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Thread: HEXUS.reviews :: Antec P180 - Still a great chassis?

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    HEXUS.reviews :: Antec P180 - Still a great chassis?

    Whilst this chassis is by no means new to the market, we decided to finally take a look at it to see how it compares against another high-end chassis, the Akasa Eclipse 62, as well as the P150, looking at its hardware compatibility, thermal and acoustic performance.
    http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=6012
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    The way you're examining the thermal performance, your comparisons, and your interpretation of your own data leaves barrel-lots to be desired.

    A general point: You never discuss the # of fans used in each case, or the speeds at which they are spinning. How can you possibly make fair thermal comparisons without trying to keep either airflow or noise (one or the other) consistent for each case? Or at least make information about fans and speeds available to the reader.

    1) One assumes, one hopes, that you installed and used the same system in each case but because you never say this, the question has to be asked. Did you?

    2) Why report some temperature vaguely "near" the CPU when the CPU core temperature is available from the mb? The former is complely dependent on specifics of airflow in each case; the latter is incontrovertible. This is a no-brainer.

    3) Ditto the temps of the install HDDs -- why not get the readings directly off the HDD thermal sensors?

    4) The significance of the differences in the PSU exhaust temperatures is so blithely misunderstood it's astonishing. It shiould be obvious that the P180 PSU exhaust has the lowest temp because none of the system's heat except the HDDs is being ported through it. What's not as obvious is that this is a key reason for its lower noise -- under load. When the system is worked hard, more power is delivered to the components, which = more heat. In the other systems, a lot of this heat has to exhaust through the PSU, which makes the thermally controlled fan in the PSU speed up to compensate. In the P180, this occurs at a far higher power load level, because it doesn't have to deal with the system's heat. While the same PSU in the other cases are getting louder, in the P180 the PSU remains much quieter.

    Did you pay any attention during testing? Did you listen?

    5) There are 4 drive bays in the lower chamber HDD cage, and this is meant to be the main HDD cage. They are cooled by the PSU's own fan.

    BTW, in the latest P180s, Antec supplies adapter clips to turn the upper HDD cage into an intake fan duct for a 120mm fan to cool graphics cards. The latest versions also come with ventilated PCI slot covers which, in combination with the front mounted 120mm fan, can help exhaust the heat of the VGA in a straight line out the back. This is far better than the separate VGA duct system, which was never a useful feature, and which is no longer being supplied with the case.

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    Have to agree with the final bit (though the other points are quite harsh and I would like to say the review is good).

    I have taken a look at the latest P180b and the video card cooling with the clip is very efficient and better than the old vga duct system
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikec@spcr
    The way you're examining the thermal performance, your comparisons, and your interpretation of your own data leaves barrel-lots to be desired.

    A general point: You never discuss the # of fans used in each case, or the speeds at which they are spinning. How can you possibly make fair thermal comparisons without trying to keep either airflow or noise (one or the other) consistent for each case? Or at least make information about fans and speeds available to the reader.

    1) One assumes, one hopes, that you installed and used the same system in each case but because you never say this, the question has to be asked. Did you?

    2) Why report some temperature vaguely "near" the CPU when the CPU core temperature is available from the mb? The former is complely dependent on specifics of airflow in each case; the latter is incontrovertible. This is a no-brainer.

    3) Ditto the temps of the install HDDs -- why not get the readings directly off the HDD thermal sensors?

    4) The significance of the differences in the PSU exhaust temperatures is so blithely misunderstood it's astonishing. It shiould be obvious that the P180 PSU exhaust has the lowest temp because none of the system's heat except the HDDs is being ported through it. What's not as obvious is that this is a key reason for its lower noise -- under load. When the system is worked hard, more power is delivered to the components, which = more heat. In the other systems, a lot of this heat has to exhaust through the PSU, which makes the thermally controlled fan in the PSU speed up to compensate. In the P180, this occurs at a far higher power load level, because it doesn't have to deal with the system's heat. While the same PSU in the other cases are getting louder, in the P180 the PSU remains much quieter.

    Did you pay any attention during testing? Did you listen?

    5) There are 4 drive bays in the lower chamber HDD cage, and this is meant to be the main HDD cage. They are cooled by the PSU's own fan.

