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Building With The Antec Sonata IV

Six Low-Noise, Performance-Oriented Cases, Tested

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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  • 7 Hide
    Tamz_msc , June 6, 2011 4:23 AM
    i7 2600K at 34.5 GHz? o.O
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , June 6, 2011 4:35 AM
    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
  • 0 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , June 6, 2011 4:45 AM
    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.

    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.
  • 6 Hide
    henryvalz , June 6, 2011 4:57 AM
    34.5 Ghz...

    Hell, yes! About time, pushing those extreme overclocks!
  • 2 Hide
    Gamer-girl , June 6, 2011 5:11 AM
    I think there needs to be info on how much space there is for graphics cards.
  • 4 Hide
    xmaswraith , June 6, 2011 5:32 AM
    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!)
  • 2 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , June 6, 2011 5:35 AM
    henryvalz34.5 Ghz...Hell, yes! About time, pushing those extreme overclocks!

    I bet they were overclocking from Pluto.
  • 3 Hide
    killerclick , June 6, 2011 5:51 AM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    Luay , June 6, 2011 6:24 AM
    RV-03 pushes more air and cools better than the 02, but it's also louder.
  • 0 Hide
    madsbs , June 6, 2011 9:31 AM
    Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals
  • 2 Hide
    madsbs , June 6, 2011 9:36 AM
    "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.
  • 0 Hide
    srgess , June 6, 2011 10:04 AM
    35.4ghz with silent operation ! Wondering if it can play crysis !
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 6, 2011 10:32 AM
    Sonata - top mounted PSU = no go, especially for semi passive ones.

    Fractal or Raven? This is harder one.
  • 1 Hide
    VirtualMirage , June 6, 2011 11:54 AM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    Petey1013 , June 6, 2011 2:03 PM
    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 Hide
    randomstar , June 6, 2011 2:03 PM
    Anyone remember the Silio case? is it still in production? Quiet, insulated, cools well.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 6, 2011 2:07 PM
    This is unusual for Tom' inconclusive review on poorly chosen hardware.
  • -1 Hide
    verbalizer , June 6, 2011 2:08 PM
    I do not particularly care for ANY of these cases, thanks anyways..
  • 0 Hide
    chesteracorgi , June 6, 2011 2:29 PM
    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.

  • 2 Hide
    marraco , June 6, 2011 3:01 PM
    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.
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