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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:17 pm 
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Location: Toronto - Ontario - Canada
_MarcoM_ wrote:
johnniecache7 wrote:
netmask254 wrote:
It's disappointing to me. I expected the PSU can be moved to the bottom.


Majorly disappointed to expensive and not even close to the bang for the buck of the Define R3. The design is still obsolete for modern system.


Maybe you have not understood the meaning of this case. IT IS still the best COMPACT & QUIET-ORIENTED case existing for ATX motherboards.
It can be used for a great gaming rig in a mere 440 mm (H) x 205 mm (W) x 470 mm (D). It have defects, i know, but Define R3, NZXT H2, Silverstone, no brand had a similar compact mid-tower case for ATX mobo.


I understand it fine overpriced 10 year old design with gloss finish that looks like crap in 6 months. I'll take the Define R3 which goes on sale for $80 has more fans,more space for harddrives and no gloss finish. For $130 I would rather spend $20 more and get the P183 which blows this case away. This case has nothing on the Define R3 it's purely inferior all around.


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2005 11:58 am
Posts: 294
johnniecache7 wrote:
I understand it fine overpriced 10 year old design with gloss finish that looks like crap in 6 months. I'll take the Define R3 which goes on sale for $80 has more fans,more space for harddrives and no gloss finish. For $130 I would rather spend $20 more and get the P183 which blows this case away. This case has nothing on the Define R3 it's purely inferior all around.


OMG. Take what you want.
I was talking about size, SIZE, SIZE. Do not start yet another flame war i'm-right-you-are-wrong-Antec-sux. Ok, i surrend, unnecessary to discuss.

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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:06 pm
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
I don't think the size difference is all that much, or at least not as apparent from just glancing at it. Same goes for calling it outdated design. I give it props for the possibility of positive air pressure, as well as the outward facing PSU intake. It's a functional case, with no frills. I think that's where people get caught up on, the frills. Buttons on top makes a lot of sense, but this is yet another aspect where Antec could have improved.


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:56 pm
Posts: 11
Fan controller on the back....................Really? (facepalm)

Hey Antic, ever wondered why people who manufacture fan controllers, always seem to design them for the FRONT of the case?


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:02 pm 
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Posts: 39
Location: Sweden
Pigbristle wrote:
Fan controller on the back....................Really? (facepalm)

Well, it's atleast better than having the controller on the inside of the case, where it is on the SOLO1...

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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:04 am 
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Posts: 144
Location: Poland
So... you need to remove the side panel to open the front and clean the dust filters. Why is that not listed as a serious con? Am I the only one who has a problem with that?

Having read the review, I'm glad that Solo2 is not a total disappointment. There are some nice improvements but not enough to make me swap the original Solo for the new one :)

Questions to Antec:
1. Do you plan on selling the top panel separately?
2. Do you intend to sell front USB 3.0 ports for the original Solo? Wouldn't that be sweet! :)

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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:50 am 
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Posts: 305
Location: Sweden
johnniecache7 wrote:
I understand it fine overpriced 10 year old design with gloss finish that looks like crap in 6 months. I'll take the Define R3 which goes on sale for $80 has more fans,more space for harddrives and no gloss finish. For $130 I would rather spend $20 more and get the P183 which blows this case away. This case has nothing on the Define R3 it's purely inferior all around.


Well yes compared to the P183 it's maybe a bit inferior but R3 is still a low-end case which wont resist blows and HDD vibration and includes worse fans so in the end you have to swap them all. No matter how you see it R3 is worse compared to high-quality cases, Solo II is superior if you want a small case while P183 is superior if you want many HDDs. R3 is a bit more competitive when it comes to full blown cooling but even then, Antec Twelvehundred does the same job with fewer fans and lower acoustics.

None of your preferences makes Solo II a bad case, unbiased, it's still a quality case which after 10 years can handle even performance hardware. According to me and most users here, that makes a case a solid buy.


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:34 am 
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KadazanPL wrote:
So... you need to remove the side panel to open the front and clean the dust filters. Why is that not listed as a serious con? Am I the only one who has a problem with that?


