Going into this review, I knew the that Sonata Elite was not a gaming case, but rather a case for the basic or workstation PC users that still prefer a good looking, stylish and silent alternative to the “beige box”. I decided the best way to test the case was to push it to its limits by putting a gaming PC in it and see how it fared, despite not being built for such a task.
Unfortunately, the Sonata Elite doesn’t manage heat as well as I had hoped. Still, it’s not designed as a gaming case and unsurprisingly, it did not even handle idle temps of my gaming rig very well with fans set on low. With the fans on high (which eliminates any chances of “silent computing”), it could handle gaming, but at a warmer temperature than I would prefer, but keep in mind, this was with only two case fans. The case does offer another two empty slots for 88mm fans that blow air over the HDD cages and into the case as well, so it would probably be ideal to take advantage of those.
Antec had the hard task of trying to balance cooling and airflow with acoustic deadening and isolation. It’s a tough job to find a good balance that is quiet while still offering adequate cooling and everyone’s opinion of a loud PC is slightly different.
Antec is well known for refusing to integrate any tool-less features in their cases for reasons that they want their cases to be as solid and vibration-free as possible. I completely agree with such choices as long as you can clearly see an effort to further reduce vibration and with the Sonata Elite, you’ll find rubber grommets and tight-fitting mountings for your drives.
Inside the Sonata Elite, you’ve got three 5.25″ expansions bays and four 3.5″ bays and slots for two intake fans at the side. On the outside, you’ll find two USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire and front panel audio ports at the front of the case. Along with a locking front door.
So, what am I saying? The Antec Sonata Elite is a sturdy, quiet and stylish case. And while it’s not for gamers, it would make a fantastic workstation PC.
- Price: 8
The Sonata Elite is priced right in the normal zone for most mid-level cases, but the problem is its competition. For the same price, you could get a better cooling case, but you may have to sacrifice some of the acoustic dampening quality.
- Setup/Install: 7
Installation went smoothly, the non-tool less designs allow for a tighter overall finish. But those of you with large GPUs, keep in mind, my GPU (and again, gaming GPU, not gaming case) was a very tight fit next to the HDD cages and this crowded space results in lower cooling efficiency.
- Ease of Use: N/A
It’s a PC case. There’s two buttons (power, reset) and a switch (fan control).
- Performance: 7
All the little details in this case give you a very quiet and solid case. Unfortunately, if you have a PC that can generate a lot of heat, it can be hard to keep it cool and still quiet.
- Features: 8
The Sonata Elite features many little measures that help make it very quiet under normal operation.
Overall: 7 Olives