|Antec Solo-II Computer Case Enclosure|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Dan Ferguson|
|Monday, 05 September 2011|
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Antec Solo II Computer Case Review
Manufacturer: Antec, Inc.
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Antec.
Stark, quiet and commanding; like a monolith, the Solo II has an immaculate appearance which belies its sophistication. By listening and responding to the demands of their customers, Antec has perpetuated the viability of the popular Sonta series of quiet computing cases. They've realized that the quiet computing segment contains gamers and system builders with needs beyond pure aesthetics. With a few system tweaks and upgrades (can you say large video cards?) Antec has targeted the intersection between elegance and functionality. At Benchmark Reviews we appreciate when our collective voice reaches the manufacturers. In this article we'll see exactly what Antec "heard" and whether or not they listen as well as their competitors.
To be fair, it helps to know who Antec is trying to please. There are so many options that can be included on a case, but the size of our wallets sets a limit on how many features a manufacturer can include and still stay in business. The Solo II is part of the Sonata series of cases geared towards quiet computing. There are many reasons for wanting a quiet case, and typically the desire for aesthetics encompasses both sound and appearance. At a minimum we know that the quiet case must reduce or eliminate the noise generated by its internal components. The technical details here will determine the basic types of features to be included on the case. Mostly this involves reducing sound as it travels through solid parts as well as through the air. Suspending hard drives with rubber, rigid, massive cases, and quiet-operating components are all typical fare.
Now, the first generations of quiet cases were designed around what was then the standard for hardware, but hardware evolves. The last revision of quiet cases hit some roadblocks by using the standard tricks without accounting for an updated hardware roadmap, and this caused quite a bit of screaming among early adopters. Video cards did not fit. Motherboards did not fit. Cables did not fit. The enormous pressure to keep costs low also resulted in some shoddy quality on basic parts like panels, buttons and mounts.
So our target crowd now includes previously dissatisfied as well as new gamers, system builders, early-adopters and general quiet-computing enthusiasts. Their demands? "Make my high performance machine look like a black tie event and sound like a tiptoeing ninja!" To be clear, this means it must 1) hold performance parts (video card, CPU coolers, motherboard, etc), 2) look like it should be the CEO's computer and 3) be really quiet with respect to the parts being used. Cost is not one of the top requirements, but cannot be forgotten. With this background in mind we'll evaluate how well the Solo II delivers.
Antec Solo II Features
Computer Case Specifications