I don't think it's a big deal to turn two thumbscrews and then release a couple of tabs to get access to the front filters. I'd want to look in the case to see if additional cleaning is required, anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:30 pm 
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Location: Toronto
When's the version in glossy white coming out? I don't want a fingerprint magnet or a case that shows every minute speck of dust.


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:25 pm 
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Pigbristle wrote:
Fan controller on the back....................Really? (facepalm)

Hey Antic, ever wondered why people who manufacture fan controllers, always seem to design them for the FRONT of the case?


How often to you change the speed of a fan by way of a analog switch or dial?

I either hard wire them for 5v, run them at 12v, or use speedfan to control the speed based on a temperature sensor.

If I had the Solo II I'd maybe switch the fan from low to high or high to low once or twice a season and I might leave it alone for a year. I sure wouldn't be reaching for that switch on a regular basis even if it were on the front, top, or any side.

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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:33 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:21 pm
Posts: 141
Location: Brazil
_MarcoM_ wrote:
johnniecache7 wrote:
netmask254 wrote:
It's disappointing to me. I expected the PSU can be moved to the bottom.


Majorly disappointed to expensive and not even close to the bang for the buck of the Define R3. The design is still obsolete for modern system.


Maybe you have not understood the meaning of this case. IT IS still the best COMPACT & QUIET-ORIENTED case existing for ATX motherboards.
It can be used for a great gaming rig in a mere 440 mm (H) x 205 mm (W) x 470 mm (D). It have defects, i know, but Define R3, NZXT H2, Silverstone, no brand had a similar compact mid-tower case for ATX mobo.


+1

I don't understand why that unwillingness to SOLO II. In my opinion, it has the best design for a 7-slot ATX case. It has no wasted space. It's beautifully small. It's perfect for Seasonic and Kingwin fanless PSUs. It allows using anyone video card. It allows positive pressure, it brings an excellent quiet fan, it has "true" USB 3.0 ports, etc.

Unfortunately, it's expensive if compared to others of the same category, but maybe it's worth the premium price.


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:29 am 
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Location: California, US
lb_felipe wrote:

+1

I don't understand why that unwillingness to SOLO II. In my opinion, it has the best design for a 7-slot ATX case. It has no wasted space. It's beautifully small. It's perfect for Seasonic and Kingwin fanless PSUs. It allows using anyone video card. It allows positive pressure, it brings an excellent quiet fan, it has "true" USB 3.0 ports, etc.

Unfortunately, it's expensive if compared to others of the same category, but maybe it's worth the premium price.


Yea, I'm not sure why there's still so much complaining about the SOLO II. Other than price, I think Antec did a good job.

I was seriously considering the CM Silencio or a Fractal case for my case upgrade (from an NSK3480 that's 5 years old now) because the preview pictures of the SOLO II pointed towards poorer performance. However, with the SPCR review, the SOLO II is back in the running.

I think my only design gripe would be the front ports not being at the top of the case. I usually keep my case under my desk, so that's more convenient for me. The top vs. bottom PSU argument and lack of side fan mount is moot if the SOLO II performs as good or better.

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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:52 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:21 pm
Posts: 141
Location: Brazil
Sorry if this has already been explained here...

Many people think that the PSU position is on top because the design is outdated, but it's just the opposite. The design is ultra modern and follows a trend (fanless PSUs friendly and it's suitable for PSUs that admit air vertically) seen in the TJ08-E.

What I mean is that the Antec placed the PSU on top intentionally and well thought out!

No, not like the old cases. The old cases had no air hole for the PSU.

stromgald, I guess you already know, but a solution would be to use USB ports on monitor and keyboard (if they have, of course). However, I understand your complaint.


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:12 am 
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How does the Solo II compare to the P183? I compared the reviews and it seems that they have similar noise levels at load, while the Solo II tests had lower CPU, GPU and HD temperatures.

The Solo II is smaller, and has real USB 3 ports on the front, but are there other major differences? In real life use, are they equally quiet?


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:49 am 
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Posts: 126
Bob66 wrote:
How does the Solo II compare to the P183? I compared the reviews and it seems that they have similar noise levels at load, while the Solo II tests had lower CPU, GPU and HD temperatures.

The Solo II is smaller, and has real USB 3 ports on the front, but are there other major differences? In real life use, are they equally quiet?


