Antec P183 Reviewgotdamojo06 - September 23, 2009
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The expansion slots on the Antec P183 do not utilize the tool-less installation feature - they only have a single case screw to hold them in, which can be better at times as you know it will be secure and won't give out. The covers do have a nice feature on them that more and more cases are starting to have as well, as they have slits in them that will allow air to flow out of them, which will result in lower air temperatures inside of the case itself. Right above the expansion slots, there are two large holes that have a rubber grommet installed in each of them, and this is where you are going to run a rubber tube in and out of the case if you had a liquid cooling setup inside and needed more room for either a reservoir or a radiator. I am not too keen on the placement of the holes, as I would have preferred them at the top of the case or at the bottom of the case. However where Antec has placed them, you should not run into any problems installing a liquid cooling system. To the right of the expansion slots is where you are going to find one of the 120mm fans that is installed in the case as an exhaust and this is placed right behind where the CPU cooler is going to be located, which will help pull some of the heat off the heatsink and out of the case, allowing the air inside to cool. Below the 120mm fan, you are going to find the rear IO panel shield that is packaged with the P183. On the top of the case right by the other 120mm fan, you are going to find a second one also in the exhaust position, which will be again pulling more heat off of the CPU's heatsink resulting in lower ambient temperatures inside of the case itself. At the bottom of the motherboard tray, you are going to see what is going to separate the PSU from the rest of the components inside of the case. Antec has done this to help keep some of the heat the PSU creates from warming up any other components. They did however leave a few holes that will allow you to run the power cords from the PSU to the rest of your components.
The Antec P183 has quite a few different places for you to install your drives in, three to be exact. There is the one up towards the top of the case, this is where you are going to be able to install your 5.25" drives such as your fan controllers or optical drives. There are a total of four spots to install them and they do use the tool-less installation features using the clips that come packaged with the case. Directly below that is where you are going to be able to install three of your 3.5" drives. Two of them are located inside of a removable rack, which have their own pieces that the drives get installed on to secure them in the case. There is a third directly below that where you are going to be able to install a floppy drive or a fan controller that uses the 3.5" form factor. The third location for installing your drives is down inside of the PSU chamber. You have enough room here to install up to four internal 3.5" drives, and this cage is also removable.
When you take out the two removable cages for the 3.5" drives, you can see exactly how they are installed. The larger one uses screws to secure the drive to it, however the smaller has two racks that slide out that you install your drive on to easily remove the drive if you wish. Both of the hard drive cages do have some thick rubber pieces that the hard drive is going to rest on, which is not only going to keep it from getting scratched up by the case, it is also going to help keep the amount of vibration noises coming from the inside of your case to a minimum. On the left hand side of the smaller cage, you are going to find a small black box that has a lid on top of it. This box is where you are going to be able to hide a few screws, jumpers, cable ties, or anything else that you may want to keep inside of your case so you are never with out.
The Antec P183 chassis comes with two 120mm fans installed, and they are already positioned in the exhaust position to push any of hot air building up inside of your case around the CPU's heatsink right out. The two fans are wired together and meet in the middle to a switch that is located on the back of the case towards the top edge. There are two switches on this unit, each controls its own fan and allows you to easily set the speed of each one of the fans. The three options are labeled as "L-M-H." The fans that are included are Antec's 20mm x 25mm TriCool™ fan, these fans operate at DC 12V, they run at (L-M-H settings) 1200, 1600, and 2000 RPMs, giving off 39, 56, 79 CFM at 25, 28, and 30 dBAs.
The front IO panel is located right by the front door of the case on the right hand edge about 3/4 of the way down. On this IO panel you are going to find (top down) a lock, one eSATA port, two USB 2.0 ports and a microphone as well as an audio out jack. The power button, reset button and HD activity light are all located under the lip of the door, which will keep them protected from accidentally being bumped and turning your computer off with out you intentionally doing it. The front door has a double hinge to it, which is going to allow you to open the door at a 270° angle, putting it flat with the side panel, this does not have much of a practical purpose, however it does make it look cool. All of the front covers have large slits in them to let the air easily pass through them, to combat the dust from coming inside of the case. Antec has put wire mesh behind all of them, allowing the dust to easily collect there and not inside of your case. There are two spots for 120mm fans located on the front of the case. They are both directly behind both of the 3.5" drive bay cages, which is going to allow for extra cooling of your hard dives. These spots have doors on the front of the case that can be opened up to easily get to the screw holes so you can install the fans without much effort at all. Also it does make it easier to clean the dust off that collects in the wire mesh.
If you have a front IO panel and buttons up there, you have to have cables coming from the panel that plug into your motherboard, the Antec P183 does come with the USB ports on the front, so there is a USB cable that runs to the motherboard, along with a SATA cable for the eSATA port, and the two Audio plugs, one for HDAudio and one for AC '97 audio (standard definition). There are also the power switch, reset switch, power LED and HDD LED cables that must be plugged into the motherboard from the front IO panel.
The installation of my i7 setup inside of the Antec P183 was actually quite delightful. I did not run into any problems, the only thing that I did run into a problem with was the 8 pin CPU power cable. With the length of this cable, I was not able to run it behind the motherboard to try and hide it, which in any instance wouldn't be that big of a deal. However I am not very happy with the fact that I was able to hide just about every other cable inside of the case somewhere except for this one. The wire management inside of the P183 was just done beautifully. The fact that the PSU has its own compartment down at the bottom of the case does make it easier to hide all of the unused wires behind it. Other than the 8 pin CPU power cable, I don't think there is any complaints that I have about the installation of anything inside of the case.
Now that we know what the case looks like, everything is installed, it is time to take a look at the specifications of the case and then stress some components to see how cool they can run inside.