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Graphmaster Gerbil
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Antec Sonata III

Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:59 am

Hey all. I'm building a computer for my brother, and we're trying to slim down the final price tag a bit. The Sonata III seems like a good compromise for cutting cost and consolidating parts. This case has been a defacto recommendation in all of TR's system guides, and I know several board members are fond of this case.

Now I'm curious as to how much added benefit the separate power supply adds. The Sonata III uses an 500-W Earthwatt's PSU. Are they reliable? Does bundling case + PSU increase a chance of failure down the line because the manufacturers are using less quality components (I don't know if this is true). I don't to compromise longevity of the computer because of cost-cutting factors. My brother is looking to spend ~1000 on hardware, so it is a midrange build or so. i5-750, 5850 or 5770, etc. So I hate to see something go wrong or see the power supply fail.

Additionally, I always take Newegg reviews with a grain of salt but I always make an effort to read the lowest reviews to see if there are legitimate concerns about the product (instead of giving the product a 1 because of poor customer support, slow shipping, etc). There have been consistent bad reviews regarding one issue, which makes me reticient to purchase this case:

more concern though is that Antec still has not solved the static dicharge problem with this case. I installed all components and booted into both Linux and windows with a USB drive to install. almost every time I removed the USB device with the machine running the OS crashed and the machine rebooted. I spoke with people at both antec and new egg about this prior to purchase and they both told me that the problem had been resloved.. IT HAS NOT!!

Same ESD (Electro Static Discharge) issue as many have had. Touching the front USB connector cause the system to reboot without warning.

: The ESD problem on this product has caused me untold amount of hours between mobo and USB based peripheral vendors in order to nail down this problem. This includes many, many painful hours with various tech support personnel, emails, phone calls, ....over the last year and rebuilding systems.
No current, as of 3/9/2010, clear communication from Antec that buying one of these products right now, will or won't cause the purchaser to have to deal with this ESD issue on the front assembly!

TR Gerbil input would be highly appreciated!
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Re: Antec Sonata III

Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:20 pm

Sounds more like a ground loop to me.
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Re: Antec Sonata III

Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:30 pm

SecretMaster, take it from this proud owner of an Antec Sonata, there is nothing to worry about concerning this case or the power supply. Your brother will have a fine PC and a very good power supply running the PC with no problems at all. Sure, the Earthwatts 500 is no screamer, but these poewr supplies are among the most reliable you can ever get included in a case.
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Re: Antec Sonata III

Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:28 pm

I own a Sonata III, and your worries should be eliminated.

1. The static discharge issue mentioned in NewEgg reviews was completely resolved quite a while back. Earlier versions of the case had metallic front face pieces responsible for the problem. Newer cases replaced the metal with plastic, and the problem was solved. I bought my Sonata III over two years ago, and it came with the newer plastic front face piece. No problems. If people are still complaining, I have no idea what about. I have bought two such cases, and have tried very hard to duplicate the problem (with no luck). Maybe there are still old cases out there, but I doubt it.

2. The Earthwatts 500w powersupply included with the case is excellent. Very quiet. And, the specs on the 12v rails indicate that the powersupply could actually be relabeled as a 600w model. My video card is a beast, the Radeon 4890 OC, and I have not had any problems. I believe my Antec powersupply is actually a relabeled Seasonic, but I heard Antec changed suppliers.
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Re: Antec Sonata III

Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:37 pm

Well, if we want some reviews on the 500W Earthwatts, it seems Geoff reviewedit back in 2007. Long story short: he found it acceptable but not the greatest. Obviously good enough to be included in the system guides and to earn the trust of numerous forum dwellers, so I'm not going to argue against it.

However, if you want options (and who doesn't like those?), an alternative is to buy the Sonata Proto (currently sold out) and throw in a PSU from Seasonic or Corsair like the VX450 (TR review). A little more money, but you would be getting a better PSU in terms of efficiency (slightly), sound (120mm fan vs 80mm), and sleeved cables if you care about those.
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Re: Antec Sonata III

Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:56 pm

Another happy Sonata III user here. The Earthwatts 500 power supply has been far more reliable than other Antec power supplies I've used in the past. As far as spontaneous reboots when connecting/disconnecting USB and eSATA devices, I haven't had any trouble with that at all and this computer is sitting on carpet.
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Re: Antec Sonata III

Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:14 pm

Earlier Sonata III PSU is made by seasonic. Antec switched to EA-500D made by delta.
I like Sonata case coz of its classy look and piano black paint. I have Sonata II but with Corsair VX450 and my bro has Sonata I.
Air flow is not good. Quite cramped with full ATX mobo.

I put PSU that came with my sonata II to my parent's comp but it crapped out last week after 3 years of use (smartpower SP-450).
Nontheless, if case + psu combo is significantly cheaper, i'll take the deal and hope PSU lasts long.
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Re: Antec Sonata III

Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:43 pm

Will a 5850 fit in a Sonata III? I assume it will since the 5850 is an alternative for the System Guide's Utility Player, but I'd be comforted to know that someone's tried it and had success.
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Re: Antec Sonata III

Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:53 pm

The Radeon HD5850 will easily fit into the Sonata III. Radeon HD5850 is only 9½" long. ... ual_EN.pdf
Antec wrote:
Q: What size graphics card can I put into the Sonata III 500?
A: The maximum graphics card length is 10.5 inches.
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Re: Antec Sonata III

Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:30 pm

Thanks, JAE! That link also made me aware of a fail on my part... when I was looking for an answer to my question on Antec's product page, I did *not* realize that the little flags below "Manual" were links to different language versions. I thought it odd that there was no manual :oops:
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Re: Antec Sonata III

Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:11 pm

Another very happy Sonata III owner here. Haven't had any issues with the included power supply, no crashes, no hic-ups, no nothing, just solid. Then again, I'm not exactly pulling a lot of juice from it.
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Re: Antec Sonata III

Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:07 pm

Any system with a single graphics card should be A-OK with the Earthwatts 500.
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Re: Antec Sonata III

Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:51 am

The only complaint I have about the Sonata III's PS is that it's not modular. The Elite and Proto cases are similar but come without a PS.

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