Antec System Cases: Three Versions of Quiet

Antec system cases are well-known for their indisputable advantages that vary from one series to another. Today we will talk about three ATX cases of different sizes, which primary feature is quiet system operation.

by Dmitry Vasiliev
01/07/2012 | 06:56 AM

Quietness is one of the few parameters that every PC user values very high. Office workers, devoted gamers and hardcore overclockers all want their computers run as quietly as possible. And the manufacturer of system cases Antec is known for its low-noise products, the exclusive three-layered noise-insulating panels having already acquired a legendary status.

 

For this review I’ve taken three newest silence-oriented system cases from Antec. Two of them are updates of earlier models of the Performance One series we haven’t had an opportunity to test. These are the huge P193 V3 and the smaller, yet also large, P183 V3. The V3 suffix means that they support USB 3.0 which has replaced eSATA that used to be available on the earlier modifications of these products. The third model I’m going to discuss is Sonata IV. It’s much smaller than the other two, supports USB 3.0, has a preinstalled 620-watt power supply and, like the Performance One series, is positioned by its manufacturer as a low-noise solution meeting Antec’s own Quiet Computing standard.

Testing Participants

Antec Sonata IV

I will be discussing Antec’s quiet system cases in the order of ascending size. The Sonata IV is the smallest of the three, but its dimensions are rather average if you compare it to other products available on the market.

 

The Sonata IV looks demure and conservative, yet has a frivolous twist in the way of its glossy exterior. This piano gloss makes every greasy fingerprint just too visible but, fortunately, such smudges can be as easily cleaned off as soon as they appear.

 

Lacking in solidity compared to the Performance One series, the Sonata IV has a plastic front panel, even though it is high-quality plastic. The shiny middle block with I/O connectors looks just like the glossy metallic sides. It catches the observer’s eye and enlivens the overall appearance of the system case. A door lock is seamlessly integrated into the exterior so that your small children didn't have a chance of reaching to the buttons. There are two other eye-catching details worth mentioning: the curvy decorative grooves along the sides of the front panel (which also serve as stiffening ribs) and the vent grid in the right panel covered with a plastic cap that has a dust filter.

Located on the glossy spot in the middle of the front panel, the I/O ports are placed far enough from each other, so that you had no problems connecting any kind of USB devices simultaneously. One of the three USB connectors is version 3.0. It is connected to the mainboard's back-panel USB 3.0 port with a cable that goes through the entire chassis and is fixed in an expansion-slot bracket. It is long enough to reach to any back-panel port irrespective of its position on the mainboard’s back panel.

There are tiny blue indicators of HDD activity and Power in between the three USB ports and audio connectors (microphone and headphones). The indicators are bright but not distracting unless you are looking straight at them.

Power and Reset buttons can be found right above the block of I/O connectors. They are completely hidden behind the door when the latter is closed. The Power button is much larger than the Reset, but the latter can also be pressed easily, without special tools.

The accessories to the Sonata IV come to the user in a large cardboard box screwed to the mainboard's mounting plate.

The box contains fasteners, a few single-use cables straps, an Antec sticker, a mains cord for the bundled power supply, and an adaptor for installing an external 3.5-inch device into a 5.25-inch bay. Traditionally for Antec, the user manual is limited to a brief and simplified guide that doesn’t cover many details and nuances.

I wish Antec put in a normal user manual instead of the legacy I/O shields for outdated mainboards and the simplified guide. I didn't have much trouble assembling my test configuration in the system cases included into this review (although I did have to find the correct orientation of HDDs in the Sonata IV with a hit-and-miss method) but a detailed user manual would be most welcome for more extravagantly designed products like the Antec Skeleton, for example.

Sad but true: as opposed to the Sonata Plus 550 model, the Sonata IV's side panels are not trimmed with noise-insulating material on the inside. The second layer of insulation is featured by a few other models of the Sonata series, too, but there are reasons why such insulation wouldn't be very helpful for this particular model as I will explain shortly.

There are damping metallic inserts in the side panels. The latter are fastened in place with thumbscrews.

The faceplates of the 5.25-inch bays can be easily extracted from the outside. On the back side of the faceplates you can find plastic rails for installing optical drives. That's a handy way of storing the rails. You won’t lose them.

But take a look at the optical drive in the photo. It sticks out not because I didn't take the trouble of adjusting it in its bay but because of a design defect of the rails.

