Antec P183: The P182 Gets More Air

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These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.


Like the P182, the P183 is not a drastic redesign of its predecessors. Everything we loved about the P180/P182 remains — the segregated power supply compartment, sound-damping multi-ply panels, easily accessible soft-mounted drive cages, removable filters, and elegant exterior appearance. In a nutshell, Antec has reorganize the bottom chamber and improve intake ventilation on the front panel.

The metal frame for the power supply and center divider has been removed to make space for longer power supplies and the fan placement has been moved in front of the bottom hard drive cage. We don't feel strongly either way about these alterations — it's why these changes were implemented that really excites us. Most of these moves have been made specifically to allow the use of Antec's CP line of power supplies. The CP's open airflow design has substantial thermal and acoustic advantages, and if you want to use one, an Antec case is a requirement.

The more open filters and ventilated drive bay covers ease the passage of air flowing from the front of the case to the back. As the door still muffles a lot of system noise, punching the front panel full of holes hasn't made the case any louder. The one thing they did mess up is the top fan placement. The metal that sits flush against the struts and hub of the fan greatly increases the noise level of the system, and isn't easy to get around, although any experience case modder will find ways to cut the offending metal away. Worse still, this is a new "feature" that was added to seemingly serve no purpose other than to annoy. A smaller quibble is that it's unfortunate Antec still has not seen fit to improve the noise performance of the included fans or at least changed the setting so that more than just the Low setting is usable for quiet oritented customers.

Like the P182, the P183 is easy to work with, and has the fundamentals necessary for a silent PC. The increased ventilation is a welcome addition, though airflow for the video cards probably isn't quite good enough for a gaming systems with a couple of high-end ATI graphics cards in CrossFire, at least not on stock cooling. But then again, what case is? Certainly nothing equivalent to the P183's size or noise level. For a more typical system with a fast CPU and a single graphics card, the P183 is more than sufficient. Ignoring the top vent and using only the front and back fans provides a good cooling with very low noise. Finally, current market pricing at $140~180 is quite modest for a unique high performance case. The P183 will surely extend the series' already long successful run.

Our thanks to Antec Inc. for the P183 and CP-850 samples.

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