Opening the P380 is painless. Antec uses a side-panel design similar to that of Fractal Design's Define R5, which means that one need only remove a pair of thumbscrews and swing away the sides to get in. The side panels are insulated with sheets of foam to keep noise and vibration down.
As with most modern cases, the P380's motherboard tray is surrounded by grommets that allow for behind-the-motherboard cable routing. Wider E-ATX boards will block access to some of those portals, which is true of many cases that support this larger form factor.
Despite the lack of 5.25" openings at the front of the case, Antec does include a couple of jumbo bays inside. These internal 5.25" bays won't work with optical drives, but they could be used with some liquid-cooling reservoirs and pumps.
Behind the motherboard, there's a large cut-out for CPU cooler backplates and copious tiedowns for cable management. The P380 lacks the 2.5" drive mounts hiding behind the motherboard tray on some enclosures, such as Corsair's Obisidian 450D and Fractal Design's Define R5.
Antec includes a six-fan hub powered by a single Molex connector. The Molex source can't tap into motherboard fan controls, so the hub seems best suited to fans with integrated speed control, like Antec's pre-installed units. Unlike the built-in fan controllers in the Define R5 and Corsair's Graphite Series 380T, where a single front-panel switch controls multiple fans, changing speeds in the P380 involves flipping individual switches on each fan. Those switches are only accessible from inside the case, making the process even more inconvenient.
With eight 2.5"/3.5" combo sleds, the P380 can swallow copious amounts of storage. 3.5" drives are secured to the plastic sleds with a grommet-and-screw system, while 2.5" drives are screwed directly onto the sleds.
Those eight sleds are divided between three cages. Two of the cages hold three sleds each, while the topmost cage houses two. Each cage can be removed to make room for extra-long graphics cards or liquid cooling setups, but the process isn't tool-free at all. The cages are held in place with what seems like a million tiny screws, and getting them all out requires removing the P380's front and top panels, as well as the switch module for the twin power buttons. This design is a major pain in the rear compared to other modular drive cage implementations I've tested. Mark this section of the report card as "needs improvement."
Removing the case's front and top fascias is somewhat easier, at least. The top panel is secured with a pair of thumbscrews, while the front panel is held by six standard screws.
With these panels removed, we get a better look at the P380's twin 140-mm exhaust fans up top, as well as its 120-mm fan at the rear. Curiously, there's only room for two 140-mm fans in the top panel. Those willing to switch to smaller 120-mm fans can put three spinners up there, though. Liquid-cooling radiators up to 360 mm long can be installed here, too.
Since the fan mounts protrude from the top of the case, there's plenty of room for thick radiators or push-pull fan setups. I measured 2.5" (65 mm) of clearance from the top of the fan mounts to the top of the motherboard tray.
The front panel has mounts for an identical complement of fans or radiators, though all of the drive cages must be removed to accommodate a 360-mm radiator or a large reservoir like the one in this Thermaltake kit. That leaves builders in a bit of a lurch: since the P380 doesn't have any other drive mounts, improvisation might be in order with extreme liquid-cooling setups. At least the front panel can take a 240-mm radiator without sacrificing the dual drive sleds in the top cage.
The P380 has a couple other tricks behind its front and top panels. For those who absolutely need optical storage, Antec provides a plastic bracket (seen on the left in the picture above) for slim optical drives, which then screws into the back of the front panel. Cable-routing holes are punched into the front of the case, too, so wiring a slim optical drive shouldn't be a big deal.
The front dust filter slides in through the bottom of the front panel. This design choice is annoying, since it means that the case has to be tipped on its back or side in order to make the filter accessible. That might not be so easy with a complete system inside and a bundle of peripheral cables attached.
In keeping with the twin sets of power and reset buttons, the I/O port block can be unscrewed from the top panel and rotated to face either side of the case.
Now that I've field-stripped the P380, let's put it back together and install my version of TR's Casewarmer system inside.
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