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Is an Antec Sonata III suitable for this[?]

Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:15 pm
by wayner
Here is what I am looking at for my system:

E8400 CPU
Asus P5K mobo
1 SATA hard drive (I keep most of my stuff on a WHS box)
1 optical drive
Xigmatek or Scythe Ninja mini cooler
Asus 7600GS fanless video card (recycled from another PC)
1 or 2 internal TV tuners

I know that some folks have concerns about airflow in a Sonata given the location of the hd cage. Will I have an issue with this build? How quiet (or noisy) is the PS in the Sonata? Should I go for a Solo instead? (I like the Sonata as it is a more attractive looking case)

Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:50 pm
by Michael Sandstrom
I moved from an SLK3700BQE whose looks I loved to a Solo whose looks seemed unappealing because multiple hard drives cooled poorly in the BQE. I think the design of the Sonata III is similar to the BQE. The Solo has great airflow and the suspension system is super. I have since learned to like the was the Solo looks and functions.

I can't comment on the PSU issue.

Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:12 pm
by kieran45
I have a pretty similar system to what you are proposing.

Sonata III, E6750, Ninja, P5K, 2HDD, Optical, 8600GT with Accelero S2.

It is pretty quiet all around. I have changed the fans. I have a Nexus exhaust, a Nexus intake to give a bit of air over the VGA, although I don't think I really need this one, and an 800rpm Noctua on the Ninja.

I sit about a metre away from the PC and all I can hear is a very, very low hum. I can only hear this if I concentrate. Probably the loudest thing is my old Seagate HDD that I recycled from a past build.

The PSU is pretty much inaudible for me. My system is pretty low power, much like yours will be, and I have never heard the PSU ramp up at all.

If you were looking at something a bit more power intensive, for gaming or stuff, I would think the Solo might be a better choice, but for what you want to do the Sonata is perfect.

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:14 am
by toki_c
Hi Wayner,

There's nothing to worry about hard drives suspension, cause you can always make yours whatever the case you take.
see here what i did with the Sonata 3:



The thing with a sonata 3 is you get a good case plus a pretty good 500W PSU for an unbeatable price. You cannot find similar offer out there from others manufacturers. It's a given.

For me, the only difference, well two acutally, between a Sonata 3 and P150 (or Solo) is:
- The built in hard drive suspension if you do not feel like building your own. But you should know that bluiding your own is not that hard at all. It's quite the opposite. Mine for exemple is just elastic+staple (paper fastner!). You just need to go to those shops which sell the necessary for home made clothing to find what you need for that. That's all with adding cutting and stapling. Really, nothing much to worry with such simplicity.
- Well,, the looking of the case is... well if you like the Sonata 3 or the Solo case is a mtter of taste. So chose the one you like.

But once again you got a good point taking the Sonata 3 if you haven't a silent PSU. And you can build your quiet rig till the day you get a quiet one. That's a good starting point. There's nothing to add about that.

But, there's always a but, sorry for that D:, know that the 500W EarthWatt PSU is nothing near Silent PSU. You can never achieve a silent rig with that PSU.
The fan noise is not really the issue here. Actually the fan did never bother me at all plus I have a NF8 fan which i could have used to swap the PSU fan.
It's the PSU buzz instead that bothered alot. Adding the noise of my two systeme drives (320GB WD SE16 for Vista x64, 250GB Hitachi for XP 32bit) you get, certainly a guiet rig in day time, a noisy one in night time.

So I ended up swapping my ol' 500W EarthWatt PSU that I did know that I should do. And know i'm waiting for 2x750GB WD GP drives to swap my two system hard drives.

To sum up, you can take the Sonata 3 case for a starting point because you can truly build a silent rig from that if you like the case. I do not thing that the Solo is superior to the Sonata 3 when it comes to build a silent rig because you can easily build hard drive suspension from a Sonata 3.
I think the air flow is quiet good with a Sonata too. Somebody posted a thread about air flow configuration in the forum. You can check out about that. The conclusion is a negative pressure conifiguration is the best.
I'm saying it because no one cannot get a good positive pressure air flow from the bottom of a Sonata because of the hard drives. And using negatiwe pressure is efficient enough with a Sonata 3.

As you can see, I added S12 fan in the bottom in the case too get a good airflow from intake to S1 heat sink. But I'm going to move the S12 fan on the S1 and set it up to 500rpm soon because of a 6°C benefit for the GPU and use then a "truly" negative pressure.

There's only one thing that Sonata 3 and Solo lacks. For a better set up with two chambers nor Sonata 3 nor Solo cannot do anything for that. So you should consider a P182...

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:03 am
by NeilBlanchard

The problem with the Sonata et al is that the hard drive frame blocks air flow. It simply cannot work as well as the Solo et al.

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:34 am
by Cistron
The Sonata III is roughly the same price as the Sonata Designer. Afaik, the latter has the same interior design as the Solo, comes with an Antec Earthwatts 500W and a chique white-ish design. I personally think the PSU is over-dimensioned for run-of-the-mill systems.

