Today we will be taking a look at Antec‘s P280, a mid-tower case that comes with a lot of features at a reasonable price point. Antec was founded in 1986 and their main product line includes power supply units, PC cases and cooling products for both laptop and desktop systems. Let’s start the Antec P280 review by taking a quick look at its specifications and features, taken directly from Antec‘s website:
Packaging and Accessories
The Antec P280 comes in a large black and yellow card box. At the front side we can find an illustration of the case, while at the back there is a complete listing of its features. There is also a picture of the case’s interior at the sides of the box.
Upon opening the top cover of the box, we can find the Antec P280 well protected in foam pads, wrapped in a plastic bag. Apart from the actual case, inside the bundle we will find a user manual to help inexperienced users make their system build-up. Furthermore, there is a small bag packed with screws and cable straps, which is everything you will need to build and organize your system in the new casing.
A Closer Look –
The Antec P280 comes in a neat black finish, with the front cover being of silver color. From a first look, it seems that Antec have done a fantastic job in terms of quality, especially with the metal frame of the case. As far as size is concerned, it is a midi tower that feels a little bigger.
At the front side we can find audio and USB connectors conveniently placed to connect external devices at ease. As you can see, there is a front door cover and Antec have decided to do it mainly for two reasons. First of all this is a stylish touch that surely adds points to the case’s design. Secondly, thanks to the foam material placed behind the door, the noise levels are significantly reduced. The door folds at 270°, that can help accidental collisions, for example with the user’s chair. However, the door cannot be adjusted so that it can be closed from both left and right side. Note that the two USB 2.0 the audio and the two USB 3.0 connectors are not covered with the door, so you can use them with the door closed. Upon opening the door, we can find three 5.25″ trays and a front filter that is removable, which is nice. Behind the filter, there is space for installing two additional 120mm fans.
The back side of the Antec P280 also has some nice features. First of all, there are nine expansion slots which will be sufficient to everyone. The PSU mounting area allows you to install the PSU with the fan facing up or down. As you can see, there are also openings intended for the use of watercooling. There is a 120mm fan to extract hot air outside the case, and at the top of it there is a mini control panel for adjusting the included fans’ RPM range to low or high, which is cool.
At the down side of the case, we can see that there are four silicone pads that help terminate vibrations and offer increased stability to the case. There is also a removable air filter that can be removed without lifting the case upwards, thanks to the side locking mechanism.
A Closer Look –
The interior of the case is simply accessed by removing the thumbscrews at the back of the side panels. There is a quite big opening leading to the motherboard’s backplate. The first thing that we noticed is that Antec have given some extra importance on cable management; there are small holes across the main body where you can place the included cable straps. There are also four large openings covered with rubber material that hold the cables in place. Let’s give an example of what these openings do. You can take the cables coming out from the PSU, pass them from one opening at the back of the mainboard and then use a second opening to bring the cable back inside to the desired position. This greatly helps in keeping things tidy inside, and gives even more better airflow to the whole case. The installation of optical drives and hard disks is also tool-less.
All three fans come pre-installed in a small PCB located at the upper corner of the back side, so all you need to do is connect a PSU molex up there and all fans will be working.
The installation of the devices is made effortlessly. The front 5.25″ drives are simply locked in by pushing them into the bays, while the hard drives are screwed onto the mounting trays, which are designed flawlessly. We found a big plus that at the mounting holes there are silicone bases to minimize friction while using the hard drives. For the SSD drives the same trays are used, no need to purchase additional brackets.
Installing the motherboard is done the traditional way using the supplied screws. Overall, the installation felt quick and easy using the case’s structure and features.
When assembled, the case gives the feeling of a quite spacious and organised case. The cable management system seems to do a great job in keeping your system tidy inside. That, combined with the big space, will give a serious advantage in airflow, resulting in lower temperatures.
Overall, the Antec P280 is a high-quality case with a solid build, incorporating many features that result in a great user experience. Its strongest point is the internal cable management system along with the mounting patterns that make the installation of additional devices a piece of cake. As far as looks are concerned, the Antec P280 really looks nice and serious without any exaggerating design elements.
The inclusion of three 120mm fans ensures maximum airflow, with the noise levels being kept down. Thanks to the front door insulating material, lower noise levels can be achieved. The removable dust filters help in keeping the inside clean and ensuring maximum airflow will be possible.
The only small detail that could be considered a disadvantage, is that the door cannot be closed towards any direction, but this is not really a problem, concerning that we have to do with an all-around solid case.
Costing around 120.00€ across Europe, the Antec P280 is definitely a reasonably priced case that should definitely be considered by users who want a new case that provides everything for their high-end systems.
(+) Inclusion of three 120mm fans, pre-wired
(+) Solid build
(+) Ease of installation
(+) Awesome cable management system
(+) Removable dust filters
(-) Door cannot be closed towards either side
Thus, we would like to give the Antec P280 our Editor’s Choice Award.