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 Post subject: Antec P180 - First Impressions (with update)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:00 pm 
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OK, I know I said I was going to wait for a review, but a store nearby had it in stock, so I went in this morning and bought one. What the heck, I haven't bought any toys this month anyway :-)

I haven't started migrating my current machine into the new case yet, but I did unpack it and examine the case. I also took a bunch of photos of areas of interest (to me and hopefully some others) not covered by MikeC that I'll post later. Here are some of my impressions:

1. The top panel is plastic. The side panels are plastic with a square aluminum plate over the interior and exterior. The part where the screws attach it to the steel body is plastic.

2. The drive cages slide in and out along rail guides. The guides are plastic on the top cage, and metal on the bottom cage. The rails are plastic on both top and bottom cage. It feels really sturdy sliding the cages in. There is no looseness. I really like this.

3. The front door doesn't easily open 270 degrees. It opens 180 degrees, then you'll have to press gently along the top and bottom to dislodge the latch to allow the side bezel with holes (whatever you call it) to open another 90 degrees. See MikeC's photos and you'll know what I mean.

4. The 3 fans all come with a little switch for you to select the speed. The two fans on top are 25mm thick fans. The one at the PSU chamber is a 38mm thick fan. They're all hard mounted. There is space in front of the top drive cage for another fan. The fans are hard mounted / screwed on (boo! hiss!)

5. The top cage has a small storage area. It will rattle if there's any vibration in your case. The front drive bay covers will rattle as well. Tape them down if that is an issue.

6. The thumbscrews are damn tight - I couldn't unscrew them by hand.

7. For some reason, the 4 5.25" drive bays are partitioned 3 on top and 1 below with a sheet of metal between the two compartments. Basically it is a 3 drive bay and an additional 1 drive bay, one on top of another. Only an issue for people who need to install two full height 5.25" devices.

8. The grommets for the drives, when viewed edgewise, has one side thicker and one side thinner. I'd imagine that having the thicker side between drive and drive cage will be more effective. However, in the lower cage, the bottom has the thicker edge between drive and cage, and the top has the thinner edge between drive and cage. (edited - I got it reversed initially)

9. There are strips of some soft material where there might be contact between the side panel and the case. Nice touch.

10. There is no ATX extension cable included. There is, however, a couple of extra silicone grommets. Two more pairs of drive rails are included, not attached to the VGA air duct. I guess the assumption is that most people will have at least one optical drive and one floppy / card reader, or two optical drive.

11. The PCI bracket blanks (or whatever they are called - can someone enlighten?) rattle when tapped. Another item to tape down if vibration is an issue.

12. There's some rust on my unit! I just noticed this when reviewing the photos. It's on the edge of the metal separator I mentioned in (7). I think this is inexcusable for a case at this price point. I'll be contacting Antec regarding this. (Update : Antec called me back. Since they're not far from where I live, they asked me to bring my case in and they'll replace it.)

Other than the rust, I really like the case. It may not look as nice inside as the all aluminum cases, but I admire the attention to detail evident in many areas. I'm somewhat disappointed at the lack of fan isolators. I'll post more when I move my system into its new home.


Last edited by lenny on Mon Jun 20, 2005 4:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:38 pm 
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A picture is worth a thousand words, or so I've been told. Here's a link to 15,000 words.

http://dizzy.smugmug.com/gallery/583764

I didn't have time to touch up / color balance the pictures.

Click on the thumbnail to view a medium sized image. Click on the medium sized image to view a large image (you may have to select "large" from a drop-down). I disabled the original size since they are 8 MP images and I didn't get around to resizing them.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 12:25 am 
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Great review Lenny - essential reading !

Looking forward very much to seeing some shots with a system installed.

Thanks for all your efforts - looks like us here in the UK need to wait until the end of June to get hold of one (hovers finger over "pre-order" button :twisted: )


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 2:16 am 
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Damn they didn't include the ATX extension cable?! :oops:

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 4:04 am 
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Edward Ng wrote:
Damn they didn't include the ATX extension cable?! :oops:


Soooooo, when's the SPCR review? :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Antec P180 - First Impressions
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 5:39 am 
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lenny wrote:
8. The grommets for the drives, when viewed edgewise, has one side thicker and one side thinner. However, in the lower cage, the top has the thicker edge between drive and cage, and the bottom has the thinner edge between drive and cage.


