Serenity - Retro inspired Antec Sonata (Modernish) buildlog

Discussion in 'PC Build Logs' started by FIREWIRE1394, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    Evening OCAU.

    I recently decided that I’ve had enough of LED’s and bling and RGB and THIRTY SEVEN PIECES OF FLAIR on my computer.

    So I started looking into a case that was elegant, functional, affordable, and well built.
    I settled on the coolermaster Masterbox E500L without a sidewindow.
    https://www.coolermaster.com/catalog/cases/mid-tower/masterbox-e500l/
    But by the time I went to buy, they were nowhere to be found locally. So I had a big problem.
    Nothing matched what I needed.

    Deepcools look slash ARE cheap, Thermaltake are flimsy at the lower end, putting an ODD into any corsair that supports them ruins the looks, Fractal are too expensive.

    So I thought to myself, I have a huge supply of retro cases from this millennium that will fit the bill.
    But of all the old cases I have ever owned, had friends with, worked on, or seen, there was one that still stands out.

    And that standout case was one I recently put a retro build into, and a case that I had at the time of release that I never used to its full potential.
    TIME TO CHANGE THAT!

    The original Antec Sonata.

    For a lot of the late 90’s and early 00’s Antec were THE cases to own, We enthusiasts all had them, all the competition ripped them off. Even as far as 2005, Antec could make a beige box be cool!
    Just say the word “lanboy” to anyone who was into computers in the 00’s, and they will smile, sigh, and stare off into space lovingly.
    And there’s a reason for that… Antec knew how to make a bloody good case.

    But the Sonata that I have chosen for my build was of a different breed.

    While we overclockers love and need cooling. The Sonata was designed to be quiet.
    The original Sonata, which is the one I will be building this PC in, had a single 120mm fan. And your option for expanding the cooling was another single 120mm fan… That’s it…

    What Antec were aiming for with this case was silence.
    It came with an included power supply, which had fan headers on it, so the PSU and system fans would only turn on at a certain temperature. Not to mention the rubber mounts for the hard drive bays and fans. This was 2003. In 2020 you can still buy rubber grommet fan mounts.
    https://noctua.at/en/products/accessories/anti-vibration/na-sav2

    When I first got one of these cases (late 2004) I had an Athlon XP 1800+ overclocked to what the stock cooler would allow and an ATI Radeon 9600... These parts were both screaming banshees.
    The case and power supply made <10dB (considered barely audible)... The CPU and GPU made >130dB (considered painful)

    But TODAY, useful and affordable tech FINALLY has the features Antec implemented in 2003…
    Power supplies and GPU’s will only turn on the fans WHEN they need them. WOW, such a revolutionary NEW feature right?!?!?
    Anti vibration mounts?? GENIUS!!

    Now most of the parts are things I have just lying around…
    I suppose I should stop harping on about how good the case is and GET TO THE MONEY:

    I have some parts spare ready to go.
    MOBO: Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7
    CPU: Intel 4790K
    RAM: 16GB Gskill Ripjaws Z 2400MHz
    SSD: Samsung 950 Pro 256GB
    HDD: Variety of WD blues.

    These parts are all 5-6 years old.. So too old to be modern, and too new to be retro...

    But I need to pick a quiet PSU and a quiet GPU.

    Build will continue tomorrow.
     
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  2. OP
    OP
    FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    First things first, this case has a build in it.
    It will need an external clean up.
    DSCF3784.JPG DSCF3785.JPG DSCF3786.JPG
    Out with the old:
    DSCF3046.JPG
    I've cleaned the inside, filter and front panel:
    DSCF3791.JPG DSCF3792.JPG

    DSCF3790.JPG

    At this point I have to think about putting filters on the Antec holes, which are at the top on both sides.
    I know from previous ownership, that these WILL take in a lot of dust.
    either filter them or block them entirely, so all the air comes in the front, but I don't want to make it louder than it needs to be.

    so I will be thinking about that when it's built, and I'll have to test it.

    That's all for today, build will continue tomorrow.
     