    BTW, in the latest P180s, Antec supplies adapter clips to turn the upper HDD cage into an intake fan duct for a 120mm fan to cool graphics cards. The latest versions also come with ventilated PCI slot covers which, in combination with the front mounted 120mm fan, can help exhaust the heat of the VGA in a straight line out the back. This is far better than the separate VGA duct system, which was never a useful feature, and which is no longer being supplied with the case.

    Just for the record, you worked with them on development on this chassis right?

    Thanks

    DR

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    Never liked the P180 and still dont, not only is it very cramped but airflow is particularly poor, due in part to the relative inability to decently tidy all the cables away.

    The SLK3000 is a much better & far cheaper design, personally I think the P180 is just a bit of a bling case.

    As for silent pc review's comments, a bit harsh, but some nuggets of truth..... Apart from:

    "Why report some temperature vaguely "near" the CPU when the CPU core temperature is available from the mb? The former is complely dependent on specifics of airflow in each case; the latter is incontrovertible. This is a no-brainer."

    Incontravertable in what sense?? In that the motherboard sensors can be as much as 10c out depending on what board you have??? Oh dear, school boy error . Much better would be a thermal probe.

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    not posting kempez's Avatar
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    I'm just wondering what the dimensions of that Tagan PSU you used where?

    I fitted a Silverstone Strider 560w PSU into the case with a bit of clearence and some cable tidying



    Hmm maybe it was the modular connectors...
    Last edited by kempez; 20-07-2006 at 06:03 PM.
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    It was indeed the modular connectors that caused the problem - nice toe btw

    I will respond in due course about other concerns, just need to check a few things first.

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    ROFL love the toe! Must have missed that

    Interested to hear what ya said about the rest

    EDIT: Toe now gone
    Last edited by kempez; 20-07-2006 at 06:03 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimborae
    "Why report some temperature vaguely "near" the CPU when the CPU core temperature is available from the mb? The former is complely dependent on specifics of airflow in each case; the latter is incontrovertible. This is a no-brainer."

    Incontravertable in what sense?? In that the motherboard sensors can be as much as 10c out depending on what board you have??? Oh dear, school boy error . Much better would be a thermal probe.
    The motherboard sensor would be fine to use for comparisons, as long as he is using the same motherboard. This goes back to another point mike@spcr raised, of component consistency.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikec@spcr
    The way you're examining the thermal performance, your comparisons, and your interpretation of your own data leaves barrel-lots to be desired.
    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, thanks for yours

    Quote Originally Posted by mikec@spcr
    A general point: You never discuss the # of fans used in each case, or the speeds at which they are spinning. How can you possibly make fair thermal comparisons without trying to keep either airflow or noise (one or the other) consistent for each case? Or at least make information about fans and speeds available to the reader.
    From the second page of the review...

    There is one 120mm fan located on the back of the chassis and seeing as ‘heat rises’, Antec has fitted a 120mm fan to the top panel of the chassis, as well.
    Whilst your point on fan speeds in comparison maybe true - the fan speeds are left at stock levels and we purposely do not add fans to the chassis we receive in for review - whilst some users see the benefit to the thermal performance by adding fans many do not - a lot of the daily users we come into contact with at HEXUS are more enthusiast than your average buyer, the same will definitely be the case at SPCR.

    The reviews are carried out with standard specification fan settings, and where appropriate the number of fans within the chassis is noted.

    In the case of this review we actually had to remove one of the fans - which is a first for us.

    In the end, we had to remove the 120mm fan from the lower chamber in order to get the Tagan PSU to fit.
    And therefore the reader was both informed of the number of fans and the reasons behind them appearing in the configured chassis or not - they appeared in thermal tests, more on that below.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikec@spcr
    1) One assumes, one hopes, that you installed and used the same system in each case but because you never say this, the question has to be asked. Did you?
    If you check the appropriate pages on the P150 and the P180 chassis reviews you will see that the same equipment was used without exception - to the extent the Antec Neo HE PSU was actually fitted for the thermal tests in the P180 as this was used in the stock-shipping P150.

