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October 11, 2005 by Ralf
NOTE: POSTSCRIPT 2 ADDED in Antec NeoHE 430 PSU review, DEC 21, 2005: Incompatibilities!
The Antec P180 was one of the most eagerly anticipated computer
cases in recent memory. While it received dozens of rave reviews as well as
copious amounts of positive feedback from individual users, there's a
small minority to whom the grass is always greener on the other side.
I've heard complaints that the P180...
- is too big
- is too complicated to set up
- makes clean cable management difficult
- has the PSU positioned too far away from the motherboard
- has a door
- has a difficult-to-remove front bezel
- has an awkward air vent on top of the case
- silver version looks like a refrigerator
- black version is too monochromatic, etc.
And these are only the complaints that my pea-sized brain are capable of remembering!
I'm sure there are more, but you get the idea. To all those P180 nay-sayers,
Antec gives a big Bronx cheer as they introduce the new P150.
The P150 is positioned along with the P180 and the earlier P160
in the Performance
One Series, Antec's flagship line of cases for hard-core PC
enthusiasts. While the P150 borrows some of the best features of its forebearer,
the P180, its also a bit of a clean slate for Antec, sporting some features
never seen on any case.
A TOUR OF THE P150
Antec really snuck this one in under the radar, as I'd never heard
a peep about it until I received a P150 pdf attachment in an email, along with
a "heads up" that one would be landing soon on the Hutter Labs receiving
P150 is packaged for retail sales.
Antec describes the P150 as having "quiet elegance and an
environmentally friendly design". The latter probably refers to the high efficiency PSU that is included. The former, I assume, refers to the "gleaming
white and brushed aluminum finish" along with its understated and uncluttered
design theme, encompassing a pair of stealthed drive bay doors and a seemingly
grill-less front bezel. The primary color scheme of the P150 is a gloss white.
New for Antec perhaps, but already on the cutting edge of fashion trend.
My trendoid wife tells me that, for the Really Cool People, "white
is the new black", so maybe Antec is on to something here. [Editor's
Note: Let's face it. When Dell's entire PC line is available only in black,
that color is about as mainstream as it can be.] The sheen of the white
paint falls between the semi-matte finish of the SLK 3xxx series, and the glossy
"Piano Black" of the Sonata. It's glossy enough to look fairly classy,
yet easier to keep clean than a super shiny finish.
The white paint is offset by a burnished aluminum fascia on the
plastic front bezel. The bezel itself is a glossy white plastic that matches
the shade and sheen of the painted case quite closely. The plastic front bezel
is much beefier than the typical front bezel, which should please anti-plastic-ites.
Pearly white P150 with its brushed aluminum accent panel.
Other than the front bezel, the case is constructed entirely of
steel. The case walls are all made from 1mm thick steel, which is the same thickness
as the Sonata series. This compares to the 0.8mm steel panels used on the SLK
3x00 series, and may provide additional noise reduction and vibration dampening
over the thinner steel. It also makes the case seem more substantial.
One of the all-new features of the P150 is the damping material
that comes pre-applied to both side doors and the roof of the case. This is
a single layer of a 0.9mm textured semi-hard vinyl sheet. I assume that it is
meant to dampen panel vibrations, but it may also provide a small amount of
noise blocking as well. Rapping on the panels with my calibrated knuckles, does
show that they are well damped, but not as much as the three-layer plastic+aluminum
sandwich of the P180.
The fact that the removable side panels are steel should please
those that complained about the P180's panels being built on a base of plastic.
Thankfully for cable-management junkies, unlike the Sonata, both P150 side panels
are removable for easy access while building the system and routing all the
cables. The left side door is screwed down using a nice set of spring loaded
thumb screws that are permanently attached to the panel. The right side panel
uses the usual Phillips-head screws to keep it in place.
Vinyl dampening sheet as applied to both side panels.
The top panel gets the same treatment. Note the attached thumbscrews.
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