  3. Aetherone

    Aetherone Member

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    ohhh, an Asus A7N8X. Such good memories. Got plans for it?

    The Sonata were a really good, no-frills, decently priced case. One of my favourites to build in back in the day.
     
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  4. OP
    OP
    FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    The old parts will be going into either a coolermaster centurion 5, or a nice beige box I have sitting here doing nothing.

    I’m going to be using a 1070 in this build and from my measurements, it’s going to be a tight squeeze/ REALLY tight squeeze.

    I will find out if it fits later tonight or tomorrow.
     
  5. Aetherone

    Aetherone Member

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    From what I recall, they're proper decent steel. Dremel time!
    I chopped up a v.2 Lanboy in order to fit a GTX690 in :D
     
  6. power

    power Member

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    I didn't mind this chassis back in the day.

    Although it had shithouse feet (that normally fell off immediately out of the box) and did not cool very well - at all - and machines will get quite warm in here as there is no space for an intake and the single 120mm fan on the rear doesn't cope, the front door was a good design though.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    you recall correctly, proper decent steel.
    This case is in such overall good condition, and complete with manual, all mounts, and even KEYS that I can't bring myself to butcher it.

    if the card won't fit.. I'll change the card.

    Feet on mine are still ok, they do leave some black marks on whatever desk I leave it on, but since it's a 16 year old case at this point, I can forgive that.

    Cooling is something I am going to have to look at carefully. the only channels are an opening at the front to cool the hard drives, and the antec holes on the sides.

    You mentioned no space at the front for an intake. There actually is sort of, but you've just made me realise something...

    The front fan mounts in BEHIND the hard drives. So if my video card WILL fit there, then I can say goodbye to adding a second fan.

    This computer doesn't have to work too hard, but I'll be checking temps and tweaking as needed after it's built.

    On with the new hardware (Minus cooling):
    DSCF3788.JPG



    the parts already mentioned:
    MOBO: Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7
    CPU: Intel 4790K
    RAM: 16GB Gskill Ripjaws Z 2400MHz
    SSD: Samsung 950 Pro 256GB
    HDD: 2x 5TB and 1 4TB WD blues.

    Chosen for this build and put into the picture are also:

    PSU: Corsair HX750i.
    I chose this PSU because it is similar to the old antec PSU it replaced. It will only turn the fan on when needed. For about 3 months I was worried that this PSU was broken because there was no dust on my old cases PSU filter. Turns out, I never taxed this PSU enough to make it turn on at all.

    GPU: Gigabyte GTX 1070 WINDFORCE OC 8G.
    I've had this sitting idle for a while now, and was thinking about selling it, but when I wanted
    to make a silent PC and thought about my usage. I've hardly heard the fans spin up on this in about 2 years of owning it. Most of my usage these days is light, and on the very odd occasion I do want to play a demanding AAA game, the 1070 can still do a competent job (I'm on 1440p) and doesn't make a ridiculous amount of noise.
    but I am REALLY pushing it in terms of size.

    Capture card: Avermedia Darkcrystal HD capture pro.
    Since I'm playing a lot of older games right now, and have a lot of storage, I figured I'd put this in the PC as well.
    As a bonus, the Sonata looks just at home with a Sega Saturn and CRT next to it, as it does next to a PS4 Pro and 2019 Hisense 4K TV (pics when the build is done, I promise)

    Since this is a retro inspired build, I needed some retro inspired parts.. I still have to fish through to find some goodies But I needed this:
    DSCF3793.JPG
    Not quite retro YET, but my LG blu ray burner was purchased when my pioneer blu ray burner shat itself after only 18 months. (I know, it's the first pioneer optical to ever fail on anyone, EVER)
    In terms of burning, this drive has burnt 1 single blu ray. That's right.. ONE! but it has ripped more blu rays and DVD's than you know exist, and has been amazing the whole time.


