The Old Lady In A Newish Dress – A Review Of Antec’s P70 Mid-Tower Chassis

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by J.D. Kane on April 21, 2015 in Cases & PSUs

It’s been well over three years since we’ve taken a look at an Antec chassis, so we’re glad to have a new one on the testbench to take a look at: P70. Priced at around $70, this is an affordable mid-tower, and it has some attractive styling to boot. But does it live up to the pedigree we’ve come to expect from Antec? There’s only one way to find out.

Final Thoughts

Antec used to be a bona fide giant in the PC chassis market, with a penchant for innovation, performance, and quality. Somewhere along the way, though, it lost some of the sheen from this fine reputation. Consequently, its position as a market leader has been usurped not just by one competitor, but a whole slew of them.

The P70 – moreover, what the P70 represents – illustrates why Antec’s name isn’t covered in as much glory as it used to. It’s a mixed bag of excellent performance and good style balanced by some questionable (at best) design priorities and sub-par build quality.

I still can’t quite believe how well the P70 performed in our CPU thermal tests, and I’m properly impressed by the silence with which this chassis does its work. I quite like the simple monolithic style, too.

Antec P70 Chassis

Unfortunately, I’m not sure if these pluses outweigh the P70’s minuses. I hate to say it, but building a PC into this chassis was a miserable experience. I’ve never had to rebuild a system thrice just to be able to close the side panels properly, for one thing. I don’t remember the last time a standoff got stripped during installation, either. I’ve seen really bendable (read: easy to dent) side panels before, but usually they’re made of aluminum. Heck, I’ve owned chassis with aluminum side panels that don’t get dented at all! It’s also the worst “modern” chassis I’ve seen as far as cable management is concerned.

The overall impression the P70 leaves me with is that it’s an old woman dressed up in a tight mini-skirt dress. It’s trying too hard to look modern and forgetting how old it really is inside. The automotive equivalent is Pontiac Fiero-based kit car with bodywork that makes it look like it’s a supercar (here’s a link for those of you who missed that reference).

Antec P70 Chassis - Interior

How else would you explain such a small gap between the motherboard tray and the side panel in this day and age, or having cable management openings in the motherboard tray that are basically useless because of that tiny space available? And what about the near-total incompatibility with radiators? Here’s the problem: What if you want to upgrade your PC yet keep the same chassis? What if you want to get into water-cooling?

These flaws are simply unforgivable for a modern PC chassis, in my opinion.

Antec prices it P70 at $69.99; online vendors have gone as low as $59.99 for it, as far as I have seen. Honestly, though, it’s hard to recommend it even for budget-conscious buyers because of its very serious shortcomings. Not even its frankly astonishing performance in the maximum CPU temperature tests is enough to sway me otherwise.

Pros

  • Stylish aesthetics.
  • Very quiet fans.
  • Excellent thermal performance.
  • Affordable (as low as $59.99).

Cons

  • Ancient design in detail (virtually no gap between motherboard tray and side panel; not water-cooling friendly; stone-age drive retention systems).
  • Horrible for cable management.
  • Flimsy in parts – side panel, PCI expansion slot area.
  • Sub-par build quality.