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  • Rolphus - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    I've just put my new gaming machine together using a TJ-08E (chosen largely because of your review), and I absolutely agree that they are tricky cases to put together - and this is coming from someone with an Antec P180.

    I had to substantially re-cable my machine 3 times during the build as I worked out the best places for everything to go.

    That said, I'm really, really pleased with my machine - the thermals are excellent, the case is reasonably light, and it's wonderfully compact and quiet.

    I think it's a real pity that they're only using 120mm fans in this more conventional case. The 180mm fan in the TJ-08 is key to its success.
    Reply
  • burntham77 - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    That is great to hear. I am planning to move my parts into a TJ-08E soon. I have been looking for a small case that doesn't sound like a vacuum cleaner, and that one seems to fit the bill. If I may, what CPU and GPU do you use? Reply
  • Rolphus - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - link

    Sure! for completeness: my setup is:

    Intel Core i5-2500K (at 4GHz, stock voltages with vDroop correction: I've not tried pushing it harder)
    EVGA Z68 Micro SLI
    MSI GeForce GTX580 Twin Frozr II - actually not recommended: the TJ08's manual suggests only getting GPUs that blow air "out" of the case (as in the reference design) rather than those that blow air in both directions.
    Pioneer BDR-206DBK Blu-ray Writer - this is just short enough to fit in the case with...
    Silverstone Tech. Strider Plus 850W PSU
    Antec Kúhler H2O 920 CPU cooler
    1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12
    64GB Crucial M4 (as a Smart Response Technology cache)

    The machine is very quiet even under heavy load (FurMark + Prime95 x 3), with the only real noise being the GPU fans.

    I had to work a little to get the Kuhler in place, and think carefully about the order I installed things, but everything fitted nicely with clean airflow.
    Reply
  • Risforrocket - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Thank you, Mr. Sklavos, for a nice review. I have been looking at this case.

    I have two remarks. I would like to see case reviews done with the case configured in a way a reasonably enthusiastic owner would configure the case. In this case, configured with the optional fans installed including the bottom fan and the SSD cage removed. I think that is reasonable especially as this case is not a low end case but rather a lower cost enthusiast case. Give the case it's best chance, within reason.

    My second remark is that you uncovered the weakness in this case, the cooling airflow. I think Silverstone should fix that but I suppose that won't happen. I don't think the use of screws is a negative at all whereas hard mounting the disk drives might be, well, *is* because that takes us back to a time when no one cared about noise or vibration. Lol, I know, I was there.

    That you need to remove the SSD cage in an attempt to fix the cooling airflow leads me to ask myself how would I fix this problem? I think the HDD cage and cooling fans are cool. Remove the SSD cage altogether and provide 2.5" mount options elsewhere, make the bottom cooling fan the main intake fan, make the top fans exhaust rather than intake. That's three intake, three exhaust and a reasonable airflow pattern.

    I actually think case design should begin with an airflow design. Well, I'm tired. Thanks again for a nice review.
    Reply
  • MilwaukeeMike - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    You're right about the case congifuration, but the case has to be setup in the same way that previous reviews were done or the comparison numbers won't be as meaningful. As soon as he makes some modification for a review the comments fill up with bias accusations, suggestions for improvement, and other differences of opinion. Reply
  • cjs150 - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    I love Silverstone cases and this is why:

    "it seems like nobody ever told their engineers something couldn't or shouldn't be done"

    Most case designers are lazy and nothing has really moved design forward for years (moving PSU from top to bottom is not a big jump forward!). Silverstone and Lian Li are the exceptions. Of course some of the designs do not work as well as originally thought but they are at least trying.

    This is a design that does not work as the airflow is not good enough.

    But please Silverstone keep trying
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    I don't know if you've paid attention to the Antec lineup, but they come up with an occasional new idea as well.

    I draw your attention specifically to the Skeleton and the Lanboy. These cases may not be what you find esthetically pleasing, but they are far from lazy, old designs.

    ;)
    Reply
  • cjs150 - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I had forgotten about the Skeleton - definitely designed by someone who had never been told what should be done!

