Page 2 - Physical Look - Outside
Removing the protection film reveals the Antec P182 in its full glory. The clean, simplistic design is paired up with new standard gun metal black finish on the P182. It's quite an improvement from the previous grey/silver color scheme with Antec's P180 which made it look like a mini refrigerator, haha.
Handling the Antec P182 actually gives it quite a unique feel; this is especially apparent when removing the side panels. Comprised of three layers, the aluminum-plastic-aluminum construction not only makes the material feel different from others -- but we also found it to be fairly effective in noise isolation during usage.
At the bottom of the case are silicone feet for lots of grip and noise dampening.
The rear of the Antec P182. The left side panel (As viewed from the front) is held on by two thumbscrews, while the right side panel has three standard screws attached to hold it in place. The power supply is placed in a separate chamber underneath for heat and noise design purposes; but the motherboard mounting orientation remains upright and standard. Let's look at the unique aspects in detail.
At the top is a 120mm Antec TriCool fan for heat exhaust. I'd rather have this top fan located in front of the case to draw air in and leave the back fan to the heat exhaust, which may be a bit better for airflow design inside the chassis. A top fan and opening may also be quite vulnerable to dust, but a separate grill or 'spoiler' (Included, but not shown in the photo above) as what Antec calls it may be a bit of help.
The back add-on card openings are ventilated, possibly to allow air flow inside as two exhaust fans with no intake will create natural negative air pressure inside the Antec P182. As a quality case goes, the plates can possibly be reinstalled if desired -- they aren't twist-offs as budget cases usually implement.
Also shown in the photo above are two circular openings for the water cooling tubes' entrance and exit to the case. These pre-drilled holes will allow users to use external water cooling components without whipping out power tools to drill holes in their computer case.
Another improvement of Antec's P182 over its predecessor, the P180, are external fan speed switches. The two switches permits the user to adjust the fan speeds of the top and rear fan in Low, Medium, or High mode. We've found that anything other than Low would cause the fan to run with significant noise generation, but the case temperature difference is probably worth it with the amount of noise generated.
Try it with both fans on High, you can simulate a Dustbuster! ;)
Moving back to the front of the case, is the large but light case door that covers pretty much the entire front of the P182. Again with its triple layer design, the primary purpose of aluminum-plastic-aluminum door in this regard is probably to block out noise from installed hard drives. It is quite effective in this sense during our tests, by the way.
The door itself is held closed by a pair of magnets, and can be opened up to 270 degrees from its initial closed position. The way the door swings cannot be changed.
The Antec P182 door can be locked (Actually, it's the only thing that can be locked on the P182), which will discourage access to the power and reset buttons -- however, the door is quite bendable and it is entirely possible to access the power and reset buttons with minimal effort. The optical drives, however, are the ones that are definitely not usable in this state.
Speaking of which, the locks on the Antec P182 can be opened by keys from Thermaltake's Muse NAS RAID, and vice versa!
Behind the front door are four externally accessible 5.25" bays, followed by a 120mm fan door, externally accessible 3.5" drive bay, and another 120mm fan door reaching into the lower chamber. The fan doors are held shut by push release clips. Fan filters for both fan locations are preinstalled by default.
Standard chassis controls and indicators include HDD LED 1 at the top, then from there comes a reset button, HDD LED 2, and a power button. I don't understand why there are two HDD LEDs, because as far as I know the motherboards that I've used only have one set of pins for one HDD LED. The purpose for a set of two is unknown, however it is probably to give the end user a choice to choose between the two. The power LED is located outside the case door before the front case connectors.
Update: One of our readers, Andy, pointed out the following to us regarding the two HDD LEDs:
In the Antec P182 review you write about the two HDD LEDs but you also write that you don't know the purpose of two LEDs. The reason there are two HDD LEDs is because you can attach one of the LEDs to an separate controller card like a SCSI or SATA controller.
Thanks for the tip, Andy.
Front case connectors, which are not located behind the front door includes a Firewire port, two USB ports vertically aligned beside each other, and two 3.5mm jacks for microphone input and headphone output, respectively. It would be nice if an eSATA connector was implemented as I've seen some cases already feature this for front connections.
1. Introduction, Packaging
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion