SilverStone CW03: Appearance, Fit And Finish, And User Experience
Appearance, Fit, and Finish
The CW03 is a tall HTPC case, and is over an inch taller than the Thermaltake DH102, in fact. This gives it a more substantial appearance compared to its competitors. Other than this, it simply looks elegant and classy both in brushed metal or black metal. The sample SilverStone sent us was brushed aluminum and definitely looked like it belonged in a high-quality home theater.
As we already mentioned, fit and finish is what SilverStone is all about and the CW03 doesn’t disappoint. The case offers extremely high-quality construction with features including a flush-mounted thick aluminum cover, flush-mounted nuts instead of steel-tapped holes for screws, steel-reinforced ribbing for structural stability, and sound-dampening materials around the hard drive cage.
The SilverStone CW03 offers enough space to make component installation fairly simple. One interesting limitation is that the case includes motherboard standoff locations only for standard ATX motherboards. Users with motherboards that have different standoff location holes are expected to use the holes they can and put plastic standoff spacers in the incompatible locations. This is likely because the threaded holes are actually nuts embedded in the case metal, and it would be much more difficult to add multiple sizing options.
The only real frustration is adapting your optical drive’s eject button to work with the universal one in the case. While SilverStone does provide adhesive pads to extend the button to fit, in our experience these pads fell off. We were able to make things work with a little ingenuity and an old adhesive case badge we had lying around, but it’s a notable irritation.
Otherwise, the SilverStone CW03 is a great case with which to work. If build quality, external and internal drive space, and a rack-mount option are high on your list of priorities, the CW03 is the perfect choice for you. Because of the structural rigidity, it is also the case you might choose if you want to put other home-theater components on top of it. However, if budget is more of a concern, you would be well served with the Moneual 972 or the Thermaltake DH102.