Antec did a very nice job in the building and designing of the Sonata Proto. While I haven't had any others from the Sonata series to compare this to, I have a bunch of economically minded chassis' to use for head to head comparisons. For instance, the USP 100 from Cooler Master, which I just reviewed recently, seems like a fair one to throw at the Antec for this. What's good in the Proto? Surprisingly, the temperatures! Even though there is little supplied in the way of cooling, for what is there, it works really well in this chassis. Once I ran some longer tests, though, the heat did start to overwhelm the fan a bit. The simplicity of the build process is also a huge plus and leaving room inside to hide wiring and leave an attractive completed product didn't seem possible at first, but as you can see by the images, it does exactly that. Oh, and we can't forget that the Proto is very secure when locked up tight.
Things I didn't really care for much? Well, first there is the door panel, which is "sticky" and tough to release. Moving forward, the optical drive didn't install quite right and I felt the door swung the wrong way. Cooling, or the lack there of, is a concern. Even though Antec offers a TwoCool Fan in the back, there aren't any options for more; none! That to me will make most builders move on to the next chassis in the lineup. Using again the USP to compare against, they are roughly the same price, but with the USP you still have options and a free power supply.
That doesn't seem to be the case here. Antec does offer a creative solution that will give you near silent operation, security and easy to use design along with a sleek front, but that is where it ends. To be rather blunt, this is a black mid tower with some tool-less features and a fan. No more, no less. While cheap cases are exactly that, I have been seeing a trend to the mid towers lately, and that is prices dropping considerably. I find it surprising to say, that for around $100, if you do some research, this can offer you plenty of very nice chassis' out there. Pricing on the Sonata Proto is pretty level no matter where I looked and Newegg's price of $69.99 plus shipping is a little rich for what I see here. I think your money could be spent a bit wiser.
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