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Antec's P380 case reviewed

A giant reawakens

Ahh, Antec. There was a time when the company's P180 and Sonata enclosures were staples of our System Guide and the go-to cases for enthusiast builders. Like all things in the PC world, though, the case market doesn't stand still. Enclosures from Corsair, Fractal Design, NZXT, and most recently Phanteks have superseded Antec's classics.

Today, I've got Antec's brand-new P380 flagship in my lab. Let's see if this full tower is good enough to recapture some of the company's past glory.

Antec certainly nailed the P380's appearance. The front and top panels are formed from thick sheets of aluminum bent into a wraparound design. The semi-metallic gray paint on these panels, combined with their bare metal edges, lends the P380 an immediate air of class.

In a departure from Antec tradition, the case does away with a front door. The face also lacks external 5.25" drive bays, ports, and switches that would otherwise break up the front panel's clean lines. Instead, the USB and audio ports are tucked away under the top panel, while the power and reset buttons hide behind the front panel's sweep of aluminum. Antec includes a set of power and reset buttons on both sides of the front panel, a nice touch.

Around back, we get a good look at some of the P380's cooling provisions. There's a single 120-mm fan on the back panel and a couple of hose grommets for custom water-cooling loops. A pair of 140-mm fans is hidden under the top panel. If this setup sounds a bit strange, that's because it is: unlike typical towers, the P380 has no front fans.

With its top and rear fans configured as exhausts, the P380 is set up for negative-pressure airflow, meaning that dust or dander could get sucked in through any opening in the case. Thankfully, the front panel vents and the PSU intake are both covered by removable dust filters.

Also on tap are—count 'em—nine expansion slots. This is a full tower, after all. The P380 should be ready for as many expansion cards your motherboard can handle.

Here are the P380's specifications in convenient tabular form:

  Antec P380
Case type ATX full tower
Dimensions (W x H x D) 8.8" x 21.8" x 21.9"  (224 x 555 x 557 mm)
Supported motherboards Mini-ITX, microATX, ATX, E-ATX, SSI CEB
2.5"/3.5" combo bays 8
5.25" drive bays 2 (internal only)
1 slim
Fan mounts 2 x 140 mm or 3 x 120 mm (top)
2 x 140 mm or 3 x 120 mm (front)
1 x 120 mm (rear)
Included fans 2 x Antec FDB 140 mm (top)
1 x Antec FDB 120 mm (rear)
Radiator mounts 1 x top mount, up to 360 mm long and 65mm thick (with fans)
1 x front mount, up to 360 mm long (with all drive cages removed)
Front panel I/O 2 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
Expansion slots 9
Max. graphics card length 13" (310 mm) with drive cages installed
18.3" (465 mm) with drive cages removed
Max. CPU cooler height 7" (180 mm)
Gap behind motherboard 0.9" (1.5" behind hard drive cages)

The P380 isn't available for purchase yet, but Antec expects the case to start selling around May 1. Although the suggested retail price is $229, Antec estimates the street price at $199. That price may seem high at first glance, but those thick aluminum outer panels are a distinctly high-end touch. Corsair's Obsidian 650D mid-tower, which only features a brushed aluminum front panel, currently retails for $180 at Newegg, so Antec's price isn't unreasonable for a full tower with premium materials.

Let's take a look inside the P380 now, and see whether there's function to go along with all of that form.