Introduction to the Antec P380 Full-Tower Chassis

Today we’re going to take a look at a bit of an older case made by Antec, named the P380. This case was originally unveiled for CES 2015 and launched several months later. Antec was always one of the go-to companies for PC cases, but over the years the Antec name has slipped away in favor of other brands. Let’s take a look and see what Antec is up to with this case. [caption id="attachment_180070" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 Antec P380 Full-Tower Chassis[/caption] The P380 is a full-tower chassis, featuring a very sleek and minimalistic exterior. This case really does look rather nice on the outside thanks to the aluminum paneling and large side window. You will find the I/O panel on the top left hand side by default, however Antec was smart to realize not all users will want to plug in things on the left. You will be able to switch the orientation of the panel and pop it on the right hand side instead. The power and reset buttons are hidden just behind the front aluminum panel, but you’re not limited to just the left side either; Antec actually placed power and reset buttons on both sides. Inside this (HxWxD) 555 x 223.6 x 557mm (21.85 x 8.8 x 21.92 inches) case you will find plenty of room for your motherboard with room for SSI CEB, E-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, or Mini-ITX. For the power users who plan on doing minimal cooling upgrades, you will have eight drive bays that are both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch compatible. There is also room inside this case for 3-way SLI or Crossfire, as we have a total of nine expansion slots available for use. Antec P380 Antec lists this case for $229.95 on their storefront, however you can currently purchase it for as low as $109.99 plus $14.99 shipping on Newegg, or as of posting this there is a 3rd party seller on Amazon selling it for $132.60 shipped. Regardless of where you buy it, you will have a 3-year warranty on the P380. P380 Technical Specifications:
Model P380
UPC 0-761345-83800-9
Case Type: Full-Tower
8 Drive bays: 1 x Slim optical drive bay 8 x 3.5”/2.5” tool-less HDD bays
Motherboards: SSI CEB, E-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini-ITX
Expansion Slots: 9 x Expansion Slots
Maximum graphics card size: 465mm
Maximum CPU cooler height: 180mm
Cooling System: 3 x 120mm/2 x 140mm top exhaust fan mount(2 x 140mm FDB fan pre-installed) 3 x 120mm/2 x 140mm front intake fan mount 1 x 120 mm rear exhaust fan mount(1 x 120mm FDB fan pre-installed)
Liquid Cooling Solution: 1 x 360mm radiator / 1 x 240mm radiator at front 1 x 360mm radiator /1 x 240mm radiator on the top
Front I/O Ports: 2 x USB3.0; 2 x USB2.0; Audio In/Out
Unit Dimensions: 555mm(H) x 223.6mm(W) x 557mm(D) 21.85”(H) x 8.80”(W) x 21.92”(D)
Let’s move on and see what the outside is all about, follow that up with checking out the interior, and finally build a test system inside, seeing how easy or difficult it is.