For the optical drive to be flush with the face panel of the system case, you must insert the screw into the third mounting hole (counting from the front) but it’s obstructed by the plastic piece of the rail. So, you have to ream out the hole or put up with your optical drive sticking out (fortunately, this is not conspicuous when the front door is closed).

 

The system case isn’t quite standard inside. As opposed to most other products, including most of other Sonatas, it has a solid blank front panel that has no place for a fan.

Like in many other of its products, Antec experiments with HDD installation. Instead of a standard rack with horizontal bays, there is a two-storied bay for four HDDs – two vertically placed HDDs on each level.

Coupled with the lack of a front fan, this design helped make the HDD rack smaller, leaving more space for expansion cards. The Sonata IV can accommodate any modern single-GPU graphics card (as for dual-GPU ones, I doubt that a hardcore gamer will condescend to a system case that has only one fan for cooling).

Each HDD is installed using a pair of steel rails with vibration-absorbing silicone pads. The rails are fixed with thumbscrews.

The mounting screws are inserted into the silicone pads and are limited in their depth (their non-threaded part is larger than the threaded one). The more expensive models of the Performance One series lack this limiter.

The only downside is that the silicone pads are prone to rupture in the middle, which is their slimmest point, after a few uses. This doesn’t reduce their functionality, but you have to spend more effort fastening the screws then.

HDDs can only be installed in one position. There is not enough space to turn them around so that their connectors faced the farther side panel.

Here is how Antec has made the Sonata IV compatible with 2.5-inch drives, particularly SSDs. The 2.5-inch device is fastened to the partition between the HDD bays and the mainboard compartment. If you want to put a 3.5-inch HDD into the top part of the same bay, you have to install your 2.5-inch device first. Otherwise, you won’t be able to secure it with screws.

There is a large vent grid in the farther side panel opposite the HDD rack. It’s covered with a perforated dust filter in a plastic frame. This, and the single exhaust fan at the back panel, is the only thing the Sonata IV can offer in the way of ventilation.

The vent openings in the HDD rack are right against that vent grid, so you won’t be able to route your cables into the space behind the mainboard's mounting plate through them.

The lack of active cooling for HDDs gives me a cause for apprehensions. Will the single fan be able to ensure a strong air flow? Of course, it is helped by the coolers of the CPU, graphics card and power supply unit which all contribute to exhausting the hot air out of the system case, increasing the draught through the vent holes in the HDD rack, but will this be enough? Although the air flow configuration is optimized for higher intensity in the HDD area and there are large gaps between the installed HDDs, I still have my apprehensions which can only be proved or refuted by practical tests.

 

Except for the unconventional HDD rack, the Antec Sonata IV is designed in a classic way. It’s got a top PSU bay and supports up to seven expansion cards.

 

There is no CPU cooler cutout in the mainboard’s mounting plate but behind it you can find some space to hide cables in. It is quite easy to assemble a computer configuration in the Sonata IV but the assembled system doesn’t look neat and tidy because of the HDD cables which cannot be hidden anywhere.

The Sonata IV is cooled with a 120mm fan installed on the back panel. The fan features Antec’s exclusive 3-speed regulation system TriCool.

The speed controller is located below the fan on the back panel. According to my measurements, the fan rotates at 1080, 1600 and 2030 RPM in the low, medium and high-speed mode, respectively. The fan is almost silent at the minimum speed, audible at the medium speed and downright loud in the high-speed mode. I could also hear some aerodynamic noise from the HDD rack area in the medium and high-speed modes.

It must also be noted that the noise of working HDDs (and of other noise-generating components, too) is more distinct and louder in the Sonata IV than in most other system cases. I doubt that noise-insulating padding could do anything about that. If the huge vent grid opposite the HDD rack were covered with something denser than just a dust filter, the HDDs would suffer from overheat.

So, you may want to select quiet HDDs for this system case. CPU and graphics card coolers should also be chosen carefully. The Sonata IV’s own fan should be set at its minimum speed (it’s selected by default) if you want your computer to be as quiet as possible.

 

I guess the assembled Sonata IV looks just splendid. It’s not gaudy, but demure and elegant.

The preinstalled Antec Neo ECO 620C power supply was already covered in our 600-850W PSU roundup, so I will only remind you its basic specs here and focus on its use in this particular system case.

The PSU has a declared wattage of 620 watts and can deliver up to 576 watts across its single +12V rail. It features 80+ certification and offers the following cables and connectors:

This selection of cables and connectors should be sufficient for most PC configurations, but the cables are rather too long for the Sonata IV’s classic chassis design with a top PSU bay. You have to find ways to hide the excess cables in. The PSU worked without any problems during my tests. It was quiet at medium loads produced by my test configuration (but as you can learn from the abovementioned review, it is not going to be quiet at high loads, i.e. with more advanced PC configurations than mine).

