Bringing something more is clearly what Silverstone had in mind, clearly putting a lot of effort into making a very high quality HTPC case. But do the details support the initial impressions?
Silverstone uses a single bay design for the motherboard tray. It supports ATX and Micro ATX boards, and has enough space for full-sized ATX boards like the Gigabyte GA-EP 35C -DS3R. The case uses inlayed hex nuts for installing the standoffs. This involves quite some attention to detail, as they push the part all the way through and then round it off, much like a rivet but threaded in the center and hexagonal in shape as you look down upon it. This gives it great strength and provides a truly professional finish. These are only located at the normal ATX locations.
Silverstone has found that most high-end HTPC cases use full ATX boards and that is the reasoning behind this design. The cost and time to install more of the inlayed hex nuts to match every possible board would also increase cost and delay production. You should be able to install any motherboard as they will share enough common holes. You would then use plastic offsets to provide additional support if needed. Silverstone does not include these in the box, however, so they really are counting on you using a board that matches the standard ATX holes.
Silverstone has not created cooling zones by separating areas of the case: there are no partitions between the PSU and the motherboard, and no sectioning off of the HDDs beyond their cage. This means a smaller overall case size with all the devices sharing the heat generated. To cool this system there are two intake fans under the HDD cage and two exit fans above the I/O area of the board. These are 80 mm by 25 mm fans that run a up to 2050 RPM; they are noise rated at 21 dBA. While these fans are fairly quiet, they are very noticeable under load, so I would recommend swapping them out with speed adjustable fans and tuning the system to the lowest possible fan speed. This will help keep noise to a minimum and temperatures under control in your environment.
The Power Supply
This is a premium case and does not include a power supply unit (PSU), so there will be no evaluation of the power supply in this review. Even though the PSU is not evaluated, it might be useful to know that the system build used a 550 watt unit with a 120 mm fan, again to keep noise levels down.
The HDD Cage
There is a removable hard drive cage that allows the installation of six hard drives. The cage has integrated sound dampening, which seems to be part of the cage itself. Overall it is very well thought, out as it dampens from below the cage, in the cage, and even between the screws and the cage.
The two 80 mm fans pull air in right below the drives, which should provide ideal airflow for multiple drive configurations.
The HDD cage will hold 6 drives with some full sized video cards, such as the MSI 8800GT used here, however when an EVGA 8800GTS was installed, one of the HDD spots could not be used. If you are going with 6 hard drives, then you will need to make sure your video card will fit.
Silverstone pays attention to the details: the HDD cage above holds 6 drives even when a long video card is installed. It is a tight fit but it does fit without trouble. They also include a place to store the touch pen for the LCD display.
Silverstone includes a set of high quality rack brackets for mounting the unit in A/V racks or maybe even a data rack.