    Not convinced by the lanboy - assume you mean the Airboy (or whatever the mesh heavy case is called), other than the mesh, it looked a standard case design but have to admit I have not re-read the reviews for a while as it was not suitable for me.

    Antec do very nice small HTPC designs though - again highly original
    Reply
  • r3loaded - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Silverstone are great because they innovate a lot in computer cases, an area that you'd otherwise think doesn't need or have much innovation. They certainly aren't afraid to try wacky things like the FT-03, just to see if it'll work. I own an FT-03 and while it's certainly not for everyone, you just have to admire the design and the quality of the finish.

    On the difficulty of assembling it, it's not difficult if you just follow the manual closely. This is certainly one area where it's best to drop the "real men don't need manuals" machismo and do exactly what it says. You'll get it right first time, and once it comes together, it comes together beautifully.
    Reply
  • Rick83 - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Having discovered how the power cable is supposed to be installed in an FT-03, and performing the procedure, I disagree.

    Had to take a knife to the plug, to force it through the aperture it was supposed to go through, and through which it didn't go when it was delivered. Only discovered that that routing was possible at all when I swapped fans.

    While I really like the case, and it fits my needs perfectly, there are some very rough edges that occasionally rear their ugly head.
    another example would be the installation of the 2.5" drive with the customary angled SATA cables. Almost impossible, as the cable routing hole in the mainboard is just a tiny bit too low for an angled plug stuck on the mainboard.
    Also, 12 screws to install a second 2.5" drive did seem somewhat excessive to me.

    And why oh why didn't they have the titanium gray version at launch :D
    Reply
  • cjs150 - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    This is the problem with Silverstone sometimes the execution of the idea has major flaws.

    I love my TJ07, perfect for watercooling but not all the screw holes are perfectly aligned and airflow is so bad it fried two sticks of RAM (non overclocked)
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    Why Silverstone is bad: interesting ideas that are poorly manufactured.

    I have one of their BTX cases (remember BTX, was supposed to be the new thing for all of like, a year? :D ). The BTX idea wasn't a problem, but they provided a cheap shroud to direct air flow over the CPU that 1) cracked very easily, and 2) wouldn't allow for even the stock CPU cooler I had at the time. Basically, if you didn't need the extra cooling for the CPU that the shroud made possible, you could use it, but if you did need it, you couldn't.

    The screwless mounts for expansion cards were cheap, too. The case has some (minor) corrosion issues on the inside. I have an ancient Antec that has no corrosion on it at all.

    No telling who actually made the PSU you get from them - it might be a good manufacturer, or it might be a mediocre one. Good thing about their PSUs is they tend to provide more connectors than others, but, again, manufacturing is another story.

    Silverstone is the reason I tell people don't buy PSUs by brand, buy one you read a good, independent review of. I had a bad experience with one of their PSUs and more importantly with the service I got when I sent it in to be checked out before I used it. I read reviews of the thing after I bought it - and was shocked to find out that my favorite PSU company at the time produced such a mediocre product, and that the problem I had was discussed in reviews many months before I bought the one I did. Basically, they knew about it and didn't bother to fix it.

    I liked them when they were first getting known, now, not so much. It's a shame, to me, because I do like companies that innovate. I can't really say they make bad products, and I might cut them some slack if I hadn't had a bad service experience on top of everything else, but I can't recommend them or remain silent when someone else does.
    Reply
  • Risforrocket - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    Take a good look at the FT02 and the TJ10 and the TJ11. TJ11 is too expensive but if they made one with the same design (exactly) but did it for, say 300 or 350USD it would be perhaps the best case of all time.

    I have the FT02. It has two issues that I am aware of: It has only 5 3 1/2 drive bays and the 5 1/4 bay devices can't extend back behind the bays much at all, not enough room. These are limitations imposed by the dimensions of the case.

    Silverstone is capable of producing a very nice case. You have to study it though before you buy. So true of so many things, alas.

    I have also had a very good customer support experience with them.
    Reply
  • zlandar - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    After my latest build with a Corsair 500R I'm not going back to cases with screws everywhere.

    Is it really too much to ask for nice amenities where the side panels are fitted with thumbscrews that are designed so they don't fall off when you unscrew the panel?