Highs:

Lows:

Antec Performance One P183 V3

We already wrote a review about a Performance One series product. It was the Antec P182 model. Frankly speaking, the P183 V3 is largely the same and differs in minor details only.

 

The top fan now lacks a superstructure. The “island” on the front panel near the door has become longer to ensure that the I/O ports are more accessible. The door lock and the cutouts with decorative silvery inserts have changed their positions, too.

 

These cutouts allow you to turn the computer on and off without opening the door. You can even try to press the Reset button with the door closed. That's really handy, but there’s nothing to prevent an overcurious small child from reaching the buttons.

 

Unfortunately, Antec’s designers haven’t fully implemented all the benefits of a dual-hinge door. System cases of this series are declared to be able to open the front door by 270 degrees, i.e. parallel to the side panel, but the door doesn't get fixed in that position and tries to take an in-between position instead. I wish there were some way to fix the fully open door, for example with magnets or something.

With the front door open, you can find a few more cosmetic differences from the P182. The faceplates of the top bays do not obstruct air flow. They have meshed dust filters behind the plastic grid. The Power and Reset buttons are black rather than silvery. The slits in the fan grids are diagonal rather than horizontal as in the P182.

The design of the fan grids has changed somewhat, too. Hidden behind the miniature doors, the dust filters were fixed in separate frames in the P182. In the P183 V3, the meshed filters are glued right to the doors. It’s harder to take out the whole door than just a framed filter without breaking its fasteners (you have to press the top fastener down with some thin tool) but the whole design has become simpler without worsening efficiency.

 

I got a déjà vu feeling when I looked inside the P183 V3. It’s almost exactly like the P182 with but a few differences.

The most notable difference is the huge cutout in the mainboard’s mounting plate which allows installing and uninstalling CPU coolers without taking the mainboard out of the system case.

The PSU bay has become simpler and more efficient. The mounting frame that used to make the installation process unnecessarily complex is absent now.

There is also no partition with a fan installation frame at the bottom of the chassis.

The rest of the functions are all present, though. The internal fan can now be attached to the back of the bottom HDD rack with the included steel brackets but only if the HDD rack is empty. The purpose of this solution is unclear to me, though.

The P183 V3 is compatible with Antec’s exclusive CP series power supplies which are larger than standard ATX units and are fastened in a different way. To install such a PSU, you have to take off the frame with standard mounting holes.

The side panels are designed in the same way as those of the P182 model: a sheet of plastic with two aluminum plates attached to it from both sides. The top panel is plastic, like in the previous model.

The last difference from the P182 can be found if you take out the HDD fasteners from the top rack: they are now compatible with 2.5-inch devices.

The top HDD rack hasn’t changed at all. It is removable, like before.

The accessories to this system cases include some fasteners (among them a few spare silicone pads for HDDs and a few single-use cable straps), a set of rails for the open bays, steel brackets to install the internal fan to the back of a HDD rack, a couple of keys and a brief installation guide. You can download a detailed user manual from the manufacturer’s website.

 

It is quite easy to assemble a computer system in the Antec P183 V3. I had no problems except that I found it difficult to close the farther side panel. The cable compartment behind the mainboard’s mounting plate turned out to be too shallow.

Long modern graphics cards may conflict with HDDs installed into the top rack. The power connectors of my Radeon HD 3870 graphics card, which is 23 centimeters long, were at the same level with the connectors of SATA HDDs. On the other hand, if you limit yourself to four HDDs in the bottom rack and take the top rack out of the chassis altogether, you can fit any graphics card (and any expansion card, too) into the P183 V3 without any problems.

Like the P182, the P183 V3 is cooled by a couple of 120mm fans that have Antec’s exclusive speed regulation system TriCool. Both preinstalled fans (on the back and top panels) exhaust the hot air out of the chassis.

 

There are fan retention frames but no fans at the front panel. You’ll have to buy and install more fans if you want your HDDs to be cooled properly.

The fan speed regulators are placed in a more accessible location than in the Sonata IV. They are at the top of the back panel of the case. You can reach them with your hand above the top panel even if the system case stands in a niche of your computer desk.

