I figured today would be a good day to post my review of the Antec P182 case as yesterday I posted my review of the Antec TruePower Quattro 850Watt Power Supply. The P182 has won numerous awards and become a very popular case among many, many people, and for good reason it's an excellent quality case that we've come to expect from the folks at Antec. It's almost a perfect case, and for some it might be the perfect PC case… So read on to learn more about the Antec P182 and to see what I learned about this case from my time with it...
Review: Antec P182 Super Mid Tower PC Case
Reviewed by: Kristofer Brozio AkA Dracos
Tech Specs,Features or the Basic Info:
Advanced Super Mid Tower
The new standard in performance cases
Introducing the P182, the newest edition in Antec’s continually improving Performance One design. More innovations have been built in, such as an external fan control for the top and rear fans, a special gun metal black finish, cable organizers and even rubber grommeted ports for externally mounted liquid cooling radiators. All of these improvements build upon the great features of the original P180: the triple layer side panels and door design, and the upper and lower chamber structure to isolate power supply heat from the rest of your components. The P182 truly is the new standard by which all other performance cases will be measured.
Attractive gun metal black finish
Dual chambers structure: The power supply (not included) is located in the lower chamber to isolate heat from the system and lower system noise
Special three-layer side panels and front door (aluminum, plastic, aluminum) dampen system generated noise, making this one of the quietest cases available
0.8mm cold rolled steel for durability used through the majority of the chassis, 1.0mm cold rolled steel around the 4x HDD area
11 Drive Bays:
-External 4 x 5.25”; 1 x 3.5”
-Internal 6 x 3.5” for HDD
-7 Expansion Slots
– 1 rear 120mm TriCool Fan (standard)
– 1 top 120mm TriCool fan (standard)
– 1 lower chamber 120mm TriCool Fan (standard)
– 1 front 120mm fan (optional)
– 1 middle 120mm fan (optional) to cool the VGA
External fan control on the rear panel for the top and rear fans in the upper chamber
Motherboard: Up to Standard ATX (12” x 9.6”)
Double hinge door designed to open up to 270º
Rubber grommeted ports on the rear for liquid-cooling tubes allow you to mount external liquid-cooling hardware
Front-mounted ports provide convenient connections:
– 2 x USB 2.0
– 1x IEEE 1394 (FireWire, i.Link)
– Audio In/Out (HDA & AC’97)
Cable organizers behind motherboard tray minimize cable clutter
– 21.3" (H) x 8.1" (W) x 19.9" (D)
– 52cm (H) x 21cm (W) x 51cm (D)
A Better Look at Things
-Outside of Case}
A Better Look at Things
-Outside of Case:
As with any Antec product the packaging is very professionally done with lots of pictures and all the features and specs listed on the box. The case itself is packaged very well, with lots of protection to make sure it gets to its' destination in perfect condition.
After unwrapping the case I found that Antec even coved all the sides with protective plastic as well to further protect the P182.
The P182 itself is a gunmetal gray coloring on the panels and black plastic for the remainder of the external housing.
On the top of the case, towards the back we find a 120mm exhaust fan pre-mounted, Antec included a cover for this which we'll see a bit later.
The front of the case features ventilation slots running down both sides of the door, the door itself is cut-out to accommodate the front panel connections and lock, while the top right corner of the door has the Antec name. Yes the door can be locked closed with the included keys, and it also features magnets to hold it closed as well.
The door opens to expose the four 5.25” drive bays, ventilation doors, and 3.5” bay, the door also opens fully and sits flat against the side of the case for much easier access to the bays for installation of your drives.
The bottom of the P182 features silicon feet that held to dampen vibrations and make the case quieter overall.
The back of the case has the standard setup, but the power supply is located on the bottom and there are a couple other differences as well.
On the very top of the back of the case we find two small switches, these are fan controllers to help control the speeds of the top 120mm fan and the rear 120mm fan as well.
In the middle of the case we not only find the standard PCI slots but two rubber grommeted ports that can be used for tubing for a liquid cooling system.
The very bottom of the case is where the PSU will be installed, Antec included enough holes so that the PSU can be mounted either way to insure compatibility.
A Better Look at Things
-Inside of Case}
A Better Look at Things
-Inside of Case:
The first thing you'll notice when taking a look inside of the Antec P182 case is that the doors are thick and actually fairly heavy. These are triple layered doors and feature sound dampening insulation in between the layers.
Once the door is fully off we can see inside the case, there appears to be quite a bit of room in there. There are two hard drive cages, one located in the middle and one on the bottom that can be removed for easy installation of your hard drives.
The two fans that we saw on the outside of the case are actually pretty close together when we look at them from the inside view, they will be pulling quite a bit of air across your CPU and should help to keep it nice and cool.
The four 5.25” bays use a rail mounting system that isn't quite tool-less, you have to screw the rails to your devices then slide them into the P182.
The middle section is where the first removable hard drive tray is located, here you can also install an optional 120mm cooling fan to help cool your video cards. In this HDD cage you can install only two hard drive with a shelving system that uses special screws and silicone grommets to help keep your drives nice and quiet. On the back side of the cage is a small plastic box that can be used to store extra screws or anything else that will fit.
The hard drive cage at the bottom of the case can hold four more HDDs, these are mounted vertically, and sort of just 'hang out' in the cage using the same special screws and silicone grommets to help keep them quiet. Once the cage is out we can see there is also ventilation here as well, but no where to mount a fan like the center section, there is a fan installed midway at the bottom of the case that utilizes these vents to pull air through across the drives and to the PSU.
A Better Look at Things
-Inside of Case pg2}
A Better Look at Things
-Inside of Case pg2:
The Antec P182 is a dual chamber case, meaning that the power supply is essentially separated from the rest of the case keeping it's heat away from your components and keeping temperatures of all cooler. The P182 features an interesting system to allow your power cables up through the bottom of the P182, there are two overlapping sliding doors, one large and one small. The larger door is located above the power supply, while the smaller door is located above the front hard drive cage. They can be adjusted to allow cables through and tightened to hold them in place. Of course we also find the standard front panel connection with the exception of there are two HDD indicator connection wires, yes the Antec P182 has two HDD LED indicators on it.
The bottom is where the PSU is installed, this of course we've already covered earlier, but here are the pictures. The area where the PSU is installed features a removable cage for your power supply, and a raised, cut-out base that the power supply sits on. The base and side of the cage have strips of silicone attached as well to not only help dampen vibrations but also protect your PSU from scratches. Directly in front of the PSU is the 120mm fan that I mentioned earlier, it can be position on either side of the divider which is helpful with installing larger sized power supplies.
With the right side door removed from the case we can see that Antec included adjustable belt-style straps to help hide or hold any wires down.
Of course there was an accessory package included as well, in it we find the drive rails, extra belt straps, screws, and the cover for the 120mm fan located on the top of the case. The cover just slides and clips into place very easily.
Installation, Testing and Comparison
Now that that's all out of the way, let's get a system installed and see how much room we've got and how the install goes…
In the time I had the Antec P182, I actually has three systems installed in it with varying setups, so we can really tell just how much room there is in there.
The first thing I did was to install a couple hard drives in the middle hard drive cage. This is easily done, just a couple screws for the hard drive and slide the tray into the cage, then the cage goes back into the case. You can see in the last picture below that the hard drive do stick out of the cage and are very close to my two BFG 7900GT OC video cards, it was a very tight fit, and I had to do some creative wiring to get everything in there without straining the cards.
I mentioned earlier about how the 120mm cooling fan that is located at the bottom of the case can be switched around to accommodate larger power supplies, well I had to do this for the Antec TruePower Quattro 850Watt power supply that I just recently reviewed. Without being able to move the fan around, I would have not been able to get the power supply in or at least not gotten the power cables connected without a lot of struggling.
