Building With The Antec Solo II
A member of Antec's Sonata family, the Solo II is primarily designed to be a low-noise performance case. It appears to be better-ventilated than some of the other models in its family. However, Antec bundles it with the fewest stock fans of any product in our 15-case round-up.
A vertical measurement of only 17.3” also makes the Solo II one of the lowest-height cases in our round-up, endearing it to buyers who prefer their computers sitting on top of a desk. That traditional mid-tower height is matched by a traditional top-mounted power supply opening, though Antec designs this case to hold its power supply with the fan facing up, drawing air from a top-panel vent.
The Solo II gives you the option to mount a 2.5” SSD on either the motherboard tray (ahead of the motherboard itself), or in a drive tray using a pack of included screws.
Recognizing that HD Audio has been the motherboard standard for many years, Antec ditches the old AC'97 lead. That cleans up the cable set, as does a ribbon-style LED/switch cable set. An internal USB 3.0 connector was one of the qualifications for today’s round-up.
Drive rails clipped to the inside of the case’s floor must be mounted with screws onto 5.25” drives before they are slid into external bays. A hinged face panel makes room for the slides.
Noise-dampening silicone grommets have to be removed from the wide-set holes and placed into the narrower holes to adapt the Solo II’s trays from the stock 3.5” to the optional 2.5” drive configuration. A front-panel door provides access to the hard drive cage.
Asus’ P9X79 WS is only 7/8” wider than the ATX standard. Yet, that fraction has caused us a great amount of grief in a few of our builds. The above photo shows that the board fits, but the latch of its main power cable hangs past the drive cage. We carefully forced these parts into place, and were pleasantly surprised when nothing was damaged or broken.
The lack of any intake fan combines with an extra-tight fit to exacerbate our ventilation concerns.
Our finished system certainly looks great, though we’d probably choose slightly smaller parts if we were basing our builds on a chassis, and not picking a case based on the components inside.