Antec follows up on a classic with the P280

Computex — Antec's P180 has been incredibly popular with PC enthusiasts. In the years since its initial release, new versions have offered little tweaks to the same basic design. Now, Antec is putting the finishing touches on the P180's successor, which is appropriately named the P280. We got some hands-on time with the latest prototype earlier today, and it looks very impressive indeed.

More than anything else, the P280 seems to be all about attention to detail. Antec made the socket cut-out in the motherboard tray as large as possible to accommodate a range of motherboard designs, and it's been careful to ensure that the hole doesn't compromise the strength of the tray itself. Additional cut-outs line the internals to facilitate clean cable routing, and they'll all be laced with rubber grommets in the final version. There's also enough room behind the motherboard tray to accommodate beefy 24-pin power cables.

Quiet noise levels remain a priority, and Antec is using a new sound-dampening material on the P280's side panels. As one might expect, the case will come equipped with several low-noise fans. The filters have have been designed for easy access, and a new tool-free retention mechanism will secure 5.25" drives. The case is tall enough to swallow ATX-XL motherboards loaded with four double-wide graphics cards, too.

Antec is still putting the finishing touches on the P280, but the final version should be ready in a few months. Surprisingly, we were told that it could cost as little as $140.

In addition to the P280, Antec had another new case out on display: the Solo II. This case is quite a bit simpler, but you still get a generous array of cut-outs in the motherboard tray and side panels laced with sound-dampening material. Despite the Solo II's traditional layout, which puts the power supply up top, Antec has tweaked the mounting bracket to allow PSUs to be oriented right-side up or upside down. The latter config is supposed to keep the PSU cooler by drawing in air from outside of the case.

Like the Sonata series, the Solo II's side and top panels are doused with glossy black paint. Instead of plastic up front, the bezel is crafted from anodized aluminum. The mix of flat and glossy finishes looks a little off to me, but then I've long felt the same way about the Sonata, and that didn't stop me from buying several of 'em.

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