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)


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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