For a very hot build, I'd expect the P183's greater airflow to be an asset. For a lower-power build, I'd expect either one to be excellent.


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:10 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:25 pm
Posts: 6
Location: San Jose
I think I still prefer the SOLO to the SOLO II. I like the removable PSU support bar, but would prefer to have an easier opening front door, and more external drive facades. This is fine if all I'm going to have is a DVD and Bluray burner pair, but if I add any A/V front inputs or additional front-connectors, I'm SOL :(

I do like the smaller case format design, and the open access to external facades (unlike the P18x/Silencio). In my case (hah), I'm not looking for a place to put my oversized graphics card. If anything, I'd like to find a *relatively* high-end graphics card that's small and doesn't take two slots. I use my machine to do video work, so I do use the hp, but I don't find myself needing to live on the bleeding edge either. If there's anything I like more than quiet, it's efficiency, so I don't tend to pile on the heat sources, and I try to go out of my way to buy the more efficient components. I've never felt the need for a top vent -- the only time my power supply gave me any trouble was when PG&E came and "upgraded" the meter.

Everyone's needs are different, just thought I'd share mine. Will probably do a new build mid next year.

Cheers,
-Dave


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:54 am 
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I think Solo II is great. 8)


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:16 am 
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Posts: 21
I am a long time solo owner, and I am disappointed in the SOLO II.

Nuances:

PSU Support Bar
- Most annoything thing ever with the original. Why is it here still? So its removable ... why even have it in the first place if people are just going to remove it time and time again?

PSU Top Mount
- As a continuation of the prior point, I suppose. The support bar is needed there because of top mount PSU (in Antec's thinking); would not moving the PSU to the bottom just fix the problem entirely.

Drive Bays
- Why must I still go through a 10 step (exg.) process to get to the drives? All modern cases have side mount racks now.

Its blatantly obvious Antec did next to no true design rework on the case. A re-release, hoping to capitalize on the successful name of the first iteration (and judging by this thread, it worked). The case is dated and there is no excuse for not updating it to modern standards, let alone charging $130 ! Get real.


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:37 am 
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Haters gonna hate, I suppose.

The bar is there for structural integrity. People hated it, they made it removable. If you don't like it, take it out and just put it in a cardboard box. I'm tired of flimsy aluminum cases that flex just by mounting in a motherboard and video card.

PSU top mount is to take advantage of the new high efficiency designs that operate passively for the most part (Seasonic X, Corsair AX, etc).
Had they gone with bottom mount, everyone would instead complain that the PSU is dumping heat into the case.

The original SOLO hard drive mounting was not difficult. How often are you changing out hard drives that would necessitate quick-swap sleds? If you think putting together a SOLO II is tough, try the original P180.

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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:22 pm 
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A176 wrote:
1) PSU Support Bar
- Most annoying thing ever with the original. Why is it here still? So its removable ... why even have it in the first place if people are just going to remove it time and time again?

2) PSU Top Mount
- As a continuation of the prior point, I suppose. The support bar is needed there because of top mount PSU (in Antec's thinking); would not moving the PSU to the bottom just fix the problem entirely.

3) Drive Bays
- Why must I still go through a 10 step (exg.) process to get to the drives? All modern cases have side mount racks now.

4) Its blatantly obvious Antec did next to no true design rework on the case.


regarding 1 and 2: The reason for the bar is not just to support the PSU. Many 430W and under PSUs from the old days would be fine just screwed in from the back. They didn't weigh much at all so no where near that amount of support was needed. The real reason for the support bar to go all the way across is to reduce vibration. It holds the case together in a more rigid state. Take the bar out and leave it out and hard drives that aren't suspended will make more noise, same goes for optical drives (CD, DVD, BluRay), it may even help if you have a bad fan somewhere in the mix but god help you if your fan is that bad.

It'd be very easy to just have a short lip/shelf there to support the PSU (for the occasional heavier PSU) instead of running a bar all the way across. It'd save Antec money and shave weight off the case.

If you are using a fanless PSU, no optical drives, no hard drives (all SSD or diskless by way of booting off the network), a fanless GPU, a fanless motherboard, and a fanless CPU heatsink, no intake or exhaust fans then by all means the support bar is unnecessary. Depending on how much vibration comes from the moving parts you actually use (if you don't fit that ideal case) your need for the bar will vary but it will be more than zero.

