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  • inspire3 - Friday, June 10, 2011 - link

    Nice Review.

    I hope Antec uses this review to get back to being the leader in cases again. I've bought my first Cooler Master case in a long time (Centurion 5 was the last CM I bought). Now I am buying a CM HAF 932. Its looking like I'll be moving to CM or InWin. :( Come on Antec, Longer and Wider cases.

    I have a P182, P183 and 2 300 cases.
  • fb39ca4 - Sunday, June 12, 2011 - link

    That's what she said.

    This case looks kind of disappointing. You could get a $50 dollar case with more features, a decent 600w psu and quieter fans for less.
  • TrackSmart - Friday, June 10, 2011 - link

    I've always liked the Sonata line (My current build is in a Sonata III), but I'm not sure that Antec has gone far enough in this rebuild to justify the higher price. Some observations:

    On the old Sonata III I had to put the fan-control wire through the back of the case so I could change the speed without opening the case (kind of ghetto). I'm glad such "hacks" are no longer necessary. That said, why doesn't Antech include a smarter fan whose speed can be controlled by the motherboard? It's now a $160 case - they can afford to do that now.

    And the price increase seems unnecessary. There are few new features. The beauty of the previous models was that for $90 - $100 (online) you got a classy looking case, that was reasonably quiet and came with a quality powersupply. At the current price point, there's a lot more competition, and Antec hasn't stepped up their game in terms of features or design.

    I *have* seen a failed Antec PSU (on my previous Antec case). But you know what? Even though the case was 2 years and 11 months old (on month away from the end of the warranty) Antec sent me a new one and didn't fuss in the least about it. So they have earned some loyalty from me for their good customer service.

    I just wish they'd stop being just a few easy steps away from making a truly gread case!
  • TrackSmart - Friday, June 10, 2011 - link

    One last thing: Nice review. It's sad the the street price of the old Sonata III seems to be *higher* than it used to be. Given how it's aged, I couldn't justify spending $120 on it for a new build.

    Dustin, what's your new recommendation for the $100 price bracket? (Something with a design that an adult won't be embarrassed to have in the family room.)
  • nowayout99 - Friday, June 10, 2011 - link

    I like Antec's Sonata line. I've used a Solo for 2 build generations now because I wasn't able to find a suitable newer replacement for my Sandy Bridge build a few months back. It even has decent cable management to boot.

    I like the Sonata line because they're clean and simply designed. They're almost old fashioned in their simplicity by today's gaudy standards. Cases are getting bigger, uglier and louder, which is turning me off every step of the way. Openings for half a dozen fans = more noise = wrong direction for me.

    All that being said, the Sonata line could use some update tweaking. They don't need to reinvent the wheel as far as how HDDs or PSUs are mounted. Does it REALLY matter? Just keep it true to its purpose -- clean, simple and quiet.
  • rgsaunders - Friday, June 10, 2011 - link

    Local pricing in Kingston, ON is 109.99 after $20 MIR, quite reasonable considering the enhanced power supply, however, I do think it is time for them to make the case a little deeper and wider so that enthusiast level components can be fitted easily, Antec needs to do a little demographic research. Reply
  • Hrel - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    It's overpriced and doesn't offer silent enough operation or tooless enough design. Reply
  • velis - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    I had sonata 1 and I almost laughed when I read about all the woes you had:

    I had the exact same problems with PSU in the original. That crossbar is insane and to top it all off, the PSU vibrates against it (in time) which was the ultimate reason I changed the case for.

    Also the video card clearance - OK, they added half an inch, but that is only enough for mid-high end cards - this is ridiculous. I don't buy dual GPU cards, but still I'd like enough clearance to not break my fingers every time I mess with my gfx card.

    And finally the drive mounting: I must say I liked the mounting in the original Sonata: it reduced the vibrations and made more than enough room for my drives, all of them easily manageable. The only thing I missed was the pre-mounted power and sata connectors so that I could just slide the drive in and it would be plugged in already.
    Looking at the pictures and reading your woes, I see that they got even worse in the latest generations: I now have a P180 and its bottom drive bay is a nightmare to handle. You break your fingers and still the cables rattle against the fan mounted 5cm after the darn thing.

    While at P180 I must also say comment on those tri-speed fans: they are a bunch of rattles. The only tolerable setting is low and that one does not cool. I ordered decent fans TOGETHER with the P180 order and replaced them immediatley. They never saw a volt from my PSU.

    I moved to P180 because I hoped for better cooling. SPCR was praising the case left and right. Turns out the Sonata was just as good. I went water after that.

    That said I must agree that this is one of the most beautiful cases around...

    Any chance for a review of a really minimalistic case? As small as possible still fitting an ATX Motherboard?
  • Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    I had a P182 and honestly I kind of miss it. Cooling is very effective, and the P183 does solve a lot of the problems the P182 had: there's a hole in the motherboard tray for heatsink backplates, and that stupid center fan in the bottom chamber was moved to the front of the case.

    Once I've cleared my current queue of cases, I'll start explicitly requesting some smaller cases.
  • Daeros - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    I built my most recent computer a bit over 2 years ago now, and I love my case. I have the antec 300, and it is fantastic. No, it isn't silent, but it supports a 3.8GHz overclock on an i7 920 and xfire 4870s with no issues. and it idles very quiet. Just don't get the one with the crummy 2 speed led fans. Plus it only $60, leaving plenty left over for a very nice psu of your choice. Reply
  • Bozo - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    I stopped buying a lot of Antec cases because of the power supply mounting. That goofy cross bar makes changing a power supply a real pain, usually requiring the motherboard to be removed.
    If the crossbar was an inch lower or installed with screws, that would be great.