 

According to my measurements, the 120mm fans were rotating at 1100, 1610 and 2050 RPM in the low, medium and high-speed mode of the controller. The top fan was considerably noisier than the rear one at the medium and high speed although the latter was working at a somewhat higher speed in each mode. The difference in noisiness must be due to the vent grid configuration. The vent grids are punched out in the panels and have hexagonal openings. They have the same thickness but the top grid has fewer vent holes, increasing the resistance to air flow and, consequently, causing more noise.

In fact, the P183 V3 is only quiet in the low-speed mode of the fan controller. If you want to improve the cooling of your components without sacrificing your acoustic comfort, you may try to switch the rear fan to the medium-speed mode, but the top fan should be kept in the low-speed mode as it becomes audible at the medium speed.

With its large dimensions, straight edges and aluminum trimming of the side and front panels, the P183 V3 has an imposing and impressive appearance.

Highs:

Lows:

Antec Performance One P193 V3

It’s time to take a look at the largest and heaviest product in this review. It is as heavy as 19.6 kilos! Compare this to the Antec P183 V3's 14 kilos.

 

Well, this model can be easily mistaken for the P183 V3 in the front view: the giant is only betrayed by the massive protrusion of the side fan.

 

More points of difference can be found elsewhere. The P193 V3 is longer and has a different design of the side panels that lack those shiny aluminum plates.

As a matter of fact, it is the side panels that are the reason for the considerable growth of mass in comparison with the more compact predecessor. The panels are still multilayered but the layers are different. Instead of a plastic sheet in between two aluminum panels (the latter are largely a decoration, though, the plastic sheet being the main noise-insulating factor) there is now a sheet of steel with a layer of polycarbonate on the inside. The latter ensures protection against noise and vibrations.

The top panel is also metallic rather than plastic as in the previous Performance One series products.

 

Another reason for the higher mass of the P193 V3 is that it’s longer by 83 millimeters to ensure better compatibility with long graphics cards. There is now a generous 36.5 centimeters from the expansion-slot brackets to the top HDD rack. HDDs installed into the top rack are going to take up some of that space, yet any modern graphics card, including dual-GPU ones, will certainly fit in together with any HDDs. As for graphics cards which are out of production now, you may only have some problems with a Radeon HD 5970.

  

The interior design of the P193 V3 has identical to that of the P183 V3, except for the increased length. It’s got the same bays, fasteners and other details, so I won’t discuss them again.

The single difference I could find is that the mainboard is installed on threaded feet instead of fixed poles. The partitions separating the top and bottom halves of the chassis are designed differently, too.

The P193 V3 is compatible with Extended ATX mainboards. The enlarged cutout in the mainboard's mounting plate will allow you to replace coolers of both CPUs without taking such a mainboard out of the system case if both CPU sockets are at the top of the case.

The accessories and fasteners are packed into the huge cardboard box that occupies the entire mainboard compartment. The box is mostly empty, though.

The things you can find in it are almost the same as were included with the P183 V3. The only new accessory is plastic supports for long expansion cards but I couldn’t test them due to the short length of my graphics card.

The key feature of the flagship product of the Performance One series is its dramatically improved cooling system. It still comes with no front fans preinstalled but the ventilation system has been reinforced in two ways. The P193 V3 has twice the number of fans of its predecessor and most of those fans are just larger.

There are not two but three fans at the top of the chassis. The single 120mm fan on the top panel we could see in the previous models is replaced with a couple of 140mm fans.

Like with the previous models of this series, the fans are controlled with switches you can find at the top of the back panel. There are now three instead of two switches here.

The fourth and last preinstalled fan is in the side-panel protrusion. This 200mm giant has three speed modes but you have to open the side panel to access the controller. It hangs on the wires on the inside of the panel.

 

The side panel is covered with an easily removable meshed dust filter. The air comes to the fan through the vent grid along the perimeter of the protrusion from the outer side of the case.

The preinstalled fans vary in form-factor, so they have different rotation speeds. According to my measurements, the 120mm fan is 1000, 1600 and 2000 RPM fast in the low, medium and high-speed mode of the controller. The 140mm fans rotate at 740, 1100 and 1400 RPM in the low, medium and high-speed mode, respectively. The 200mm fan on the side panel is the slowest of all, rotating at 430, 620 and 780 RPM in the three controller modes.

The P193 V3 is almost silent at the low speed of the fans but begins to hum a little at the medium speed (it is not as loud as the fans of the P183 V3 at their medium speed, though). It is noisy at the maximum speed of the fans. The only exception is the side 200mm fan: it's quiet even at the maximum speed and inaudible at the low and medium speed.

