I’ll admit that I’ve developed something of a case fetish over the last few months. First, it was the Antec Lanboy. then I moved on to the Aspire Dreamer-X II and now I’ve moved onto the Antec P160. Why? I don’t know the reason why but I do know that I’m digging this new case from Antec.
The first thing you notice about the P160 is how big it is. While it’s smaller than a full tower, it’s much taller than your standard mid-tower case. The case measures 20.5 inches tall by 19.7 inches deep, by 8.1 inches wide. If you don’t have a lot of room to store your case, you might want to measure your desk to make sure you have enough room for the case. I had to lower my computer shelf a notch to accommodate it and it was still a tight fit.
The case is mostly gray with silver accents on the front. One of the first things I noticed when I saw the case for the first time was the three big vent slots on the front. Each of these slots has a blue LED which lights up when the computer is on. There are two built in optical drive covers which helps maintain the look of the case since you’ll be hard pressed to buy drives that match the color scheme of the case. At the top of the case is a cylindrical area that houses the front mounted USB ports, IEEE 1394 header, reset button, power button, front mounted headphone and microphone jacks and a LED display that displays the temperature from the two temperature sensors inside the case. This cylinder area can be rotated up to about a 30 degree angle. This is a nice function if you set your case on the floor but would you really want to put this nice of a case on the floor?
Installation in the case is about as easy as it gets. Disappointingly, the P160
doesn’t come with a power supply so I pulled the 340 Watt power supply out of my old LanBoy and installed it in the P160
. After that, it was time to install the included 120MM fan on the back of the case. Instead of screwing the fan into the case, you use a series of soft plastic push-ins that you pull through the case and then trim off the excess. It’s a nice touch that helps reduce noise in the system but they are very fragile and if you screw up the installation you’re kind of hosed.
Installing my optical drives was a tad more difficult. The case comes with two drive covers to keep the nice look of the case intact. This means that in order to install the drives you have to remove the bevel to install them. It’s not that big of a deal except that you have to deal with the wires for the front of the case but it can be a little nerve racking to try and get the bevel off the first time without breaking anything. Once the drives are in, you hook everything up. It’s a bit of a stretch given the height of the case. Before you put the bevel back on, you have to set the internal sliders so that the external buttons line up with your optical drive buttons. It’s a nice touch and helps make the two external buttons useful.
The P160 comes with a mother board tray which slides easily out of the case once you move the restraining screw. The tray itself is pretty solid and once you’ve got everything installed, you just slide it back in and re-screw it back into the case. The tray can be a little tricky to line up the first time but once you figure it out it’s very easy to install. Once again, I will state for the record that I hope I never have to own a case that doesn’t have a motherboard tray.
Installing hard drives is actually nice as well. The case has a hard drive cage that can hold up to four hard drives. An interesting difference is that the hard drive cage is turned sideways (facing the side of the case) allowing you easy access to the drive rails. To install the drive, all you have to do is pull the rail out of the cage, screw the drive into the rail and put it back into the cage. A nice feature of the rails is that hard drives are installed on rubber grommets which help reduce hard drive noise.
Once you’ve got all of the basics set up, it’s time to move onto some of the cool features of the P160. For example, you might want to hook up the front temperature displays. These two probes can be slid about anywhere in your case since the cables are long enough to reach the back of the case. There’s a switch inside the case to flip between Farenheit and Celsius. The display will flash when the temperatures gets above a certain point. These are exceedingly well implemented and easy to use. The rest of the front panel items are also easy to install. The USB and Firewire ports are easy to install (although the firewire ports are all separate wires which is a bit of a pain to get all of the thin wires installed). The microphone and headphone jacks are also separate wires which makes installation a bit tricky. Well, at least for hose of us with fat fingers, it’s a bit of a pain. I did have a problem here as the wires separated from the header but it was easily repaired.
I’ve been using the case for a few months now and I really dig it. It’s nice, quiet, and cool. I’ve been overclocking my processor and the temperature is still rather cool (and that’s without installing a second fan in the front of the case). The downer with the case is that it’s going to cost you a pretty penny and after spending all of that money, you’re still going to have to plunk out extra for a power supply. If you want a clear side window, you’re either going to have to do it yourself or plunk out another $30 for the Antec window. All in all, it’s a great case and something that’s worth showing off to your friends.
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A fantastic case with a lot of cool features. The case is a bit on the expensive side, especially for one that doesnâ€™t come with a power supply or side window