Six Low-Noise, Performance-Oriented Cases, Tested

Building With The Antec Sonata IV

The finished Sonata IV looks pretty good for a steel-and-plastic model, even though we did not apply the one-inch-square logo sticker to the appropriate place on its door (designed to hold standardized builder logos of yesteryear).

Getting to this point was fairly easy with a support kit that consists mainly of screws. Antec also adds a 3.5” bay adapter, power cord, cable ties, and door panel keys.

Optical drive rails are stored inside the cover of each bay, preventing loss. The rails make it easy to remove and reinstall drives, but they still require four screws.

Note that each rail has several holes at the center and a slot at the rear. The below rail alignment provides a flush fit between the optical drive’s face and the case panel’s face.

Antec includes four M3-0.50 thumb screws for attaching a 2.5” drive directly to the side of the 3.5” drive cage. While that part of the build worked fine, it was impossible to attach cables to the drive. This is because the folded edge of the drive cage protrudes directly into the path of the cable, directly beneath the end of its connector. We left our 2.5" SSD attached for looks, without cables, during testing.

Also notice in the above photo that the 3.5” drive bay rails are already screwed into their bays. Removing the thumb screws allows these to be attached to the drive via shoulder screws, which are also factory-installed within silicon grommets to dampen vibrations.

The optical drive slides into its bay until a “click” is heard from its latches, and the hard drive rails slide back into place with the hard drive attached. From there, we simply followed the steps outlined in our How To Build A PC guide.

One thing not covered in our how-to guide is the installation of the USB 3.0 pass-through cable, which connects to the motherboard’s I/O plate. We’re certain that anyone who has come this far knows how to plug in a USB cable.

Also notice that we changed power supplies from Antec’s included unit. Today’s heat and noise results demand that we use the same power supply in every build, so we decided to grab our latest standardized part.

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56 comments
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  • Tamz_msc
    i7 2600K at 34.5 GHz? o.O
    7
  • Anonymous
    the rv03 is out at less $$$ you guys should do a rv02-E vs rv03 round in the cooling side and thats because the rv03 has more fans
    4
  • dragonsqrrl
    Using a SilverStone Fortress Series FT02B-W here. Basically identical interior design, except in my opinion the exterior is more aesthetically pleasing. Glad to confirm the excellent cooling characteristics.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163161&cm_re=ft02_b-_-11-163-161-_-Product

    Another big plus with the Fortress 2 is the inclusion of sound dampening foam on every panel, but to be entirely honest with you, due to the open nature of the case, I'm really not sure how much sound it's actually dampening.
    0
  • henryvalz
    34.5 Ghz...

    Hell, yes! About time, pushing those extreme overclocks!
    6
  • Gamer-girl
    I think there needs to be info on how much space there is for graphics cards.
    2
  • xmaswraith
    34.5 gigahertz? 34.5 gigahertz? Great Scott!

    Marty, I'm sorry. But the only power source capable of generating 34.5 gigahertz of electricity is a bolt of lightning... (begin back to the future theme song!)
    4
  • JOSHSKORN
    henryvalz34.5 Ghz...Hell, yes! About time, pushing those extreme overclocks!

    I bet they were overclocking from Pluto.
    2
  • killerclick
    JOSHSKORNI bet they were overclocking from Pluto.


    Didn't you watch the news? Astronomers sent a dwarf in a rocket to remove Pluto so it doesn't exist anymore.
    3
  • Luay
    RV-03 pushes more air and cools better than the 02, but it's also louder.
    0
  • madsbs
    Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals
    0
  • madsbs
    "Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals"

    This conclusion makes no sense. Why do "computing professional gamers" need storage.
    And further the case holds 5 HDDs. That's 1 SSD + 4x2TB of storage.
    2
  • srgess
    35.4ghz with silent operation ! Wondering if it can play crysis !
    0
  • Anonymous
    Sonata - top mounted PSU = no go, especially for semi passive ones.

    Fractal or Raven? This is harder one.
    0
  • VirtualMirage
    The specs on page one for the Fractal Design Define XL are wrong. The intake fan is 140mm, not 120mm. There is room for 2 140mm intake fans plus a 120mm intake fan. The specs list incorrectly shows it as one 120mm fan with an alternative for three 120mm fans.
    1
  • Petey1013
    madsbs"Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals"This conclusion makes no sense. Why do "computing professional gamers" need storage. And further the case holds 5 HDDs. That's 1 SSD + 4x2TB of storage.



    You mean 5x2TB. It holds 5 HDDs and a SSD.

    Also, the FT02, although more expensive, should have been used due to the extra sound dampening material.
    0
  • randomstar
    Anyone remember the Silio case? is it still in production? Quiet, insulated, cools well.
    0
  • Anonymous
    This is unusual for Tom's...an inconclusive review on poorly chosen hardware.
    -2
  • verbalizer
    I do not particularly care for ANY of these cases, thanks anyways..
    -1
  • chesteracorgi
    I'd rate the Bitfinix, Lian Li and Silverstone for having the best aesthetics. Antec's design placing the PSU at the top is anachronistic: heating the top of the case. Silverstone's idiosyncratic design produces the best cooling at the price of more noise. None of these cases give me a second thought about going with the Corsair 600T.
    0
  • marraco
    I would love an article about how to "make it yourself".

    Do a case with good electromagnetic and noise insulation. With good cooling.

    What materials are better? Is electromagnetic insulation that important? (so, is necessary a conductive -metallic- case?)

    how do you solve the precise location of backward holes (for motherboard, and boards).

    how do you make the holes for different form factors (hint: there are standards)

    etc. there is a lot to talk. You can make a cheap case much better than the trademark garbage sold.
    2