3: This has always been about airflow and I'm OK with it being front to back until the day they stop selling 3.5" hard drives. Side mounted hard drives stay warmer and heat is a good way to shorten the life of electronics. Again if you are diskless (all SSD or network booting) then a side mount cage is not a problem. Also your airflow from an intake fan to the center of the case won't matter if you never use an intake fan.

4: or Antec has different ideas about what makes a good case than what you do.

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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:35 pm 
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Location: Brazil
I'm very sad to see sites like AnandTech, Puget Systems, Benchmark Reviews and others speak so badly of SOLO II.

For me its design is almost perfect and the embedded concept into it is the right way.

In my opinion, TJ08-E and SOLO II have the best project for desktop PC.


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:14 pm 
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I'm about to build a mid-power workstation/gaming machine (quiet/silent of course) and the Solo II looks perfect. I just wish it didn't cost so much freakin $$! I think the cost is what is driving the disappointment. Almost twice the price of the original Solo and not nearly twice the improvement. I wish Antec released it at $100 or less - it would have created a much better buzz. Looking forward to some SPCR member reviews and hopefully a price drop before my time to buy.

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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:21 am 
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For those who want bottom mounted PSU in a case you might look into the the Merc Alpha / Merc Beta twins. The alpha has top fan vents which I'd say are unneeded.

http://www.bitfenix.com/global/en/produ ... /merc-beta

Pros over the Solo II:
Costs 1/3 the price
Extra 5.25 external bay
3.5" external bay
Matte finish (not a fingerprint magnet)
Three additional 3.5" internal drive bays

Cons under the Solo II:
Matte finish doesn't look as fancy as the Solo II.
No USB3 ports
10 pounds lighter and no suspension means vibration noise will be worse if you use traditional rotating disk hard drives.
Side panel vent is large. A SPCR type would want to cover that with tape or self adhesive vinyl flooring to block the noise from coming out that vent.

All the merc-beta needs to compete with the Solo II is USB3 and a little bit of mass loading on the panels and a solid (non vented) side panel would be nice.

As is I could see getting the merc beta and adding the mass myself and putting a USB3 port in that external 3.5" bay by way of a card reader that are common in USB2 form now for about $10-$20. Just will have to wait until next spring for USB3 versions to become common? However long it'll take, having a motherboard with USB3 headers and a device that'll pop into the 3.5" bay will fix the most glaring shortcoming of a cheap case.

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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:28 am 
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dhanson865 wrote:
For those who want bottom mounted PSU in a case you might look into the the Merc Alpha / Merc Beta twins. The alpha has top fan vents which I'd say are unneeded.


Anandtech review.

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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:02 am 
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stromgald wrote:
lb_felipe wrote:

+1

I don't understand why that unwillingness to SOLO II. In my opinion, it has the best design for a 7-slot ATX case. It has no wasted space. It's beautifully small. It's perfect for Seasonic and Kingwin fanless PSUs. It allows using anyone video card. It allows positive pressure, it brings an excellent quiet fan, it has "true" USB 3.0 ports, etc.

Unfortunately, it's expensive if compared to others of the same category, but maybe it's worth the premium price.


Yea, I'm not sure why there's still so much complaining about the SOLO II. Other than price, I think Antec did a good job.

I was seriously considering the CM Silencio or a Fractal case for my case upgrade (from an NSK3480 that's 5 years old now) because the preview pictures of the SOLO II pointed towards poorer performance. However, with the SPCR review, the SOLO II is back in the running.

I think my only design gripe would be the front ports not being at the top of the case. I usually keep my case under my desk, so that's more convenient for me. The top vs. bottom PSU argument and lack of side fan mount is moot if the SOLO II performs as good or better.

Antec cases do tend to be a bit expensive for the features you get. But they're also built like tanks, really sturdy, great paint jobs, etc. I have paint chipping on parts of my $230+ Fortress FT02 whereas I never had any problems like this on my $100 NSK-3300 or any other Antec cases I've owned. In general Antec seems to make some really, really high quality cases. They have some of the most durable paint jobs of any cases I've used. Fractal Design makes nice cases too, a lot of good features for the money, but I've heard tons of horror stories about their build quality.

