|Antec Solo-II Computer Case Enclosure|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Dan Ferguson|
|Tuesday, 06 September 2011|
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Closer Look: ExteriorNothing says elegant, sophisticated and snooty like a grand piano, right? Just teasing, I actually enjoy a classical performance. And the Solo II reminds me of a guy in a tux playing a shiny black grand piano. In a mirror. The classy look maintains consistency with the Antec's Sonata line of cases and represents the needs of it's users. The Solo II is not just a hunk of metal and plastic merely meant to hold more plastic and metal. The Solo II is meant to be used where site and sound are important, or where the absence of such is desired.
The entire exterior is black, but the front panel provides a foil with it's flat black in contrast to the shiny sides, top and bottom. The front is kept unembellished sporting only two 5.25 bays and an unassuming line of ports and buttons. The bezel is anodized aluminum, and in theory this was probably a nice idea to add some accent. But in practice, even a small amount of spotting gives the case a cheap feel. I think this is because fingerprints on the shiny panels are obviously fingerprints on a shiny panel, but fingerprints on the bezel look like staining, wear, or something else. Really this is just a cosmetic nuisance. When the case is clean everything looks sharp!
The backside of the Solo II reveals a few interesting features. There is a top-mounted PSU, black interior finish, 7 expansion ports and a 120 mm fan. With the PSU mounted to the top the motherboard and expansion ports are shifted towards the bottom of the case. In rare instances this means less room for a bulky card, it is an intentional consequence as will be shown later.
In my experience a top-mounted PSU causes the case to feel heavier since it is top-heavy. On top of the case at the back sits an intake just above the PSU. I'm sure this may be helpful for some PSUs, but in my case there's no air flow through this vent and it's mostly a hole for noise to escape.
The bottom of the case has the same piano-black finish as the top and sides. The feet are made of a soft silicone which helps to dampen sound from transferring from the case to the desk. This may not seem very important, but my last case had hard plastic feet which transferred the hard drive clicks to the desk like a sounding board. Soft feet make a huge sound difference!