Now, the twin power supplies. When this idea was explained to me at Channel Expo I was a little bemused why two were needed. They pump out a combined wattage of 1200W which high-end power supplies can do needing only one kettle plug (you’ll need two for this case). The 650W power supply has the usual ATX 20+4pin connector, and the not so usual 6+2pin PCI-e connectors. There are two of these connectors, and another two standard 6pin PCI-e plugs.
The second 550W power supply amusingly only has molex and SATA plugs meaning it can really only power HDDs and Optical drives. This means that it’ll only ever use about 50W load ever. Unless you decide to use a peltier or similar, you’ll never use the PSU’s full potential and hence the efficiency of the unit will – more than likely – be horrendous. It is modular, but there is only a single modular cable provided with the case (which has more molex connectors on). Whether or not there was a mistake, and more cables were meant to be sent will remain to be seen however.
The current set up means that you could have two 8800 Ultras installed, which pull around 200W a piece. That 400W already used of the 650W power supply, leaving 250W for your motherboard/CPU. While this will be enough, it makes no sense to have a 550W connected to a maximum of four 5.25” drives, six HDD’s and the case fans. That’ll be around 50W at the very best. Why not have 2 PCI-e connectors on each power supply? You could easily end up with a scenario where one power supply is critically overloaded while the second is barely doing anything. Fortunately, they have added the modular connectivity on the 550W PSU which means that in the future Antec could easily sell PCI-e cables to be used with the power supply removing this issue and balancing the load.
Another problem I have with this setup is that the two power supplies use 80mm fans to cool themselves. If a single larger PSU had been used, a larger fan could be installed lowering the noise output and undoubtedly improving the cooling. Also, you have to connect the two power supplies together with the Neo-link plugs. This is just a wiring of the ground and green (signal) wire to the other power supply, which is how you wou
d turn on a PSU without a PC (incidentally, tutorial here). It’s simple and does mean that you can easily remove the power supplies and use your own, or just use one. You are no way tied into using the two supplied PSU’s if you don’t wish.
The power supplies are nothing special in terms of a standalone unit, and the 550W power supply doesn’t have an ATX connector meaning that it can’t be used in anything but this case. There are no quick release molex’s, although the cables are nicely braided together.
Antec have added lots of silicon vibration killing strips to where the power supplies are mounted stopping the puny 80mm fans from passing their vibrations onto the case itself.
Looking at the bottom of the case, you’ll find that they removed the ridiculously tacky plastic cable cover, and replaced it with a flip-up removable metal door which is a lot cleaner and looks MUCH better. This flap makes the bottom half of the case separate from the rest, meaning that the power supplies won’t add any heat to the system. You’ll mainly need this flap if you wish to remove the power supplies as you can use the rear cable management for cables.
Speaking of which, removing the other side panel you’ll find that there is enough space to route thick cables around the back. There are also hooks and adjustable cable-ties to make sure that the hidden cables stay in place. To stop power cables arching over your motherboard, there are holes up the top and the side of the motherboard tray (which isn’t removable to strengthen the case according to Antec) which allow you to route ATX connectors.
As with the P182, there are two rubber watercooling pipe grommets on the back of the case which will be a godsend to any H2O cooling lover. Next to this are seven removable PCI blanking plates complete with their own screws, allowing you to replace them if you decide that you have an unneeded add-in card. Above this, there is another 120mm fan – as with the P182 – and on the back of the case above this, there are now three switches which allow you to control the top two and the rear fan speed, I say rear, but Antec obviously mean RERA…
The case is accommodating and will pretty much fit any motherboard that you throw at it, including extended ATX (eATX) boards up to 12” by 13”.