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:15 am
by psklenar

I just finished building a new system in a Sonata III case
  • Asus Maximus Extreme
    Intel C2D E3800
    Ninja Rev B
    ATI 3870
    SATA DVD Burner
    2 x SATA HD's (WD GP drives, 750GB each in RAID1)
I replaced the stock EW500 power supply with a 625w Modu82+ (for a) headroom when I add a 2nd video card, b) it's quieter, c) it's much more efficiant and d) a lot less wiring just hanging around). I replaced the TriCool case fine with a Scythe 1200 RPM FDB and put another one on the side of the Ninja (that one's resistored to 9v or about 900RPM).

Unlike the P5K motherboard you're looking at, I had to trim some internal metal for the Maximus (the SATA ports face the edge of the board, not up like on most boards). But with that one caveat, everything fits nicely.

As for temps ... "Case" temps haven't gone above mid-40's (centigrade). CPU "core" temps ... hit low 50's after a dozen hours of Prime95. HD temps (based on thermistors taped to their top) hit the mid 30's during the same test. I haven't done any real video card testing yet ... I just made the final official switch (moving all data, saved emails, Quicken, etc) from my old SFF to the new build last night

System sits next to the desk, between one and one & half meters away from my right ear; if I strain and listen real hard, I can barely hear a slight rushing sound. My guess is that's either the video card cooler (I plan to replace that with an HR-03 or an S1) or the CPU fan blowing thru the Ninja's fins. Either way ... this is sooooooooo much quieter than the 5+ year old Biostar SFF that i's replacing ... I'm in heaven! :)

What you propose will definitely fit nicely in a Sonata III. I agree that the Sonata III is a better looking case; I paid more than a Solo would have cost me and now have a spare 500w PSU to get rid of, but I liked the look that much better and since my office is a public room in the house ... looks matter. :)


4/8/08 14:50 EDT edits ...
You can see how it all fits in the pictures I posted to this thread: Scythe Ninja and X38.

Das_Saunamies, I don't know. I was concerned about the HD orientation, but there are large openings in the HD cage and, while I admittedly only have two HDs in there, I have yet to detect any turbulance or noise I can attribute to that. Cooling seems pretty good to me ... far quieter and much cooler than I ever got out of my old SFF. :)

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:09 am
by Das_Saunamies
From a purely silence perspective:
Sonata is just all backwards compared to Solo. The panels aren't layered for starters and the HD cage design deserves the asshat award - it's not only sideways, impeding airflow to critical system components like the GPU and chipset, but it also forces the fan to be installed very close to components, impeding PCI-E connectors and long card installation, not to mention running a higher risk of getting some wires caught up in the blades. Front panel and HDD wiring is harder to do compared to the usual arrangement. The front panel is even sillier, as both the door and frame have both been poorly fitted on my Sonata I and II, creating extra vibration and an echo chamber for noise. The air intakes run the whole length of the panel in a Solo, whereas a Sonata relies on the cramped 5.25" bays - caused my Noctua to howl for one thing. I like the Sonata's front socket layout more, but both require you to get on your kness if the case is on the floor.

If it's only looks you're after, who can argue against what you like. I bought the first Sonata because I thought it would be quiet AND stylish, then the second Sonata because I thought it would be more quiet (and it was, as perforation was now gone, but that's it). Next thing I'll buy is a case that's not logically backwards and awkward to use in a build. :P

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 6:02 pm
by wayner
Thanks for the advice folks - after further review I think I may go with the Solo instead. Given my specs will I need 1, 2 or 0 front 92mm fans?

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:23 pm
by Michael Sandstrom
wayner wrote:Thanks for the advice folks - after further review I think I may go with the Solo instead. Given my specs will I need 1, 2 or 0 front 92mm fans?
There is a good chance that you will not require a front fan. When I saw how much cooler my hard drives ran in the Solo compared to my BQE I realized that I would never need a front fan even though my chassis fan is a Nexus at 5v. I discarded the front fan mount contraption.

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:02 am
by toki_c
Das_Saunamies wrote:...he panels aren't layered for starters
That's something he should look at but...
Das_Saunamies's not only sideways, impeding airflow to critical system components like the GPU and chipset, but it also forces the fan to be installed very close to components, impeding PCI-E connectors and long card installation, not to mention running a higher risk of getting some wires caught up in the blades. ront panel and HDD wiring is harder to do compared to the usual arrangement.
I do not agree with you. It's quiet the opposite, it's really easy to install and wire hdds. That's the thing about this sort configuration.

Certainly the hdd compartment could be better, but this one is not that bad. As I said earlier, it's quiet easy and efficien to work with a negative pressure, so the bottom shouldn't used as an intake fan. Mine is to head airflow to the GPU using a semi passive configuration.
The Solo is certainly "superior" to the Sonata III for a positive pressure, but once again, once the hdd are installed you get also unwanted air impedance.
So you have to relativize the effect of the hdd cage. Once again, the Solo one's is certainly better, but you can manage to build a silent rig withh a Sonata III putting a little effort.