P380 Packaging, Product Tour, and Impressions

The P380’s packaging is fairly basic but also plenty informative at the same time. The front of the package shows us a picture of a bare P380, while the rear shows us a bunch of key selling points. The sides of the box also show us pictures of the case from different angles. The top of the box provides us with all of the technical data. [gallery link="file" ids="180064,180065,180066"] Opening up the box reveals the foam blocks and bag housing the P380 for transport. This has been a fairly proven method of getting you your product safely and I’m happy to say this arrived undamaged. [gallery columns="2" link="file" ids="180067,180068"] After pulling the packaging materials off, you will see that the acrylic side window is also protected inside and out. Antec P380 - Packaging Removing that plastic lets you see the beauty behind the P380. [caption id="attachment_180070" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 Antec P380 Full-Tower Chassis[/caption] Starting with the front of the case, you will find nothing but a straight aluminum panel; there are no 5.25-inch bays to be seen here. Antec has removed them from this case as the industry slowly turns away from optical media, thus the bays are absent. Fear not, Antec actually did think that some people may need to use optical media, so they have included a bracket to allow a slim-line drive to be installed. [caption id="attachment_180071" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 - Front Antec P380 - Front of Chassis[/caption] Looking at the left side we see the large acrylic window sticking out at you. Another feature that we can see on this side is the I/O panel on the top right. As previously mentioned, you can actually flip this around to it’s on the right hand side of the case instead. Looking at the bottom right hand side is where the slim-line ODD bracket will be installed. The only unfortunate part about doing the install, is removing the front is no easy feat. You have to remove several screws inside the case just to pull the front off. Most other cases out in the wild will just allow you to yank the front panel off, but not the P380. [caption id="attachment_180072" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 - Left Antec P380 - Left Side With Large Acrylic Window[/caption] Here’s a closer view of the I/O panel that includes (left to right) a mic in, headphones out, 2x USB 2.0, and 2x USB 3.0 ports. Tucked away, you will find the power and reset buttons hiding behind the front panel. [caption id="attachment_180082" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 - I/O Panel Antec P380 - I/O Panel[/caption] The next feature that we see on the left side is one of the fan filters. This was actually well thought out in that you can access it from the side, however for those who tend to put their cases in a desk, this still isn’t a great solution for them. Antec P380 - Bottom Rear Filter Taking the side panel off we can expose a whole lot more and see what’s going on inside. There is an absolutely massive cutout on the motherboard tray, which I really like. You will find most standoffs preinstalled, large grommets for passing wires to the rear, and eight 3.5 / 2.5-inch drive bays. Antec P380 - Left - Interior The drive caddy removes with a simple pinch and pull. Antec mentions that these are tool-free drive bays, perhaps in that they slide right out, but they will absolutely require screws for your drives. Their website states you “Eight total 3.5”/2.5” tool-less HDD bays lets you install new drives with ease, just pop them in tray and slide them back to the drive bays.,” however the instruction manual clearly tells you to use screws; there would be nothing holding the drives except friction, otherwise. Antec P380 - Drive Tray Looking to remove a few drives so you can install front-mount water cooling? Antec has you covered, as the drive cage is split into three pieces and removable. Unfortunately to remove these drive cages is nothing but a nightmare, as there are far too many screws and too much messing around to get these things out. See the instruction manual on Page 15 with how ridiculous it is to remove one cage. Antec P380 - Drive Cage Antec left the shell for the 5.25-inch bay in place, but this small area will end up being utilized for a 360mm radiator; that’s about all that it’s there for. Antec P380 - 5.25 The rear of the case has nine expansion slots lined with thumb screws. There are two pass-thru holes with grommets and a pre-installed 120mm exhaust fan. I could not find the specifications on this fan, other than it is an FDB fan (fluid dynamic bearing). Antec P380 - Rear Interior The top has two 140mm FDB fans pre-installed, which again I could not find specifications for. You will be able to swap these fans out for up to a 360mm radiator or three 120mm fans if you choose. [caption id="attachment_180080" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 - Top Fans Antec P380 - Top Pre-Installed Fans[/caption] Moving to the rear of the case you can again see how everything is laid out. You can remove the top panel by removing the two thumb screws at the very top, then pulling it towards you at the rear, then lifting up. [caption id="attachment_180083" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 - Rear Rear of the Antec P380[/caption] With the top panel removed, we expose the top mounted fans and see that the I/O panel’s wires basically disallow you from quickly and fully removing the top. Antec P380 - Top Open To flip the I/O panel around so it’s on the other side, you will just have to remove a few screws and turn it. Antec P380 - Top Open The right hand side is just very clean looking and that’s about it. Antec P380 - Right Also hidden on the top right is another pair of power and reset buttons for those who don’t want to reach to the other side of the case. [caption id="attachment_180098" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 - Power/Reset Right Secondary Power & Reset Buttons on the Antec P380[/caption] Pulling the door off, I can’t forget to mention the sound dampening material attached to the doors. This is a very nice touch and gives the panels a much more rigid feel as an added bonus. [caption id="attachment_180092" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 - Sound Dampening Sound Dampening Material on Doors[/caption] From the rear you will find plenty of cable tie-off points, but I also need to point out another interesting item... Antec P380 - Right - Interior ... All three fans include a built-in speed controller for Low and High settings. While I find this intriguing, it’s also kind of annoying to have to flip a switch for each fan when you want to adjust speeds. [caption id="attachment_180096" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 - Bulit-in Fan Speed Built-In Fan Speed Controller Per Fan[/caption] Regardless, there is a built-in fan hub for up to six fans, powered by a single 4-pin Molex power connector. [caption id="attachment_180094" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 - Fan Hub Built-In Fan Hub[/caption] The rear of the case has approximately one inch of room to work with, and you will have very little trouble stuffing your wires back here. Antec P380 - Tray Space Lastly, the Bottom we find four rubber feet to elevate it off the ground. [caption id="attachment_180087" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 - Bottom Bottom of the P380[/caption] Also accessible from the bottom is the front panel filter. You will pull this filter down, which is very bizarre. In order to do this, you will have to rock your case backwards. This is a giant engineering mistake on Antec’s part, that’s for sure. [caption id="attachment_180088" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 - Front Filter Antec P380's Front Filter - Very Bizarre Placement[/caption] Once you see the sheer size of this filter, you begin to understand why I say it’s a very annoying feature. Antec P380 - Front Filter The included accessories are a product overview guide, zip ties, all of the screws you need to get your machine up and running, and a slim-line ODD bracket.  The instruction manual can be found on Antec's website. Antec P380 - Accessories This wraps up the product tour, so let’s take a look and see how easy it is to install hardware inside the P380.