    I am going to fish out some retro parts to use now, and see if this 1070 fits.
    Build will continue tomorrow
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  8. power

    power Member

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    yeah you can put a fan there i had forgotten that. You need those rubber thingy's to hold it in place as screws would probably be too hard to get in.

    i used to build systems in these and the feet you got lucky with as i said often straight out of the box they'd fall off - was probably the worst thing about it.

    the heat builds up because tbh the chassis has those stick steel panels and people loved to put quiet parts in it and the panel fit was fairly tight.

    hey i mean, i own one of these things - the mrs was using it up until fairly recently with a Core 2 system in it. At least the fan was 120mm, the stock fan had that stupid little high low mid switch that was mounted inside the chassis. Fairly typical of Antec at the time, above average but just not quite there. The PSU's these shipped with were pretty meh as well.

    They were a very desirable chassis at the time.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    As per OP:
    "rubber mounts for the hard drive bays and fans. This was 2003. In 2020 you can still buy rubber grommet fan mounts.
    https://noctua.at/en/products/accessories/anti-vibration/na-sav2"

    Once the whole thing is built, I'll be chucking in my test fan which is incidentally Antec, it sounds like a jet engine but has enough airflow to see if the concept is worth me spending money on some really good Noctuas.

    As for the PSU.. I simply can't agree with you.. Antec PSU's aren't meh... Even a cheap POS antec PSU is still perfectly fine 15-20 years later. :lol:

    I will be using this cases stock PSU in another build.
    What makes an Antec PSU good, is that IF (and that's a pretty bloody big if) it dies, it doesn't take a whole system down with it. :thumbup:

    if I'm doing just a normal retro build (not a modernish inspired one like this one) and see an antec PSU, I know I don't have to pull it apart just to check it won't explode in 20 seconds.
     
  10. power

    power Member

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    if you saw the amount of antec psu's i did you'd change your tune. they used mixed manufacturers at the time and a lot of them were truly awful - low to mid range had really bad caps lucky to last 2 years. Some models I think they were some kind of quiet eco psu with a fan that'd only come on under load (Smart Power or Earthwatts range can't remember which) and the caps would go well within the warranty. Honestly we had more luck with certain generics, I kid you not. I can't even remember what shipped with the Sonata, but it was probably better. However 80mm fans were prevalent in PSU's at the time so you always got that low 80mm fan whine.

    i was always disappointed with their fans even at low speeds the were a little noisy, noctua is definitely the way to go!

    Just googled it, yeah they were getting Channel Well to make some PSU's at the time with known bad caps. It's funny the things you remember and honestly wouldn't effect you today!

    https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/antec-smartpower-and-truepower-warning.200535/
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  11. OP
    OP
    FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    Well when this case/PSU came out, I was very far from a professional, or even adult. I was a broke ass student.
    Being a broke ass student back in the day I had to work on a lot of PC's for money to make MY PC better.
    From this period, the only takeaway I made was that you should NEVER buy an Abit motherboard.:lol: I stick to that rule even today, even though abit haven't existed in some time... See a retro PC I like: AWESOME!... has an Abit motherboard: NO THANK YOU!
    That's where the joke "make like an Abit motherboard and stop posting" came from :lol:

    From my own professional life, and knowing the warranty stats from everywhere I've ever worked, that's the single reason I will never buy Razer Products aside from mouse pads. And wouldn't use an Aerocool product even if you paid ME :lol:

    And as for Noctua being the way to go...
    I have a saying when it comes to cooling.. "If in doubt, buy Noctua"
    I could do hours upon hours of research and get something better/cheaper... BUT if you want to avoid the fuck around, and want something you know will just work, Noctua have proven time and time again that they can make a good product.

    as for the build.. the 1070 won't fit.
    DSCF3800.JPG
    I measured the bulk of the hard drive rail and height/length of the card.
    See those little bumps on the hard drive rails for mounting a fan?
    The bottom fan mount bump stops my card from fitting.

    I knew it was going to be close/FUCKING CLOSE, but didn't factor in that bump.

    Gonna have to put the card in the PCIE x8 slot.

