The all-plastic 5.25-inch faceplates are designed in a different way than in the previous products.
The interior design of the system case is almost a copy of the Eleven Hundred. The most important functionality-related difference is about the HDD bays.
The installation method is similar to Antec’s previous Performance One series models as well as to products from other brands (like the above-mentioned models from Fractal Design). The disk guides are made of plastic rather than metal, but this simplification is okay. The metal/plastic combination is going to be quieter in the disk rack than a metal/metal one.
The main difference from the Eleven Hundred’s rails is that these guides have silicone dampers. It takes somewhat longer to prepare a hard disk for installation (you need to tighten four screws rather than just put on a couple of rails), but this solution ensures better protection against noise and vibrations.
The P280 has the same controller card with fan connectors as we’ve seen in the Eleven Hundred, but it’s turned around by 180 degrees. As you can see, one more fan could be connected to the card, but there’s no fourth switch on the control panel at the back of the system case.
The side panels are both blank, unlike those of the Eleven Hundred.
Moreover, following the long-time tradition of the Performance One series, the interior of the panels has anti-vibration and soundproofing coating. The panels have two layers, one of which is steel and another, polycarbonate, just like in the Antec P193 (earlier products of this series used to have triple-layered panels made of aluminum+plastic+aluminum). The coating isn’t thick, raising our apprehensions about its efficiency.
The P280 is no different from the Eleven Hundred in terms of assembly, except for the above-described hard disk installation. And it has the same requirements as to the length of power cables.
When the fan switches were set at High, the speed of the preinstalled system fans was 1150 to 1210 RPM, depending on the particular sample of the fan. When the speed was set at Low, the fans rotated at 710 to 780 RPM, again depending on the particular sample.
However, the sound of the fans was lower than with the previous models even at the maximum speed. The loudest components of our configuration – the four Raptor disks in random access mode – were about as noisy as a single eco-friendly hard disk in an ordinary system case.
So, the soundproofing of the side panels works, even though it doesn’t look very efficient. But of course there are other factors contributing to the reduced amount of noise: the blank panels, the improved (compared to the first two system cases) vibration-absorbing elements in the disk bays, and perhaps even the foam rubber on the front door.
Overall, the soundproofing solutions employed by the developer are successful indeed. Being lighter and more affordable than its predecessors, the new P280 is just as good in terms of acoustic comfort at comparable fan speeds.
As any other system case with a front door, it is only with the shining indicators that the assembled Antec P280 betrays that it’s got a computer system inside. When the front door is open, you can also see its optical drive.
Although the P280 digresses from the canon established by Antec’s earlier products of this series, it is no worse than its predecessors. The new model looks just as serious and restrained.
- Robust chassis
- Good soundproofing
- Broad expansion opportunities
- Easy laying out of cables
- USB 3.0 support
- Reasonable pricing
- Rather inefficient out-of-box ventilation at the low speed of the fans
- No external 3.5-inch bay