Antec Mini P180: A micro-ATX P182

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Here's a set of photos showing the interior.

Both side panels were removed, along with both drive cages. The similarity to P180/82 is unmistakeable. The top and bottom chambers are separated by a middle panel, which has a sliding plastic door for cables to run up from the PSU. The main differences are height, front-to-back depth, and distribution of drive bays. And the top 200mm fan, of course. Note the access holes to the underside of the motherboard tray, next to the big fan, and adjacent to the top drive bays. These holes are for routing cables neatly.

This is the other side, the underside of the motherboard tray. This time, both of the HDD bays are in place. There are many hooks on which cable ties can be anchored. Antec has learned well from the experience with the P180 and 182; this is an excellent set of wire management tools for the DIY builder.

Back to the other side, with HDD cages partially inserted. As in the other P180~P190 models, the cages are satisfingly sturdy, with very smooth plastic tracks that glide smoothly. The top cage accommodates up to three 3.5" hard drives vertically on their sides. The lower cage uses trays to accommodate two drives. All drive mounts feature large soft silicone rubber grommets for vibration reduction, which have been proven to work well in other Antec cases.

Here is a shot of the 9-bladed 200mm fan, which sports a 3-speed switch accessible from the back panel. The 120x25mm back panel fan is one of the TriCools with built in 3-speed switch that Antec has been using for some years.

The PSU chamber has a filtered bottom vent between the optical drive cage in front and the PSU in back. This is the intake vent for the PSU... which seems a bit less than ideal, since the silicone rubber feet on the bottom provides a gap of only about a centimeter. We'll see whether the vent is unrestricted enough to ensure good cooling for the PSU. The silicone rubber pads upon which the PSU sits are a nice touch.

SUMMING UP THE TOUR: Despite the obvious family resemblance to the P180/P182, the Mini P180 is substantially different from a functional point of view. In essence, the main chamber of the Mini P180 has about double the vent area, both in and out, for much expanded airflow, despite having a smaller internal volume. All the HDDs now go in the upper chamber. The optical drive bays in the lower chamber are afforded only peripheral airflow from the PSU fan drawing air in through the bottom vent in the middle; there is no place for a fan in the lower chamber. Not that optical drives need much in the way of ventilation, but this is a difference compared to the P180/P182. The big 200mm fan will surely dominate airflow patterns in the case; like Rome, all roads lead to it.

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