Introduction of the Antec P180 Mini
If you have not heard of Antec before you must be living in a cave or somewhere remote. Antec is one of the major players in the case and power supply market. At one time or another many of us have used one of the cases. The Sonata line started all the good stuff and then came the Performance One series that includes the likes of the P180 which was very popular. Then there was the release of the Nine Hundred which was one the best air circulating cases on the market mostly due to the huge 200 mm fan on top.
Antec is never stopping with the introduction of new cases. If seems like every 3 months or so there is a new case to drool over. That new case today is the tiny brother case of the P180 which is simply labeled the P180 Mini. The Mini carries many of the features of the P180 but in a smaller shell. The only thing that is lacking is the spacing of the P180. But the compartments and cable management systems remain in place. But what the Mini has over the regular size P180 is lighter weight and somewhat portability. It is definitely one for the person that is lacking room to house a bigger size tower but is it one for the LAN goer? This is what we will find out.
Antec take on the Mini P180
The Mini P180 continues the proud legacy of the Performance One series, delivering the efficiency, functionality, and style of cases like the award-winning P180 while offering unprecedented lightweight portability. The Mini P180 features a dual chamber structure that isolates heat by separating the power supply from other internal components. The cooling system includes a 120mm rear mounted fan, a 200mm top mounted fan and an advanced cablemanagement system to improve airflow throughout the case. This compact chassis features three-layer side panels made of aluminum and plastic, as well as silicone grommets to reduce hard drive vibration and noise.
Want to know what Antec thinks of the Mini P180?
The reliability, performance, and versatility of the Antec Performance One series is now available in a stylishly small enclosure, perfect for gamers on the move. The Mini P180 boasts a heat-reducing dual chamber design with room for your microATX motherboard, power supply, and up to 5 hard drives. Sound-deadening multi-layer side panels and silicone grommets ensure quiet computing, while 120 mm and 200 mm fans provide optimal cooling. Top it off with a sleek interior black finish and front USB, audio, and eSATA ports, and you won’t believe the quality we’ve fit into this petite portable case.
Packaging and contents
The Mini P180 comes packed just like the original P180 did. In a classic gray and black box that illustrates different unique features of the Mini. We can see from the huge image of the case on the box that it resembles the original P180. But the accents in the door and the slants on the top give the case a small individual indentity of its own.
Besides the case, inside a little box are a few more accessories that one would need to assemble their future rig. Yeah you get the necessary screws but also a floppy drive carriage and face plate adapter. Chances are you may not use it for that purpose but it can be used for mounting a digital card reader.
- Unique upper and lower chamber structure: the power supply resides in a separate chamber to isolate heat from the system and lower system noise.
- Stylish black interior
- No power supply included:
to optimize the performance of your Mini P180, your choice of power supply is crucial. Antec strongly recommends choosing from our NeoPower or TruePower series.
- Configurable to accommodate graphics cards with full length PCBs
- 8 Drive Bays
• External 3 x 5.25”; 1 x 3.5”
• Internal 5 x 3.5” for HDD
- Cable organization for added convenience and better airflow
- Innovative three-layer side panel (aluminum, plastic, aluminum) dampens system generated noise, making this one of the quietest cases available
- Cooling System:
• 1 rear (standard) 120mm x 25mm TriCool Fan
• 1 top (standard) 200mm x 25mm TriCool fan
• 2 front chamber (optional) 120mm Fan
• Exterior speed control switches
- Motherboard: up to microATX
- 4 Expansion Slots
- Double hinge door designed to open up to 270º
- Front ports:
• 2 x USB 2.0
• 1 x eSATA
• Audio In and Out (AC’ 97 and HDA)
- 0.8mm cold rolled steel for durability through the majority of chassis
- Unit dimensions:
• 17.1″(H) x 8.3″(W) x 17.2″(D)
• 43.5cm(H) x 21.2cm(W) x 43.6cm(D)
- Package dimensions:
• 20″(H) x 11.1″(W) x 20.3″(D)
• 51.0cm(H) x 28.3cm(W) x 51.5cm(D)
• Net: 20.9 lbs / 9.5 kg
• Gross: 24.4 lbs / 11.1 kg
Closer look outside
I have always considered companies like Lian Li and Silverstone to have a style that is all their own. Styles that are often copied but not really duplicated. No matter your opinion of Antec, the Mini P180 has an allure that is all its own as well. With no similarity to either of the company cases I just mentioned the Mini P180 can be placed in any environment these can and feel right at home.
The Mini talls just at twenty inches tall. This alone will fit the case into the mATX category. But the weight is what will fit it in the category of larger cases. the Mini weights in at a whopping 24 pounds. This may not seem like a lot but for a case that only house mATX and not a regular size motherboard you would think it would weigh less. I am not saying this is a heavy case for no reason. In this case I would say the mass is a sigh of quality and solidness.
