Here's some :Pics: of my P182b I bought this week. Thanks to Outpost.com, I got it for $45, AR. Free ground shipping got it to me in 2 days, I was expecting a 4-5 day delivery delay - pleased with that.
Haven't had a chance to fire it up yet, this took 9 hours to tear down my old setup and install in my new one because:
- Someone crapped their pants, 4 times.
- Someone lost their toy, 6 times.
- Someone spilled a drink, 4 times.
- Someone got hurt, 7 times, including 1 trip to the E.R., and 1 phone call to the Dr's Office.
- Someone was hungry, and didn't want to eat anything in the house, 2 times.
- It snowed. Snow lasted 2 hours. During this period I was getting food because someone was hungry.
- Someone took/looked at/talked about a toy someone else was using, resulting in crying/fighting/whining.
Here are the pics, fresh from the build table - or the dining room table with a beach towel on it, so cave woman doesn't :runaway:
Rear 3/4 View
Front 3/4 View
Back, side panel removed
The only addition I made to the case was a Yate Loon 120mm fan in the upper HD bay, in front of the drive bay. This increases air intake and flow over the graphics card, NB/SB and any HD's you install in the upper chamber.
I like the case, has a very good quality feel to it. During install I found the routing holes for power/data cables to be very good, well matched with the cables on my Corsair VX 550 and the socket locations on the IP35-E motherboard.
I don't understand the purpose of the plastic shield over the upper/lower chamber separation, it seems over designed.
The front case door has a magnet to close it fully, and keep it held closed. USB & audio ports are exposed when the door is open, but air vents are not.
I like the ability to lock the front panel, because then little fingers won't be able to push buttons, but I'd like a cover over the USB/audio ports as well. A nice touch for the case was the dual HD/AC97 front panel audio connector, on the same cable. The case also features a second HD led indicator, if your mobo has two data strobes for HD activity, or you use an add-in controller.
I had to remove the top fan to connect the EPS12v connector to the IP35-E motherboard. This was because of the monster GeminiII heat sink. It's actually a good thing there was a top fan, as I was able to look through the grill to get the connector installed. Would have been a big PITA otherwise.
I installed the PSU inverted from normal position, as there appears to be a bigger gap above the PSU than below for air intake. Also I wanted the PSU switch closer to the left side, as I usually sit with the case on my right side, and this brings it closer if I want to cut off AC supply (for CMOS reset, or during T-storm etc.). This did reduce the length of the cables fractionally, but not enough to prevent any connections or cause any special routing.
I installed my Hauppauge TV card in the middle PCI slot, as installing in the lower PCI slot blocked the upper/lower chamber PSU cable passage, and rendered the card useless - TV connection will not attach to the rear inputs, because of the lower edge of the case extrusion. Look in the first pic, and you'll see what I mean - the backplane is recessed a little, which is great for protecting connections from bumping/bending when the case is pushed against a wall or desk. I do like the PCI slot backplane covers being slotted for extra airflow, as I typically remove mine for the same reason. However, this is another ingress for dust and pet hair.
The case comes with a large box of screws, standoffs, extra HDD rubber mounts, small zip ties and cable restraints. These last were very useful for the hidden routing, see rear pic above. The case is a far from tool-less design, but a lot of obvious thought has been given to accessibility and simplicity. On the back of the upper HD chamber there is a small container, for holding screws etc. A fan retention bracket for the upper HD chamber is included as well. As this precludes the use of the upper HD chamber for devices, I decided to mount a fan in the included, but empty, front 120mm fan holder.
I have set all fans to high, and will report temps/sound level when I fire it up tomorrow. The case sides are very light, but have a layer of material presumably for sound proofing.
For right now, I am very pleased with this purchase. A modern conservative look with nice features, good design and the basics for a thermally advantaged case. For the out-of-pocket expense ($95) I consider it good value for money; for the after rebate price ($45) I consider it a steal. However, I wouldn't pay $170 for it; and heres why:
To consider spending $170 on a case, the workstation inside it would be a considerable investment. For that money I would expect a high quality powerful PSU to be included, or for the case to be a little larger and support extended ATX mobo's (for dual socket setups) and have a larger/more flexible power supply chamber (for redundant power supply setups), and include extender cables for PSU's that cables didn't reach (24pin ATX power, 8pin EPS12v). I'd like for the front door and side panel to include a mesh section for air intake - but that sounds suspiciously like another Antec product... :)*
The one other feature I think this price level case should feature now is an eSATA port or two. As it's basically a SATA cable with a socketed end, it would be a cheap addition (no electronics for straight cable, but a multiplexer wouldn't be too expensive if it depended on motherboard compatibility) but would be a major I/O bonus. There also should be low profile lightweight fan grills on all the installed fans.
If you read all that, thanks :up: and sorry for the long post!