The monolithic black chassis has been done to death, and it takes something extra to set it apart from the masses. While subtle touches of white are a good start to help break up the monotony, it usually comes down to the features and internal setup to win over the customer base.
On that front, this chassis offers eight expansion slots in a mid-tower, it carries on the black and white theme through the entire chassis, even down to the fans, the modular storage bays and inclusion of a 5.25" bay will make tons of PC builders happy. Not many cases come with a fan controller, so there is that as well, the chassis is closed off and sound absorbing materials are used, the metal is thick and strong, and all lends itself to the Silent Guardian name of the P101 from Antec.
Then, we still have not addressed the new tie points, which to us seems so obvious, we aren't quite sure why all cases don't have this feature. In the end, the chassis covers any mistakes you may have made, looks decent for the type of chassis it is, and will surely protect the investment of all of the components inside of the chassis.
Out of all things we saw in the chassis, what we played around with, and how well everything went from start to finish, there is one major concern that needs to be addressed. The front of the case. With everything closed up as you saw in the last couple of images, there is airflow to be felt behind the fans, but not passed the cages. Beyond that, opening the front door increased airflow a ton, and with the front bezel removed, we finally could feel some air making it past the HDD bays.
Of course, they can be removed, the bays that is, but if you are looking for a chassis with superior airflow, this is not it. In our testing, the temperatures were still below throttle points, but were higher than we normally see. Nothing we would be worried about for daily use, but we aren't using the most aggressive parts, nor are we overclocked on anything. It appears that in the need to ensure the P101 is as silent as possible, and with little means to inject cool air inside, concessions had to be made.
At this point, we are torn. We like many things about the Antec P101. The price is fair for what you get, the styling isn't exactly boring, and the chassis is silent with a bunch of internal features many can take advantage of. However, there are many mid-tower cases out there, and for around $130, if silence is not the top priority, there are many better answers if keeping the components cool is more of a concern. In the realm of silent cases, the only comparable chassis is from Fractal Design, and do cost more, but in our opinion, the price increase is justified.
The Antec P101 may be the more affordable option in a chassis with an optical bay, sound proofing measures taken, that can support an EATX motherboard, but is a lack of airflow worth saving ten dollars. We think not in the grand scheme of things, but we do feel that as long as you are aware of the shortcomings, and plan to change it somehow, the Antec P101 The Silent Guardian will definitely pull you in. Ultimately, it's up to you whether you buy it or not. If it were our money, it is likely we would opt for the R6.
Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IX Code Z270 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62 (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: Team T-Force Night Hawk RGB TF1D48G3000HC16CBK
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (buy from Amazon)
- Storage: Samsung XP941 256GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: SilverStone SST-ST85F-G (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line
While the Antec P101 is the most affordable in its class. The aveage Joe will be happy, but for those with higher powered components or the desire to overclock, you may want to keep looking. For us, in the end, the features do not overshadow the lack of airflow!