The Mini being about style and class is offered in two color black and a sweet looking white model. Today, we have the black unit on hand to tell you about. Like the older big brother this model also uses a door to hide all the exterior drive bays. On the right edge of the front are the I/O ports the case has to offer. Here we have the usual USB 2.0 ports which there are two of them, audio ports and the well welcomed eSATA port. Antec took away the firewire port probably due to its growing lack of useage.
I have never been a fan of cases with doors but the Mini makes it more tolerable as it leans flush with the side of the case. This will keep you from braking it which always seems to happen eventually. But once open you have access to the reset and power buttons as well as any external drives you may use.
There are a total of three external bays accessible, one at the top and two at the bottom. The middle is where you have the ability to open two fan guards and able to clean and do any maintenance to the fans behind.
The top of the case has several arrow shaped vents that are used to allow air to escape which is being pushed out by the 200 mm top fan.
Looking at the rear of the case you can see Antec is using the growing popularity of bottom mounting power supply design. This is something that i am looking for more in cases as the makes for a clean install depending on how the companies implement it. Another thing that I am sure many of you that own the previous models, P180, SE and the 182 like, is the fan control switches. Before, the switches were attached to the fan directly and you had to remove the side panel to adjust fan speeds. Well, Antec being the listeners they have put the selector switch on the rear of the case. Only thing I can possibly suggest is mounting the switches up forward so the users don’t have to crawl behind the case.
Closer look inside
Now we get to the middle of things with the Mini P180. The all black interior is awesome. This is something that all companies should do when manufacturing a black exterior case. The inside is arranged just like the bigger brethren. Normally, I look at the front and back of the inside of a case. But with the Mini we have to look at the front, back and bottom as they are all three separated. All the edges of the Mini P180 are rounded for safety reasons.
The front is comprised of two hard drive cages that can support up to five drives. The top cage houses three drives in a vertical stance and the bottom unit holds two in the regular horizontal way. Each cage uses rubber gommets to aid in noise and vibration reduction. All the necessary wiring for the case comes from the top HDD cage also making it easier to hide. In front of each cage are areas for two additional 120 mm cooling fans. These are not included in this model.
The two included fans are located on the top and at the rear of the case. The top being the biggest of them, which measures a whooping 200 mm. The rear is an industry standard 120 mm. Each fan is controlled by the switches we showed earlier at the rear of the case. There are three settings for each fan. We have no specifications of RPM and noise levels.
The bottom of the case is where you would set up your power supply and any 5.25 devices. The power supply sits on four rubber isolators that helps with vibration. There is a small area or eight squares that is used for venting.
We can’t end this section of the review without looking at the back side of the motherboard panel. With the included cable ties Antec make it possible to secure excessive cabling in this area. With the shorten height of the Mini and the long lengths of cables on power supplies, cable management is must needed in this case.
If you have ever put together a system before you should have no problems with the Mini P180. But you will have to take a different approach though. The first thing I tried to do is place our test motherboard into the case. This was a no go as the HDD cages get in the way. Getting rid of the cage gets you started. Once the motherboard is in place you can see how short of room you are. Then again this is a mATX case.
Hard drive installing is a breeze. And you have options when it comes to the installation. I would strongly suggest not to use the hard drive location that is at the same level of your PCIe slot because chances are your video card will not fit.
Next we have a quick image of the pre install of the power supply. With the case being so compact you can easily hide excessive cable in the bottom bay area if you decide not to use them. The used cabling can be routed thru the trip door seperating the bottom half from the rest of the case and out the back side panel behind the motherboard.
Here you see how close the hard drive and video card edge to each other. This is only a 6800GT which is much shorter than a lets say 8800GTX.
The Antec Mini P180 keeps up the tradition of being an awesome looking case just like its bigger brother. And besides the good looks it also shares the same cooling advantages as well. The included two fans are enough to suit many peoples’ need granted one of them is 200 mm in diameter. It offers a large amount of space for people who needs a lot of hard drives or other storage devices. And if you need to do disk-to-disk copying there are even three 5.25 available, something not seen in many mATX cases. Any pro we’ve seen with the Mini P180 was its cable management possiblities. I have built many cases of this size and managing the cables was terrible. Antec definitely solved this problem in the Mini.
I for one felt the Mini P180 was pretty quiet overall. When I say overall this is when the larger fan is set at low setting. Anything above this did give a nice spinning noise. This noise isn’t loud at all but it can be heard from a short distance. When the large fan was on low and the other fan set at any setting, the volume was pretty quiet as well.
The Mini is capable of housing the biggest video cards even the like of x2 models. And if you are lucky enough to have a SLI or Crossfire compatiable mATX motherboard and wish to take advantage of it, you would have to remove both HDD cages. This isn’t really a problem as you can adapt the 5.25” bays to 3.5” ones.
To answer the question from the introduction of this review, the Mini P180 is not a LAN box as it is too heavy and slightly awkward to carry around. The case is about twenty five pounds empty now add about ten pounds worth of components. Yeah, you would not want to lug that around.
At $130 the Mini P180 can be had. Not too bad for a quality case.