When we reviewed the original Antec P180, we thought it was an excellent case (hence the award) that suffered from one or two minor problems. Firstly we had concerns about the cable management in the case, caused by the chambered PSU at the bottom of the case that forced all wires to be routed up through a narrow space and then through to the required area. We were also worried that the magnets holding the door shut were not strong enough.
Plus, Brett's wife kept thinking it was a fridge.
It was refreshing to know then that Antec had taken on the feedback offered by consumers and media and had moved to redesigning the case and releasing an improved model – the Antec P182.
No, we don't know what happened to the P181 and yes, it does still look like a fridge.
How does it look?
The P182, it has to be said, looks identical to the old P180. It's a different colour to the original P180 we reviewed, the new one is available in a gun metal black finish or you can opt for a new mirror finish "Special Edition" model that'll set you back a little bit more. That's about it in terms of exterior changes -- why change a winning formula?
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That said, the P180 and P182 are still some of the best looking cases about in my opinion and are a great starting place for a lot of modders. The case isn't dotted with stickers or logos on the sides and the door has only an engraved logo in its top right which is barely noticeable. This means that modders and painters will find this the perfect canvas for their work. Fancy spray painting a cyber demon on the door? Not a problem.
The case also has a noise-dampening plastic frame around its triple layered metal siding. This gives it a series of benefits over other cases. Firstly it makes the sides feel reassuring in their thickness and sturdiness without being too heavy, secondly it provides a good starting point for some etching work. Minutes after getting my hands on the case I was already thinking about the possibility of engraving patterns into the plastic frame.
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Around the door though the plastic siding gives way to venting so that air can circulate around the door easily. It's hardly detectable at a first glance and you'd be forgiven for not noticing it was there at all, which is probably the exact effect that Antec was going for when it designed the original P180 case. The shell is essentially minimalist, perfect for sitting in the corner of a living room without attracting any undue attention (unless you like my cyber demon idea).
The top of the case sees the return of the 'chimney vent', a detachable plastic tunnel for the fan mounted in the cases ceiling. Just because it's detachable though doesn't mean it should be detached and we found that not only did the case benefit, as extra dust was prevented from getting in the case, but that it just plain looked better with the fan on because of the way it disguises the only flaws in the otherwise perfectly smooth shell.
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The door hinges are also the same from the P180, though at first we didn't realise it. There are actually two hinge sets that work together to give 270°. It gave us a bit of a jump in fact as the second set of hinges on our model were a bit stiff at first and gave out a rather loud crack when opened for the first time. Repeated use softened them up a bit though and they were soon swinging more freely than Austin Powers before he settled down with Liz Hurley's character. In a good way, baby.