A Closer Look - Outside
Taking a quick first look at the chassis, it makes an excellent impression. In keeping the traditional understated and timeless look, Antec has made sure that it carries on the genes of the Performance One line-up on the outside. The chassis is only available in this one color option right now, but it should be an easy task for the company to add some diversity by changing the tone of the front aluminum panel, if they choose to do so.
While the quality of the frame and metal parts is excellent and the paint job leaves nothing to be desired, the plastic front does not make that good of an impression. The thickness of the material is somewhat inadequate, allowing me to easily bend it out of shape or make it flex. It would have been nice to see a harder and thicker plastic instead of this soft kind. Luckily, the Aluminum panel helps in this regard, as it adds the necessary rigidity to the door. There is a thin insulating material on the inner side of the door, which can be swung open all the way - pretty cool. Turning the P280 around, the rear reveals an air vent running along the entire left side of the chassis. This is evidence, that there is more than enough space behind the mainboard tray.
Both side panels are completely solid, mainly to keep a proper air flow and make sure the chassis offers the best noise insulation possible. Not much else to see here - move along.
Taking a closer look at the front, there is a large air vent in the bottom half. This is an easily removable dust filter, behind which are two spots for 120 mm fans. Above that are the three 5.25" drive bays. Due to the design of the front, all the I/O - consisting of two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0 and the traditional pair of audio plugs, can be accessed regardless if you keep the door open or shut.
In the rear, starting at the bottom, there is the PSU bay. It is multi-directional, meaning that you may install the power supply with the fan facing up or downward. Above that are nine expansion slots, so that you can easily install up to four dual-slot graphic cards in combination with an XL-ATX motherboard and end up with one free slot to use as you see fit. in the very top is an 120 mm exhaust fan with a label that reads "TwoCool™". which is a step down from their " TriCool™" ones found in other Antec cases. Unlike those, the fans in the P280 have two settings: high or low. While the medium setting is now missing, the remaining two should be perfectly fine for most scenarios. There are individual such switches for each of the pre-installed fans, which is pretty cool.
To keep things accessible at all times, Antec has placed the power and reset buttons on the top of the chassis. These are actually embedded into the metal ceiling and not - like most cases - in the top edge of the plastic front. That said, the two other fans can be found in the ceiling of the chassis as well. These are of the 120 mm variety, even though there is more than enough space for 140 mm or even larger units. I would have liked to see two such fans, as it would also allow for the installation of radiators of up to 280 mm size. As it is now, the P280 can easily hold a 240 mm radiator.
On the underbelly of the chassis are four unique feet and a single opening for the power supply. A dust filter may be pulled out for easy cleaning. Interestingly enough, this one is actually inside the chassis and not simply held in place on the underside of the P280.