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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 Final Thoughts

The Antec Sonata IV is, as the name says, the fourth case in the Sonata line, so Antec has been able to hone their market and offerings for four generations. I think that this is a great looking case, and it really shows well for the Antec design team. The motto Elegantly Silent fits this case very well. The sleek black color paired with the muted features allow for an eye catching case without being garish or gaudy. Antec chose to include a mount for only one fan, which drastically keeps the noise level of the Sonata IV down.

As with many things in life, there are a few flaws. I think leaving out the ability to install more fans may keep the case silent, but also may prevent adequate air flow, and might allow your components to run hot. I feel that cable management was not necessarily a priority for this case. This may be because there are no windows on the case, but it is still an important part of a chassis, and could be improved. I also was not fond of the hard drive cage. I like when manufacturers try new things, but I think that in this case, the mounting mechanism is more complicated and cumbersome than it needs to be.

Antec Sonata IV Conclusion

The performance of this case was good. I did not notice a huge increase in temperatures between idle and load on my CPU. My idle/load temps for my Phenom II 1080T were 24/36 degrees Celsius. Over time, and after a long gaming session, however, I still have cause for concern that air is not being circulated correctly throughout the Sonata IV.

The Appearance of the Sonata IV is stunning. The flat black of the front is simple and elegant, and the glossy sides of the case look great. As I mentioned before, it is eye catching without being gaudy.

The construction of the Sonata IV is sturdy both inside and out. There is plenty of support inside the case, and the 0.8 SECC allows for strength without a lot of weight. I really was not pleased with all the sharp edges, though.

Functionality of the Sonata IV was pretty solid. The front I/O panel works great and everything installs easy enough inside the case. I think the hard drive cage was a bit too complex, but it still worked as designed. I would have liked to see the option for at least one more fan, as well as some better cable management options.

As far as Value goes, I think the Sonata IV is a bit overpriced. The included 620 watt power supply adds a lot of value to the case, $70 to be exact. The asking price is currently $159.99 at Newegg, and taking the power supply out of the equation, leaves it to be a $90 case, which is just a bit high in my opinion for what it offers.

If you are a fan of Antec, specifically a fan of the Sonata line, you may be a bit on the fence about the Sonata IV. While it is a great looking case, some of the internal parts of the case leave a bit to be desired. I think that maybe after the price comes down a bit, the Sonata IV will be a much more appealing case, but at the current price point, I think it should offer a bit more.

Pros:

+ Great Looking
+ USB 3.0 Support
+ Very Quiet
+ Included 620 watt PSU
+ Case can be locked for security
+ Included 120mm Tri-Cool fan

Cons:

- Only mounts for one cooling fan
- Hard drive cage cumbersome
- Break-away 5.25" covers
- Rough edges all over inside
- A bit expensive for its offerings

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.00
  • Appearance: 9.5
  • Construction: 8.00
  • Functionality: 8.00
  • Value: 7.50

Final Score: 8.4 out of 10

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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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