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Open the pod bay doors, Hal

The slit opens to reveal... laser cannons! The mirrored plastic cover situated just below the drive bays opens to reveal a cluster of ports one might find useful on the front of a PC. From left to right, they are: two USB ports, a Firewire port, an audio-in jack, and an audio-out jack. The cover itself is flanked by a pair of clear, textured casings that each reflect light from a blue LED. This will blind your pets.

Frisky's corneas are toast

Witness the power of this fully operational battle station!

Some folks will think the blue lights are stylin'. If you don't, I suppose it's always an option to disconnect the power leads to these lights and be done with them.

On making those ports work
Your mileage may vary on hooking up peripherals to the front ports of the case. Most folks will probably succeed at getting everything working. The USB ports connected fine to the USB header on my Asus SK8N motherboard, although the connectors are those annoying types where each pin is separate and must be attached on its own. Works with any sort of motherboard, but sure is annoying to install. I spent what seemed like several hours in surgery during my install, though the patient did manage to survive. I wish Antec had provided connectors with pinouts for a couple of common USB header layouts.

The audio ports, on the other hand, were impossible, but it's not Antec's fault. My M-Audio Revolution 7.1 sound card lacks any kind of expansion header. This card has nearly disappeared from stores, so I doubt you'll have this problem. Had I used the integrated audio on my motherboard, connecting the ports would have been simple. And for audio, Antec provides a connector with separate individual pins, plus a connector with the commonly used Intel-style pinout. As it should be.

Making the Firewire port—err, IEEE1394 port, that is—work proved most challenging, until I ran into this little gem on Antec's website:

I can't get the FireWire port on my Sonata to work, but everything seems to be connected properly?

We found a mistake on the Sonata 1394 cables. The mistake is the positive signal (+) and negative signal (-) has been switched.

Eureka! That explains some things. I expect most of the Sonatas on store shelves now have Firewire cables with corrected labeling. However, you may want to check and be sure.