Antec Mini P180
I have already dealt with Antec system cases from the Performance One series the Mini P180 belongs to. The P182 case left a positive impression thanks to its noise insulation and thought-through interior design. Its price and size are rather too big for many users, however, so Antec has tried to make it smaller while keeping all the exclusive features of the series.
The Mini P180 comes in two colors: black and silver-and-white. The latter color, with a slight cream hue, looks prettier to me. Most of other system cases in this category are painted gray and black. Although such a color combination is neutral and can hardly be inappropriate in any interior, the white plastic and light aluminum panels of the Antec Mini P180 look pleasant and unexpected. It does not remind you of the standard cheap white system cases of old times. Instead, it rather evokes associations with the visually immaculate products from Apple.
The external features of the series seem to be all in place, including the overall exterior, the characteristically shaped protrusion with I/O connectors on the front panel, and vent holes designed as a grid around the front panel.
There is the following set of connectors on the narrow strip of plastic next to the door: two USB ports, two audio connectors, and one eSATA port which often replaces FireWire today. I guess it is better to have a high-speed hard disk interface on your computer’s front panel instead of an I/O port that is generally limited to digital camcorders. The connectors are placed in such a way that you won’t have problems plugging several devices into them simultaneously.
The Power and Reset buttons are hidden behind the door but not quite securely. You can spot them through the vent holes and can even press them if you’ve got slim fingers. This position provides some protection against an accidental touch, though. Hopefully, your baby won’t realize where to press with a finger.
Behind the door there is a front panel of a very original design. There is only one 5-inch bay at the top, with two large vent grids below it. There are two more 5-inch bays at the very bottom of the front panel. If you don’t have external 3.5-inch devices (they are installed into the 5-inch bays on special guides), this position of the bays allows installing your optical drive conveniently irrespective of whether you system case stands on your desk or on the floor.
The Reset button is smaller than the Power one to prevent accidental presses. Take note of the dark strip in between them. This is a LED indicator. Yes, it is behind the door but you can easily see its light from the outside through the vents. Its brightness is quite comfortable.
To open the vent grid you can press its right part and release its lock.
There are easily detachable mesh filters behind the grids. They prevent dust from getting into the case. As opposed to many other manufacturers, Antec does not forget that dust filters should be detachable. It would be a bother to have to open the side panel and remove the HDD cage (or even the whole front panel) to clean the filter. And you don’t want to have a dirty filter because it worsens the ventilation of your system case greatly.
Before discussing the other elements of this case, I want to show you the fastening of the door. It seems to be quite ordinary:
But when you pull it with more force, you find out that this door can also rotate around the axis that goes behind the vent grid. This design allows unfolding the door not by 180 but by 270 degrees back to the side panel, which may be handy in some situations.
The back of the top panel is occupied by a massive vent grid. It was a kind of a shock when I realized that there was a 200mm fan behind it! Even senior models of this series come with smaller fans. It is only in Antec’s gaming series cases, e.g. in the colossal Twelve Hundred, that I have seen 200mm system fans.
I wouldn’t say that large fans are a rare thing nowadays. The manufacturers use them more often now because such a fan can create a powerful airflow even at a low speed. Such fans are usually installed on side panels, though. A 120mm fan is a more popular choice for the top panel.