Assembling an HPTC in the GD04

When building in most cases, the assembly is fairly self-explanatory. The SilverStone GD04? Not so much. Installing my hardware in the GD04 actually resulted in my consulting the instructions that come with the case fairly frequently, and there's a reason why: SilverStone specifies a very specific order for installing components to keep cable routing fairly clean and easy.

The first thing you'll need to do is remove the trays and the crossbar, and for sanity's sake the motherboard should probably go in before the power supply does. SilverStone actually includes rubber standoffs that adhere to the bottom of the power supply, as there's a centimeter or so worth of empty space between where the unit mounts and the bottom of the case. You'll want to connect whatever cables you can and install your expansion cards, because the next step involves putting the crossbar back in.

It's at this point that you should also note the 120mm fans all come with three-pin connectors and are intended to be plugged into and controlled by the motherboard. That would be fine, but most MicroATX boards don't come with that many fan control headers (to say nothing of MiniITX), not to mention how mediocre most motherboard implementations of fan control are. SilverStone includes an adapter that allows you to plug all three headers into a single molex connector, but that also means the fans are running at full bore all the time, and you'll see why that's a problem later on. Mercifully, the fans have built-in internal grates that keep bunched up cables from getting caught in the fan blades.

After you've replaced the crossbar, you'll need to mount the hard drive or drives into the mounting tray. The tray actually supports up to three drives total: two 3.25" and a 2.5". It's probably easiest to just install one big storage drive - this is a media center case after all. The 2.5" bay does make using an SSD as an OS drive easy, however. Installing the optical drive is also pretty simple, and there's some give on it so you can line it up properly with the opening in the front. I've read that one or two users on NewEgg had to shave off part of the tray opening for their builds, but the combination Blu-ray/HD-DVD drive I have fit perfectly and without issue.

If you follow the instructions that come with the GD04, assembly actually goes fairly smoothly. The main problem is really just what a nuisance all the tiny screws can be. I understand going entirely toolless may be a convenience not available for a case this size designed for this task, but I can't help but feel like this whole ordeal could've been easier. 

In and Around the GD04 Thermal and Noise Testing
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  • tno - Monday, December 27, 2010 - link

    I'm gonna second your suggestions. There seems to be a lot of emotion flying around and I think that's great. I love that everyone here is so passionate about these things. And I've been in your spot in the past RobertR, and about Jarred (my apologies), who is clearly good enough, my complaints not withstanding, to warrant a supervisory position. So let's take all this in perspective.

    RobertR, they get it, you don't like the job they did. If you would like acknowledgment, then consider all the replies you've received all the acknowledgment you should reasonable need.

    McKish, perhaps shooting Dustin an e-mail with a review of his review would help in future articles.

    Jarred, Dustin might not have the hardware resources that AT does, but he does have the hivemind. Perhaps the next article should get a preview in the case section of the forum. Before I chose my case (P150) I scoured the old articles and soon after turned to the forums and found so much information that my choice was made easy and once bought all the information I needed to pick the right sound components for the case. That said, it's easy for a comment or paragraph to spark all sorts of reactions (see everything in these comments for proof) but once you've gotten through all the nonsense, there's often some good points to be made.

    So keep on going Dustin. Your writing is great, and your methods will get there. For a look at good methods and iffy writing, see anything on silentpcreview.com that isn't written by Mike Chin. Find something between there methods and yours and you'll have it all together. And keep up the case reviews; to get you going, start posting on all the forums you can find, get involved in the online community that obsesses over this stuff, and get your name known by the community reps that control the equipment. My favorite part of your review, realistic components. And yes, they are realistic, most people putting together an HTPC just put together a quicky job that will do the work. They don't obsess over every single component to find the coolest running, quietest component possible. Indeed, most probably take spare parts they have lying around. SPCR's habit of using outdated overkill components with silent cooling components is above and beyond what any of us would roll. I would definitely recommend having on hand whatever the "BEST" component for the category your testing per AT. For instance the quieter ATI cards seem to be a favorite for HTPC's on AT, perhaps having one of those available would quiet the beasts.

