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Quiet&gaming: Antec Sonata and alternatives

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November 14, 2010 7:08:01 AM

I need a case for a quiet gaming system - see http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/298615-13-decisions....

My main option is the Antec Sonata III - quiet case with no gimmicks, good but not perfect. The biggest drawbacks are that it's a bit cramped and you need a bit of extra disassembly if you say want to change the rear fan. See http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/antec_sonata_p.... I'll probably install a video card with upgraded cooling so it's likely the card is longer than reference design - will have to check for compatibility with the Sonata cases. For the record my brother has this case for a similar build and even my Dad's PC is based on a previous generation Sonata ;)  - so I know this case can work nicely... but it's always good to take a brief look at the competition.

Antec Proto is apparently the successor for this case, almost identical to the Sonata III. It can accomodate a 2.5" SSD drive out of the box, and the exterior paintjob is not the same glossy stylish one that's on earlier Sonatas.

The Sonata Elite - http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=MTczMg== - is a step up but could still be in my price range if the advantages are worth it. This case has stronger cooling and two-layer construction on the walls which should reduce noise. But apparently it's just as cramped as the cheaper Sonatas.

The P1xx series from Antec would be too expensive for me, as I'm running mid-range components and don't need extra powerful cooling etc.

I took a quick glance at Lian Li cases. They have a very good rep, and seem to have lots of fans running at low RPM (1000 to 1500) up to 140mm. Many are a bit pricey, PC-8/9 and Lancool are about the same price as Sonata Elite. Has there been any comparison how the acoustics on these stack against the Antec cases? It seemed Lian Li don't put their air filter over the intake, which is a bit bad because I wouldn't bother to clean the case regularly anyway so dust would build up over time.
November 14, 2010 7:10:25 AM

Remove dots at the end to make the links work...
a c 124 ) Power supply
November 14, 2010 4:22:03 PM

You mentioned the "more expensive" Antec P183 and P193 which are specifically designed to produce quiet running computers. A big part of this is that the fit the larger CPX form factor of PSU's

With an MSRP of $180, newegg has the P183 with a $50 instant discount, $13 (10% off) promo code and $30 MIR....resulting an $87 purchase price.....which would get you a bigger, roomier, cooler and quieter case for $3 less than the Sonata Elite, w/o the long GFX card worry you mention (19.9" deep compared to 17.3 for Elite).... if only you lived in US :)  perchance you can find similar deals over on your side of the pond ?

Even if you are unable to match those prices in the UK, keep in mind that the CPX form factor PSU results in lower manufacturing costs. The CP-850 ($120) for example has comparable performance to the Antec SG-850 ($250), and Corsair HX-850 ($159 ater MIR) which may offset the increased cost of the larger case

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November 17, 2010 2:52:38 PM

Rebates are an american thing. American gamers are always talking about how they got a great deal on this and that part which cost only so much after the rebate - in Europe it seems they are not common at all, and I had to look it up in wikipedia to really see what the concept is all about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebate_(marketing) I suppose in Germany and Scandinavia the system would not work, because so many consumers would dutifully return their coupons...

Anyway, in Finland we pay flat fees according to the price list, and it's rare to even find discounts on the components you are looking for (computer parts are a bit special part of the retail segment in this). If something is on discount it's probably some old tech which the shop has a few left and wants to get rid of, and probably was a bit overpriced to begin with. For the regular stuff, one should shop around for the rock bottom in prices but usually that isn't too low.

One store has the Sonata Proto at 65e, Elite at 96e, P183 is 161e, P193 181e. Only the Proto is stocked, for the others you'd have to wait for weeks to get them. The prices are fairly low in this store - one could expect to save maybe 20e on the case by shopping around.

$87 sounds like a nice price on the P183, I'd be getting it even if I may not really need it :)  This is a rather modest build for components... so I'd be looking for a 500W or 550W PSU, do you get those in the CPX format?
November 19, 2010 3:00:07 PM

JackNaylorPE said:

With an MSRP of $180, newegg has the P183 with a $50 instant discount, $13 (10% off) promo code and $30 MIR....resulting an $87 purchase price.....which would get you a bigger, roomier, cooler and quieter case for $3 less than the Sonata Elite, w/o the long GFX card worry you mention (19.9" deep compared to 17.3 for Elite).... if only you lived in US :)  perchance you can find similar deals over on your side of the pond ?


Funnily enough the Sonata III (18.2") is deeper than Elite, though it's a smaller case overall. A Gigabyte 8650 is 9.5", so I figure I'd still have an inch or two of breathing room with the Sonata III case.

Lowest listed price for P183 I've seen was 136eur, still a tad too high for a mainstream system. Availability was OK though.
November 24, 2010 4:06:47 PM

One of the stores here has Sonata IV in their price lists - apparently this would come with a 620W power and be available at the very end of this month. Antec's page has no info about this model, anybody heard of it?

Fractal Design has the Define R3 case, which is in the same price range as Sonata Elite, comes with noise dampening material and 2 silent fans. PSU is bottom mounted.
a c 164 ) Power supply
November 24, 2010 7:39:25 PM

varis said:
One of the stores here has Sonata IV in their price lists - apparently this would come with a 620W power and be available at the very end of this month. Antec's page has no info about this model, anybody heard of it?

Fractal Design has the Define R3 case, which is in the same price range as Sonata Elite, comes with noise dampening material and 2 silent fans. PSU is bottom mounted.


the only 620w PSUs antec has are the neo eco and the gamer series 620w
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
November 27, 2010 5:46:47 AM

Sonata III only has 2 slots for the case fan, same for Elite. The others have more (think R3 had six or so). I'd like to run my fans at low or medium setting, but my h/w shouldn't produce massive amounts of heat so I figure just 2 fans sized 120mm would do the job, sounds like somewhat mainstream cooling for gaming. More openings for fans would have the disadvantage of letting more noise escape the enclosure, I would figure.

Could also get some easy to install dampening material, just install it to the largest walls and be done.
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