Take note that the exhaust fan on the back panel turns out to be the noisiest in the medium-speed mode. It is the smallest and rotates at the highest speed among the four preinstalled fans. So, you may want to keep this fan in the low-speed mode to make the P193 V3 as quiet as possible.

The working P193 V3 looks even more solid than the P183 V3 thanks to its dimensions but is somewhat inferior in terms of external trimming due to the lack of aluminum on the side panels. This metal is only left on the side fan cap.

Highs:

Lows:

Testbed and Testing Methodology

We test assembled system cases at a constant ambient temperature of 23°C maintained by an air conditioner. As we assume that most users prefer low-noise computers, we set the speed of the CPU and system fans (those connected to the mainboard’s 3-pin connectors) into Silent mode (the quietest mode in the mainboard’s BIOS). If a system case has its own speed controller, we switch it to minimum speed, too. We do not change the default configuration of air flows determined by system case design.

The following components are installed into each system case:

We test system cases with their bundled PSUs if they have one. If not stated otherwise, the HDDs are listed in the order of their placement from the top main HDD bay downwards without any gaps.

The temperature of the CPU is measured with Core Temp 0.99.8. HDDs, GPU and mainboard temperatures are measured with CPUID Hardware Monitor. The speed of the fans is measured with an optical tachometer Velleman DTO2234. There are the following test modes:

Every temperature is read after the system has worked for half an hour in the current test mode. The following table shows the temperatures of the components if the system is assembled without an enclosure (“open testbed”).

Open testbed

The noise level is evaluated subjectively.

Test Results

Each of the three Antec products featuring the exclusive fan regulation system, I am going to test them at each speed setting. This will also help present the results in a more readable manner. But first I want to tell you how I installed my HDDs in each of them.

The two 74GB disks were installed into the top tier of the HDD rack in the Sonata IV. The pair of 150GB disks were installed into the bottom tier. Thus, all bays in the HDD rack were filled in.

 

In both Performance One series products I installed the 74GB disks into the top HDD rack following the standard order. The 150GB disks were placed in the vertical bays of the bottom rack as far from each other as possible.

I didn’t install extra fans into any of the system cases.

Low-Speed Mode

This is the most important test from a practical point of view since each of the three products is positioned as a system case for a quiet computer.

Antec Sonata IV (low)

My apprehensions about the Sonata IV’s ability to cool the components properly with its single rear fan didn’t come true. I was concerned about the HDDs but they turned out to be colder than in many system cases with active HDD cooling even at the minimum speed of the fan. I have no doubt that the Sonata IV can keep ordinary HDDs (with a rotation speed of 5900 to 7200 RPM) as cool as 40°C or lower in quiet mode.

Take note that the HDDs had the lowest temperature when the computer was under high graphics load. I don’t think that’s mere coincidence. The graphics card’s cooler worked at its highest speed then, exhausting the hot air out of the chassis and facilitating the intake of fresh air through the vent holes in the HDD rack.

The mainboard’s chipset is cooled well, too. On the other hand, the CPU and graphics card are hotter than in most other system cases that I’ve tested so far. Anyway, I guess Antec engineers should be given credit for implementing efficient ventilation with the help of a single low-speed fan!

Antec P183 V3 (low)

The junior Performance One series model is somewhat better than the Sonata IV in terms of CPU and GPU cooling, but the mainboard’s chipset is hotter here. The HDDs are considerably hotter than in the Sonata IV, too. Well, the P183 V3 allows installing front fans right opposite the HDDs, an opportunity that most users will make use of, I guess, whereas the Sonata IV does not provide a way to install such a fan.

Antec P193 V3 (low)

The largest model is better than its series mate in terms of GPU, CPU and mainboard cooling at the minimum speed of the fan. They are comparable in the other parameters. This result might be expected because the side fan ensures better cooling for the mainboard and graphics card. The additional top fan helps cool the CPU whereas the larger interior negates the benefits of the intensified air flow for the HDDs.

The next diagram compares the system cases at the minimum speed of the fans with the open testbed:

Medium-Speed Mode

The medium-speed mode of the fan controllers may come in handy if you need to cool your components better. However, this is done at the expense of your acoustic comfort. The Antec P193 V3 is the only system case to be more or less comfortable in terms of noisiness in this mode. The other two products won't satisfy you at such settings if you value silence.

Antec Sonata IV (medium)

The extra 500 rotations per minute of the system fan improve the temperature by a few degrees compared to the low-speed mode. The HDDs benefit the most from the increased cooling. Their temperature lowers by 4°C at high load. The rest of the components, including the HDDs in idle mode, get cooler by a mere 1-2°C.