    Alright, that's my wall of text. Flame on!

    tno
    Reply
  • khaakon - Sunday, December 26, 2010 - link

    Is it only me, or have I missed any comments about this case short depth? It is very few HTPC cases with this form factor and it really makes a difference when you're putting the box in place and fitting all the goddam cables ;)

    Anymore depth in the approach when testing wouldn't be amiss also, (environment and adaption) but nice try anyway - just no spliff.. I mean Cigar.. for Dustin.
    Reply
  • juzz86 - Monday, December 27, 2010 - link

    I would just like to say that it's been a while since I've seen a case review here, and I love them. Let's see a few more! Reply
  • marc1000 - Monday, December 27, 2010 - link

    it's good to see a review of a case that works with positive air pressure.

    ignoring all the flames about noise, the temperature of components seemed pretty good. they show a big difference regarding slow/fast fan RPM, yet even on lowest speed it seems very cool to me. I would like to ask that positive air pressure is tested on other cases (it could be a quick test, just to compare with the default configuration, and done simply reversing any output fans to make then intake ones - except GPU/PSU of course).

    thanks for the review,
    Reply
  • combust3r - Monday, December 27, 2010 - link

    I belive that Dustin mentioning possible collision with left 120mm fan and long PSU's is a valuable info for those who want to use this case as a gaming rig. I bought Grandia GD05 for my Sandy Bridge build and I've already ordered GTX 460 wich is relatively short comparing to many high end 10.5"/11" cards that this case supports. My Seasonic M12II 520W will fit with no problems at all but PSU's longer than 180mm will force you to replace 120mm with 80mm fan (left fan mounts are predrilled for 80mm fan). Airflow (as seen in the review) is very good and it's worthy to mention that graphic cards with external exhausts are preffered.

    Regarding db measurement, if this is standard procedure in noise testing in all anandtech case reviews then I'm fine with it. They must be comparable.

    I really like your review Dustin, keep up the good work.
    Reply
  • orenlevy - Monday, December 27, 2010 - link

    there is a simple way to reach silence in those areas
    1 you need mobo with 2 or 3 headers that u can control threw software
    planty of those mobo are there(u can Google it to find)
    2 find the right fan configure mostly to make a side to side air flow in the case
    normally you should covers the places where air can go in the other sides.
    3 make rules in speedfan give minimum and maximum speeds of the fans.
    discover what are the temperature u reading and start to make the logic
    if CPU then fan n01 will ramp and so on
    one fan normally on the hard drive so it will controlled also buy hard-drive temp
    after a bit of experience today it takes me no more then 5 min.
    the fans actually can rest in idle and small surfing playing music and in a bit of stress the fans gos around 600 rpm in full 1000 rpm then it is important choose the wright power supply
    ,the only thing u can hear
    Reply
  • ClagMaster - Monday, December 27, 2010 - link

    I am surprised no mention was made of the fans that came with the case. Who made the fans and what are their rated speed, air flow and noise.

    I never had a complaint about a Silverstone case. These are well made though a little on the pricey side.

    I would have invested in three 120mm Synthe Fans with the same air flow instead of the fan controllers. Its ridiculous to have two fan controllers in a HTPC.
    Reply
  • combust3r - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    http://www.globefan.com/products_detail.php?Pid=23...

    These are the fans used.

    The middle one in the chart, RL4ZS1202512LIW-3M 12V DC 0.26A

    34dBA, 2K rpm...
    Reply
  • ClagMaster - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    Thank you Reply
  • ClagMaster - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    These fans are rated at 93 cfm each !!! And there are 3 of these !!!

    This is way, way too much for a home entertainment center.

    I would have replaced these with Scythe SY1225SL12M 120mm "Slipstream" Case Fan

    1200 RPM, 68 cfm, 24 dBA

    And there would still be plenty of air flow

    Again, thanks for answering my question.
    Reply

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