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Antec Sonata Case
Date 21st April 2003
Author Rod M
Editor James "Agg" Rolfe
Vendor Plus Corporation
Distributor Altech Computers


Over the years as PC’s have become faster and hotter, PC enclosure manufacturers were required to improve the cooling ability of their products. In most cases this simply meant they added more places for extra fans to be mounted. Sure, this worked - but having half a dozen fans to keep the system cool could create unbearable noise for many users.

One method for quieter computing is to have fewer, larger diameter fans spinning at lower RPM. These larger fans can create sufficient airflow, equivalent to a few smaller fans. This is what Antec have tried to achieve with designing the Sonata. The Sonata is the first of the New “Lifestyle series” of Antec cases. There is also a desktop “hifi” system that Antec will be releasing soon.

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The case color is a gloss black; Antec call this “Piano Black”. It looks like this is the color that Antec will adopt for the “Lifestyle Series” of enclosures. This black gloss is quite susceptible to fingerprints but they can be easily removed with a soft cloth or tissue.

The Antec Logo is stamped into the top of both sides of the case. Personally, I didn't like the look of the stamped logo. Also, it doesn't help in cooling the case and may aid in the release of internal noise - but it would look very nice with a blue light located behind it.

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The design of the front bezel is very clean and elegant. The left hand hinged door hides the 3x 5.25” and 2x 3.5” bays. Behind the 5.25” blanks Antec have located the sliding rails used for mounting the 5.25” devices. The rails used on the Sonata are slightly narrower than the ones used on the Chieftec clones but they still do the job well. As with all the Antec/Chieftec clones the Reset switch is far too small for most people's fingers to fit.

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The Sonata comes with the usual well thought out list of accessories, including a nice bag of screws, Australian power cord, detailed manual, Antec badge and keys to lock the side door.

The interior of the case is well laid out and fairly spacious for a midi tower case. One point of criticism is the fact that the stability bar does not run fully across from the rear of the case to the front - it stopped and is riveted to the rear of the 5.25” bays. Doing the “twist test” on the case you can see that structural rigidity of the case would be greatly increased if they had run the bar fully across. Apart from this, the case seems otherwise very well engineered.

The rear of the case shows the rear 120mm fan that is included - note that it is mounted using vibration absorbing “pins” that isolate the fans from the metal chassis to reduce noise. The side panel shows the lockable handle that is common with many of the Antec/Chieftec clone cases.

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The front I/O access point is located behind the chrome panel that easily slides up; it contains one IEEE1394, one USB and two 3.5mm audio jacks (I assume for headphones and microphone). On either side of the panel there are two blue LEDs that recieve power via a Molex pass-through cable. They are quite bright and look rather nice in a dark room.

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One of the best points about this case is that it has one of Antec’s famous Trupower PSU’s included. The Sonata comes with the 380watt variant which should be more than enough for most systems. In designing this case Antec decided to modify the Antec Tru380 PSU to ensure that it was as quiet as possible. To do this the 92mm intake fan was removed from the PSU and to compensate they increased the size of the intake vent The above picture shows the Sonata’s tru380 PSU on the left and a regular two-fan Antec tru330 PSU on the right.

Another feature of this tru380 PSU is the external Molex connector on the back of the PSU just next to the power switch - this allows you to power a device outside the case if need be (great for testing fans).


All original content copyright James Rolfe.
All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.
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