Antec Sonata III 500 Case
By Gabriel Torres on November 2, 2007


Introduction

Sonata III 500 is a mainstream high-quality mid-tower case from Antec, coming with a 500 W power supply (Antec EarthWatts 500), a three-speed 120 mm fan on the rear and a very beautiful black finishing. Let’s take a look at this case from Antec.

Antec Sonata III 500
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Figure 1: Antec Sonata III 500 case.

As you can see in Figure 1, Sonata III 500 is made of zinc-coated steel (a.k.a. SECC) with automotive black paint applied. Its front panel is made of plastic and a door covers its external bays. If you pay close attention you will see that there is a lock on the front panel and on the side panel, making it more difficult for someone without the key to open the case’s front panel or side panel – but not impossible, as the key used is similar to the keyboard lock key used when computers still ran on coal.

In Figure 2, you can see the front panel with its door closed and, in Figure 3, the front panel with its door opened.

Antec Sonata III 500
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Figure 2: Front panel with door closed.

Antec Sonata III 500
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Figure 3: Front panel with door opened.

As you can see Sonata III 500 has three external 5.25” bays and two external 3.5” bays, plus two USB ports, mic in jack, headphone jack and, what is quite handy, an eSATA port. It is really good to find a mainstream case with an eSATA port, as users are more and more opting to have an external hard disk drive for backing up data or for carrying data around and without questioning eSATA is the best option available today, as it allows the hard disk drive to achieve the same performance as if it were installed inside the case.

In Figure 4, you can see the rear side from Sonata III 500. There you can see the rear 120 mm fan and the power supply that come with the product. This case has seven expansion slots, just like 99% of the cases on the market today.

Antec Sonata III 500
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Figure 4: Rear panel.

Inside Sonata III 500

The side panel is opened by pressing its lock and pulling it towards you, instead of pushing it to the rear side of the case as it happens on other cases. The side panel opens up to 225° and you also can remove it, so you don’t need to detach the panel from the case if you don’t want to.

Antec Sonata III 500
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Figure 5: Opening Sonata III 500.

The only problem about this case is that the other side panel can’t be removed from the case and the metallic plate where the motherboard is installed is permanently attached to the case. This isn’t the perfect scenario for installing a motherboard and upgrading or replacing smaller components that go on the motherboard, such as the CPU and memories. Having a removable plate makes it easier to add or replace these components, as you can easily remove the motherboard through the other side of the case without having to unscrew it from its metallic plate.

In Figure 6 we have an overall look from inside Sonata III 500.

Antec Sonata III 500
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Figure 6: Inside Sonata III 500.

In Figure 7, you can see the rear 120 mm fan and its speed control switch, which allows you to configure the fan to rotate on three different speeds.

Antec Sonata III 500
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Figure 7: Rear 120 mm fan.

This case has four internal 3.5” bays, which is more than enough for the majority of users, even those willing to build a RAID array with four hard disk drives. The drives are installed inside small drawers, as you can see in Figure 8.

Antec Sonata III 500
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Figure 8: Drawers for installing hard drives.

Inside Sonata III 500 (Cont’d)

Sonata III 500 also has a very unique feature, a washable air filter. This filter is located behind the frontal panel and can be accessed from below the case, as shown in Figure 9.

Antec Sonata III 500
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Figure 9: Removing the air filter.

Antec Sonata III 500
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Figure 10: Washable air filter.

As mentioned this case comes with a pre-installed Antec EarthWatts 500 power supply. You can see this power supply in Figure 11 and its label containing all its specs in Figure 12. This power supply features active PFC, has at least 80% efficiency and, what is more important, its nominal power was labeled at 50° C, so Antec guarantees that this power supply can truly deliver 500 W. Click here to read a full review on this power supply.

Antec Sonata III 500
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Figure 11: Antec Earthwatts 500 power supply.

Antec Sonata III 500
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Figure 12: Label from Antec Earthwatts 500 power supply.

Main Specifications

Sonata III 500 case main specs include:

* Researched at Shopping.com on the day we published this First Look article.

Conclusions

This case is perfect for the user that wants a beautiful high-quality case but has a limited budget. Costing USD 120 in the United States, on average, we think the price is more than perfect for this product, as it comes already with a 500 W power supply from Antec – and this is not a “generic” power supply like the ones you may found on cheap cases. You can find several other high quality cases on the market costing around this WITHOUT the power supply. And this power supply alone costs around USD 90, making this case a real bargain.

This case should please even more advanced users. Since it has four internal 3.5” bays, even users willing to build a four-disk RAID system can use this case. Plus it comes with an eSATA port on its frontal panel, which is very handy if you want to connect an external hard disk drive to your computer and don’t want to go through the hassle of connecting and removing cables on the rear side of the computer all the time (users that have their computer installed on a position that makes it difficult to access its rear side know what we are talking about).

Another thing we liked about this case is that it is light: even with its power supply it weights only 20 lbs (9 Kg).

The only negative point we saw on this case was its fixed motherboard plate, making it more difficult for you to install your motherboard and also adding/replacing components like the CPU and memories in the future.

If you are looking for a good (and good-looking) mid-tower case that comes already with a 500 W power supply, Sonata III 500 is a terrific option.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Antec-Sonata-III-500-Case/492


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