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.
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.