That's so the weight of the HDD is being supported by the thicker portion of the grommet, on the bottom where the drive itself rests, and on the top where the head of the bolt rests. Comprendo?

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 Post subject: Re: Antec P180 - First Impressions
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 8:44 am 
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Ralf Hutter wrote:
lenny wrote:
8. The grommets for the drives, when viewed edgewise, has one side thicker and one side thinner. However, in the lower cage, the top has the thicker edge between drive and cage, and the bottom has the thinner edge between drive and cage.


That's so the weight of the HDD is being supported by the thicker portion of the grommet, on the bottom where the drive itself rests, and on the top where the head of the bolt rests. Comprendo?

I thought of that, but having the thick end on both sides of the HDD would be better, wouldn't it? Though that would mean making the cage a little larger, hence more material cost I guess. Life's a compromise...

Edit: I thought about it a little more :-) and I think perhaps you're right after all. In any case the thickness / softness of the grommet at the top should not be as significant as the one below.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 11:12 am 
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lenny, what is the distance between the back of the case and the fan in the PSU section?


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 Post subject: Re: Antec P180 - First Impressions
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 11:38 am 
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lenny wrote:
In any case the thickness / softness of the grommet at the top should not be as significant as the one below.


Actually, the top grommet is at least as significant and possibly more so. As far as vertical vibrations/movement is concerned, the top and bottom grommets are equally affected.

The situation with horizontal forces is more complicated, but my gut feeling is that the top grommets are stressed more than the bottom ones. Consider that if the bottom grommets were removed, the drive would happily hang there from the top grommets (via the mounting bolts). OTOH, if the top grommets were removed, the drive would tilt over to one side or the other. Therefore, the top grommets are forcibly holding the drive upright with horizontal forces, whereas the bottom grommets aren't exposed to any horizontal forces.

Or something like that...

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 11:42 am 
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Do you have any more thoughts regarding the door? You said that it seemed a bit flimsy and that rattling might be an issue in the other thread.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 5:36 pm 
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K_R wrote:
lenny, what is the distance between the back of the case and the fan in the PSU section?

I measure 7.5" from back of case (inside) to the fan. The fan is 1.5" thick.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 5:42 pm 
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Another observation : the bottom fan is not hard mounted. It's attached to a piece of plastic which clips on to the case. There's a lot of play in this one, so rattling could be a major problem. There seem to be holes present, but I couldn't verify if it can fit as I haven't yet figured out how to unclip the mount.

idiot : the door flexes a bit, and feels rather light. If vibration is an issue I'll apply some polymeric mastic to the back of it. It's only held shut at the top.
Too early to say if it'll be a problem.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 7:53 pm 
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lenny wrote:
I measure 7.5" from back of case (inside) to the fan. The fan is 1.5" thick.


Looks like my PSU won't fit with the stock 38mm fan down there. Hm. Perhaps I can squeeze it in by moving one of the 25mm fans down there and hardmounting it to the divider, instead of using the plastic mounting...


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 9:02 pm 
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lenny wrote:
Another observation : the bottom fan is not hard mounted. It's attached to a piece of plastic which clips on to the case. There's a lot of play in this one, so rattling could be a major problem. There seem to be holes present, but I couldn't verify if it can fit as I haven't yet figured out how to unclip the mount.


Unclip it by pressing the lever into the case while pulling the whole unit out. Re-install by reversing the process. Use your fingers to grip the inside of the fan and your thumb to press the lever.

K_R wrote:
Looks like my PSU won't fit with the stock 38mm fan down there. Hm. Perhaps I can squeeze it in by moving one of the 25mm fans down there and hardmounting it to the divider, instead of using the plastic mounting...


:shock: It won't? what is your PSU? I can't think of anything longer than the Antec Phantom 500 (which I know fits). The fanless Thermaltake might be longer, but most of that length is outside the case.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 9:35 pm 
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Devonavar wrote:
Unclip it by pressing the lever into the case while pulling the whole unit out. Re-install by reversing the process. Use your fingers to grip the inside of the fan and your thumb to press the lever.

Thanks for the tip. I'll give that a try.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:40 am 
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I got mine last night. I knew that the side panels had a plastic layer, but hadn't realized or expected that the mechanical parts of the panels (i.e., catches and screw holes) are in fact plastic. I'm sure this had been noted by others, but I just missed that one. (EDIT: I see that art4242 made the same comment a couple of days ago in another thread) I am a little nervous that I will end up bending or breaking something eventually as I am one of those who is always opening my case. I will state that this seems to be made from a decent engineered resin like nylon or the like and does not seem brittle, but I would have still preferred metal in these parts. Also, I find it difficult to get these panels on and off.

