Planning a new build and don’t know which chassis to choose? Does the idea of having a feature-packed mid-tower intrigue you? Well, the P190 is just that, with its intuitive design and two pre-installed power supplies, offering you a total of 1,200W of overkill pleasure. Is the case a true winner? Not exactly, but it’s still worth a look.
This was one incredible case to work with. Not only is there a tremendous amount of space to work with, there was an obvious amount of thought put into the layout and design. The rear of the motherboard is designed to allow the builder to tie down wires and properly run cables. I thoroughly enjoyed working with this case and the ease of making it clean inside. To me, there is nothing more aggravating that trying to build my PC and then having to go to great lengths to keep it neat. Antec gets high marks from me for the engineering and design of the P190.
With minimal effort I was able to make the backside look this clean:
The same thing held true for the business side of the build. There were plenty of channels and slots to place wires in their appropriate places without leaving anything hanging and disrupting the airflow. I literally took only 10 minutes to build the test rig and it still came out wonderfully clean.
Using the supplied hardware, hard drives are also a simple affair to mount. The same goes with the CD/DVD drives. All you need to do is mount the supplied rails onto your CD/DVD drive and slot it in. You do not have to take off the front bezel like most cases. The fact that all these details were not only thought about but taken care of really shows in the ease of installation of all your hardware.
Now it’s testing time. Here are the specs of the components used for the build:
I should also mention that you receive a 650W and 550W PSU with the chassis. The 650W supplies all the major hardware including the motherboard, CPU and video cards. It has every possible combination of connectors required. SLI/Crossfire is no problem here as there are even dual 8-pin PCI-E connectors along with two more 6-pin.
The 550W unit is modular and is capable of powering anything else that needs Molex and SATA power. I feel that there is some wasted power here since 550W is overkill for this. It would have been nice if they have allowed us to tap into it for other uses. It’s a great idea, I just feel that it falls short of what we truly need in terms of available power and how it is distributed throughout the system.
Now let’s all settle down for a little testing. While I didn’t go into any major in-depth testing, it just wouldn’t be right to not at least show if all these fans can help make a difference. For a baseline, I am going to use the results I got from this same exact configuration a few months back when I tested CPU coolers outside a case. I used the Arctic Freezer 7 CPU cooler and the stock passive cooler on the HD3450.
Here is one very important note here that needs mentioning. Don’t plan on using any tall CPU or VGA coolers inside this case unless you want to remove the 200mm side panel fan. I could not fit anything larger than the Freezer Pro 7 without hitting the fan. That excludes pretty much every single 120mm based CPU cooler made. Same goes for the video coolers. I attempted to install my 8800GT into the case which sports a Thermalright HR-03 GT cooler. It too interfered with the side panel fan. This is one glaring flaw in the otherwise well thought out design.
I used CoreTemp to measure CPU temperatures and ATI’s Catalyst Control Center to measure the GPU temps. I loaded up the CPU with Prime95 and I used the built in overclocking utility in CCC to stress the GPU.
As you can see, all that airflow really does make quite a difference when running a hot Quad-Core, and I was really impressed considering the GPU is passively cooled.
Antec has built quite an interesting piece in the P190. There is no disputing that it is geared towards the high-end with the $350+ price tag. With E-ATX compatibility and enough airflow to lift off a small jet, there is no reason you shouldn’t at least consider it for your next build. It is feature-packed and comes with all the extra goodies you need. Add that to the well above average wire control and routing built-in and you have one sweet case. There are, however, three glaring flaws that prevent me from going over the top.
One, the lack of space for the larger CPU/GPU coolers is going to prevent a lot of people from wanting it. If you are spending this much money, you are most likely also upgrading the cooling on your components as well. All that extra space inside is eaten up by the filter placement on the 200mm fan. The filter is a great idea, but not at the expense of the space it takes up.
Two, the dual power supplies are just not being utilized properly. The main 650W unit is going to be pushed very hard by a Quad-Core dual GPU system while the 550W unit is going to be sitting nearly idle and unable to help. You could get some Molex to PCI-E converters to make better use of the 550W, but that goes against the grain. Either a single 1000W+ PSU should have been installed or they should have given us more flexibility with the available cables and made both power supplies modular.
Three, the sheer weight of this case is a bit much. Granted, the double rolled side panels and solid construction are great attributes, but at 60lbs empty (this does include the dual power supplies), you are going to have one heavy PC when you finish your build. It isn’t hard to push the 70lb mark with a normal build and if you really start adding in accessories like a full water-cooling system, you will definitely pass that mark. While I am not sure I would want to give up build quality for weight savings it sure would be nice to shave 10-15lbs off as well.
I had a tough time coming up with a rating here. It is hard to punish such a nice case, but the flaws it does have are big ones. The price point demands near perfection and unfortunately this case is far from that. It would make an incredible and quiet server case and would also work very well for those who do not change their coolers from stock. There is no doubt the quality is there, it just misses the mark.
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