I've been lurking around for awhile, and I've learn a lot from SPCR and the friendly folks here in this forum. So what better way to give back than to share some of my own experiences in building my first quiet PC.
I told myself I won't upgrade until Windows XP SP2 finally RTM, and when ATI-Nvidia new gfx cards begin shipping this summer. Well, that scenario changed when someone in the forum mentioned the Sonatas were on sale at Fry's for $69 after rebate in late April. Before I was kinda of torn between either getting a Sonata or a 3700BQE. But after reading that, the decision became clearer to me -- the Sonata it is. In the end, I decided to start my upgrade path sooner than I expected. I'm happy with my decision, the Sonata is a great looking and quiet case.
To begin my modding project, I needed some materials for the case. I decided to go the brick and mortar route and bought these (pic) from Home Depot and Sears. Total cost about $20.
Next, I did the bezel mod, thanks to Tom Brown's article. Instead of tin snips, I used a jigsaw. It worked pretty well. The 2 plastic interior pieces were the easiest to cut out. It came off in seconds. I also cut the bottom bezel and the sides too. The sides were a little bit trickier because I could not rest the guides on it.
Here I found a use for those cd spacers in cdr spindle packs. They don't really elevate the case all that much, but since it sits on top of my desk, I think it will be alright. Also, I hate the rubber feets. They are too sticky. I tend to slide my case around my desk for access, and with this simple mod it's much easier to move now.
Before I painted, I made sure I masked everything else, that includes the motherboard standoffs. With one can of PlastiDip, there was just enough to cover the entire interior. I also spray painted my hd trays. Just make sure you don't spray the sides of the trays. It makes inserting and removing them from the cage much more difficult. I found out the hard way, and had to go back and scratch off the paint. Luckily, I only sprayed one of my trays like that.
All done. Just watching the paint dry! Thanks Douglas Bailey, your pictures inspired me to paint it black.
For the door insulation, I used no glue or tape to hold it in place. Particularly interesting to me was the fact that I heard differing opinions about covering up the Antec holes. I did not want to permanently seal the holes, therefore I made a jig so the foam can fit tightly against the door yet also makes removal easy too.
I haven't yet applied foam to the interior, but I soon will. I plan on using the weather stripping for all the tiny, hard-to-fit areas of the case and bezel.
So far, that's how my Sonata case is looking. I plan on buying the rest of my components later this summer. I think this piecemeal approach is okay with me. Gives me more time to mod everything to my liking.
Thanks to all the folks here on SPCR for their helpful ideas. It makes modding so much fun.