Antec P183 Review

gotdamojo06 - 2009-09-03 15:08:56 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: September 23, 2009
Price: $139.95

Introduction:

Are you currently in the market for a new case? Well with every case purchase, you are going to be comparing the price of the case to the performance and seeing what kind of features you are going to be able to get with that case, not to mention the overall look of the case. It seems that the compartments inside of the case known as "cooling chambers" seems to be the "coolest" feature that you can find inside of a case out on the current market. Antec has taken that concept and used it inside of their new P183 case in their Performance One lineup. The whole concept behind the cooling chambers is that you are going to be able to split up the components inside of your case to help keep the temperature of these components lower without worrying about heat from other parts heating them up. I have never had the opportunity to test a case that used this feature, so I am excited to see not only how it performs, but how it looks and how easy it is to install the hardware inside. So without any more delay, it's time to take a look at the new Antec P183 computer case.

 

Closer Look: 

When you first take a look at the packaging that the case comes inside, you are going to see how nice and clean it looks; it has a certain professional right down to the point look to it with a brilliant color scheme of black and yellow to attract your attention. The front of the package shows a nice picture of the Antec P183 case with the Antec logo and "Believe it." slogan printed below it in the upper left hand corner. In the lower left hand corner, you are going to see the model number, P183, with the simple description, "Advanced Mid Tower Case" printed just below. There is a yellow bar next to that separating the Performance One slogan "Pure Performance" which is going to sum up in two words what you should expect. When you take a look at the back of the package, you are going to find a whole list of specifications and features in three different languages to help describe and sell the case. The lower right hand corner is where you are going to see all of the different ratings that the case has received. The two sides of the case are going to help describe the case even more, the first side has a picture of the front of the case showing you how clean and organized it is, above that the Pure Performance slogan is explained. The other side is going to show a picture of the Antec P183 without its side panel on, allowing you to see the two different chambers inside of the case. There are a few of the features of the case listed above the image.

 

 

 

 

  

 


 

 

 

 

 

When you go to pull the Antec P183 out of its packaging, you are going to see that Antec has covered the case up quite well to help protect it during the shipping process. Not only do they have the molded styrofoam in front and the back of the case to keep it from getting any large dents or scratches from being shipped, they also have a piece of cardboard around the center of the case to keep any more minor scratches or dents from occuring. Once you get the outer protection off of the case, you are going to see that Antec has gone even further with the protection of their case, as they have placed sticky clear plastic wrap on the case to keep anything from scratching the paint off.

 

 

Now that we know how the Antec P183 is packaged, it's time to take a nice close look at the actual build of the case and see what she is made of. 

Closer Look:  

The Antec P183 case has a very sleek and clean look to it, and it almost takes a very similar design and color scheme to the newer appliances that you may get for your house. The front of the Antec P183 has a nice solid front door that does cover the power and reset button, and has the stainless steel color to it with black accent coloring. There is a front IO panel that is visible on the lower right hand side of the front, allowing you to plug in your favorite accessories with out having to reach around the back of the case. The top right-hand corner of the door is where you are going to find the Antec logo imprinted in the material. This gives it a very clean look without adding any more attention to the case. Along the right side of the door that covers the whole front, you are going to see air holes that are going to allow air to easily flow though the front door and inside of the case. The back of the case looks very similar to most of the cases out on the market. There is a PSU hole at the bottom of the case, and a large fan at the top above the rear IO panel. Below the rear IO panel, you have your expansion slots. There are air holes inside of the slot covers to allow for more airflow out of the case. Sitting right on top of the expansion slots is where you will find two holes with rubber grommets that will allow you to feed tubing to the inside of the case for a liquid cooling setup. Both sides of the case are very simplistic in design, there are no side windows, no handles to grab on and no fans installed on either of them, they are completely colored with the black and stainless steel color scheme, completing the clean look of the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The side panel for the Antec P183 computer chassis is very simplistic as I had mentioned before; there are no handles to take away from the clean look of the case, nor is there a side window to allow you to view the inside of your case, which can either add to the overall cleanliness of the case or take away from it, depending on either if you take the time to complete some good wire management or if the manufacturer took the time to design the window well. The other thing that is absent from the side panel that most cases out on the market have, is a fan to either suck in fresh cooler air or expel the warm air building up inside of the case. The inside of the side panel is also very simplistic - it is colored black and while, with the center being white and the outer edges being black.

 

 

Since we have the side panel of the Antec P183 off already, it seems like a logical idea to take a look at how Antec has setup the P183 and where the "cooling chambers" are located and how they have been exasperated and closed off from other areas of the case.

