The computer case has always been a component over looked by most users. Simply enough most people would buy one that has some of the features that they are looking for, or just buy something that just looks good, in order to spend less money on the case, and more money on other components. Unfortunately I think that this approach is not the one that power users should have. As I see it, the computer case is much like the skin of a person, most people overlook it as being vital, instead looking towards the brain or the heart as being more important. However the item carrying all of those things is just as important. Without a good case one could easily end up with something that is difficult to use, looks horrible, and would only serve its purpose for a user who is only interested in web browsing or writing the occasional word document. The truth of the matter is, there are about four components that if one spent good money on for them, they could last one four or more years without having to be replaced, not simply because they are adequate but because they are good enough to not necessitate replacing. Those items are the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and case. I think that the first three need no debate. If one buys a nice monitor, they probably aren't going to need one for some time. If the peripherals that one accesses his computer are quality, are ergonomic, and have good response and feel they need not be replaced often. Similarly if one buys a computer case that incorporates all it's necessary functions like the ability to easily upgrade your parts, has good cooling, is nice looking and feels good, or even has pre-modifications (if those are what you want) then the case in which one houses their components could be used again and again as the parts inside it are upgraded.
Today we see if the is up to the task of being a good component to house all of the hardware you have worked so hard to afford. Antec has long been known by the hardware community for making quality enclosures like the infamous Performance series of cases that so many hardcore gamers use. However it is nice to see them moving on, and moving forward with a new series of cases that are designed for more then one use. The Antec Sonata is supposed to be used in the home environment, and to work and operate quietly. However this doesn't mean it can't be used for other purposes.
A Few Notes
While using this case I wanted to test it for three things: Ease of assembly/disassembly, cooling, and my personal taste on how the case looks. While using the case, I intentionally DID NOT look at the instruction manual in order to see how intuitively designed the Sonata is. Simply enough, if the case requires a huge manual to figure out how everything is installed, then there is a problem, and I wanted a case that could be easily used. In doing this, I was as objective as possible to see if the case was easy to use. Also I used ONLY what the case gave to me. I did not use a single screw that did not come with the case.
Case Dimensions: 16.75"(H) x 18.25"(D) x 8.13"(W)
Drive Bays: 9
-Front Accessible 3x5.25", 2x3.5"
Expansion Slots: 7
Cooling System: Up to 2x120mm Fans
-1 rear (standard)
-1 front (optional
Main Board Size 12"(W)x9.6"(L)
Power Supply: 380Watt TruePower
-Single fan design
-ATX 12V for AMD" & Intel® systems
Weight 20.8/25 lbs (net/gross)
Motherboards (Standard ATX)
Special Features: Internal drive trays with rubber grommets
-Individual drive trays
-Front USB/FireWire ports
Package Includes 1 Tower Case
-1 380 Watt single fan TruePower
-1 Power cord
-1 set of screws and motherboard standoffs
-1 installation manual
Opening the Package
The Antec Sonata came to me in its standard retail packaged form that looks something like this:
Opening it up, there was the standard styrofoam insulator on the top and bottom to guard the case against impact during shipping. The case itself on inside was covered in a large plastic bag. At small part of my user experience however, was how the plastic bag was stuck to the side panel. Not a big deal, but kind of annoying.
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