I was always a fan of the original Sonata. It's well-made, easy to work on, quiet, attractive, and it isn't too expensive. The Sonata II is still made of steel, but unlike the original Sonata, the Sonata II does not have holes that spell "ANTEC" punched into the side panel. Like its predecessor, the Sonata II only comes in one color: piano black, so when you buy CD and floppy drives, make sure you get black faceplates for them.
The internal hard drive bays are actually removable rail covers. You install a hard drive into one of the covers and slide it into place; the rail cover clicks in when it reaches the proper depth. This is similar to the 5.25" drive bays, which have rails to go on the sides of your optical drives. Install the rails on either side of the drive, then just click it into place. While this seems like more of a hassle at first, it is more convenient if you frequently switch or remove drives.
Frontpanel outputs include two USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, and two audio connectors for a microphone and stereo speaker or headphone output. The frontpanel connectors are shielded by a rollable chrome-colored cover. Blue LEDs light up both sides of the frontpanel connector block, although you can easily disconnect the lights if you find them annoying.
The Sonata II comes standard with a lockable drive door, although it is easily removed if you don't want it.
The Sonata II has two new features: an Antec SmartPower 450w power supply instead of the TruePower 380 in the original design; and a duct system that covers the CPU fan and leads out of the back of the chassis.
While it cuts down on CPU fan noise and increases air circulation to the heatsink/fan unit, the ductwork is a pain in the butt to remove and install. If you frequently add or remove components from your system, you'll probably find it easier to simply take the ducting out.
The new power supply offers more power without adding a lot of noise.
For more screen shots, click here, then click on the photo of the Sonata II.
The Sonata II is, above all, a safe choice for a custom-made home computer. It's sturdy but not too heavy, attractive but not too gaudy, quiet without presenting a cooling problem, and more than capable for home or business use.
Aside from its aesthetics, the Sonata II's greatest feature is its low noise level. Using a larger fan to suck hot air out of the chassis means that more air can be moved at lower RPMs. Smaller 80mm fans have to spin faster to move as much air, and that means that they end up being louder. If you're sensitive to computer fan noise, the Sonata II combined with a liquid cooling solution for your CPU and video card will be among your best low-noise solutions at an affordable price.
|Device||Midtower chassis with power supply|
|Device support||Up to four 3.5" hard drives, three 5.25" drives or faceplates, and two 3.5" removable media drives. ATX formfactor, but will also support microATX, miniATX, FlexATX, and Mini-ITX motherboards.|
|Market||Custom system builders who want a minimum of noise in a standard midtower chassis|
|Price (retail)||US ~$110 Buy one from Amazon.com|
|Previous version||Antec Sonata|
|Product Web site||Click here|