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Written by Nate Swetland   
Thursday, 10 March 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Antec Sonata IV Computer Case
Closer Look: Exterior
Detailed Exterior Features
Closer Look: Interior
Detailed Interior Features
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Antec Sonata IV Computer Case Review

Manufacturer: Antec, Inc.
Product Name: Sonata IV
Model Number: 0761345-15150-4
Price As Tested: $159.99 at Newegg

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Antec, Inc.

Antec has been making computer enclosures for as long as I can remember. When I think of popular computer chassis, one case from Antec almost always comes to mind: their Sonata line of cases. Antec has provided Benchmark Reviews the opportunity to review their latest iteration of their Sonata line, the Sonata IV. The Sonata IV is marketed as being a Quiet Mid Tower case. It aims to bring the Sonata line of cases up to date with such features as a front USB 3.0 port, a spot for a 2.5" SSD drive, and silicon grommets to reduce hard drive vibration. Also included with the Sonata IV is a 620 watt power supply. Can the Sonata IV live up to its predecessors and the Antec name? Read the full review to find out.

With Antec being such an established and well-known company in the computer enclosure market, they should know how to make a case that both looks good and performs well. The Sonata line has had great success throughout the years, and Antec hopes to continue that line of success with the Sonata IV. Along with its great looks, the Sonata IV aims for a silent chassis with its design. With only a single TriCool(TM) 120mm fan in the rear of the case, Antec is taking a gamble by sacrificing airflow for noise reduction. The inclusion of a 620 watt power supply is a very welcome bonus with this case. We will soon find out if the Sonata IV is not only good looking, but also performs well.

Cases are often considered a cosmetically oriented item for your computer, but they do still serve an important function. Cases are not only expected to look good, but they must perform well by keeping your components cool and safe. They also must allow the user to install and change components with a minimal amount of headache. Items reviewed at Benchmark Reviews are rated on the following categories: Performance, Appearance, Construction, Value, and Functionality. While some of these categories may have the tendency to be subjective to the person doing the review, Benchmark Reviews strives to provide the most professional and unbiased review as possible.

Antec_SonataIV_Box.jpg

Antec presents the Sonata IV, built from the ground up for Quiet Computing to continue the legacy of its predecessors. All of the features in the Sonata IV optimize the case's quiet design, from the included 620 watt power supply with whisper-quiet 120 mm fan, to the redesigned case airflow that allows for maximum cooling with minimal fans, to the vibration-reducing silicone grommets for hard drives. Sonata IV is also the most capable Sonata to date, offering a 2.5" drive mount and front-panel USB 3.0. Created to give you a quiet, functional solution for your home, home office or corporate workspace, Sonata IV delivers.

Antec Sonata IV Features

Power supply:
- 620 watt, ATX12V v2.3 with Universal Input and Active Power Factor Correction (PFC)
- 80 PLUS certified saves you money on your power bills
- 120 mm double ball bearing low noise cooling fan
8 drive bays:
- External 3 x 5.25"
- Internal 4 x 3.5"
- Internal 1 x 2.5"
7 expansion slots
Cooling system:
- 1 rear (standard) 120 mm TriCoolTM 3-speed switch control exhaust fan
Built-in washable air filter
Front mounted I/O ports
- 1 x USB 3.0 "Super Speed" allows for data transmission 10 times faster than that of USB 2.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- Audio In and Out (AC'97 and HDA compatible)

Sonata IV Specifications

0.8 mm SECC for durability
Compatible Motherboards: Mini-ITX, microATX, Standard ATX
Unit Dimension
- 478 mm (H) x 208 mm (W) x 440 mm (D)
- 18.8" (H) x 8.1" (W) x 17.3" (D)
Package Dimension
- 550 mm (H) x 275 mm (W) x 515 mm (D)
- 21.7" (H) x 10.8" (W) x 17.3" (D)
Weight
- Net : 21.1 lbs / 9.3 kg
- Gross : 25.1 lbs / 11.4 kg



 

Comments 

 
# No problems!Olle P 2011-03-11 00:13
"...because I moved the USB 3.0 cord to the bottom of the case, it leaves me with two blank PCI slots above the GPU, so one is wasted, and I lose one at the bottom as well."
That's your choice. Your motherboard doesn't even have a slot at the top position, so using that for the USB bracket would cost you nothing in terms of lost space.

"I still have cause for concern that air is not being circulated correctly throughout the Sonata IV."
I see no problem here. The air enter the case through the side vents, pass the drive cages and then turn backwards to the graphics card and rear vents (fan and PSU).

I think the provided PSU is overkill for the types of builds one can expect in this case. A PSU rated at ~400W would be perfect.
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# RE: No problems!Nate S 2011-03-11 08:43
I do see your point about the USB 3 cable, but having it strung directly across where your video card would be does not sit well with me. You would have lay it across the motherboard, and the less stuff touching my motherboard, the better. And, as I mentioned I chose to move it because I have no plans to add any more cards to my system any time soon.

I do understand that the air will be drawing in from the vents next to the hard drives, but there is basically a wall separating the hard drives from the rest of the case, so air flow to and from the drive cage will be very restricted. A fan mount on the vent would make a great improvement, in my opinion.

I agree with you on the power supply. 620W is a bit much, but it is a nice selling point for the case.

Thanks for the comments.
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# The cooling is fine.Olle P 2011-03-11 14:34
"...having it strung directly across where your video card would be..."
In your case it would be strung across the NB cooler, not the video card.

"...there is basically a wall separating the hard drives from the rest of the case, so air flow to and from the drive cage will be very restricted."
I think you overestimate the restriction imposed by that wall. I'm sure there's at least a half inch gap between that wall and the side panel for the air to pass. That's considerably less restrictive than a full frontal mesh.

