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Antec Mini P180 Micro ATX PC Case Review

I’ve previously reviewed Antec’s P182 and P190 PC cases, both of which received great scores. Both of those are also “mid” ATX cases, and are at the larger end of the “mid” spectrum, approaching “full” ATX. When Antec told me that they were releasing a micro ATX version of the P180 series, I was very skeptical. I use the P182 for my home PC, and am very happy with it. It’s got 3 large 120mm fans, and room for all 3 of my 5.25” bay. Surprisingly, the Mini P180 has room for all 3 of my drives as well. Really, not a lot is different between the P180 and the mini P180.

The case styling is very similar, except that the mini P180 has aggressive looking openings on the front, as well as the top. Both the mini and full P180 have 2 USB port on the front, as well as headphone and microphone jacks. On the mini P180, Antec replaced the firewire 1394 port with an E-SATA port, which could be a good or a bad thing, depending upon your use of the case. If you ask me, however, the firewire port was a better idea. Not only do more people use firewire than E-SATA, but because E-SATA is for hard drives, you’d be less likely to need front bezel access to the ports than a plug-and-play video camera. It’s not for lack of room, either – they could have easily fit both the firewire and E-SATA ports, but chose just one instead.

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Inside the case, it’s again very similar to the full P180. Same door design and functionality, same noise dampening panels, same dual-chamber design (which works quite well). Surprisingly again, the mini P180 has a massive FIVE hard disk drive mounts, all with rubber grommets to reduce vibration noise. These are located in 2 (one with 2 one with 3) removable bays for easy access. Unfortunately, in order to run a 120mm fan in the front of the case like the P180 (to suck air IN), you have to remove the 3-mount hard drive bay, leaving you with only 2 available hard drive mounts; which is kind of counter-intuitive, because you’ll be needing the cooling of the fan MORE if you have 5 drives than if you have 2… Interestingly, two of the 5.25” bays are located at the top of the case, with the third located at the bottom. This is great for people looking for separation between their optical drives and their 5.25” card reader bezel, or, in my case, sound card bezel.

Possibly the best upgrade to the Mini P180 over the original series has to be the replacement of the top-mounted 120mm fan with a massive 200mm fan, pushing significantly more air while remaining quieter. This absolutely makes up for the lack of a front-mounted fan out of the box.

Overall, the Mini P180 is about as large as your normal entry-level home PC case, like a Dell Dimension, for example. It’s absolutely beautiful and shockingly capable. Even with it’s micro ATX form factor, it can accommodate full size high-end graphics cards, nearly nine inches long. Packing an even larger fan than it’s big brother, Antec has taken advantage of every inch of space in this case. The only downsides are the lack of firewire connectors, and the unusual required removal of hard drive mounts in order to mount a fan. It’s got as many drive bays as most mid-ATX cases, so as long as you can find a micro ATX motherboard with all of the slots you need, this case is ideal (keeping in mind this case is sold without a power supply).