    Not a HUGE loss, and will probably help the card stay cooler at the very bottom of the case..
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  12. power

    power Member

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    heh, yeah i remember people buying these trying to put high end GPU's AND the additional fan it - it was just too short :(

    Would probably have been 6800GTX's or Ultras maybe (!?)

    Might be modding time, cut that drive cage out!
     
  13. OP
    OP
    FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    If it was a modern part, I would mod away to my hearts content with no regard at all.

    But since I can just put the GPU down the bottom, OR get a smaller version of the 1070 and still fit the second fan if I need to, there's not much need to hack the case up.

    I get hesitant about modding retro stuff unless it actually NEEDS it...
    Like I'll fit a fan to ANY old north bridge to stop them running at a million degrees.
    But in this case (I saw the pun when I was about to post, so Definitely intended)
    the part doesn't NEED to be modded, I just need to pick more suitable hardware.

    Not that I need to change the hardware at all.. the 1070 I wanted to use DOES fit in the X8 slot at the bottom. And the performance hit is barely measurable, so that's what I'll do.
    (when I say fit, it's still REALLY close)
     
  14. OP
    OP
    FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    Onwards.
    The front is looking pretty good now:
    DSCF3798.JPG

    but since a 3.5" floppy has no place in the modern world, I need something to fill the gap in:
    DSCF3047.JPG

    A USB card reader will do perfectly, I don't often use a card reader, much like I don't often use discs anymore, but it's nice to have from time to time, I can just pop the door open, and it's there for me.
    down the line I may replace this with a USB 3.0 card reader, as the extra speeds and a front USB 3.0 port will be helpful.

    As for the SATA cables.. Nowadays everything is Black or RGB, and they put those stupid clips on them.
    I've saved some OLD SATA cables for quite a while now, Including a Gigabyte New Old Stock pair from a motherboard about 15-16 years back.
    I'll be using the RED ones for the hard Drives, and the blue one for the optical drive.
    Green UV one is to highlight how cool we all were when RGB was just a video signal!

    Inputs are fairly straight forward.
    for Input I have Chosen
    Keyboard: Logitech G15 Version 1.
    Keyboards haven't actually come very far in 30 years. A Board with a lots of keys, that's nice to use.. That's all They've ever been.
    (and yes, I know people with 2 million dollar custom mechanicals will defend to the death their preposterously priced, and upgraded every 2 months boards, as being entirely better than their 6 month old preposterously priced, and upgraded 4 times board)
    The fact is, the g15 is still an amazing board, It has macro keys and media controls, bonus screen to feel leet, and perfectly fine for modern use.

    DSCF3048.JPG

    Mouse: Logitech G500S
    Mice though. Mice have come a long way in 30 years, from a ball that got clogged and a button.
    The scroll wheel came along and made living without one painful, then optical and laser sensors came and made living with a ball painful. Then side buttons made living without them painful, then 5 way scroll wheels came, and made normal scroll wheels painful.
    Then the dual mode scrollwheel came and made living with a normal 5 way painful.

    This mouse is at the peak of a bell curve.. After Logitech got mice perfect, but before they started making overpriced, easily breakable shit.

    I've kept this one in box for a long time now, just waiting for the day it would be needed.

    DSCF3049.JPG

    I have to do some more digging, but I also have a Microsoft xbox 360 wireless adaptor, and some spare 360 pads somewhere that will be handling those times I feel like a controller.

    Build will continue Saturday or Sunday.
    and will finally be BUILT built, ready for testing.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    So there was a bit of delay on the build (Don't even get me started).
    But in the mean time, I've been testing and using the PC... It can be a bit difficult...
    All components are working fine and dandy ASIDE from my CPU.
    Since this was just a proof of concept till this point, I wasn't going out and getting good fans, and working out speeds etc etc...

