Antec Sonata II (cont'd)

Something that is often an annoyance with cases is poorly-fitting or just plain difficult to use side panels, and thankfully, the Sonata II is an exception. After removing the panels, the case is quite different looking on the inside from most enclosures.

The most notable difference is the large duct that we mentioned earlier, and for a better understanding of this piece, here's a closer shot with it taken out and turned around.

Click to enlarge.

The upper part is where the additional square bracket (pictured on the far left) attaches to cool air directly to the CPU cooler better, and the smaller hole beneath can either be covered by the second square piece to the left or filled in with an 80mm fan for extra air flow directed right at the hottest expansion cards. Since an 80mm fan wasn't included for this purpose, our testing was done with the plastic piece in place. Even without any active parts directly attached to the unit, our Zalman CPU cooler benefited from the direct access to cool air, thanks to this duct.

Another nice aspect of the duct is that it is very adjustable to fit a large variety of motherboards to properly place the CPU outlet. However, if there's still no way to get the unit to fit how one would like, it is totally optional and fairly easy to remove. The rear-mounted 120mm fan will still do a lot to help the case keep the CPU and components cool, and it is adjustable to low, medium, and high speeds. Unfortunately though, it is the only included fan, so when set to low, it probably won't be quite enough to keep up with the other cases in our roundup.

To handle the 3½” drives, the Sonata II implements vibration-deadening sleds that attach to the drives from the bottom.

Since the rubber grommets are completely isolating the screw from the actual metal of the sled, any noise caused by the hard drives should be kept from vibrating the rest of the case. This will go a long way to keep the case very quiet under normal use, and is not something to be overlooked when considering your next purchase.

After screwing in the four screws, the sled is simply put into position until it locks in place. Notice that the Sonata II allows for four hard drives mounted this way, but up to two more could be screwed into place using the external drive sled.

Antec Sonata II Antec Sonata II (cont’d)


View All Comments

  • Abecedaria - Sunday, September 11, 2005 - link

    What was the criteria for choosing these cases? Most of them look nasty-plasticy and even the Antec P-180, although it looks good, has a veery plasticy feel.

    Where was Silverstone in your review? They have some of the best cases available:">
    and from their new subsidiary:">

    These things rock.

  • unclebud - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    please consider reviewing the performance 640 next time?
    it currently includes a smartpower v2 400w, for $129
    thanks in advance
  • Rudee - Saturday, September 10, 2005 - link

    There is an error in the article. The Sonata II does indeed have a removable air filter in the front of the case, thus should not be given a score of "0" for this catagory. Reply
  • Tamale - Saturday, September 10, 2005 - link

    The filter is removable from the bottom of the case only.. while this certainly is 'removable', it is nowhere near as accessible as the other cases which I gave this point to. I struggled with the idea of giving the case .5 for this category, but it wouldn't have made a difference in the end, and I really don't feel that most users would go through the trouble of tipping the case over just to clean the filter, so no points were awarded.

    Thanks for pointing out the detail though.
  • Rudee - Saturday, September 10, 2005 - link

    The Sonata II case is great. I was able to overclock a AMD 64 3700 to 2700mhz using the stock AMD heatsink and fan with one Panaflo 92mm fan in the duct over the CPU. Temps are great and I ended up returning my Zalman 7700 as I didn't need it. Reply
  • dgkulzer - Friday, September 9, 2005 - link

    After 1 month of use I am very happy with my P180. Assembly does take a bit longer than a standard case if you are trying to hide your cables but that isnt much of an issue to me. I put a Phantom 500 PSU in it and because its longer than most other PSU's I had to replace the lower fan with a thinner model (Nexus 120). I have 4 hard drives in the lower chamber and the Nexus at 5 volts keeps them very cool - I havent had the Phantom fan kick on yet either.

    This is one case that looks better in person than it does in pictures, the pictures make it look like a little fridge or something but it looks pretty sweet on your desk :)
  • mschira - Friday, September 9, 2005 - link

    I guess the two compartment design is great for watercooling. You could put the pump reservoir etc in the lower compartment. If something leaks, the electronic is save.
    I think that's great thing...
    P.S. onla trouble is where to put the power suply...
  • Griswold - Friday, September 9, 2005 - link

    Kids, having a flashy computer under your desk doesnt make the chicks like you more. Say no to stupid side windows! Reply
  • Tamale - Friday, September 9, 2005 - link

    you seem to forget that most kids who think it would look cool to have the window in the first place probably don't care about girls anyway ;)

    p.s. - most people (girls included) seem to think my all-acrylic case is pretty cool
  • Griswold - Sunday, September 11, 2005 - link


    p.s. - most people (girls included) seem to think my all-acrylic case is pretty cool

    Besides the total lack of EM shielding (which is enough reason to not do what you did, not only because it's not allowed in many countries (I know, I know, US is different, there, the cops wont stop you if your car has only 3 wheels..)), a full acrylic case is a nice show thingie. I just find side windows embarrassing, especially when the rest of the case looks like Optimus Prime's chest armor.

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