Antec's existing Performance One series, peaking with the P183 and P190, has become a standard for silent, high performance computing. These enclosures have been extremely popular from the word "go," and for a long time the P180 and its descendants have been easy recommendations. But you could argue the designs are starting to feel a little outdated, and while Antec's recent Solo II was an interesting step forward, it felt like a tentative one.

The new P280, on the other hand, is a major evolution. Intended not as a refresh of the P183 but to exist alongside it, the P280 features some radical changes for Antec in terms of design while lowering the cost of entry for the entire line. Is it a smart evolution, or did Antec's engineers split too many decisions in trying to appeal to both silent computing and high performance markets?

Speaking candidly, I think any enthusiast worth his or her salt was more than a little interested when Antec first announced the P280. The Performance One line has practically been an institution for a long time, but Antec's engineers have gone back to the drawing board with the P280 in a very big way, implementing a host of new ideas while adopting some of the modern design cues brought forth by vendors like Corsair and SilverStone. I had a chance to meet with Antec's representatives, including one of the designers of the P280, and it's pretty clear where they were coming from when they made this case: as enthusiasts first who had the opportunity to design the case they wanted to see and use.

Antec P280 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor XL-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25"
Internal 6x 3.5"/2.5", 2x 2.5"
Cooling Front 4x 120mm fan mount (two in the front, two internal behind the drive cage)
Rear 1x 120mm Antec TwoCool exhaust fan
Top 2x 120mm Antec TwoCool exhaust fans
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 9
Front I/O Port Mic and headphone jacks, 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0
Top I/O Port Power and reset buttons
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 13" (Expansion Cards), 180mm (CPU HSF), 300mm (PSU)
Weight 22.3 lbs. (10.2 kg)
Dimensions 20.7" x 9.1" x 22.1" (526mm x 231mm x 562mm)
Price MSRP $139

I'll concede that I haven't been wholly impressed by Antec's enclosures as of late, but the P280 is a completely different beast. It has the DNA of the Performance One series, but internally you'll find a design that diverges radically from its predecessors, and your first clue should be the nine expansion slots. Antec calls the P280 a "super mid-tower," but at this point the lines between a mid-tower and full tower have been so heavily blurred that each enclosure should be taken on a case by case basis (pun wholly intended.) The fact is, the P280 is big, but it has a lot going for it.

In and Around the Antec P280
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  • deararis - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    Oh I want one! Reply
  • rak500 - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    I'm a big fan of Antec products but I must admit I am disapointed in the lack of CP PSU series compatibility!
    Still looks fabulous though, I will most definitely get that for my next build!
    Reply
  • winglerw28 - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    I always remembered holding off on a P182 for cost restrictions and because of the middle bar, and I'm glad I did that because it looks like the P280 is fantastic in comparison. I wish my case could be anywhere near as quiet as some of the systems shown here :P Reply
  • scottmchsd - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    Good looking case Reply
  • as1099 - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    The thing about cases is that they last so long. I'm still using the Antec SL-3000B (i think that's what it was called) which i bought for GBP35 7 years ago. It's witnessed 3 different builds and many upgrades besides.

    However, this very thorough review of an apparently awesome case may be my reason to finally upgrade! The whole cable routing thing will be totally new to me, having not purchased an enclosure since 2004...
    Reply
  • GLudlow - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    I prefer these lower-profile cases to the more visually busy ones. Reply
  • vrmuds - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    Looks pretty cool! Reply
  • bkiserx7 - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    even sexier than my ole P180B...drool Reply
  • Alexvrb - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    This would look great on my mantle! I mean desk! Reply
  • intelpen2002 - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    This case takes best ideas from existing models and combine them with a few original ones to give one of the best of it class. Very good product overall. Reply

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