    So far my only problem at all has been CPU temps.
    GPU is happy chilling at the bottom of the case in the 8X slot, and I've been gaming with it, and not noticed any drops or issues from my older cases and even MOST games at 1440P it won't even turn the fans on...
    but CPU has been getting, shall we say a LITTLE HOT!
    I'm seeing temps of 80 degrees C on even basic gaming tasks.
    (it really hates House Flipper and Minecraft)
    But to be honest, I am not sure if this is the stock cooler sucking ass, or an airflow issue... (since I got the CPU in 2014 it has ALWAYS been under water even when running stock) this is the first time I've even used the stock cooler TBH.
    (CPU is stock ATM, haven't had an OC on it since 2017, never needed it)

    I might give Ratzz a few bucks to delid it and make it awesome not for the purpose of overclocking, but in the quest for low temps and silence.
    The next part of the build is probably getting a CoolerMaster Hyper T4 CPU Cooler ($35) because I can fit a good 120mm PWM Noctua fan for it to match the ones I want to put in the case (front and back)
    From a month of testing I am happy with literally EVERY aspect of this build aside from CPU temps.. Even HDD and SSD temps are LOWER in this antec with one fan than a corsair 750D with FOUR fans! so as a concept, it has been proven. I just need to see if my CPU is struggling, or if the stock cooler is just useless in this case.

    And I was right about the sides where the case says ANTEC... FUCK do they take in dust, blocking them is probably the way!
     
  16. power

    power Member

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    yeah they dropped that antec cutout on later revisions (Sonata II) like most cases of the day fairly poorly sealed in different spots and end up being dust magnets.

    i'd pull the entire front bezel off every now and again and give it a good clean (they come off pretty easily). To keep that processor cool you are better off with a big ol' noctua. Might squeeze the 120 in there.

    What exhaust did you end up with??
     
  17. OP
    OP
    FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    Yep. that's the main thing between the V1 and V2. But the changes in the second one were VERY minimal otherwise (aside from an in included duct for CPU IIRC)

    I'm still not sure what to do with the side intakes (block or filter) more testing is needed. On either side, I can put a small bit of paper up to the antec holes, and it will hold there. I am worried it is taking airflow from the HDD's and GPU though... I mean nothing is at the top of the case aside from PSU, but heat does rise, so maybe it IS actually doing something good. further testing IS needed in that department.

    Front bezel actually gets more dust around it than I was expecting TBH. I thought with the door and the air channels near the bottom, the door and USB flap wouldn't get dusty at all... I was wrong, they still get their share of dust.

    I haven't ended up with an exhaust fan yet. I am still using an old loud ass antec fan with a CFM of 10,000,000 but it's loud as fuck.
    Just to see if it was worth it.

    I know Noctua have the redux fans that have better airflow and are quieter (more quiet?) but I wanted to see if it was going to work before I shelled out $30 each for 3 fans.
    I am going back to a rule I told myself about 7 years ago: "When in doubt with fans, buy Noctua" :lol: Rule has never let me down so far.

    As for CPU cooling, a BIG OL' noctua is super overkill. It's not being overclocked these days, and even a basic coolermaster with a nice noctua fan will be ample...
    You'd be amazed at how many cheap as shit coolers are REALLY fucking good when you put a decent fan on them... (silverstone, zalman, coolermaster, thermaltake, be quiet, and Deepcool are all improved with a nice Noctua fan)
    so my choice will be getting a cheap 120mm cooler, and then slapping a Noctua fan on it to match the rest of the system!:thumbup:
     
  18. power

    power Member

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    yeah the hot air rose by design into the psu so something that had a 120mm on the bottom and an exhaust was desirable.

    I imagine the 750i doesn't have a fan on bottom?? If there's one on top you should flip it over.
     
  19. OP
    OP
    FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    The PSU does have a 120mm fan, not that I've ever seen it turn itself on.
    it is facing downwards, (IE suck up and push out back)

    I actually thought it was faulty till I tested it :lol:

    That's why the case exhaust fan is actually important, because I can't rely on my PSU to ever do ANYTHING :lol:
     
  20. power

    power Member

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    i have the bigger one that has corsair link or whatever it is and you can force it on - they only turn on under load not temp afaik and even my 1080Ti/9700K@5GHz doesn't load the PSU anywhere near 750W.
     

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