 

The Antec P183 does come packaged with an accessories kit as well as some directions in a plastic bag. When you open up the white box that contains all of the accessories, you are going to see quite a few different things. This includes four pairs of 5.25" drive tooless installation clips as well as a pair of 3.5" drive installation clips, three re-useable cable ties to help keep the inside of your case nice and neat looking, a clip that you can use to mount a fan in the middle of the case, as well as a bag of screws that you may need to install your motherboard and other accessories inside of your case, if you do not have any others laying around. The user manual is quite simple. Antec has pledged to go green, so they show a basic diagram of the case and redirect you to their site for the full user manual in electronic form. There is a pinout guide for the different cables for the front IO panel, as well as a warranty sheet explaining the three year waranty that comes with the case.

 

 

 

Now that we know the basic layout of the Antec P183, it's time to take an even closer look at the parts of the case that are going to allow it to function properly.

 

Closer Look:   

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.

Specifications:

Model
P183
Case Type
Mid-Tower
Dimensions
514 x 205 x 507mm
 
 
Cooling System

Rear: 120mm x 25mm TriCool™ fan (included)
Top: 120mm x 25mm TriCool™ fan
(included)
Lower Front Chamber: 120mm fan (optional)
Upper Front Chamber: 120mm fan (optional)
Middle Chamber: 120mm fan (optional)

 
Drive Bays

6 Internal 3.5"
1 External 3.5"
4 External 5.25"

Material
0.8mm rolled steel
Expansion Slots
7 Slots
Power Supply
Not Included
I/O Panel USB 2.0 x 4; Mic x 1; HD Audio + AC'97 x 1; eSATA x 1
Motherboard Support
Mini-ITX, microATX, Standard ATX

 

Features:

 

 

All information courtesy of Antec @ http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=MTgwOA==

Testing:

To properly test the Antec P183 computer chassis, I will be testing for both the idle temperatures as well as the full load temperatures on some of the commonly stressed components. All of the idle tests will be measured after the computer has been sitting for 30 minutes with little to 0% CPU usage shown in the Windows Task Manager. For the CPU full load test, I will be running the Prime95 stress tester for a full hour set to a blend mode stressing both the CPU and RAM set at the normal priority. I will be using Real Temp 3.0 to read the CPU temperatures; Chipset full load temperatures will be taken at this time as well using the software included with the MSI Eclipse SLI motherboard.  For a GPU full load, I will be running 3DMark Vantage back to back and reading the temperatures with RivaTuner. The hard drive is going to be stressed by runing a defragment through Windows Vista, maximum temperatures will be displayed through HDTune. All of the below tempeartures are in degrees Celsius.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Case:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow! the Antec P183 was able to perform quite well when it was stacked up against the other two cases. It was able to tie the Cheiftec BL-01B in the CPU full load test when the fan speeds were set to high, though the GPU temperatures were not quite as good. However the placement of the GPU in relation to the exhaust fans were not that great. The hard drive being placed in the lower chamber with the PSU was a good idea, as it was able to stay well below the other cases, and even at low fan speeds, which did not have much effect on the HDD temperature. The chipset temperatures were in-line with the other cases, as they did not vary much at all.

 

Conclusion:

So I will go back to my original question that I asked - are you looking for a new case for your gaming rig or maybe even a new case for your workstation? Whatever you are looking to use the chassis for, you should take a nice hard look at the Antec P183 case. Not only does the P183 look great, it does do a great job at cooling your components. During the testing of the case, it was able to beat out the Thermaltake Armor Extreme Edition as well as the Cheiftec BL-01B. In the chipset and hard drive tests, it fell short on the GPU testing as well as the CPU testing. However I can only imagine that if you were to install the other three fans that the case has room and spots for, you would be able to see a dramatic decrease in these temperatures. When it comes to looks, I have not seen such a well thought-out case in quite some time. Antec has thought about every possible way you would want to configure the inside of your case and provided room for you to hide all of your cables to clean up the mess of wires you may have laying around inside, which will help increase airflow. The only problem that I had with the wire management was when I was trying to hide the 8 pin CPU power cable, as this cable was just simply not long enough to run along the back of the case due to how tall it is and the placement of the PSU itself. The overall design of the case is very beautiful in my eyes - I love the black and stainless steel look to it, as it reminds me of my refrigerator. I was somewhat disappointed that Antec did not place a side panel window on the case, though after thinking about it, I do not know how well it would have looked with the way the case was built, designed, and colored.  When it comes to storage space for HDDs, you will find six places to install a 3.5" hard drive, and all of them have vibration reducing washers installed to help keep the noise down inside your case. The front door opens at a 270° angle, and clicks into place when fully opened. This can make it nice to look at from the front if you do not like the idea of having a door covering your drive bay, while still giving you the security of being able to close it and lock the door to keep children out of there.

If you are looking for a new case to house your components, I would strongly suggest taking a look at the Antec P183 computer case. I was able to achieve some good-looking temperatures and the overall build quality of the case is excellent. You will be able to hide just about all of your PSUs cables that maybe messing up the look of the inside of your current enclosure solution. Antec has packed many awesome features inside of a nice looking chassis without going overboard and making it too cluttered.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: