swiveling Control Panel
At the top of
the bezel, we see the most evident new feature, the tilting "control
panel". This panel swivels up to 45° in order to give the best
access to its features for a seat user when the case is placed on the floor. Antec has been innovative in locating
all the buttons and I/O ports at the top.
Normal case design dictates, for whatever reason, that all these buttons and
ports be located in the middle or at the bottom of the bezel, sometimes even
buried underneath a door. With the P160 they are all right out in the open,
up at the top of the case where they are very easy to use. From left to right, the control panel features a Firewire port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, reset
button, temperature sensor readout, audio I/O jacks, HDD activity and Power
LEDs and the power button.
Front I/O panel. Firewire, USB 2.0, reset
button, Temp readout, Audio I/O jacks and Power button. Nice! Also note edge vent slots.
I can verify that both the USB 2.0 ports are indeed USB 2.0 and are a pleasure
to work with, not having to bend down to connect a USB device to them. The motherboard that I used in this review system has no onboard Firewire
or audio and my Firewire PCI card has no internal headers so I was unable
to test the performance of the front panel Firewire port or the audio ports.
Built-in Digital Thermometer
Another nice feature of this swiveling I/O panel are the 2 built in thermal
sensors and the LED readout for them. There are 2 separate 26" long sensor
wires with flat sensors on the ends. These are long enough to reach to almost
anywhere in the case where you might want to measure the temperature. The
LED readout is easy to see and can be set in either Celsius or Fahrenheit.
I set up one sensor lead about 1.5" above the CPU cooling fan intake to
measure the case temp at the cooling inlet. The other sensor was set up at the PSU fan exhaust to measure the air temperature exiting the PSU. While
in operation the LED readout on the I/O panel toggles back and forth between
each different temperature reading every 3 seconds. The readings seem accurate,
as far as I can tell. The case temperature reading was within 1°C of the
motherboard's temperature sensor reading, and the PSU temperature reading from
the sensor was the same as the reading I got from an external thermometer
that I used for comparison purposes.
The power and reset switches and the HDD activity and power LEDs all worked
just as they should. The reset button, while not as large as the main power
button, isn't recessed and can be inadvertently depressed while
trying to plug in a USB device.
How do I know that?
Because I did it while
plugging in a USB memory stick and not paying attention to what I was doing.
I'd like to see this reset switch made smaller and recessed below flush
or guarded by a raised lip or something.
Built-in Optical Drive Covers
Another new feature for Antec is the 5.25" drive bay covers. Filling
the top two slots on the P160's bezel is a set of drive covers that look like
the face of a standard optical drive. They're actually spring-loaded
hinged doors that cover the real optical drive faceplate. The open/close button on the bezel protrudes through
the back and butts up against optical drive
mounted in the case. Pressing the button on the cover transfers through to
the optical drive and the tray opens, pushing
open the hinged cover. (See photo below). This system provides
full functionality to the optical drive while neatly sidestepping any color mismatch
Flip-open optical drive cover. The black CD drive mounted behind the bezel normally remains hidden behind the silver cover.
Another nice feature on the front
bezel is the color coordinated faceplate for the floppy drive. This lets you
mount your floppy drive behind it in a method similar to the optical drives.
The drive can be any color but it's hidden behind the faux floppy faceplate
so it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb yet it's fully functional.
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