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Antec P160 Aluminum Enclosure Review

By: Mike Wright | Other Cases in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Feb 8, 2004 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.5%Manufacturer: Antec

The Exterior



Beginning with the front of the case we see a new distinctive look to the overall appearance. Instead of the sweeping curves that adorned the lower portion of some older models, Antec has gone to a more modular design. But there are some things to point out besides the new looks…


To start off with, the case material for the P160 is aluminum. Not only that, but it is made from 1.2mm stock, which is about 20% thicker than most manufacturer's enclosures. This manages to keep the case lightweight but stronger than you might expect from an aluminum design.



There is also a new type of mounting system for the front I/O ports. You have your power and reset buttons as well as audio ports, a couple of USB ports (v2.0 of course) and a Firewire port for those systems that support the feature. Though difficult to see in the initial photos, the center of the I/O port area contains a small LED display for monitoring temperatures within the case. There are two thermal probes included and their display rotates between the two results every three seconds.


Also of note regarding this portion of the enclosure is the fact that it swivels. That's right; if you want a straightforward look to the design, just keep the display in the downward position. If you have the case on the floor and want easier access to the front ports, you can swivel the entire display panel upward to make for easier use of its features.



Moving a bit lower on the front panel shows something a bit out of the ordinary. With a lot of folks using two optical devices, Antec has put together a simple system for hiding those drives behind the front bezel but still allowing their normal functioning. This cover plate has a hinged door, which will allow the drive tray to come forward when needed, and then hide behind it when it is in the closed position. For those who don't have optical drives to match their case finish, this makes everything look as though it actually belongs.


The two buttons along right side of the cover plate will operate most industry standard drives as far as opening the tray is concerned. The thin, long window on the other side is designed to allow you to see the operation lights of the drive even when it is hidden behind the panel.


Of course, if you don't want the cover panels to be used, you can simply remove them like any other bay cover and mount the drives normally. Here is a quick photo of the tray open within the covered panel:



As you can see, the tray simply comes forward through the covered panel and gives normal access to the drive. Even sitting behind the bezel slightly like this, there was no problem with the normal use of the tray. Disks still go easily into the tray and then back into the system for accessing the data.



The side panel features nothing but a nice paint job. Since the design will appeal to more than just the enthusiast crowd, Antec has decided to keep with a more business-like appearance, but just look at all that open terrain just begging for a little inventive modding. There are no contour designs to get in the way of your desired window design so the sky is the limit.


Oh, and those two rotating knobs on the top are what locks the side panel into place. Antec has long been known for having a means to secure the side panel without needing screws on the back of the box, so this is a new sleek manner of doing this job.



The back of the case is pretty standard fare as far as layout is concerned. You have the expected faceplate for the mainboard and it is easily removed in the event your particular board requires a custom plate. The mounting area for the PSU is set up for any standard ATX type power supply and there are a total of seven expansion ports for your AGP/PCI cards to make use of.


About the only thing out of the ordinary is the use of only a single exhaust fan. Most enclosures allow the use of two fans, but they only allow the use of the 80mm variety. This case design makes use of a single 120mm fan (included) to get rid the case of that hot air trapped within. Overall this worked out pretty well and also helped keep noise levels down to a very acceptable level.


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