Hardware Installation Inside The P380

Hardware installs inside Full-Tower ATX cases are generally pretty easy, simply because you have loads of room to work with. The P380 is no exception and has a nice layout, not to mention that nice massive hole on the motherboard tray for easy access to the rear of an installed motherboard. The 8800 GTX that I’m using in this build is a golden oldie, but the card length is similar to cards that are out on the market today, measuring approximately 10-9/16-inches (~268 mm) long. Antec P380 - Left - Interior To start off, I had to install three more standoffs for the motherboard. The screw holes are not labeled like many other cases I’ve looked at, so if you’re a novice, you’re left with guessing if you don’t grab the manual. The extra standoffs were either in the bag or a couple were hiding on the other side of the motherboard tray, presumably just for storage. I went ahead and installed all of my components with ease. Since this case had top mounted fans included, I opted to just install an air cooler this time around. I decided it was not worth the hassle to rip apart the case to do a front mounted cooler, as there are far too many screws to pull out just to do such. If you wanted to do a top mounted cooler, you can simply repurpose the included fans and place them in the front. The only real gripe I had while installing my hardware was with the grommets. I feel that there could have been one placed above the bottom horizontal one, plus for the MSRP price of this case, I found the rubber to be extremely flimsy; I had them pop out a few times. Antec P380 - Complete - No Door Drive installation was also easy, but could have been made easier if the trays were truly 100% tool-free. In this case, you still have to screw the drive to the tray, rather than the tray just hugging the drive. I did like the rubber vibration absorption pads on the trays, however they did make my drives feel like they bounced around too much. Routing wires was made easy thanks to the large grommets, though as I previously stated, there could have been an extra above the horizontal one and the rubber could have been thicker and held in place better. Behind the motherboard tray are plenty of tie-down points for your wires. I’ve never really been one to utilize these points, rather I usually let the wires roam free in the rear. Antec P380 - Right - No Door Firing up the system for the first time, I found the fans on their low setting to be very quiet, and even flipping them to high they were still quiet – you could easily have a conversation over them. [caption id="attachment_180104" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 Antec P380 With Fully Installed System[/caption] There are no fancy lights, keeping this case very simplistic/minimalistic. In fact, the only lights that I saw were a very faint blue behind the power button. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it’s so faint that I couldn’t get a good picture on camera. [caption id="attachment_180105" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Antec P380 - Power Button Light Antec P380's Faint Power Button Glow[/caption] Let’s wrap this review up with some final thoughts.

Antec P380 Full-Tower Chassis – Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Antec’s P380 was designed to have a minimalistic appearance and allow some customization inside. While Antec got rid of the 5.25-inch slots on this case, they didn’t forget that some people still like utilizing optical media for various purposes. The sleek aluminum clad exterior is a very nice touch, and the sound dampened interior provides a great user experience. Antec P380 - Complete - No Door I for one use my optical drive maybe once per month, if that, so I truly understand why the 5.25-inch bay is going away. But what about other components that use these bays, such as water cooling reservoirs? I for one have a custom loop that has a reservoir that takes over two 5.25-inch bays, so a case like this would not fit my needs unless I were to purchase a different reservoir. If you're looking for your own P380, Antec will try to get you for $229.95 on their storefront, however you can currently purchase it for as low as $109.99 plus $14.99 shipping on Newegg, or as of posting this there is a 3rd party seller on Amazon selling it for $132.60 shipped. Regardless of where you buy it, you will have a 3-year warranty on the P380. Overall, I really wanted to like the P380, but I had a very hard time finding what made this case stand out aside from the nice looking exterior. There were just too many things done incorrectly here that I left frustrated. Antec states that if you were wanting to “create a monster file server, the P380 should be the choice, without hesitation.” I am actually in the process of migrating my NAS to a new chassis and thought this would absolutely be the perfect choice, but in reality I decided it would be a painful choice and actually did hesitate. There is no stock cooling over the hard drive bays, however you can add cooling. To add cooling is a giant project, requiring you to remove far too many screws just to remove the front. The vast majority of other cases on the market would just have you pull the front off and snap it back on – but not this case. Antec P380 - Complete The wasted space above the drive cages also threw me off big time. If you were to do any decent front-mounted water cooling instead of top-mount, you’re going to lose six drive bays and you’re left with two. Two drives in an enthusiast’s computer is absolutely not enough. Fortunately there is always the [more common] option to mount up to a 240 or 360mm radiator on the top. The last thing that got me was the front panel filter. I’m not quite sure what Antec was thinking when they A. Made the front panel a giant task to remove, and B. The front panel filter pulls down for removal. You’re going to have to tilt your case backwards a fair amount just to remove and clean this filter, which I find absolutely atrocious. Antec P380 - Front Filter I think Antec still has it in them to made awesome cases, but the P380 was very poorly designed for those who want to get extended functionality out of it outside of the factory configuration. In a factory setting, this case can function fairly well, but with the price tag that it has, I’m willing to bet many will want to get more out of their purchase. Legit Bottom Line: If you leave the P380 case in its factory configuration, it’s actually a pretty decent case. However, if you want to do anything with it, you’ll have a frustrating time thanks to far too many screws holding everything in place.