As noted initially this case is designed for quiet operation. One of the basic rules for a quiet computer is to make it require little cooling, thus allow a minimalist cooling solution. More fans means more noise. Fans at the front have a direct path of noise to the user, and also open up a direct path from noise generated inside the case. Therefore these are to be avoided.
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# RE: The cooling is fine.Nate Swetland 2011-03-12 12:57
Having it run from basically the bottom right corner of the MB to the top PCI bracket, it would inevitably be run right next to the video card, but maybe not necessarily "on" it. the cable is not that long.

As far as the wall and the air flow, I don't like the idea of the HDD vent drawing air in, over the hot hard drives, through the wall, over the hot expansion cards, and then finally making its way to the CPU. The GPU will exhaust some of that air, but drawing the warm HDD air across my components is not a great function in my book.

The HDD vent is on the left side, and while each person has their tower set in a different spot, I have mine below me to my right, so a low RPM quiet fan running where that HDD vent is would add little to no noise. I get the quiet part of the case. The less moving parts, the better, but sometimes the silent hum makes me know my parts are being kept cool.

Thanks for your comments.
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# Hot drives?Olle P 2011-03-14 03:36
"I don't like the idea of the HDD vent drawing air in, over the hot hard drives, through the wall, over the hot expansion cards, and then finally making its way to the CPU. The GPU will exhaust some of that air, but drawing the warm HDD air across my components is not a great function in my book."

A HDD doesn't use much power once it's spinning. A few watts is all it use, and you better have an air stream across it to prevent it from heating up.

I know of no small/mid size computer case that use a totally separated cooling for the drives, and that's simply because the heat added is too little to be a problem.
The graphics card and motherboard will both add much more heat to the CPU cooling air anyway, and I've only seen one case that thermally separate the graphics card from the CPU.
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# ExpensiveChris H 2011-03-11 06:34
I agree that it offers little for how much it costs. The Antec 300 is cheaper and can be just as quite, but with more airflow. It's pretty decent looking case to boot as well.
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# What a terrible caseehume 2011-03-11 17:49
Another Typical Antec Tomb(tm). Reminds me of the NSK 4480II that was my first case purchase, back when I knew nothing but Antec's rep. That was a tomb as well, but it had better airflow than this.

How did Antec ever get a rep for building cases?

Thank you Colin for providing the measurements for heatsink and cable management. But I thought you were way too generous with the points you dispensed.

One last bit: no cpu window in the mb tray. The whole shebang looks like something from two generations back.
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# RE: What a terrible caseNate Swetland 2011-03-12 12:50
Antec has had some real home runs in the past, but maybe they were simply relying on their reputation with this one. I do agree, this chassis does seem a bit dated.

Thanks for the comments.
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# HeheKlyster 2011-03-12 12:33
I hate to say it, but I thought I'd read this through a wayback portal.
This case looks so old, I know its function is probably okay but the aesthetics leave a lot to be desired, so 90's
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# RE: HeheNate Swetland 2011-03-12 12:52
It is interesting that you see it that way. I thought the looks of the case was the best thing going for it. I was glad that it was simple and not too flashy, unlike many of the newer cases. But, the cosmetics are one of the things that are very subjective.

Thanks for the comments.
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# RE: Antec Sonata IV Computer CaseKlyster 2011-03-12 13:28
I suppose one persons eyecandy in another persons eyesprout, that is the nature of individualism.
Thanks for the review all the same and this isn't a dig at you rather than just an opinion, and only on the physical appearance.
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# RE: RE: Antec Sonata IV Computer CaseNate Swetland 2011-03-12 15:01
I am there with you. My comment was not meant to jab at you, either. Things of this nature work that way, you either like the way it looks, or you don't!

Thank you for your comments.
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# graphic card sizeoktay 2011-05-30 06:05
hi
my graphic card is 26 cm long
is it fit to sonata IV ?
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# RE: graphic card sizeNate Swetland 2011-05-30 08:33
Hello, thanks for the question.
Page 5 of the article points out that the distance between the hard drive cage and the back is 11 inches, which is a little less than 28 cm.

Your video card should fit in the Sonata IV.
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# Antec Sonata IVriky 2011-08-07 11:41
I bought Antec Sonata IV case..im satisfied!

If you wannt, you can install 1 or 2 add fans on the left side :-)
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# Don't even think about it for an SSD driveSimon 2011-08-10 03:26
I know that no one involved in the design of this case put the 2.5 inch SSD drive in where they say it's designed to go. It's almost impossible to install. I've been at it for an hour. Just awful. Oh well, they've got my money now but I'd rate this case 1/10 for this fault alone. Never buying Antec again.
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# RE: Antec Sonata IV Computer CaseDWi 2012-10-07 18:04
The Sonata II was okay, and was improved with the Sonata III, but I don't like the IV at all. I like having a 3.5" external bay for a card reader, and the IV doesn't include an adapter to fit one in the 5.25" bay.

They've wasted a lot of space on the HDD bays. While I have four HDDs installed in my Sonata II, I think most owners would only have two installed, at most. They only need one row/level of HDD bays.

As you have pointed out, there's a wall in between the HDD compartments and the rest of the case. There also used to be holes for a mid-case fan (for drawing air from the HDDs), that seems to be missing on the IV.

The only real plus I can see in the IV is that the right side panel is now removable. The 620W PSU isn't really a plus because it is overkill for this case. The USB3 port might be a plus for some people, but not at the cost of eSATA.

Thanks for the review. I hope Antec makes improvements for the Sonata V.
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