|Antec Sonata IV Computer Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Nate Swetland|
|Thursday, 10 March 2011|
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Closer Look: Interior
Looking good is only half the point when it comes to a computer enclosure. Being able to install your components with a minimal amount of effort, and contain those components in a safe way is just as important. If a case is not built right, parts won't fit correctly, and installation can be a big headache. Also, if it is not designed right, cooling may suffer, and your components will run the risk of overheating, and with the money you spend on them, that is not a gamble many are willing to take. The Sonata IV claims that despite it being quiet due to having only one external fan, it will run cool as well. In the next two sections, we will take a look at the Sonata IV on the inside to see how well the components fit, as well as how well a quiet case can keep your components cool.
This is the bare case as it comes from the factory. There is space for four 3.5" hard drives, one 2.5" drive, and three 5.25" drives. At first glance, the hard drive cage looks a bit unconventional. The Sonata IV will hold Mini, Micro, and Standard ATX size motherboards. Shown in this photo is the included 120mm Tri-Cool fan, which unfortunately in order to allow for the 3 speed switch, has a 4 pin molex plug. If you are curious what the cord is from under the hard drive cage that goes to the PCI slots, that is the USB 3.0 cord. Taking a measurement from the motherboard tray to the side panel, it is just a bit shy of 7.25 inches, so keep that in mind when considering a CPU cooler.
This is the back side of the motherboard tray in the Sonata IV. You can see the openings for the top and bottom hard drive cages that will lead to the side vent. You can also see a few spots for zip ties to manage your cables, as well as a couple small holes where the cables will run through. Measuring the distance between the motherboard tray and the side panel, it is about .75 inches, which is not very much room for hiding your cables on this side.
I have never seen a hard drive cage like the one found in the Sonata IV. The four hard drives will install vertically in the cages, and the idea is that the air will flow across them and be vented out the side. One of the problems is that there is no fan near the hard drives, and the only airflow the drives will experience will likely come from outside the case.
This is the 5.25in to 3.5in cage. If you are unaware, this will allow devices such as a card reader, or other external 3.5in device to go in the 5.25in optical bay. One of these is included with the Sonata IV.
The slide rails for the optical drive mount are pretty standard. Normally, you put the rear screw in loose so it can slide, pick a hole in the front that will allow your drive to fit flush, and then tighten the rear screw once you are happy with the fit. Notice the hole to the left of the front screw (on the right side of the photo). The metal and plastic holes do not line up, so it does not allow me to put the slide rail in the right spot, so my optical drive won't mount flush. I don't know if this is simply a defect, or a design flaw.
This is how my optical drive sits. It is not the end of the world, nor does it prevent the door from closing, or the drive from working. I rarely use my optical drive as it is, so I typically take it out after the OS installation. To remove the drive, there are small grooves on either side where you can pinch the rail clips and pull the drive out. If you wish to install additional drives in the 5.25" slots, you must take the front bezel off and then break away one of the metal covers.
Included with the Antec Sonata IV is the Antec Neo ECO 620c 620W power supply. This is an eco-friendly power supply that is 80-Plus certified. The 620c uses a dual ball-bearing 120mm fan to help keep the Sonata IV quiet. The power supply has one 20+4 pin, one 6+2 pin PCI-E, one 6 pin PCI-E, six SATA, six Molex, one floppy, and one 4x4 Pin ATX/EPS connector(s) on it. The current price of just the power supply alone is $70 on Newegg.com, so this being included with the Sonata IV adds a lot of value to the enclosure.