Introduction and First Impressions
We put Antec’s latest P-series enclosure to the test
Antec’s P-series enclosures have been around for quite a while, and have been known as quiet, stylish cases for a premium build. It had been quite a while since the last entry in the series as the previous model, the P280, which received our Gold Award when Ryan reviewed it way back in 2011, and this current version hit the market in January of 2015. Needless to say, Antec’s Performance enclosures have some staying power. So how does this latest entry stack up?
The new P380 carries an MSRP of $229.95, placing it in the higher end of the premium enclosure market. While it can certainly be found for less (around $140 currently on Amazon) the bar is still set pretty high when the price exceeds $100, though the P380 is in a different world than Antec's Signature S10 enclosure, which launched at a mind-boggling $499 (it has since come down considerably). With the highly competitive enclosure market offering a number of spacious and quiet options, the P380 will need to differentiate to succeed.
“When only the best can satisfy your needs, the P380 is the answer. Known for its minimalistic design, the Performance series focuses on delivering the perfect balance between performance and Quiet-Computing. Whether you’re designing your ultimate dream PC or, just creating a monster file server, the P380 should be the choice, without hesitation.”
Antec is obviously confident about this newest P-series enclosure and I’ll be putting it to the test using a new, more stringent enclosure review process. We'll take a look at the case inside and out, and then see how it performs with a gaming build using both a closed-loop liquid CPU cooler, and a conventional air CPU cooler to see how the case airflow affects warm components.
Continue reading our review of the Antec P380 Full-Tower enclosure!
Before we continue, here are the specifications for the P380 enclosure from Antec:
- Model: P380
- Case Type: Full-Tower
- Motherboards: SSI CEB, E-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini-ITX
- Expansion Slots: 9x Expansion Slots
- Drive bays: 1x slim optical drive bay, 8x 3.5”/2.5” tool-less HDD bays
- Maximum graphics card size: 465mm
- Maximum CPU cooler height: 180mm
- Cooling System: 3x 120mm / 2x 140mm top exhaust fan mount (2x 140mm FDB fan pre-installed)
- 3x 120mm / 2x 140mm front intake fan mount
- 1x 120 mm rear exhaust fan mount (1x 120mm FDB fan pre-installed)
- Liquid Cooling Solution: 1x 360mm radiator / 1x 240mm radiator at front; 1x 360mm radiator / 1x 240mm radiator on the top
- Front I/O Ports: 2x USB 3.0; 2x USB 2.0; Audio in/out
- Unit Dimensions (HxWxD): 555 mm x 223.6 mm x 557 mm (21.85” x 8.80” x 21.92”)
Our thanks to Antec for providing the P380 for our review!
The P380 looks the part of a premium enclosure, with a sharp exterior featuring aluminum front and top panels. The raw metal finish to the outside edges of the aluminum panels helps make the design stand out, and the side window adds to the classy look.
The front of cases in the optical drive-free era can be boring, but the P380 looks pretty good here with a smooth finish and the chrome Antec logo adorning the aluminum panel. With no power button in sight it might take a few moments to realize these are actually hidden beneath the left and right edges of the front panel. It's an interesting choice, but these buttons are easy to reach in and push (once you discover their location).
The P380 features a very clear (and highly reflective) window
On the back we have nine expansion slots from this full-tower design, and the typical 120 mm fan opening (with pre-installed exhaust fan).
I/O is on the left side along the top, and here we have one pair each of USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, and the usual 3.5 mm audio input/output jacks.
The side panels seem a little thin for a quiet enclosure, but they are lined with a dense material to help reduce noise.
There is far more of the material on the back side panel, of course, as much of the main panel is a clear window.
The bottom of the enclosure has large rubber feet, and the P380 sat level and felt very solid (and heavy) out of the box.
The case features a removable screen filter under the power supply mount, but unfortunately the front fan filter is far more difficult to access (more on the next page).
Before moving on here's a look at the accessory package, which includes a plastic slim ODD adapter that can attach inside the front panel of the enclosure if desired, adding optical drive support that otherwise is not available (this is a complicated process that may not be worth it, see more about this on the next page).
Next we'll take a look inside the Antec P380 and go over a system build with this enclosure.
I/O is the Achilles heal of
I/O is the Achilles heal of case designs. My P182 is now 8 years old, and the new model doesn’t have any compelling features worthy of an upgrade. USB 3.0? Soon we’ll be needing Type C ports, and the latest case will be out of date once again.
I love Antec’s full front door designs, because of how quiet they are, but it hampers access to the front drive bays, such that I don’t even mind the P380 forgoing the bays entirely.
Want to sell me a new case? Put in a standardized I/O bay with market support. A 3.5″ bay would be a good start, or cut it down a bit so it can fit into more designs. I’m fed up with outdated I/O being the most compelling reason to upgrade a case, and I won’t support it any more.
What if that’s how case
What if that’s how case manufacturers ensure future sales?
Andrew, as a P182 owner and
Andrew, as a P182 owner and user since 2010 I can say the “standardisation” of the I/O cluster does exist – it’s called the 5.25″ bay. You can and probably did add fan controllers, USB plugs and other useful things. I don’t think the I/O cluster is THE reason to upgrade a case; it can be a reason along with water radiator placements, tooless mountings, sound damping and easy to remove filters… oh the P182 has all of those
This case is why I have a
This case is why I have a hard time even looking at Antec products anymore. It seems to me all they did was take the P series box and throw a useless panel on the front that is a pain to remove to begin with. They really are digging themselves a hole, and will never be competitive with other manufacturers if they don’t step up their game. And they justify throwing the useless aluminum panel on the front as a way to charge more, because it “looks prettier”.
Sadly Antec has been like
Sadly Antec has been like this for last decade or so. Their designers either stuck in the past or are suffering from serious schizophrenia. Currently only decent case in Antec lineup is that 1100 and the P280 (both share the same chassis). I am still wondering how antec has stayed in this competitive market with such terrible cases.
This case would be so much
This case would be so much better if they didn’t have the 5.25″ bays, but had 12 total HDD bays instead.
I brought a Antec Eighteen
I brought a Antec Eighteen Hundreed for that very reason. 12 native drive bays. It was the only one I could find off the shelf with that configuration. The fact it is a large tower and also has 3 5.25″ bays as well is a pain but its the price you have to pay sometimes. Building a 12 drive FreeNas box as a upgrade to my exsisting 6 drive box and didn’t want to go rackmount.
That’s debatable. For me more
That’s debatable. For me more 5.25″ bays the better. Just slapping Tough Armor x8 backplane and in 3 slots you get 24 SSDs for some RAID fun.
Trying to offload HDDs to some extent but I’m way past endless stacks of 3.5″s. Slowly but surely stacking SSDs is more fun.
As for the case. Never was fan of Antec and this one doesn’t inspire much confidence in design.
Even if you wanted 3.5″
Even if you wanted 3.5″ drives as well…
Icydock FlexCage MB975SP-B (makers of tougharmor)
there is no reason to buy a case for its native drive holding capabilities.
Are people buying anything
Are people buying anything but the NZXT H440 now days? Just get it for $100 and be done with buying cases forever.
Rumor has it, NZXT H440 does
Rumor has it, NZXT H440 does NOT have a place for a CD or DVD drive…
Although CD/DVD drives may well be “past tense”, many have loads of CD/DVD’s to access.
This box IS big, you’d think there’d be room for CD/DVD drive[s]as needed…
Otherwise, this seems like a good case.
Nice work Sebastian! Very
Nice work Sebastian! Very thorough review.