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May 26, 2005 by Devon
Cooke and Mike
Advanced Super Mid Tower Case
June 15, 2006: POSTSCRIPT V1.1 added to the final review to reflect changes made in the case since its original release.
The Antec P180 is one of the most highly anticipated products ever to cross the threshold
of our lab. Since Antec first unveiled it at the beginning of the year at CES
2005, the response has overwhelming. Our preview coverage news piece was viewed some 70,000 times, and the related preview
thread in the SPCR forums has garnered close to 400 replies!
The unusual attention that this case has garnered is warranted by
its many unusual features, which are of interest to silencers as well as high performance seekers. Those who are close to SPCR have special reason to look forward to this case: Much
of the design is a result of the knowledge that has grown out of
SPCR. The P180 is the culmination of a year-long collaboration between
Antec and Mike Chin, the founder and editor of Silent PC Review.
|The P180: A Collaboration between Antec
and Mike Chin
The P180 was the result of a year-long collaboration between Antec and
me. Antec needs little introduction here. Their involvement in PC cases
goes back many years, and they were the first to develop a case designed
specifically for reduced noise - the wildly successful Sonata. Antec cases
have been popular with PC enthusiasts long before the "silent sector"
emerged, and several of their models are among SPCR's top Recommended
That's Antec. As for me, I've been involved in high-end home audio as a hobby most of my life and
as a business for nearly a decade. From years of tinkering with high-end
turntables and developing speaker systems, I learned something about acoustic-mechanical
design. I began modifying computers for quiet operation several years
ago. After SPCR was launched, and the flow of review samples began, my
learning process about PC design accelerated with all the exposure to different
components and cases. Ideas about a case started to percolate, a perfect
case for the most powerful systems to be cooled easily and quietly. Could
I bring these ideas to fruition in a manufactured product?
About a year ago, a sample of the Antec Aria case landed in my lab. This
SFF case featured innovative 2- and 3-ply composite walls of aluminum
and plastic skins. The material had a non-resonant, acoustically somewhat opaque
quality, much like an acrylic cutting board. It seemed far superior to
either steel or aluminum walls. I approached Antec to
suggest we work together to develop a case that would meet the demands
of both silencers and enthusiasts. Han Liu, Antec's Product development
Manager, was receptive; I became the design consultant for
the product, code named P180.
The stated goals for the P180 were:
- To develop a case incorporating hybrid composite panels with
practical and effective silencing techniques in a tower-style size
that can accept a full range of standard PC components; a case that
will be quiet even with ordinary components, and approach 20 dBA/1m
SPL with carefully selected components.
- To be a great solution for power users who want ultimate cooling with
the hottest current desktop PC components, as well as for silencers
who seek minimal noise, in an understated, modern, elegant style.
There were many principles applied to the P180. The following were central:
- Create separate chambers for better thermal management with less airflow.
- Ensure simple, direct, low-impedance airflow paths.
- Use damping and mechanical decoupling whenever possible to minimize
- Keep any noise at the back of the case as much as possible.
- The front bezel must be transparent for airflow yet prevent direct
escape paths for noise.
The Antec design team members were great professionals to work with, and the project progressed as a true partnership that resulted in a finished product better than either party could have achieve alone.
The P180 is far from perfect. Given the wide range of applications,
there can be no single perfect case. As befits a product of a life-long experimenter, the P180 allows for
a huge range of configurations without any modifications. The P180 was designed to be quiet and cool right out of the box even if used to house a system of very hot components. It is a distillation of my
knowledge about computer thermal and noise management combined
with Antec's professional and commercial expertise in the fabrication
of PC cases, circa late-2004.
Editor / Publisher, SPCR
We had hoped to make a comprehensive review available before Computex 2005, which is scheduled to start in just days. Alas, the pressures of preparation for the trip to Taipei and obligations on many other reviews have made this too challenging a task. Rather than post a sprawling ambitious review with no time for reflection and much potential for errors, at this time, we have chosen to to present a detailed pictorial and exposition of the P180's features. A complete review with results from three test systems will be posted some time in the coming weeks.
Antec calls the P180 an "Advanced Super Mid Tower". It is a fairly large mid-tower case.
ANTEC P180 SPECIFICATIONS
Unique upper and lower chamber structure for independent thermal zones for better heat dissipation
Power Supply resides in lower chamber to isolate heat and noise from the system
Innovative three-layer side panel (aluminum, plastic, aluminum) provides easy access & dampens system generated noise
|- 1 rear (standard) 120mm TriCool Fan w/ 3-speed switch control
- 1 top (standard) 120mm TriCool Fan
- 1 front (optional) 120mm fan
- 1 lower chamber (standard) 120mm x 38mm TriCool Fan
- Antec Quiet Computing Chassis Air Duct for better, quiet cooling of the graphics card with (optional) 80mm case fan in the Chassis Air Duct
Maximum expandability with 11 Drive Bays
|External 4 x 5.25"; 1 x 3.5"
Internal 6 x 3.5" for HDD
|Standard ATX 12" (W) x 9.6" (L)
|Double hinge door designed to open up to 270º
|Up to 7
| Front Ports
||- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire®, i.Link®)
- Audio In and Out
|0.8mm cold rolled steel for durability through majority of chassis), 1.0mm cold rolled steel around the 4xHDD area.
|Dimensions & Weight
54cm (H) x 20.5cm (W) x 50.7cm (D)
21.3"(H) x 8.1"(W) x 19.9"(D)
31/36 lbs; 14.1/16.3 kg
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