A basic black exterior highlighted by a plain aluminum front door panel lend a stately appearance to Antec’s P280. Vents along the top panel detract only slightly (in my opinion) from this case's self-appointed grandeur.
Bucking the latest trend of placing the front panel-accessible I/O up on top of the case, the P280's ports are actually found on the front panel! Imagine that. While this makes them easy to access from either above or below, any cords hanging from the ports do get in the way of the front door.
The drive door hides three 5.25” drive bays and an un-dampened plastic face panel. Antec instead places the dampening foam in the door itself to absorb noise, particularly from a graphics card, which might otherwise escape through a mesh-filtered front intake panel.
Though the P280 has no intake fans (as it was delivered), two 120 mm coolers can be added behind the removable filter. These would blow directly into the hard drive cage, which appears designed to deflect some of the noise emanating from a loud graphics card.
Nine expansion slots provide room for oversized motherboards, such as Gigabyte’s X58A-UD9, though its bottom expansion slot would require one more space to support a double-slot card. Instead, we think this extra space is ideal for installing oversized graphics cards and port breakout plates onto standard ATX boards, or installing a double-slot card at the bottom of the more modestly-oversized 890FXA-UD7 .
Builders who prefer external liquid coolers will appreciate the pair of oversized grommets that Antec places next to the P280’s expansion slots, while gamers building with traditional heat sinks and fans may find the fan controller more useful. Two speeds are available for manual control, though we'd frankly rather connect three-pin fans directly to our motherboard, enabling temperature-based response.