AZZA Silentium Case Review: Knowing the Limitsby Dustin Sklavos on January 29, 2013 12:01 AM EST
Assembling the AZZA Silentium
The nice thing about assembling standard sized cases is that I don't scratch myself up or have to work my dainty hands into weird corners; they typically come together easily and they're usually not too heavy to move. AZZA did put some thought into making assembly fairly easy, so users looking for a simpler build will probably find a lot to like in the Silentium.
Ignoring my griping about removing and replacing the side panels, I appreciate that the motherboard tray essentially comes ready for an ATX board to be installed. Snapping in the I/O shield is easy enough, and even for our testbed's Micro-ATX board, there wasn't too much effort involved.
Installing 2.5", 3.5", and optical drives is varying degrees of fraught. The trays themselves are fairly sturdy and designed to bottom-mount SSDs as is typical of modern designs. That said, I'm not convinced the side-mount pegs are particularly secure. The twist-clamps used to lock the 5.25" drives into place are also only used on one side as is typical (but not wise.) These don't feel very secure either, but thankfully the button in the front door lines up pretty perfectly with the eject button on our test optical drive. The power supply and video card went in easily enough, though, nothing really to report there.
Where things get hairy is in the cabling. Barring the waste of headers, there are no places to route the exhaust fan lead (which is molex and not 3-pin) or the AUX 12V line. Both of these cables wind up having to stretch across the motherboard to the routing hole behind the 5.25" drive bays, and it's an absolutely silly omission. Space behind the motherboard tray is also a bit minimal, though the extruded side panel does help pick up a lot of slack. For what it's worth, outside of the issues inherent to notched side panels, the Silentium was surprisingly easy to close up.
AZZA makes some good decisions with the interior of the Silentium, but it's really obvious there's room for improvement here. There needs to be a way to route the exhaust fan and AUX 12V lines behind the motherboard tray, and as I mentioned on the previous page, AZZA could probably safely do away with most of the external 5.25" drive bays. This is the kind of bold step only Fractal Design and SilverStone have really been taking lately, but it needs to catch on. I have three bays in the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 I'm using for my desktop, and I use two, only one of which I even need. Realistically, USB enclosures and peripherals have largely nullified the need for 5.25" bays.