Antec P380 Case Review
The Antec P380 is the company’s latest bid to climb to the top of the heap in the case market, yet the road back for the company was bound to hit a few bumps. On paper, the case has everything you want in a 2015 release: toolless design, space for up to four dual-slot GPUs, enough space for water-cooling setups with removable drive cages and a nice big window for showing off your build. It’s not slouch in the looks department either, but does this case measure up to its competition?
The P380 has two aluminium panels covering the front and the top of the case, with room for airflow behind each. The front panel includes beautifully machined curves, but the gap where it meets the top panel doesn’t look great. And while aluminium is a great-looking metal, the edges of the P380’s panels are sharp enough to break the skin and you need to handle this case with care. Hopefully Antec can figure out how to make the aluminum accents less of a hazard.
The I/O panel is located on under the top panel and can be switched to either the left or right side of the case. It includes two USB 2 ports, two USB 3 ports, a microphone jack, and a headphone jack. One nice addition that the P380 includes is power and reset buttons located on either side of the front of the case, giving flexibility for those who want to customize their configurations.
The frustrations with the aluminium panels don’t end with the sharp edges. While the front panel provides great airflow and great looks, removing it takes six different screws—even though a hinge already connects the panel to the case.
Both the top and the front of the case include space for three 120mm or two 140mm fans, and the back panel includes a space for a single 120mm fan. The front dust filter removes from the bottom, which is inconvenient for those who keep their computer on the floor and even challenging with a fully built (and therefore heavy) system on a desk. The filter for the power supply removes from the side, thankfully, but the front of the case seems like a series of design mis-steps.
The poor decisions continue inside, unfortunately. While the P380 includes plenty of PCI expansion slots, those looking to maximize the space inside the case will likely want to remove one or more of the three drive cages that hold eight 3.5”/2.5” drive caddies. Yet each cage is held to the case with 11 screws, making 33 in all. That’s about 29 too many for a premium case like this. And unlike the Antec Eleven Hundred, which we reviewed way back in 2011, the P380 takes a step back and includes no space for mounting fans to pull air over your storage drives.
Despite the obvious effort Antec took in making the top panel customizable to make the system either right-handed or left-handed, the same thought hasn’t gone into making the interior flexible to those who want to play around with the size of their build. The motherboard tray only has cutouts for larger ATX builds, and cable management quickly became unsightly for our system. An included fan hub, which customers should expect at this price point, has only three-pin Molex connectors and no PWM control beyond a small, internal low/high switch.
The P380 is a great-looking case, but Antec seems to have emphasized the style a bit too much over the substance it takes to make a great computer case. With poor customizability, hazardous panels, and a lack of the creature comforts that indicate Antec has been listening to its customers’ needs, the P380 is a real step back. An MRSP north of $220 makes this a tough sell when offerings from rivals such as Corsair and Phanteks are bringing new and better ideas to the table.
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