Choosing a system case for your home computer is always a search for the most optimal compromise. You begin looking for it as soon as you realize that a system case is not just a piece of iron that accommodates various components that make up a computer and can greatly affect your overall computing experience. Easy access to components and small dimensions, good cooling and low noise, a pretty exterior and low price: these characteristics but seldom agree with each other, and you have to compromise.
Of course, most users have well-defined priorities. Some need to access the computer’s internals easily and want good cooling, others base their shopping choice on the price factor, and others yet want a small and cute system case. But even with such priorities, you do want that other characteristics be at least passable. The passable level varies between different users, but few people would want a handy system case that’s roaring like an industrial fan. A compact cutie with poor ventilation won’t do, either.
The two system cases from Antec to be discussed in this review represent two approaches to this kind of compromise. Both have standard dimensions, being neither super-compact nor huge. The Antec NSK6580B is a rather typical case that is meant to bring you comfortable computing at a reasonable price whereas the Antec Mini P180 claims to offer maximum convenience, cooling and silence while being within the standard dimensions. There are quite a lot of examples of a successful implementation of the former approach. The latter approach is always more questionable and I will start out with it.