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 But you could argue the designs are starting to feel a little outdated, and while Antec's recent Solo II was an interesting step forward, it felt like a tentative one.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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  • geniekid - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    You're right. The temperature of the air around the CPU is probably the peak temp in the entire case.

    Because hot air rises and there are two fans on top, I think the CPU cooler is kind of fighting against the flow of air in its current configuration. I wonder if a CPU cooler blowing upwards would have an improvement in this scenario.
  • Strunf - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I don't think it would matter, natural convection doesn't have much to say when you have fans creating a flow of air, also if you turn the radiator by 90° then you'll be "aspirating" the air around the graphics card and that's counter productive.
  • Folterknecht - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Take a Corsair H50 or something alike. Mount the the fans in the rear of the case (push/pull) and you ll get much better cpu temperatures - promised ;-)
  • Folterknecht - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    addition: The fans should blow/pull the cool from the outside
  • welshy992 - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

  • futurepastnow - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    This may replace my old P150, which now has some noticeable chips in its paint, and is awfully cramped inside now that I have a real video card.
  • Belard - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Hope you don't just give them money.... they have enough. Give it to me.

    And then I'll buy the case and send you photos.
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I think I missed a trend. I have a Gigabyte P55M-UD4 and the CPU fan control is very adequate, silent in idle and good cooling under load when I want to. Are other mainboards from GB so bad concerning fan control? Because it's been mentioned in a few articles here and in comments.

    Other than that, good article and good case. Though too big for me. :-)
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    Don't know.. been using 5 different Gigabyte boards (home + work) during the last ~2 years. Fan control via PWM and SpeedFan has been fine, just not with their own utilities.

  • ehume - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    I quite agree. Read the manuals of Gigabyte boards and you learn that they control fans through both PWM and Voltage variation. There is one exception I saw (PWM only), but on all the rest, Gigabyte boards sure beat my PWM-only Asus board. Of course, you must enter BIOS to set this up, and if you haven't read your manual or thoroughly explored your BIOS you might miss it.

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