    I still buy other Antec cases though. Ones that are easily serviceable.
  • just4U - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    I can honestly say that I've used 100s of Sonata Cases over the years and I am a fairly casual builder (10-40 systems a year) The III had some failure rates on the PSU for a time... and they've always been a bit of a pain to get in and out. The bottom feet were nice until glue gave way and they fell off to.

    I've emailed antec many times to make suggestions for case changes... but minimal stuff. Adding a window that sort of deal. Out of all their cases I think I still like the Super Lan-Boy as it had a similiar design to the Sonata's interior but had alot of polish to it as well. Would love to see a return to that with brushed black aluminum and ever so slight changes. But no.. they have gone gaudy and big of late and are screwing with designs that really worked. It's a shame.

    When the price comes down I will likely start buying the IVs.. although your review sugggests there will be things about it I definitely dont like it's still nice to get a case with an included decent psu for a very reasonable price. (currently its not reasonable though so .. yeah)
  • shkup - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    I had two Sonata cases 1 and 3 gen.
    It was a great case. A super silent solution.
    The problem is that for new builds with cards like GTX-570 it's just not enough.
    There is no cable management, Not enough cooling, the PSU is located at upper section of the case and the design is far from real tooless design.
    Antec should reinvent this case.
    Maybe 3 140MM fans and solitude will make a worthy product.
    At the mean time I got a LanCool PC-K62B which is quite silent and has very high finishing quality.
    Anyway, I'll always have sympathy to the Sonata line.
  • ehume - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    Learned my lesson with the first 4480-II I bought. It should never have been for sale in 2009. And now this dinosaur. It might as well be a Dell. Antec is coasting on their rep. Reply
  • ditroia - Sunday, June 12, 2011 - link

    It's a decent case.

    Optical Drive rail instillation is easy, just make sure to use the lower wholes and have the clips point out where the door is.

    The HDD goes in easy as well, and it's easy to plug in. there's some room at the bottom inside right to store the cables for PWR/Reset/HDD Light & front USB/Audio etc.

    The USB3 front cable is a nuisance to deal with while installing it should have been fed under our around the MB back plate.

    The case comes with lots of screws in three different bags & cable ties.

    There are plenty of Power cables with the included power supply and a little bit of space to bundle the left over ones together.

    The fan comes with a male/female molex connector. and works well.

    it can be had for $187AU and would recommend for first time builder on medium budget who wants front USB3, and a nice quiet case.

    Otherwise I would recommend the Lian-Li (Lancool) PC-K57 which also has front USB3, and 2 fans for $98 plus a Silverstone Strider Plus 600W ST60F-P for $99AU, for a total of: $197AU or $10 more. but that gets you a modular PSU,and a case with better cooling.


  • kevith - Sunday, June 12, 2011 - link

    Will it not increase HDD wear to store them vertically? All bearings and other movable parts will be stressed much more on one side than on the other. Reply
  • BernardP - Sunday, June 12, 2011 - link

    More and more motherboards are appearing with the new standard header for front USB 3.0 ports. As USB 3.0 ports are compatible with USB 2.0 connectors, case manufacturers should rush to implement dual front USB 3.0 ports.

    Instead, we are getting only a trickle of cases that are compatible with the new internal header, while it's mostly business as usual for USB 2.0 front ports.

    Plugging a front USB 3.0 port into the back panel was good only as a stopgap while there was no USB 3.0 internal header standard.
  • enterco - Monday, June 13, 2011 - link

    I own a Sonata III, and I'm happy with it. I know that it doesn't feature 'cable management', but Sonata III's design allows ti hide most of the cables behind 5.25" bays and/or 3.5" hard drive bays. I can also route hard disk cables on the back side. Sonata III lacks SSD mounting adapter, but it's still better than Sonata IV, IMO. Sonata IV is using a totally different airflow, forcing users to leave the cables visible.
    About the USB 3 front connector: routing the connector to the back of the case it's not a very good idea. I'd rather build a system with a front USB panel, instead of using this method.
  • TrackSmart - Monday, June 13, 2011 - link

    I partly agree. I love my Sonata III and don't plan to change it anytime soon. It was a great value at the time (1.5 yrs ago) for a classy, quiet case, with a high quality, high efficiency powersupply. But we are halfway into 2011 and the street price is now $130 for the same case i purchased for $100 back then. That's definitely a step in the wrong direction and makes it less of a bargain than it used to be. Reply
  • semo - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - link

    I didn't even bother using the SSD mount on the Sonata IV. I didn't think it was a good idea to bend the SATA connectors that much permanently. Reply
  • erple2 - Monday, June 13, 2011 - link

    I had a Sonata Gen. 1, and learned that I had to mount the DVD drive in the second bay. I used the top bay to store all of the unused cables. Clearly, not ideal, but it does work to put the unused cables out of the way. Reply
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  • Etern205 - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    the Sonata Elite, does it belong to any of the generations mentioned in this article?
    Build a couple of system using the Sonata Elite and I quite like it though, the length of the case needs
    to be longer and cable management is something not put into the top of the list when they designed it.
  • nowayout99 - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    The Elite is basically a Sonata 4 but without the PSU, but adds that extra rear exhaust fan thing. Reply

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