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Outward appearances
One of the advantages of the P280's port and button layout is that everything is accessible with the front door closed. When the time comes to get at something behind the door, it smoothly swings open to the left. The new symmetrical motif of the front face would seem to be ideally suited to a more versatile dual-hinge design, but Antec decided to respect the traditions of NASCAR and keep things turning in one direction.

On the upside, the door rotates a full 270° to rest flat against the side panel. Although some magnetic latching action would have been appreciated to keep the door tight to the side panel in wide-open mode, it tends to stay put when the case is sitting on a flat surface.

Hidden behind the door are three external 5.25" drive bays but no external 3.5" bays. Below the bays sit the front intake vents, which are covered by a removable dust filter with a striking honeycomb theme.

With acoustic material lining the front door as well as both side panels, the P280 carries on the noise-dampening heritage of its elder. However, instead of replicating the multi-layered composite panels of the old model, Antec applies sheets of more conventional acoustic foam to the inner surfaces of the P280's steel walls. This incredibly dense material is barely thicker than a credit card, and it will be interesting to see if the two-layer approach is effective at not only absorbing system noise, but also minimizing vibration. The P180's composite panels were designed to avoid resonating with the whirring of mechanical components like hard drives, which can make the side panels of uninsulated cases vibrate with an audible hum.

The P280's underbelly has four sturdy rubber feet and a removable dust filter for the power supply's intake fan. Notably, the dust filter is inserted from the left-hand side of the case rather than from the back. This 90° deviation from the norm may seem mundane, but now that I've had a taste of this common-sense arrangement, going back to rear-loaded filters seems a bit silly. Perhaps, in future revisions, Antec can take this design one step further and allow the filter to be removed from either side of the chassis.

Around back, the P280 is business as usual. There's plenty of ventilation, and two grommeted holes provide paths for liquid-cooling tubes to pass through. The switches above the 120-mm exhaust fan allow up to four system fans to be toggled between high and low speed settings.

For some reason, Antec decided against bundling matching black screws with the P280. The mismatched hues are most apparent when viewing the case from behind, and I personally like the contrasting silver-on-black look. If that's not your bag, Hexus reports that Antec will "gladly send any customer requesting black screws a set if they give [them] a ring." The silver rivets holding the case together are probably there to stay, though.