I've had my P180 for a week now. After "borrowing" a smart media card reader from best buy (the one from Newegg wouldn't work
) I've finally been able to upload pictures of my rig.
Here are the specs of my computer as of my current build:
Motherboard: Asus P4C800 Deuxe
Processor: Pentium 4 3.0 Northwood
Heatsink: Scythe SCNJ-1000 Ninja (fanless)
Case: Antec P180 black SPCR edition w/Acoustipack V.2 Deluxe
Case fans: two 120mm Nexus ~740rpm and 704rpm
Video Card: ATI 9800 Pro w/Zalman ZM80C-HP and 92mm Nexus (currently RMAed, using Geforce 2 with nonfunctional 40mm fan for now)
PSU: Antec Phantom 350w
Hard Drive:WD 74gb Raptor in Smart Drive 2002 on silicon grommets
The exterior is obviously that of a Black P180. Given the extra amount of plastic from the SPCR logo, it should help block sound better than the standard P180
Interestingly, due to the cheap aluminum brackets that come with the Zalman fan controller, I broke off one bracket while installing it into my 3700AMB a couple of years ago. Even with only one drive rail being used, it sits VERY securely in the P180. In the 3700AMB it threatened to slide back with any pressure.
There is MORE than enough space between the Zalman MFC and the Acoustipacked door, so feel free to install an drive bay fan controller.
I tried to maximize the amount of Acoustipack I used, so I put it everywhere where sound might escape. I wanted to take advantage of cool air being pulled from the top, but I didn't want the spoiler to allow a direct path of sound to myself. What to do? Fill it with Acoustipack of course! The rear portion of the spoiler is left open to pull in air. The top and sides have Acoustipack stuck to them, a combination of "normal" and the checkerboard "deluxe" pieces. There pictures show it installed from the top and the interior from the bottom.
I'm not actually using the top Tricool fan. I left it up there to act as an additional form of "insulation" against noise. I also have some Acoustipack lining the portions to the front and reear of the inner top portion.
The wiring's so-so. Due to having a passive PSU I NEED to have a fan in the PSU chamber. I have no choice but to route it through the "normal" PSU wire hole. I have the P4 cable routed under the motherboard. However the tension kept me from closing the PSU plastic bracket to separate the termal chamber from the main portion of the case. I therefore bought an extender from FrozenPC. This allowed me enough slack to fully close the bracket. I tuffed the excess behind the PSU along with several other cables.
More on the wiring. Due to having 3 fans plugged into a fan controller, I'm obviously going to have more wires to deal with, so it's not going to as neat with others. I've already used an extender to moure neatly route one fan connector, I may use an additional one. Two fans are plugged into special connectors so they are powered by the ZMFC but are able to send RPM sensor information. I therefore plugged the second ends of the two 120mm Nexus fans into the CPU and case fan sensor locations. This leads to slightly messier cabling, but I'd rather have the info available to me, especially when calibrating fan speeds. Example: Due to some slightly clumsy placement of the main PSU cable, it jammed the fan blades keeping it from turning. Once aware of this, I fixed the problem so it shouldn't occur again.
The cabling looks messier than others, partially because the fans aren't sleeved in black, partially because the included black Asus IDE and Floppy cables have a white line on the side, making it seem more untidy than it is.
The PSU chamber is fairly neat. I originally had the cabling for the hard drive routed through the back of the case, except it was a pain (though not impossible) to close the case panel afterwards due to the placement of the foam strip. To make my life easier in the future I just ran the cable "normal" through the top slot. I also ran the power connector for the Nexus through a small hole to the harddrive chamber and routed the wire along with the hard drive power connector and SATA cable up above.
I placeed the hard drive on the bottom. Primarily to get it as far away from me as possible, provide an extra barrier between me and it (the plastic thermal bracket, the cage above it), and to allow it to rest one the silicon grommets inside the cage. This was more elegant and easier than having to juryrig a method to get it to rest FLAT in the upper chamber with the hard drive cage removed. In my 3700AMB I had it sitting on the platform where the cage is mounted. Due to the placement of the front fan it sat off center. The SmartDrive was slightly at an angle and I had to use a piece of cardboard on the bottom to allow it to sit perfectly parallel. This method keeps me from having to worry about that. Also, the PSU chamber fan acts to cool off the enclosure. In the upper chamber I would have to add a fan in the front slot. The less fans the better, right?
One more note: Despite the enclosure, resting it in grommets, and installing the thing in a P180 with the dampended Aluminum-Plastic-Aluminum construction and the use of Acoustipack, I can still hear the Raptor's seeks quite audibly. I'm going to have to replace it with a Samsung in the future.
These are how I did the sidepanels. The picture doesn't show it well but the left side panel has the checkerboard deluxe portion of the Acoustipack. I had to cut it special to leave space for the interior foam strips. I had to recut a couple of times as I need more space towards the back in order to be able to push the panels forward when closing the case.
The placement of the CPU on my motherboard, and hence the location of the Scythe Ninja, prevent me from being able to use the VGA duct. I had packed the area around the fan with Acoustipack to cut down on vibration. I also used the "open flange" decouplers from the Nexus kit. I tried using the Nexus open/closed flange decouplers, but they tore. I never had an issue with Verax sticks and will stick with them exclusively in the future. Regardless, each of the Nexus sticks were very difficult to install, whether they tore or were successfully installed.
Oh, and notice that you CAN use a 25mm fan INSIDE the duct. There is space between the fan and the back portion of the duct.
Overall, I'm pleased with the case, though I accidently broke the bottom fan holder in the bottom during installation (the manual should have included instructions on that), and my cats attacked while I went out for groceries and lost several of the screws. (Antec said they won't have replacement parts available for six weeks). I can't get the panels completely flush against the case, I don't know if it's because there are issues with the panel "bowing out" that I've heard some reports of, or if it's because of my inexpert cutting of the Acoustipack.
Thermally, I'm getting a system temp of about 2-3C higher than in my old case (3700AMB with two undervoled 120mm Nexus). The hard drive is 2-5C lower, and the CPU is the same. The PSU seems to be noticably hotter than in the old setup.