Other than that, most of my comments would be relatively minor. I bought this to replace my A-Top AT900 which served me well but just wasn't able to handle the hotter components and larger quantity of drives I now have. At the $123 delivered I paid it is a decent case (I spent about that for my A-Top years ago). Definitely not the case to end all cases, but it does appear to have lowered my temps a few degrees C without adding any noise and that is what I was hoping for.

It might not be able to really play with this thing for another week as I will be traveling, but I will post anything else significant I come across then for any of you who are on the fence.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:48 am 
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bobalooza wrote:
I got mine last night. I knew that the side panels had a plastic layer, but hadn't realized or expected that the mechanical parts of the panels (i.e., catches and screw holes) are in fact plastic.

In case there's any ambiguity, picture it this way : make a side panel out of plastic (instead of steel or aluminum, like the other cases). Stick a square of aluminum to the inside. Stick another square of aluminum to the outside.

The plastic is definitely soft - the screw holes on the right panel are scratched up by the screws (no threads on these, of course, so no worries about stripped threads - the threads are in the steel of the case).


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 9:30 am 
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Many of those plastic parts look very fragile - far more so than I would expect on a case in this price range - check out the close up of the door hinge...

Actually, I'm surprised at the amount of plastic. I hadn't realized that the entire top panel was plastic too. Does the case look as "cheap" as I'm starting to fear?

Another thing: Why on earth didn't they do anything to minimize vibration from the fans? It doesn't make sense to me that a "quiet" case developed in cooperation with Mike C would have hardmounted/plastic frame mounted fans...


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 9:48 am 
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Mumrik wrote:
Many of those plastic parts look very fragile - far more so than I would expect on a case in this price range - check out the close up of the door hinge...

Actually, I'm surprised at the amount of plastic. I hadn't realized that the entire top panel was plastic too. Does the case look as "cheap" as I'm starting to fear?

Another thing: Why on earth didn't they do anything to minimize vibration from the fans? It doesn't make sense to me that a "quiet" case developed in cooperation with Mike C would have hardmounted/plastic frame mounted fans...

It doesn't look too bad, actually. I'm not a materials engineer, so I don't know what kind of plastic this is. But it's not the brittle, glossy type of plastic.

Regarding the fan mounts, I have no idea. I'm pretty unhappy with that too. That will be my main mod for now. After all, the Sonata had isolators. Maybe they broke too often?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 10:14 am 
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I'm wondering the same thing. Whats the point of the silicon hard drive dampers when this case has three 120mm fans bolted directly to the case? Maybe there is a reason the review hasn't come out yet. I'm beginning to realize that all cases will require some form of modding.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 11:53 am 
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I read that there were some spare silicon grommets delivered with this case. Can't you use those to mount the fan with?

I have some rubber grommets that are used to guide electrical cable through sheetmetal. I think I'll use those to mount the fans with. Shouldn't be more than 5 minutes of work :)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 12:57 pm 
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Raymond wrote:
I read that there were some spare silicon grommets delivered with this case. Can't you use those to mount the fan with?

I have some rubber grommets that are used to guide electrical cable through sheetmetal. I think I'll use those to mount the fans with. Shouldn't be more than 5 minutes of work :)

Fan isolators are usually little sticks of some soft material. I suppose you can use the HDD grommets, but you'll end up with a large gap between fan and case, and you'll probably need to cut the grommet into two first, and you may still have some metal to metal contact (between the screw / bolt body and the case inside the hole in the case.

Is that how you're thinking of using grommets for fans?

I think I only saw two spare grommets (maybe more) in the spare parts box, but since there are enough grommets for 6 drives installed in the case, there should be more than enough if you want to use them.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:10 pm 
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I currently have a TT case. Yes i know it was an extremely bad choice in my part to get this expensive raggedly case.

My question is, is the P180 really worth all the hype it's getting? I mean for 180 bucks, is it really worth it?

I just got two new case fans so it's pretty much quiet now. Should i get the P180? Any regrets?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:15 pm 
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Went down to Antec's Fremont HQ today to exchange my case - the one with some rust spots. New one does not have any rust spots. I'd like to thank them for their very fast response after I submitted a trouble ticket.