Considering that regular desktop HDDs are going to be cooled well enough even at the minimum speed of the system fan (the Sonata IV is obviously not designed for server-oriented WD Raptor disks as it has no means of suppressing their noise), increasing the speed of the fan is hardly useful for it.

Antec P183 V3 (medium)

The P183 V3 benefits even less than the Sonata IV from switching to the medium-speed mode of the fan controller. The temperature of the hottest HDDs in the bottom rack only lowers by 1-2°C. The CPU benefits the most from the increased fan speed: its temperature gets lower by 3°C under load. Well, I don’t think this negligible reduction in temperature can justify the considerably higher noise level.

Antec P193 V3 (medium)

It’s different with the Antec P193 V3: this system case doesn’t get much louder after switching to the medium from low-speed mode whereas its cooling efficiency increases much more than that of the other two system cases.

Particularly, the HDDs in the bottom rack get colder by 6-7°C, the chipset is 4-5°C colder, the CPU and the graphics cards also benefit from the increased fan speed when under load. This mode seems to be optimal for the P193 V3 in terms of noisiness (which isn’t very high) and cooling efficiency (which is considerably higher than in the low-speed mode).

The next diagram compares the system cases at the medium speed of the fans with the open testbed:

High-Speed Mode

This mode can hardly be recommended for any of the three system cases because each of them gets very noisy at the maximum speed of the fans.

Anyway, you may be curious to know the test results in the high-speed mode, too.

Antec Sonata IV (high)

Compared to the medium-speed mode, the Sonata IV lowers the temperature of most of the components by a couple of degrees more. This is comparable to the benefits from switching from the low-speed to medium-speed mode, except for the HDDs.

Antec P183 V3 (high)

The P183 V3 wins 2-3°C in terms of the HDD and chipset temperature after switching from the medium- to high-speed mode. The rest of the temperatures do not change.

Antec P193 V3 (high)

The largest system case in this review is almost indifferent to switching its fans to the high-speed mode. The temperatures only lower by 2°C. The graphics card even gets hotter when idle: there must be some conflict of air flows. So, this is far from the benefits we saw when we switched the controller from the low to medium-speed mode.

The next diagram compares the system cases at the high speed of the fans with the open testbed:

Conclusion

The three system cases from Antec that I have tested today are all very quiet (at the minimum speed of the preinstalled fans, of course) but also very different. The only thing they have in common is the handy and easily accessible block of I/O ports. The quality of manufacture is high with every product, too.

Designed in the classic style, the Sonata IV is a medium-sized system case with good ventilation. With its single cooling fan it turns out to be superior to many system cases with much more advanced cooling solutions. It is roomy and can easily accommodate any modern single-chip graphics card. It must be noted, however, that the Sonata IV can hardly be suitable for advanced configurations with fast and noisy HDDs. It does not suppress HDDs’ noise at all and the noise of the rest of components is going to be perfectly audible through the large side vent. The bundled PSU is only quiet at low loads. Thus, the Sonata IV seems to be the optimal choice for a midrange computer which is not heavily overclocked, has quiet HDDs and low-noise CPU and GPU coolers, and with a single (perhaps top-end) graphics card whose cooler exhausts the hot air out of the chassis.

The huge Antec P193 V3 is at the other extreme of the range as it can accommodate and cool any PC configuration you want. Its owner won’t have to compromise in terms of components. This system case is not limited by the bundled PSU specs or expansion opportunities (well, you may find yourself unable to install three top-end graphics card into it due to the presence of only seven expansion slots) or specific noise insulation features. If you sacrifice some silence by switching to the medium-speed mode of the fan controller, its cooling efficiency becomes excellent at an acceptable level of noise. Anyway, I would recommend you to purchase and install front fans into this system case.

The third product, Antec P183 V3, doesn't have such well-defined positioning as the other two. It's hard to understand what users it's going to be perfect for. Its advantages over the Sonata IV boil down to the opportunity to install a couple of extra HDDs (or only one HDD if you’ve got an SSD in your configuration). It is somewhat better in cooling the CPU and graphics card (but offers less space for expansion cards) and it has better noise insulation of the HDD rack, allowing you to comfortably use fast and noisy HDDs. Are these advantages worth the extra $100 asked for the P183 V3 (considering that you have to buy a power supply similar to the Sonata IV’s bundled one)? There's no clear answer, especially as you can add just a little more money and buy the roomier, quieter and cooler P193 V3.