Assembling the SilverStone GD07

Given the relatively logical internal layout of the GD07, assembly was for the most part fairly simple and straightforward. That said, being that this is a SilverStone case, there are still some kinks and idiosyncrasies that the end user is going to want to watch out for.

I actually made the mistake of running into a pretty big one early on, an issue that most users who do their homework won't run into but someone with my poor eyesight and general autopilot mentality will slam into face first. It wasn't until after I'd mounted our standard case testbed that I realized something: there's very minimal CPU heatsink clearance. Our primary testbed actually doesn't fit into the GD07 due to the height of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo; that means that most tower-style CPU coolers are right out the door, which in turn threatens to limit the overall performance potential of the case. There also isn't enough clearance between the motherboard and the side panels to mount a closed-loop radiator, so cooling options are going to be fairly limited overall.

At this point I was forced to make a judgment call before moving forward. This is something that was the subject of a bit of debate between Jarred and I, and is most certainly going to be something a decent portion of you will disagree with. I was left with two options, essentially. The first was to test the GD07 as an ATX/Micro-ATX enclosure and swap out the Hyper 212 Evo for a stock Intel heatsink, but the problem there is that the GD07's test results wouldn't actually be comparable to the other ATX/Micro-ATX cases since one of the major components had changed substantially for the worse. That would mean that in each subsequent review, if I was going to compare the GD07 to other cases, I'd always have to include an asterisk and explain why the GD07 sticks out from the group.

The second choice, and the one I went with, was to use our freshly minted Mini-ITX testbed. This testbed was engineered to fit in much smaller enclosures, but as a result everything would fit perfectly fine. It would be roomier than usual, but it would also leave us with test results that could be compared to other enclosures using the same testbed without having to make any special notes. Undoubtedly some of you are going to be displeased with this decision, or wonder why I didn't just do both options. The fact is I simply didn't have enough time to assemble and test using both testbeds, and I made the call.

As I mentioned before, assembly was fairly easy but there were some hiccups. The removable drive cage uses six screws, which is a minor nuisance, but removing it does make things much easier and is essential for mounting any of the drives.

Clearance between the side intake fan and the motherboard is borderline nonexistent. The GD07 fits things together about as tightly as it can before assembly becomes too much of a chore. Smaller motherboards aren't going to have too many issues in assembly (specifically motherboards that aren't particularly deep), but I'm not sure I'd recommend putting a full-sized board inside the GD07. A seven slot ATX board, sure, but not one with the full ATX depth. The power supply goes in just as easily as the motherboard does.

I understand why the case uses an extrusion and cover for the expansion slots, but I've nonetheless always hated dealing with this type of solution because it adds extra steps to swapping expansion cards in and out, and it almost always requires the end user to carefully re-align the cover plate. There has to be an easier way to handle this kind of design choice to keep it from being so needlessly onerous.

Finally there's the drive cage. The drive cage isn't necessarily badly designed, but there's definite room for improvement here. For the 5.25" drives, you'll want to remove the bay shields in the front first before mounting the drives. There's some give to how far out or in the drive can be mounted (three notched steps to be exact) and no easy guide for what it needs to be. 3.5" drives are easier to figure out; they slide in vertically and are screwed in twice on one side and once on the other. This leaves the bottom of the cage open for fresh air from the intake fan to blow over the drives and be guided out towards the back of the case.

Unfortunately the 2.5" drive mounting system leaves a lot to be desired. 2.5" drives are mounted side-by-side between the topmost optical drive and the top of the drive cage, and while there are holes in the top to help guide cabling, they're nowhere near enough. Clearance between the 2.5" drive and the 5.25" beneath it is so poor that the bog standard L-shaped SATA power lead won't actually fit; you'll need to essentially use either an extension or a molex-to-SATA adaptor. If there's one thing I feel like SilverStone really needs to go back and change, this is it. Kill the extra vertically-mounted 5.25" drive bays (since you're more liable to use them to stash cable) and put some proper 2.5" drive mounts in their place.

Cabling is relatively easy otherwise, but it should come as no surprise that the GD07 doesn't make any real allowances for cable management outside of politely suggesting you use the vertically-mounted 5.25" bays. One major loss in the move from the GD04 to the GD07, though: the GD04 had internal fan grilles that kept cables from getting caught in the fan blades. Without these it's much, much easier for cables to get stuck in the fan blades in the GD07.

There was a lot to like in assembling the GD07; it's more straightforward than I'm used to seeing from SilverStone, and it never felt too cramped. Yet I still feel like we're kind of in "rough draft" territory with the interior. Better allowances should've been made for 2.5" drives, and the inside fans do need fan grilles. The drive cage should also be at least a little easier to both remove and secure, and there has to be an easier way to handle the expansion slot cover. I'm not expecting a toolless chassis design here, but small changes could make all the difference in assembly and make the GD07 much easier to build and service. Finally, given the size of the chassis, a slightly taller design would have allowed for tower CPU coolers, which have proven in the past to be very effective without requiring a lot of airflow (i.e. noise)--two things that many media center PCs would benefit from.

In and Around the SilverStone GD07 Testing Methodology
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  • DireNova - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    I've been waiting for this case to come out for a while. I can see that it's not getting a good reception as an HTPC case, but they don't really make desktop cases like they did 10-15 years ago and I wonder if this might be the closest thing yet?