    Drive bays that you can secure into place without screws?

    Premounted screws for the motherboard for ATX boards?

    Fan controller?
    Reply
  • Gigantopithecus - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Try shipping a case that doesn't use screws to secure the hard drives. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    I've had one case with toolless installation (an NZXT with 4 120mm fans in the side, forgot the name) and really don't like it. I don't switch peripherals often enough (every few months at most) and like the stability and standard of having screws. Having toolless stuff means a potential issue with non-standard use cases (5.25"/3.5" adapters) and can lead to less than optimal noise and security performances. On the plus side, it might save you a few minutes when setting everything up. For me, that's a no brainer in favor of screws! :D Reply
  • Impulses - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I think case reviewers place too much emphasis on tool-less designs... I can't blame them, I'd go nutty reviewing even half a dozen cases a year if they all used screws everywhere (and I'm pretty sure Dustin is going thru double or triple that amount of cases/year right now)...

    Realistically though, unless you're pretty hardcore I don't see most enthusiasts doing more than one or two hardware upgrades a year, if that. GPUs are the one thing I upgrade the most often, followed by drives, and those are generally easy swaps even with screws.

    If I was upgrading mobos every year I'm not sure I'd even bother with an ATX case, I'd probably just use some sort of closet-bound rack...
    Reply
  • Robalov - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    I don't believe this case should have reached the market in this form, and deserves another iteration of design. From the review, it looks all the changes made to the standard layout are uneccessary and return low/little benefit.

    It's too expensive to boot. Since I am not a 'fan' of silverstone, I would never consider buying this.

    The TJ08 however would be 1st choise for that form factor, and will certainly (barring something better) be in my next project.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    This case is ATX while the TJ08(-E) are mATX. So different form factor. :-) But awesome case! Reply
  • Iketh - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    too many fans!! Reply
  • ckryan - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    And this is pretty strange. My guess is the team at Silverstone must be a pretty unusual lot. Reply
  • earthrace57 - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    Personally, I think case companies such as Li-Lian or SilverStone should stop trying to innovate in the case design; the S design is pretty well proven. Instead, they should innovate in HOW they cool it, for example, take Alienware's "active cooling" to the next level. First, add those fin things alienware did, and, instead of just having them flip up and down uselessly, have a fan connected, so when they flip up, the fan starts up...little things like that that will help idle noise while not hurting performance under load Reply
  • Impulses - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    That kind of solution requires far more money and engineering for questionable results imo... And the S design just sucks. It may be fine for 90% of systems out there, but it's far from optimal for any enthusiast or gamer running one or more high end GPUs (each one generating more heat than an old Pentium 4). You could argue that's a GPU issue but until that market slows down we're far better off with some innovative case designs. Reply
  • Impulses - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    Obviously this case is a miss on the GPU-cooling front... At least with the stock config, but I was speaking in general above (and with some of ST's other designs in mind). Frankly I appreciate these reviews for the usual in-depth scope most AT reviews have, but I think the performance metrics are rather worthless, specially as a way of comparison against other cases.

    I understand why it's done like this, and frankly I can't think of a fairer way of doing it... But I also can't picture any enthusiast worth his salt not making any changes whosoever to the stock cooling of a case in a DIY build, specially when we're talking $150-300 cases.

    Sometimes the smallest changes can make a huge difference, it just seems equally unfair to write off some enclosures because they lacked an extra $15 fan. Different mentality I guess... I certainly don't follow the same logic when say, buying a car, even tho I know people who would.
    Reply
  • earthrace57 - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    The S design hits the hard drives, CPU, RAM, and Chipset, only the GPU's are left to fry, but even then, in most cases (pun not intended) there is a side fan, which hits the GPU directly, so, just add a 10 dollar fan into one of those slots and the S design is all the sudden made quite a bit better. Also, I might just like to point out, to release a fully functioning case (as in not this), extensive tests have to be done, revise, test, revise ect. In this situation, even though the upfront costs are higher, you can get a product that works into the market quicker, without the extra cost and time that it takes to test and then revise a product. (And yes, this fan control would have to be revised, but it wouldn't take nearly the same amount of time as revising a case IMHO) Reply

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