Releasing the tempered glass panel via the four thumbscrews and peering inside the P8, we were struck by an eerie sense of familiarity. We had at the time just finished testing the Aerocool P7-C1 Pro, and the déjà vu hit hard. A quick inspection revealed that the two really did share the same core interior. This isn't wholly surprising, as case manufacturers frequently rely on other OEMs for parts and tooling, and honestly we think it reflects worse on Aerocool's part given how much more expensive its case is. Still, if you were hoping for something unique and novel from Antec, this isn't it.
The P8 is divided into sections by the non-removable PSU shroud and the elongated motherboard tray. This leaves a spacious cavity for core hardware and relegates the PSU and hard drives to the lower section. The majority of motherboard standoffs are preinstalled, and we had no build difficulties. A few elements reveal the case's budget origins, such as the foam (not rubber) that the PSU rests on and the snap-to-remove expansion slot covers.
Somewhat impressively for a £60 case, the P8 has four dedicated SSD mounting trays: two on the PSU cover and two behind the front of the extended motherboard tray. We were also happy to note that they are made of metal, and each one is easily removed via a single thumbscrew.
For larger drives, a two-bay HDD cage is fixed to the floor of the case. This too is removable, although besides fitting longer PSUs in, we can't see that this brings much benefit. The trays here are plastic and compatible with 3.5” and 2.5” drives, with the former being slightly cushioned by small rubber grommets on the tool-free mounting pins. Although a tad flimsy, the trays work fine.
All of the P8's own cables have black sleeving, and such consistency is a necessity when you have a large glass panel to look through. The main routing channel is formed by the front wall being indented and thus leaving a gap between it and the motherboard tray, although there are holes above and below the motherboard too. The size of the holes is fine, although none have rubber grommets. Companies like Phanteks still lead the way in this department, but the P8 is capable when it comes to cable routing. One niggle, however, is that the power connector for the front LED is Molex instead of SATA.
As the PSU shroud doesn't extend all the way to the front of the case, you have about 60mm of room between the front panel and the shroud where water-cooling setups can go, and 360mm radiators are supported here. The roof, on the other hand, supports 280mm and 240mm models, but space is again limited such that only slimline radiators are likely to be compatible. Nevertheless, this level of support is more than adequate for current all-in-one cooling solutions.
October 14 2021 | 15:04