P18s, the latest bird flu
Arriving in a HUGE box, I knew that the case was going to be massive. The box shows all of the cases features, including noise-deadening panels, 3 tri-cool 120mm fans, screw box and tool-less drive installation.
Once out of the box, the case looks evil. The gun-metal front and sides coupled with the grilled front facia make this case look professional and the lack of any bells and whistles accentuates this. The front features a noise-killing door which is made of the same stuff that the panels are. It’s a mixture of metal, plastic and some secret ingredient that when tapped makes a dull thud.
On the right-hand side of the front, you’ll find the I/O ports which consist of audio in and out, FireWire and two USB ports. Below these is the lock which stops the door opening without the key. Above all this is a tiny power LED. For the hard disc LED’s (yes its plural) you have to open the door.
Here you’ll find the silver power and reset buttons with two angular LED fronts which show HDD usage. There are two hard disc designed for server motherboards (RAID arrays), or direct connection to compatibile HDD’s. While a nice feature, it’ll be wasted on most users. That said, more is always better.
To the left of these buttons, you’ll find a push-to-open fan door which has a removable dust filter behind. Unfortunately there is no fan behind this door, but there are mounting holes for a 120mm fan. Below this door you’ll find another, but this time there is no fan, and no mounting holes. Between these doors you’ll find a space for a floppy disc drive, and above the top door there are four 5.25” drive bays. All of the drive covers are easily removable from the front, but have metal bend out covers behind.
Behind the fan doors there are pull out hard disc cages, which have a pull ring (not a ring pull like a can :) ) which allows you to easily slide them out. The top cage has two slide in HDD clips which have bottom mounting screw holes with Antec’s silicon vibration killers installed. On the back of this cage is a small compartment allowing you to store screws and other small bits and bobs. If you find that the case doesn’t have enough ventilation (unlikely) you can install another 120mm fan on the back of this bay, but you will lose the hard disc space.
The lower cage has space for four more hard disc’s which require sideways mounting, and have more silicon pads. Behind this cage is a tri-cool 120mm fan which sucks air from the front of the case to the power supply. This area is essentially separate from the rest of the case, meaning that hard disc and power supply thermal output won’t heat up anything more valuable.
The power supply mounting area has silicon vibration hating strips, and a cage that straps round the PSU. The rear of the case has mounting holes for having your PSU mounting either way up. Which ever way you choose, there will be enough ventilation courtesy of an inch of space above and below it.
There isn’t much space between the power supply and the middle 120mm fan, meaning larger power supplies like the SilverStone Decathlon won’t fit. However, the middle fan is removable giving you more space.
Tri-cool fans are Antec’s favoured cooling method as they have a variable speed antennae cable which allows you to choose low, medium or high. There are three of these in the case, with two more at the top rear of the P182. The top mounted fan sucks air in, while the rear fan blows air out. Unfortunately, the top fan doesn’t have a dust filter unlike the front of the case which could be an issue.
If you want your PC to go faster, you can install the P182 spoiler which provides more downforce allowing for better traction. Actually, it just makes the case look a little better from the top and the case will be fine with or without it.
The rear of the case has some interesting additions that you won’t see on many other cases. Most noticeably, there are two water cooling pipe grommets already installed, allowing for hardcore water cooling rigs to be used without pipes dangling out of space PCI spaces.
At the very top of the case, there are two switches which are actually the tri-cool fan control switches, allowing you to change the speed of the fans without opening the side of the case. Below this, you’ll find no less than seven PCI spaces each with there own reusable screwed-in blanking plates. These have holes in which provide better ventilation or a place to save money by Antec.
The motherboard area has preinstalled motherboard spacers which are ridiculously tight meaning that they aren’t going to come loose when trying to remove your motherboard. At the top of this space are two holes, and one on the right. These are for the cable management system.
Taking off the other side panel, you’ll find that you have a good 2-3cm of space to route cables. In fact, Antec also provide you with adjustable cable ties to route the cables in the best way. This means that there won’t be any ugly and airflow slowing cables over your motherboard.
The bottom of the case has four rubber feet which grip pretty much anything and stop your PC moving around.