Here's a view from the back of the case where I ran a lot of the wires, it is very nice that there is room to run the wires back there, and the tie downs are helpful. One thing though about the tie-downs is that they broke on me after a couple uses, for someone who doesn't change their system around a lot it's not a big deal but it you do upgrade frequently you might want to invest in zipties.
Here's a shot of my system with the Ultra X3 1000Watt PSU installed, same thing here, I needed to switch the fan around to make the PSU fit. I also added fan a fan grill to the fan as well as I didn't like how close the cables got to the spinning fan blades, if you've ever had a wires stuck in a fan then you'll understand my concerns.
Here's a picture of the bottom of the case, using the doors to route the power cables up through the case:
Here's a picture of an installation that includes an ASUS motherboard with a large Connect3d X1800GTO video card outfitted with an Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 VGA cooler:
And here's a closer shot of the drives and the video cards, you can see I had to zip tie the IDE cable back tightly as to not stress my video cards. If you use SATA drives, it's not as much of a problem, but there are larger video cards out there than those 7900GTs.
Here's a shot of my latest installation in the P182, an EVGA nf680i motherboard with two EVGA 8600GTS video cards, I decided to just install my hard drives in the bottom HDD cage and leave the middle cage out altogether, it was just easier that way.
I did install another Antec branded 120MM fan into the middle section for the added cooling benefits. The P182 does feature doors that open in the front, behind those doors are air filters that I found become dirty very quickly, and dust accumulates on the doors themselves as well. The filters do easily pop out for weekly cleanings…
Well you can see I essentially installed three very different systems into the Antec P182, with a couple different power supplies as well. It will all depend on your configuration what you need to do to get everything in there. The Antec is a versatile case and it's nice that the cables can be routed behind the mobo and the HDD cages can be removed, this very much helps in setting up any system.
I can say that it's nice to have a power supply with very long cables so you can route them up the back of the case so they are hidden and out of the way, once everything in installed inside the P182, space becomes quite limited and a bit tight to work in.
Depending on the size of your video cards you might not want to use the center hard drive cage as it can be frustrating to get everything installed.
One other small thing to note is that there are only four 5.25” bays in the front of the case, some might not care too much about this but I normally need five bays for the setup of my main system, so I had to compromise to use the P182 case and dig out a 3.5” bay card reader to use instead of my 5'25” multifunction front panel I like to use. In the setups here for this review I used two dvd/rw drives and two power mobile racks for two of my hard drives which took up all four bays.
On a high note, the two BFG 7900GT OC video cards are extremely loud with their stock fans installed when they are running on load, the Antec P182 did a great job of muffling the sound and helping to very much quiet their annoying sounds.
The Antec 120mm fans that are included are very quiet when set to low speed, but once you set them any higher they get a bit annoying, and depending where your case is you'll want to keep them on low. Keeping them on low though does still adequately cool you case, I would highly recommend installing the optional 120MM fan in the center of the case though, it really does improve cooling. I have my case on my desktop so like it to remain as quiet as possible so not to annoy me.
The Antec P182 case is extremely versatile and well designed, it has tons of features that everyone can appreciate and utilize.
No case is perfect, at least that I have yet to find, and I think the reason for that is just personal preferences and the configurations of each and every system imaginable is just impossible to determine.
The Antec P182 is as close to perfect as I have seen though, its' design takes from all of the best cases out there to provide the best possible user experience and quality design possible. The Antec engineers and designers need to be applauded for their brilliant work on this case…
DragonSteelMods gives the Antec P182 a 4.5 out of 5 score and our Recommended Award as well.
-Very well made and designed
-Quiets noisy systems
-Lots of space for drives/storage internally
-Tons of features
-Quiet fans that can be controlled
-Larger power supplies are a bit difficult to install
-Larger video cards might be a problem/tight fitting with hard drives installed
-Cable tie downs on back are not that sturdy
-Only four 5.25” external bays
-Plastic part of front USB port broke after a few days use
-Filters and case vents need cleaned often as dust accumulates fast