Also I don't understand the gripes about top mount PSU. I don't think a lot of enthusiasts understand the evolution behind the switch from top mount to bottom mounted PSUs. From a performance standpoint, top or bottom shouldn't matter much, what matters is that you have a dedicated intake for the PSU so it can suck in fresh air from outside the case instead of warm air from inside the case. That was the whole point of the bottom mount PSU that the P180 pioneered, you stuck the PSU in its own chamber at the bottom with its own intake (although P180 did have HDDs in the airflow path, but the heat generated from these and affect on PSU intake temp would be insignificant). Then other cases started to adopt this idea, except they got rid of the separate chamber and just put an intake hole on the bottom of the case so that PSUs with 120mm or larger fans (pretty much all of them these days) could pull in room temp air through that intake. But there's not any inherent advantage to a bottom mounted PSU, Antec 300, for example, has a bottom mounted PSU but no bottom intake, so you have to mount it in a way that causes it to suck in warm air from your video card. Really not much/any better than having a conventional top mount PSU sucking in hot air from the CPU. The advantage comes from the dedicated intake, which you can achieve by either mounting the PSU at the bottom with an intake at the bottom of the case or at the top with an intake at the top. The SOLO II uses the latter and should achieve the same results.

Again, all from a performance/temps standpoint. From a noise standpoint, bottom mount in theory should be better because most people will probably have their case positioned in a way that the top intake hole would more directly expose them to noise from the PSU fan that if it were at the bottom. And as others have pointed out fanless PSUs might work better in this top orientation, and obviously in this situation you wouldn't have PSU fan noise to worry about, so it wouldn't matter that there's a more direct line between the PSU and your ear (assuming there's no coil noise or anything like that).

Anyway, some things I really like about the Solo II and some things that are kind of meh. Aluminum front panel is nice, hopefully we'll start to see this on Antec's other cases. I'd love to see an updated NSK line with some of the improvements of the SOLO II (black interior, quieter stock fans, cutout in the mobo tray, USB 3.0, etc.) and a more elegant plastic/aluminum front panel instead of the cheaper looking all plastic ones.

_________________
Corsair Obsidian 650D | Seasonic X-650 | Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 | Phenom II X4 955 | Noctua NH-D14 | 2x4GB Corsair DDR3-1600 | ASUS HD6950 DirectCU II 2GB | OCZ Vertex 2 120GB | 2x WD Green 1TB


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:52 pm 
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Posts: 73
andymcca wrote:
mentawl wrote:
As to the power button - they can't have had that many complaints about it, or they'd have fixed it, right? I mean, the one on my 5-year-old Solo is still going strong, and I used that for 2 years as my main case and now as a server case. Maybe just need to learn not to jab the button so hard :D
Most users probably think their computer is broken and buy a new one.


My reset broke. I thought something was wrong with my PC or I put the wrong cable or so. I did not notice it was broken until one day cleaning out the air filter. So I tried pressing the button directly to check. I just read some newegg reviews, and it does seem common.

Glad Antec release a new version of Antec Solo. The price point for the SOLO II is extreme (double what I paid for SOLO).


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:11 am 
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Posts: 31
difficult to decide...

I have a Lian LI A05-NB, which uses very thin aluminium, so i know the R3 or Solo II will beat it in noise levels, but it's still very hard to choose.

I'm leaning towards the R3, but i don't know... Anyone want to convince me the Solo II is wroth going for?

Noise is key, but i do run a 6970, so got to think about temps here.


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:37 am 
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Posts: 1924
Location: Finland
I overlooked this update to the old favourite for a long time, but it's back on the table as the Fractal Design Define Mini turned out less than perfect.

The "traditional" layout strikes me as highly compatible (cable length, orientation, (semi)passive PSUs), and the removable crossbar and top panel are welcome additions that (almost literally) remove the main reason why I gave up cases with the PSU on top. I also like the spacious bottom for any surface installations or longer/larger/power-plug-in-rear cards I may have to use, and the huge mobo tray cutout should suit a great number of motherboards and CPU heatsink backplates. I don't see why the footprint couldn't be 2 cm wider to accommodate cable management behind the mobo tray, but for me those hooks should do it. The thermal properties seem excellent, and the damping efforts up to par - especially the HDD suspension. Combine those with the high build quality Antec is known for (barring the power buttons... thin plastic can only be worse than steel springs) and this is quite the case.