    • DFI Lanparty 925TX Socket 775 Motherboard
    • Intel&#174; 3.4 Ghz Extreme Edition Socket 775 CPU
    • Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Socket 775 Cooler
    • 2 x Crucial 1GB PC4200 DDRII Dimm
    • BFG 256mb 7800GTX PCI-e
    • 2 x 160GB Seagate 7200 S-ATA Barracuda HDD
    • Tagan 530W Easycon PSU*

    *Thermal tests done using Antec Neo HE

    Whilst the Tagan was demonstrated in the pictures, it was considered unfair to the Antec P180 to do thermal tests based on the fact that it didn't actually fit with the appropriate fan configuration considering modular power supplies, whilst prevalent in the enthusiast market they are still not as widespread and the Antec Neo HE, whilst modular, was the closest PSU we had to being non-modular at the time of testing.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikec@spcr
    2) Why report some temperature vaguely "near" the CPU when the CPU core temperature is available from the mb? The former is complely dependent on specifics of airflow in each case; the latter is incontrovertible. This is a no-brainer.
    There is very little truth in your statement above I am afraid, as motherboards are notorious for not giving the sort of accurate thermal readings compared to a thermal probe with a 1m cable to avoid body heat manipulation. Even if we didn't use the same motherboard (which we did btw) then the reading is not going to be accurate compared to the readings where we are forced to use a thermal probe to achieve. If your reviews are based on motherboard readings only then I can only advise you may wish to reconsider the way you do it. Please note this is not me telling you what or how to do what your site does, just advice based on the experience of the technical staff at HEXUS. Again though, this is open to opinion - you have yours, I have mine, and more importantly the readers of both sites have their own.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikec@spcr
    3) Ditto the temps of the install HDDs -- why not get the readings directly off the HDD thermal sensors?
    The readings off the thermal probe used were also compared to the readings on the drives and tied up within 1 degree - but again, different HDD's and different motherboards read in different ways, if the thermal readings are done in a standard way without human heat distorting the readings then this is much more consistent than relying on different variables in the hardware installed.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikec@spcr
    4) The significance of the differences in the PSU exhaust temperatures is so blithely misunderstood it's astonishing. It shiould be obvious that the P180 PSU exhaust has the lowest temp because none of the system's heat except the HDDs is being ported through it. What's not as obvious is that this is a key reason for its lower noise -- under load. When the system is worked hard, more power is delivered to the components, which = more heat. In the other systems, a lot of this heat has to exhaust through the PSU, which makes the thermally controlled fan in the PSU speed up to compensate. In the P180, this occurs at a far higher power load level, because it doesn't have to deal with the system's heat. While the same PSU in the other cases are getting louder, in the P180 the PSU remains much quieter.

    Did you pay any attention during testing? Did you listen?
    Whilst these are valid points in terms of the potential to lower heat readings in the chambers of the P180 the readings differed from the expectations. Whilst you may think that we are making this up, the readings were all taken on the same day with the same equipment. The same equipment that is actually my main work machine so I am well aware of expected thermal performance and audible performance.

    Ill feedback on where we go in terms of equipment with the closing comments to this post.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikec@spcr
    5) There are 4 drive bays in the lower chamber HDD cage, and this is meant to be the main HDD cage. They are cooled by the PSU's own fan.
    It is your opinion that it’s supposed to be the main cage - the system delivers the possibility to use a system in different ways - for example, should I want to put a fan behind the upper bay cage where we fitted on drive I could, the review even details this too - as well as one in the lower chamber.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikec@spcr
    BTW, in the latest P180s, Antec supplies adapter clips to turn the upper HDD cage into an intake fan duct for a 120mm fan to cool graphics cards. The latest versions also come with ventilated PCI slot covers which, in combination with the front mounted 120mm fan, can help exhaust the heat of the VGA in a straight line out the back. This is far better than the separate VGA duct system, which was never a useful feature, and which is no longer being supplied with the case.
    I take it you are referring to the P180b chassis with the above comments? I took delivery of one of these this week and intend for a secondary review or an addendum to the existing review to detail and discuss changes made to the P180 to make it become the b specification.

    Unfortunately we have a few chassis before it in the queue to be reviewed and therefore it may be a week or two until I get the time to review where it may or may not have improved.

    As I advised above we review based on standard specification chassis - but we are not adverse to comments should they be valid and certain comments above are.

    In the future all chassis will be reviewed using a completely independent collection of components that can easily be put into different chassis to thermally test performance during the same day as necessary. The equipment has been finalised and arrived with myself this morning. I will be fitting it to both the P180 and the P180b to compare as and when the time comes for that review to be done.

    Many thanks for your feedback, whilst some of it didn't really apply some of it did and we value all comments on HEXUS editorial, good or bad.

