Antec Sonata II

The first of two cases that we'll look at from Antec, a very popular case builder, is the successor to the popular Sonata 1. The Sonata II has changed only slightly on the original in several minor ways, but for the sake of people who are not already familiar with the Sonata, we'll examine the new case in detail.


Click to enlarge.

Quite possibly the best looking case that we've looked at here yet, the Sonata II is definitely deserving of a close look for the user who wants a classy machine and not just another box. The high gloss, piano black finish covers the sides and top, while matte black plastic plates make up the front of the chassis.

Only the easy-to-use, lockable latch breaks the otherwise immaculate look of the sides. One problem with any finish this glossy is the ease with which it gets dirty by simple handling. Towards the top of the case in the above photograph is a perfect example of this.

The front has been designed to keep functionality to a maximum while keeping as sleek a look as possible.


Click to enlarge.

The drives are hidden behind a double-hinged lockable door, and the bottom half is cut in such a way that there are two large vents for air intake without them being very visible from the front. Towards the top of this half is the covered port cluster, which is flanked by two blue prismatic LEDs.

The chrome cover simply rotates up out of the way to reveal the usual dual USB, single Firewire, microphone, and headphone jacks. Note also in the detail of this picture the texture of the black plastic - thankfully, this surface doesn't share the same problem of getting smudged so easily.

The door opens up to just three 5¼”, but two external 3½” drives. To prevent accidental presses and also to continue the sleek look, the power and reset buttons are also located here.

Looking at the rear of the Sonata II, we find the same honeycomb pattern that we just saw on the Centurion, but not just on the rear-mounted 120mm fan - it is also along the right side for the intake duct that we'll notice later, which helps the hottest components to continue to get the cool air that they need.


CoolerMaster Centurion 530 (cont’d) Antec Sonata II (cont’d)
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  • RupertS - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    The power supply is a good part of the total value of the case. Also, some of the cases may work better (cooling, sound) with the power supply they come with.

    Hard to compare prices like this.
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    Ditto that... this complaint has been leveled before of course:

    Anandtech should at least mention what power supply is (or can be) included with the case, and give some sort of subjective rating of same. For example, the Aspire case is most often available with a 420W power supply (usually a mere $15 or so more than the PS-less version), but I've heard it's crap... but maybe it isn't; I'd like Anandtech to tell me.

    Likewise, the Sonata II ALWAYS (AFAIK) includes a SmartPower 2.0 450... doesn't that add significantly to the value equation? (granted, it'd be better if it were a TruePower 380 like the old Sonata, but a SmartPower 2.0 is nothing to scorn)

    Reply
  • ElFenix - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    everyone should read the reviews on SPCR before setting up a system on this case. the reviews are very thorough and tests it in multiple configurations, and it turns out there are things you can do to improve its thermal performance by quite a bit (such as duct taping over the holes next to the power supply) Reply
  • flatblastard - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    Duct tape on a brand new case? I don't think so..... Well, I personally wouldn't do it, but for modders/OCers I guess it might make sense. Reply
  • fass mut - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    what's the link to the article? Reply
  • ElFenix - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    all three articles, the first is over main features, the second is an absolutely silent computer, and the third is more mainstream rigs

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article249-page1.htm...">http://www.silentpcreview.com/article249-page1.htm...
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article254-page1.htm...">http://www.silentpcreview.com/article254-page1.htm...
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article255-page1.htm...">http://www.silentpcreview.com/article255-page1.htm...
    Reply
  • jonp - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    Doesn't an ATX extension cable for $4 cover the power supply to motherboard distance concern? Granted, Antec could have included it with the case; but it's NO big deal to resolve. Shouldn't be an issued when deciding. Reply
  • mjz - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    i hate lian li cases. I spent probably 200 dollars on their case (2 years ago) and it vibrates too much, the sound is pissing me off. I guess it can't handle my raptor or something. Reply
  • Tamale - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    I too agree that way too many of these cases are kinda ridiculous looking, but someone said it best when they said "the Eclipse must look better in person"... it really does. I liken it to those fancy cd players from places like brookstone and the sharper image..

    It's flashy, sure, but at least it's kinda 'classy flashy', if you know what I mean. If that kinda look still doesn't please you at all, there's always cases like the P-180 ;)
    Reply
  • mkruer - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    Considering that I have a PC-V2000 Plus. I am in a unique position to voice my opinion for everyone reading this thread. I will say that yes the cases Lian Li cases are overly expensive, but considering that they are the only “all aluminum” case manufacture, and they have arguably the best design, they can get away with it. The main issues with an “all aluminum” case is that because aluminum is light then steal and yet does not have the absorbing capacity of plastic, aluminum as rule of thumb tends to be louder. However there are three things you can do o improve the noise ratio of the system. First is to install sound absorbing foam in the case. This will cut down on high pitched noise. Next is to install quieter fans. The Lian Li fans are good, but they are only about average in the noise to air ratio. Finally and this is the biggest thing. In order to cut down on the “wan wan” resonance sound coming form the case you need to suspend the drive is a sling and not it the mounting bays. This by far reduces the most noise. Reply

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