My personal issues here are the filters, front panel ports and LEDs. How hard would it have been to have a service hatch or sliding filters? And forward-facing, bright-blue LEDs without a door, seriously? How does this fit in a living room or bedroom workspace? And front panel ports should point up, as cases are often at floor level, not on desks. I guess looks beat practicality here, as with the paintjob that IMO should have stayed a unique feature of the "lifestyle" Sonatas.

I can understand why someone would be disappointed with "just" 3x3.5" and the extra 1x2.5" (obv. for SSDs), but you know what? I haven't used more than 2 HDDs and 1 SSD in my home, gaming or office computers for over half a decade. Even the TB HDDs have been so cheap there's really no reason to hang on to the old, sluggish and low-capacity drives like once was the norm, and speedy external storage solutions are affordable. The less "moving parts" the better, right? If you want to build a data server or run multiple RAID arrays I'm sure there are better alternatives for that, even if there were more HDD mounting points in the Solo II - from the cable management perspective for starters.

But here's the real question - why pay (roughly) 120 euros for a quiet/dampened miditower? A CM Silencio (Sileo successor) 550 is 90 euros, its sister model 450 as low as 60 euros and the current top rival (for me) Fractal Design has the R3 in all its colourful variety for 100 euros - not to forget the mATX contenders Define Mini for 80 and the SS TJ08-E for 95 euros. Prices are as of Dec 2011 in Finland, and I can't see a rationale for the extra 20-60 euros seeing as all of the cases have their strengths and weaknesses, closely matching each other for acoustic and thermal performance with the right components (with the possible exception of the newcomer Silencio 450 and the in-parts flimsy TJ08-E). Maybe it is the paintjob after all - or just plain old branding.

Whatever the reason, consider this: in cold, hard cash, some 30 euros extra is not much nowadays for something based on a proven concept that'll serve you for years. The fact is that over a period of 6 years, which I think would be reasonable lifetime expectancy for a quality case, a case like this is going to cost you 15-20 euros a year from the cheapest option (obvious cheapo 450 excluded) to the most expensive. The difference is one beer pint a year. :P

tl;dr - I like it, as it appears solid where it counts, even if there are stupid details. The price difference here is ultimately negligible if you shop in this category.

Edits 1&2: corrected math.

_________________
Case: FD Define Mini
Parts: P8Z77-M Pro µATX, i5-3570K @stock, N650Ti-1GD5/OC, G.Skill 2x4/1600/CL9 DDR3U, Xonar DX, WD G 1 TB, m4 128 GB, RX-5300 PSU
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 + Scythe SS PWM, 2x Noctua NF-P12
Extras: Eaton UPS, Dell 24" EIPS, Ducky kb, SteelSeries m, Synology DS213j NAS
idle & load: CPU 32 °C & 44 °C @ 300/600 & 600/800 RPM, GPU 35-65 °C @ 1200-1650 RPM


Last edited by Das_Saunamies on Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:42 am 
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Location: Finland
neologan wrote:
difficult to decide...

I have a Lian LI A05-NB, which uses very thin aluminium, so i know the R3 or Solo II will beat it in noise levels, but it's still very hard to choose.

I'm leaning towards the R3, but i don't know... Anyone want to convince me the Solo II is wroth going for?

Noise is key, but i do run a 6970, so got to think about temps here.


This is something I've considered, so I did a quick comparison of the specs. The Solo II is roughly double the weight but not much bigger in volume, whereas the R3 would triple the weight and introduce a noticeable increase in volume. Depending on where you keep your case and how often you move it, that could already be reason enough to choose the Solo II over the R3, unless you absolutely need the extra space and mounting points of the R3 - or want your case in a colour other than black. I like mine smaller for easier regular cleaning.

If size or colour are not reason enough, we can move on to user ergonomy.

Outside, the R3 has the Solo II beat: the ports and power button are on top for comfortable reach at floor level and the filters can all be accessed externally. If only the door could cover the LED(s)...

