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 But you could argue the designs are starting to feel a little outdated, and while Antec's recent Solo II was an interesting step forward, it felt like a tentative one.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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  • worde - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    I had already decided on the Fractal Define XL when I saw this case and now I'm not sure anymore. I have some issues though. I was wondering if it's possible to remove the fans on the top and cover the inside of the top panel with noise insulation. Furthermore the insulation on the side panels looks so thin I'm not sure how effective it can be, is there room to add a thicker layer?

    Otherwise this one looks like a winner, spacious, low noise, subdued looks. I seriously can't decide between this and the XL.
    Reply
  • TheStork - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    Well, this is certainly going to give the Corsair 600T some competition. I bet that's why I see the 600T $120 USD AR at Newegg. Reply
  • NatoR812 - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    Nice Case, great desing, black sharp. Reply
  • harun90 - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - link

    Just another comment. Maybe I'll finally get lucky :) Reply
  • Teizo - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - link

    I got the original P-180 when it first came out and I loved it. The chambered design was nice, but it did make assembly a bit tedious. This new spacious design is really nice. Reply
  • HeavyDuty - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - link

    Looks pretty good, but perhaps a bit larger than what I'm looking for right now. Reply
  • Gerr - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    Debating between this P280 case, the R3, and the Thor V2 for a new case this Xmas to replace my Antec 900 that is too much of a dust magnet. Would love to see a comparison done between these 3...;) Reply
  • Mr-Happy - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    Doesn't look like an evolution per se but is certainly a nice choice for multiple applications. Wouldn't mind stacking one of my servers in there and truly giving the airflow a test with it loaded up with 15K SAS drives. Reply
  • Curt4Computers - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    Awesome. Looks like just what I need. Reply
  • faxbandit - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - link

    Sweet case!! Reply

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