    I have a new desk arriving shortly that is 72" wide where my previous desk was 48" wide. While I can now support my NV Surround array without the screens hanging over the sides, the desk will crowd out the space where my full tower now sits.

    I would like to find a case that trades vertical height for depth and width so I can set it on my desk, under my monitors (which are on a stand).

    I wonder how well it would cool a pair of GTX680s and a moderately overclocked 2600k? I know the TT Frio won't fit here but there are plenty of low profile coolers that would work - I'm just wondering how the overall case would fare trying to cool that kind of system.
    Reply
  • TrackSmart - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    I respect your decision to use the Micro-ATX testbed and understand why you did it. That being said, I'm among the party you mentioned who would rather have seen the ATX testbed, but with a different cooler.

    I think that would have been equally 'fair' (or equally unfair), since the case limits the cooling system options. We would get to see how it handles a high-powered system, despite being limited to 'lesser' cooling options. That's a more useful test, in my book, than the Micro-ATX version. Though it would be 'non-standard' for comparisons.

    You saw that critique coming from a mile away, so fair enough.
    Reply
  • fr500 - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    "note that while the GD07 can technically fit a full-size ATX case" on last page... I guess it´s a full-sized ATX motherboard

    Nice review
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    Fixed, thanks. Reply
  • CharonPDX - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    I like the idea of a door to hide bits, but what about HTPCs with drive-bay-mount IR receivers? I currently have a Cooler Master Elite 360 that I use as an HTPC case, and I have a 3.5"-bay-mount IR receiver for the HTPC remote. Yeah, the obnoxious insanely-bright blue LEDs in the chassis and Blu-ray drive are obnoxious, and I'd happily have a front cover that mutes them a little, but it should let the IR through for my remote.

    PS, In my CM Elite 360, I have a full ATX motherboard (Intel DP45SG,) with "Extreme" Core 2 Quad (QX6800 at 130 Watts) with reasonably tall cooler (Arctic Cooler Freezer 7 Pro,) and have had a Radeon 4850 then a 5770 in it. When it's time to upgrade, I'll almost certainly move to a more power-efficient setup, which ironically means I can probably go for a *LESS* "beefy" chassis than the one I have or this one.
    Reply
  • emueyes - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link


    How were the temperature measurements obtained for the IGP? I've found most 'boards won't even give a PCH temperature (exception, the Intel DH67DG) let alone the IGP temp.
    Reply
  • truprecht - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link

    I don't see this case offering much the Lian Li PC-33B or PC-C60B don't, other than 2 mostly useless vertical 5.25 bays and more difficult assembly with that huge take-out bay/drive cage thing. Aside from the anodized front panel, the construction looks much cheaper than Lian Li's.

    Also, a Zalman 9500AT cooler is 125mm high, not a low-profile "downdraft" model and, based on the HSF clearance specs, should fit in this case.
    Reply
  • dtolios - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    ...I do believe that you should re-define what's the goal of your case reviews...
    I - like many others it seams - find it too frustrating watching full towers being tested with mATX boards, and now huge "desktop" / HTPC cases being tested with mITX...I can see that it's hard for each reviewer to have a huge selection of components to play with, but in the long run that's what it should be...

    IMHO, I don't care if the X product produces a tiny better thermal performance than the Y product, when the latter offers in exchange unique features...

    What fits and how, is way more important than comparing decimals in oC readings a cookie standardized rig produces...

    In this case, this is not a "mITX" case...if I want such a mini enclosure, I won't buy this beast...period. I would have most likely an ATX board (not even M) and at least one GPU card...I believe trying and measuring and proving that this case is or is not among the few that can for example "do" a large GTX or 79xx card and an ATX board and up to Z sized CPU cooler, would be the primary goal - aka, who needs this case or what it has to offer ontop of a miTX one. Then compare it with others, if any, that can also to that "on-top" part...

    Or when you are bringing in full ATX towers clearly aimed for enthusiasts, and you don't even try to fit a large ATX mobo with at least 2x GPU configuration and a few HDDs, do you actually help the target market of this case or do you just satisfy your arbitrary "scientific" rules of repetition?

    Aiming purely on temps etc, is the goal of a cooler review, not that of a case.
    Otherwise is the equivalent of testing a supercar and judging it purely on mileage, disregarding many other tangible and ofc all the intangible benefits of such a "niche" machine. I understand that you have the best on intentions writing these, but so do I commenting on your work.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    "Aiming purely on temps etc, is the goal of a cooler review, not that of a case."
    I see you have a whole lot going with the "etc.", because all anandtech case reviews I read mention potential pitfalls concerning fitting various components in the assembly section quite clearly. And if you don't pay attention to the cooling system of your case, you will always get sub-optimal results concerning cooling and noise even if you get the best cooling equipment money can buy. Cases play a big role in cooling and noise production and reception.
    Reply
  • Chris Simmo - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    I have the GD-08. I run it as my Gaming HTPC and its great. I fitted a corsair H100 to it with an ASUS P8Z77-V/i5 3570K@4.4GHz, SSD, 3x2TB HD, HD7850, X-fi sound card and dual tuner. I replaced the Antec Fusion 430 case so I had room to have an ATX MB and extra HD's. I did a fair bit of research before picking this case and none others I could find could fit all this hardware.

    Can the reviewer tell me seriously why the f*** would you fit an ITX MB into this case?!!!!
    I am really glad Silverstone built a decent size case. They are hard to find (particularly with USB3 front panel). Thanks very much to Silverstone.
    Reply

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