Here is what i did yesterday:
I can hear only the air flow turbulace at the rear of the case in a very quiet surroundings (quiet night time). So I'mm going to set up the exhaust fan and the bottom fan to 5V. At least, the bottom one is going to be @ 5V because that one is only aimed to head the air flow to the GPU for a semi-passive setting.

Yes, even the annoying high frequency seek noises from the 320GB WD SE16 and the 250GB Hitachi disappeared because the damping material can get rid of: 24% of 1kHz, 62% of 2kHz, 89% of 3kHz...
I bought 2x750GB WP GP hdd. I'm looking for... I should get a very silent rig.


Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:52 am
by Das_Saunamies
wayner wrote:Thanks for the advice folks - after further review I think I may go with the Solo instead. Given my specs will I need 1, 2 or 0 front 92mm fans?
None with the Solo's better intake, I bet you can get by just fine without. My Sonata is quiet, but the front fan pushes air out the back and actually manages to hamper GPU cooling at 600 RPM and above. :lol: Silly contraption be damned.

Posted: Sun May 18, 2008 11:50 pm
by farns
My 2c is that I tested both the SLK3000B (BQE but with HD cage the right way around) and Solo against each other, in a warm room with an overclocked CPU and a Geforce 7950GT (Zalman vf700 cooler on low).
Used an Antec NeoHe 430w which is very quiet but pathetic airflow compared to something even like a Corsair HX.

My findings over several runs with very similar ambient room temp were that the SLK3000B was about 5C better at cooling the 7950GT (roughly the same heat output as a 9600GT afaik) than the Solo and all other temps (HDD, CPU, Northbridge) were pretty similar.
Plus the P150/Solo is too shallow for some gaming cards.

The 3000B actually has quieter HDD suspension than the P150 if u just turn the HDD cage on its side and sandwich with thick foam blocks. Blocks almost half my intake though.

Both cases had identical low rpm exhausts, and similar CFM at the front, I think I had the P150 92mm intake at 9v and the 3000B 120mm intake at 5v or somesuch. They were similar in noise at testing but I do find now that my 3000B is only quiet if you susoend the hard drive - otherwise it vibrates and drowns out everything, this would not happen in a Solo.
I have a very quiet PSU (the Corsair HX620w was too loud for me) and 500-800 rpm Scythes front, rear and CPU.

So in summary to my sorry rant, I found the P150/Solo is great for a system with a modest video card, otherwise I would not recommend it.
I found 2 x undervolted 92mms on the intake noisier than 1 x 120mm on other cases also

Its a nice solid case but IMO needs to be 2-3 inches deeper and have a 120mm intake.

Sorry just reading this, its pretty off topic but hopefully be of use to someone

Posted: Mon May 19, 2008 7:18 am
by bgavin
I have experience only with the Solo. As it is named, it comes without power supply. You can shop around and pick up a quality supply that meets your needs. I refuse to use Antec supplies because they are populated with Fuhjyyu capacitors of notoriously bad quality. See for details. Find a good supply with a decent 120mm fan that quietly moves a lot of air. Seasonic comes to mind.

I have two hard disks installed in a Solo just built for a client. I used a 92x25 Panaflo 12H which is the high speed model with a 4-pin Molex fan tail. The 3-pin mini connector faintail is too short to reach the board. With the 4-pin Molex, it is an easy job to move the two fan leads from 12v to the 5v pin set. The Panaflo is very quiet at 5v and starts promptly.

I find the TriCool fan acceptable on the Slow speed setting. Above this, it generates substantial fan whine. This 120mm fan, plus the 120mm in the PSU remove a lot of heat concentrated in the processor/VRM area.

The Panaflo gives 33 to 35C drive temps for both WDC5000AAKS sata drives. For safety reasons, they are mounted on the very nice rubber insolator pads, not the bungeed cards. Antec recommends not moving the system when the drives are in the bungees because the drives can fall out. I build business systems, and the client will move them as they see fit. The shock mount pads are quite resilient and provide a vibration free and secure mounting system. Antec provides the long shoulder bolts as part of the Solo parts kit.

The power supply in Solo CANNOT be changed if you have any sizeable processor heat sink mounted. The HSF must be removed, or the system board removed, to get the PSU out. Pay attention to the AT12V connector when assembling the board... a large HSF can make that connector impossible to reach if the the PSU is already screwed in.

The back panel on Solo is removeable. This considerably eases connection of cables on boards such as the ABit IP35 Pro that face due East (not up). The IP35 is a full size ATX board, and the cable headers are difficult to reach if you don't remove the back panel.

IMO, the disk mounting and cooling system are the A+ features of the Solo. The quality construction is another A+. Power supply replacement gets a D. Another inch taller would correct this. As noted in another thread, the power supply issue is certainly not a deal breaker for this case.