However, the front door has an issue : it doesn't close properly. The second flap - the one that enables it to open 270 degrees - does not latch at the top, resulting in a door that doesn't close completely flat, and rattles quite a bit when shaken gently. I'm going to play around with it to see if anything can be done. I'd much rather fix this myself than exchange it yet again.

The fan clips - Devonavar's instructions are right on. Grip the "handle" and the inside of the fan, press together and pull fan towards you.

Extra grommets : there are 2 extra grommets. Not 2 sets (which will be 8 ). More than enough, considering that the case comes with 6 sets (24) already installed.

That strange brown paper was in the replacement case as well.

The VGA duct can be adjusted about an inch in the horizontal position.

The edge where I found rust in my original case is sharp. It's not rolled like the other edges. If I rub my finger along it, I'm sure it'll be cut.

The spoiler fits very securely at the top. No rattling.

By the way, near the entrance, Antec has an area where they display some of their products. They don't have a P180 there :-)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:17 pm 
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Sounds like alarmingly bad QC...


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:32 pm 
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bahhhhhhhh...i think im going to wait until i see a good review from this case before i plung a shiniz load of money into a hyped up case.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:05 pm 
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Mumrik wrote:
Sounds like alarmingly bad QC...

Either that, just not very good design on the door, or I'm having really bad luck.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 9:45 pm 
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lenny wrote:
Went down to Antec's Fremont HQ today to exchange my case - the one with some rust spots. New one does not have any rust spots. I'd like to thank them for their very fast response after I submitted a trouble ticket.

However, the front door has an issue : it doesn't close properly. The second flap - the one that enables it to open 270 degrees - does not latch at the top, resulting in a door that doesn't close completely flat, and rattles quite a bit when shaken gently. I'm going to play around with it to see if anything can be done. I'd much rather fix this myself than exchange it yet again.

The fan clips - Devonavar's instructions are right on. Grip the "handle" and the inside of the fan, press together and pull fan towards you.

Extra grommets : there are 2 extra grommets. Not 2 sets (which will be 8 ). More than enough, considering that the case comes with 6 sets (24) already installed.

That strange brown paper was in the replacement case as well.

The VGA duct can be adjusted about an inch in the horizontal position.

The edge where I found rust in my original case is sharp. It's not rolled like the other edges. If I rub my finger along it, I'm sure it'll be cut.

The spoiler fits very securely at the top. No rattling.

By the way, near the entrance, Antec has an area where they display some of their products. They don't have a P180 there :-)


I guess I was lucky, mine didn't have any rust on the edges. The brown piece of paper is saturated with chemicals to prevent corrosion (rust). Most of the cut edges of sheet metal will be unplated, since most sheet metal is pre-plated and cutting exposes raw steel. Quite typical.

I noticed another possible rattling area - the front 5 1/4"bezels. If they are removed, there is nothing holding them up or down vertically - say you remove the bottom most one, the upper three will just slide down somewhat loosely. The fit seems to be pretty loose. No virbration problems for me yet, but I haven't run my optical drives yet.

Another thing to watch for - the 24-pin ATX power cable just barely reached from my S12-500, but the 4-pin ATX power cable was short (this is to an A8N-SLI). Could be a problem with other motherboards as well.

-Art


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 10:55 pm 
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Quote:
Another thing to watch for - the 24-pin ATX power cable just barely reached from my S12-500, but the 4-pin ATX power cable was short (this is to an A8N-SLI). Could be a problem with other motherboards as well.


From looking at the dimensions of the P180 and the position of the 4 pin ATX plug on my MSI Neo4 motherboard - right at the very top middle of the board - I have my doubts it will reach.

Doesn't look promising :(


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 2:15 am 
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w00dy, art4242 -

you guys have your PSU's mounted upside down or rightside up? The way I was imagining it, I figured that if you mounted it upside down, then you'd get a bit more length for all your power cables. Plus if you had a 120mm PSU (like Super Tornado or S12), then the fan would be drawing air from the top of the PSU-HDD chamber, which should theoretically be warmer air than that of the bottom of said chamber. Just a thought... I'm still trying to get a P180 myself... :( I tried to order from techonweb, but they're out of stock, with no ETA for more :cry: And techonweb seems to have the most reasonable price, too: ~$107 or something like that. Plus $20 for shipping, and it still comes out as a better deal than any other place I found. But still... I want it NOW!! All my OTHER components have come... :(

Ok I'm done whining.

-PS


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