HTPC Cases With LCD Screens: Bringing Bling

SilverStone CW03: Specifications, Bundle, And Unique Features


SilverStone’s CW03 is the most expensive touch-screen LCD case in this roundup, thanks largely to its sturdy, high-end workmanship. However, for the price, we would have expected I/O options–like what the Moneual 972 offers, such as front panel USB, FireWire, audio, and media card slots. The CW03 has no such options, and the lack of USB connectivity in the front of the case is particularly notable.

While the CW03 might not come with many options, it has the most impressive expandability in the roundup, with three external 5 ¼” drive bays and six internal 3 ½” drive bays. It is notable that one of the front 5 ¼" bays comes with an external 3 ½" adapter plate. A multimedia card reader could be mounted to add USB and FireWire connectivity to the unit. Two of the external drives are accessible behind a door to preserve the look and finish of the case, which is unique to the CW03.

The CW03 sports the most fans in the roundup, with four 80 mm fans, two of which are under the hard drive cage to intake air from the bottom of the case and two at the rear of the case to expel hot air. This airflow comes at a bit of a price, as the SilverStone CW03 is a tad louder than its competitors.


The SilverStone CW03’s bundle includes pin-to-molex adapters for the fans, screws, a manual, software installation CDs, a touch pen, and the iMon remote and batteries. Unique to the SilverStone are vibration dampening pads and hardware to attach the CW03 to an A/V rack mount if the user desires. 

Unique Features

SilverStone has built a reputation on manufacturing very high-quality and well-finished cases and the CW03 is no exception. It is the heaviest case in this roundup by a full pound due to the very sturdy aluminum with steel-reinforced ribbing construction.

It is also the only case in our roundup that comes with hardware to rack-mount the case for an enthusiast’s home-theater setup and that allows for more than one 5 ¼” external drive (three to be precise).

The CW03 is also differentiated with the only touch screen in this roundup capable of displaying a 1080p (1920x1080) signal. Of course, the native resolution of the CW03’s screen is 800x480, exactly the same as its competitors. However, the Moneual 972 and Thermaltake DH03 can only display signals with a resolution up to 1024x768.

In our experience, there wasn't a good reason to run the screens at any resolution except 800x600. Anything higher would simply be interpolated down to 800x480 anyway, so while the Silverstone CW03 sports a nifty 1080p check-box, the feature is not really that noteworthy after all. Indeed, all of the cases' screens are bright and responded well to user inputs.

  • Hamsterabed
    Nice Review, I agree with your take on cost but if i had the funds i would defiantly get one of these cases for an HTPC. the Moneual looks like the one I would get. This review was nice and balanced and took into all the different factors affecting the cases. noting that the screens were very similar and that the remotes were identical was something I was very happy to see as well as using the fan less psu as another control. A note of how the VGA cables get to the out side from the touch screen would have been a nice note but the pictures demonstrated it accurately showing that they have a pass through to the back video card area.

    A+ review in my book
  • cruiseoveride
    ... and we're supposed to put these "hub caps" on my car?

    Seriously, this looks so cheap. Who is going to put it on a rack with $20k worth of audio/video equipment.
  • average joe
    I like the rack mounting feature of the Silverstone. But I like the other case better. I think a rack would fit my sparse industrial theme.
    I have a fairly small space. Lots of Ikea furniture.
  • DiscoDuck
    The touchscreen to me seems a bit of a waste. I prefer to use a standard computer monitor and a HDTV connected to a video card setup in a way that creates a workstation in the front wall of my hometheater with a slide out shelf for keyboard mouse. That way it can be a workstation/gaming machine from chair and HTPC from armchair via remote. I use mce2005.
  • JeanLuc
    Why would you want an expensive touch screen interface on HTPC? The whole point of having a HTPC is use can operate it remotely from your sofa. I would also like to have seen what motherboards these cases can support whether it be a micro ATX or full ATX motherboards.
  • cleeve
    Yeah, I have to agree with you fellows and I tried to get that across in the review; any productive use for these screens is a bit of a stretch. The only thing I could come up with is using the frontview media player to access music if you didn't want to power up your screen; I have a projector with a limited bulb life and I don't want to turn it on to listen to my music library.

    But thanks for reading it anyway, I hope the info was useful to you guys.

    And thanks for the kind words, Hamsterabed!
  • cleeve
    JeanLucI would also like to have seen what motherboards these cases can support whether it be a micro ATX or full ATX motherboards.
    I mentioned on the first page "All three offer full ATX compatibility", that includes MicroATX.
  • I have been waiting a long while for an updated HTPC review. I was hoping to see what kind of components you gurus would use, but this case review was very helpful to me too (been thinking about using an AMD GPU with the HDMI, but was interested in seeing some overall system power requirements of running an HTPC. Don't want a huge jump in electric bills). I was mostly considering building an HTPC for my dad. He's old, and likes to listen to music. He streams internet radio, but sits in the uncomfortable computer chair. With one of these cases he could easily select music AND be able to play a movie using the same box, without a learning curve that would frustrate him. Thanks for the write-up, I hope you can do another one soon!
  • neodawg
    nice review, I have the DH101 which is the same - the 7in touch LCD, but it does have the remote and small 2x5 in blue black lcd, that displays computer/media information, i didnt find that the case was flimsy at all, maybe a little without the cover, but once the cover is on it is like a rock. I have to agree with you on the touch LCD, another good idea on paper, but in real world it is an epic fail.
  • cadder
    I've thought about this issue in the past and there are times when I might want to use the small screen and not power up the big screen-
    1) to set the PC to record something, say I get up in the morning and remember I wanted to record a certain broadcast, I can do that from the small screen
    2) to take a quick look at the weather maybe
    Actually I've thought about this with respect to just having a large screen and a small screen beside it, sort of the next step beyond "picture in picture". So maybe the touch screen aspect isn't useful but the screen itself might be useful, and if a person didn't want to use the touchscreen in the front of the case, they could use a small monitor or tv setting with the equipment. Some people might want the HTPC to set in the furniture along with the BluRay player and TV tuner, but others might have a more extensive setup with a place to sit and work, video games, multiple screens, etc.