Antec P160 Aluminum Tower: We take a look at Antec's latest high-end case that takes dead aim at the same market as boutique case manufacturers.
March 8, 2004
Moving onto the side panelling we can see a new locking design that incorporates two rotating handles at the top (the near rear handle is lockable with the supplied keys) and holds the panel in place. Rotating the handle allows you to pull the panel away from the top and gain access to the interior.
The interior is something that Antec have obviously worked hard on. Some new, some old, some updated, the features inside are all designed to please the end user from an ease of use point of view which is also very easy on the eyes. Bottom front we have the HDD cage which has support for four drives on its pullout trays. Each of the trays features 4 rubber grommets on the base to attach your drives and this mounting system is designed to keep things quiet and tidy. The rubber grommets aim to reduce vibration and therefore noise, whilst this unconventional orientation of the HDD cage makes the hiding of cabling very easy.
Just in front of the HDD cage is the front intake fan tray. Yes, we even have a tray for the front fan, a 120mm mounting that has a spring-loaded thumbscrew. Antec don't include a fan for this mount and comment in the impressive manual that this is to reduce noise, however judging by the noise of the included rear exhaust fan (more on this later) this wouldn't have been much.
Above all this is the 3 ½ inch bay which I'm actually going to skip for the moment, you'll see why later. Above this are the 5 ¼ bays and despite the fact the top two are stealthed still retain the classic Antec drive rail mounting system. For those that don't know, the rails attach to the drive and then you simply slide the drive into place as tho the drive itself was sliding into a drawer. The rails have two mounting positions to accommodate the needed extra mounting depth of the stealth bays while still allowing the bottom 2 'normal' bays to have flush fitting items.
Top rear we have the PSU mounting area, and as is common with Antec enclosures, no PSU is supplied allowing you to choose one of your own. This has obviously its good and bad points, but bear this fact in mind before you purchase. Below we find the rear exhaust, again of the 120mm variety. Antec supply a fan which is very quiet in operation at full speed. I don't have details on the fan but if I had to guess I would say it is about the 2500rpm range and probably pushes about 70 odd CFM. Antec have also pre-installed 4 rubber mounts on the fan, the idea being that this mounts will reduce vibrations through the case. These mounts are a real weak point in the case, and I mean that literally. I can't tell you how useful they are as I broke two of them installing the fan and had to return to traditional screws in the end. However you will see later that for me at least this had a secondary bonus.
Below are the PCI slots, all of which are loaded with thumbscrews so installation should be a breeze. Speaking of easy installations, I think if you were to ask an Antec user what is the most commonly missed feature on the Antec cases they would all turn around and say a removable motherboard tray. Well, we have trays for the HDD's, a tray for the front intake fan, and yes! Finally! A removable motherboard tray! Central to the case we have a spring-loaded thumbscrew that holds a bracket in place. Removing this allows you to slide the tray out. The tray itself does have a couple of issues though. For one thing, it would benefit from some kind of stabilising cross member on the top rear corner as being aluminium it is very soft and easily bent. At the end nearest the front of the case we have a handle or bracket which is fine but will restrict you if you have an oversized motherboard or an Abit board with its IDE headers mounted side on. Not real big issues in my book but certainly something to be aware of all the same.
Behind the tray, we have more vibration dampening in the form of three white rubbery plastic strips, which aim to reduce vibration from your HSF assembly. On the roof of the case (as it were) you will find a large clip designed to hold any loose wiring and it is pretty accommodating, as for me it is currently holding approximately a third of the wiring from my PSU (unused wiring). Speaking of clips, there is another clip lower down on top of the HDD cage which holds the power lead for the front blue LED's but has room for more.