    Matt.
    Last edited by MD; 21-07-2006 at 07:13 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by boof
    The motherboard sensor would be fine to use for comparisons, as long as he is using the same motherboard. This goes back to another point mike@spcr raised, of component consistency.
    What's the point in quoting consistantly crap results Much better would be to use the same thermal probe, set up the same way. Anyways I'll refer you to Matt's comments above

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt D
    <snip>
    ...
    Many thanks for your feedback, whilst some of it didn't really apply some of it did and we value all comments on HEXUS editorial, good or bad.

    Matt.
    Can I just say that this sort of polite, constructive and thoroughly decent response to a basic rant (which may have had good points but wasn't written to put them across in a nice way) is a really good example of why I've become such a fan of this forum so quickly. I've only discovered Hexus fairly recently and it's much "nicer" here that in other forums.

    Ni-ce.

    DM

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    Sorry, if I came off a bit rude in my first post here, guys, I guess I did overreact a bit. We all make mistakes sometimes...

    ...but I stick by my basic point that the comparisons and analysis don't really tell us much, there's just not enough information to say any one of those cases is better for cooling -- and if so, at what noise level?

    If you don't consider low noise a desired quality, it's amazingly simple to design and build a really well cooled box, it's just a matter of managing good airflow paths with powerful, large fans. Actually, I'm surprised how poorly the so-called high performance cooling cases are done, just opening up vents everywhere and putting in multiple fans -- that's a very inefficient use of airflow; it's so much more effective to direct and channel it.

    Anyway, my rant was partly about not having some kind of noise reference to "anchor" the cooling performance. If case A generally provides 3~5 degrees better cooling than case B but at 12-15 dBA higher noise level, both parts of that statement are very pertinent for most users. Some people will say, "that's great, I'll take the better cooling." Others will say... "45 dBA versus 30 dBA? You gotta be joking, I value my hearing and my peace of mind!" Still others will say, "hmmm, I wonder if I can get the same 3~5 degrees better cooling but with only 5 dBA more noise with case B?"

    Do you see my point? It's kind of like what's happening with processors at the moment. For a long time, energy efficiency was simply ignored in the quest for higher speed & processing power. Now, that quest is counterbalanced by the desire to use less energy. It has become a more challenging and interesting game.

    Much the same for cases. 25 dBA @ 1m with very good cooling is actually a much tougher target than 35 dBA @ 1m with excellent cooling. In fact, I would go as far as to say that if the target IS 35 dBA @ 1m, I can come up with a case in very short order that will cool every component better than anything on the market today.

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    Generally good and fair review, but I have a few nitpicks.

    First, the VGA duct (while cumbersome) is also a 2-piece unit. It can be removed without taking the back of the duct off the rear of the case, just by loosening a couple of thumbscrews. I did not find it necessary to totally remove this piece in order to install a full complement of hardware into the case.

    Second, the manual clearly states that hard disks should be installed in the lower cage first, and strongly recommends additional front intake cooling be installed before adding drives into the upper cage.

    Last, the case fans shipped with my P180 were dual-speed fans, and the settings out of the box seemed fairly arbitrary. Were the fans built into your case dual-speed? Were they toggled for low or high RPMs at the time of your measurements for heat and noise levels?

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    After having used the Antec P180 in several systemas as well as the Akasa Eclipse I have to say there are some major problems with the Antec P180.

    When this case is packed with high end components temperatures are hot, it is designed in such a way to insulate heat and compartmentalising areas of the case (HDD's, Mobo, PSU) may seem like a good idea but in this particular case it craetes hot spots in several areas. The only solution is to put the fans on full whack and then listen to the silent case roar like a lion.

    The Akasa has a different design philosophy and it has some disadvantages (e.g. it cannot hold the number of hard drives the P180 can) but if you want the coolest case... go for the Akasa and buy some cheap Akasa 120mm silent running fans.

    Just my tu'ppence worth.

    Edit: Also I can attest to the problem of using modular PSU's like the Tagan's and the the Hiper's.... it is possible to get around it, just about but again not ideal. I just think the case is designed with a brute force approach to silent and cool running. On a totally different market segment the true innovator in silence for the masses has got to be Arctic Cooling and their Silentium range.

    Edit2: The case fans are triple-speed not dual speed - Low Medium and High
    Last edited by misae; 21-07-2006 at 10:34 PM.

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    On a slightly separate note (but seeing as we're here about cooling/noise), does anyone know which is the quieter out of much-loved-by-SPR Seasonic S12 600W and the new OCZ GameXStream 600W/700W (which seems to garner good write-ups about its lack of noise)?

    Any comments appreciated

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