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The Lazy Days of Summer Case Review

Antec Sonata, Continued

The Sonata accommodates standard ATX motherboards up to 12" x 9.6". The internal design of the case is very well planned, but users with large motherboards, long expansion cards and multiple peripherals might have some difficulty wiring the case correctly and neatly due to its compact size inside. The internal 3.5" hard drive bay is turned sideways, with removable grommeted trays. Each tray is grommeted on the bottom with rubber grommets to absorb shock and vibration and help further reduce noise. The rubber grommets worked well : the Sonata was very quiet in operation. The two serial ATA drives that we used during the testing process did not seem that much quieter due to the presence of the rubber grommets. Overall, the Sonata was the quietest in the noise level test among the cases in this review.

The case features three 5.25" bays and two 3.5" bays. These bays are hidden behind a lockable, well soundproofed door on the front of the case, and the door helps dampen the noise within the case. Below the door is a metallic silver, round, flip-up door cover that opens to reveal front-mounted USB/ audio/ 1394 ports. The quality and action of this flip-up door is quite good ; due to its chrome finish, however, it tends to easily show fingerprints and smudges. At the bottom of the front bezel are two intake gaps on either side of the front bezel to allow the Sonata to take air in and move it through the rear of the case using the large rear fan.

A look at the port configuration that is hidden behind the flip-up, sliver mirrored door. Notice the lights that are located on either side of this door.

Antec is known for its quality case construction, and the internal construction quality of this case affirms this. We found no sharp edges within the case ; edges were either rolled or U-seamed in such a way as to prevent cuts to eager case modders’ hands. Below the power supply, Antec has installed a strut that extends from the back of the case to the front of the 5.25" drive bay cage. This strut provides rigidity to the Sonata and is also an excellent way to strengthen the case. The case uses rivets to hold it together sturdily, true to Antec’s reputation for quality engineering. This case was well made and exhibited some bend, but very little twist.

The Sonata includes the Antec TruePower 380S power supply, a power supply that features Antec’s innovative low noise technology. Additionally, Antec has created a unique design feature that is also functional : Antec has shaped the ventilation holes on the side panel in such a way that they spell out the Antec logo on the outside of the case. This fine attention to detail makes for a more custom looking case. Still, some will be disappointed by Antec’s decision not to include a front fan and with the cramped internal quarters of the Sonata case. During our testing, the Sonata performed well and it was a fine-looking specimen. We believe the Sonata is well designed and adequately engineered ; its quality technology, design and stunning piano-black finish will make it welcome in many offices and homes. Is it a good case ? Absolutely. Is it a good case for everyone ? No. The Sonata will be relegated to the more mainstream applications that it is particularly tailored for, rather than use by case modders and custom case enthusiasts. At $149 US suggested retail, the Antec Sonata (with 380-Watt power supply included) is a very good value ; it can be found for considerably less with a little online research and shopping around.