Inside it's a toss-up: the R3 has more moving parts per se, but the installation customisation and cable management options can make up for it. The Solo II is more straightforward in layout and air path, but doesn't feature as many options for cable management and has a trickier access for the 3.5" bays. Solo II's HDD suspension could be a nice perk to have if you use noisy HDDs. The PSU mounting is up to personal preference, but the Solo II favours compatibility and passive PSUs in my eyes, whereas the R3 is better for any reinstallations or bigger PSUs - just make sure your cables (ATX) are long enough for the R3. The Solo II is more appealing for simpler and smaller installations, whereas the R3 can accommodate most if not all configurations, but both are very clever with no major shortfalls.

As both cases have good basic ergonomy and if these differences in features are not argument enough, we only have your original criterion and the reason we're all here for: silence.

Assuming similar performance to the R2 (from the SPCR review of the R3), the R3 and Solo II are a close match overall. Whereas neither seems to clearly top the other in the SPCR reviews - in other words they are as good as they come in their category - both have their unique thermal and acoustic advantages. The R3 features lots of ventilation, a front door and removable covers for the intake fans, which may give an edge in thermal performance but compromise acoustics, whereas the Solo II can better accommodate a passive PSU and features built-in HDD suspension for improved silence. The R3's ventilation leaves more room for experimentation, but is also problematic: the front intake is restricted by the huge sideways HDD cage and the rear bottom is a hotspot if the GPU dumps exhaust in the case. This may be made moot by the side intake, but this introduces yet another path and source for noise. The Solo II is more contained noisewise, yet still has good cooling capability.

If I were to sum these findings up and exaggerate slightly, the R3 would be ideal for double GPUs and multiple RAID arrays, special scenarios where you'll want the ventilation and mounting points for sure, no question. It will even take your huge kilowatt PSU and hide all the cables. However, if you are after the ultimate quiet solution and run a single GPU - from the looks of it any GPU - with no more than three HDDs/SSDs, the Solo II is the better option in my eyes. Its features are geared towards ultimate silence, yet its cooling efficiency remains high and it can thus accommodate most single-card builds without a sweat. The price difference where I am is minute, and if looks don't matter much to you, the Solo II could very well be the better choice in typical scenarios. It's even easier to live with over a longer period of time thanks to taking up less space and weighing much less than the R3.

tl;dr - Solo II for ultimate silence and easy living, R3 for dual-GPU/multi-RAID behemoths and/or if you want more colours.

_________________
Case: FD Define Mini
Parts: P8Z77-M Pro µATX, i5-3570K @stock, N650Ti-1GD5/OC, G.Skill 2x4/1600/CL9 DDR3U, Xonar DX, WD G 1 TB, m4 128 GB, RX-5300 PSU
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 + Scythe SS PWM, 2x Noctua NF-P12
Extras: Eaton UPS, Dell 24" EIPS, Ducky kb, SteelSeries m, Synology DS213j NAS
idle & load: CPU 32 °C & 44 °C @ 300/600 & 600/800 RPM, GPU 35-65 °C @ 1200-1650 RPM


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 Post subject: Re: I give you the ANTEC SOLO II
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:03 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 11:29 am
Posts: 31
I grabbed an R3 several days ago. I'm very happy with the build quality and performance.

My only issue was that the HDD cage should come in two parts and be removable/modular with screws. This is because it has limited space for very long GPUs. Currently, there isn't one that won't fit, but the Arctic Cooling Extreme Plus II will not. I had to cut out some of the HDD cage for it to pass through.

Excellent case, though. I've got to say, however, that it hasn't really made a big dent in noise levels. Those little Lian Li A05s are fragile, but they are pretty quiet, too. I also expected more from the noise dampening material. I just have a feeling it makes little difference there or not. It might be that effect of not noticing until you go back. Perhaps if i installed my hardware back in the A05nb I'd find it horrendous :)

Hardware:

i3 @4.2ghz
6970 2GB
Scythe 120mm GT at 5v back and front
Seasonic M12 700w
TRUE on CPU with basic fan at 5v (quiet).
64GB SSD
2TB WD 5200rpm green in a rubber suspension cage


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