After releasing some interesting small form factor cases for home theater PCs (HTPCs) under their Sugo series, SilverStone is releasing a “big” HTPC case under their Grandia series, called GD04. Featuring an aluminum front panel and available in black or silver, let’s see if this case is a good buy for users willing to build a media center.
The overall size and appearance from GD04 makes it to look like a home theater receiver, thus perfectly matching your home theater equipment.
The front panel is made of aluminum and there is only one 5.25” external bay for you to install an optical drive. In Figure 3, you can see that this bay comes completely opened, but the case comes with an aluminum bezel for you to install on your optical drive, making the case to look “perfect” when an optical drive is installed and has its lid closed. The power and reset buttons got also a nice aluminum finishing. GD04 also has two USB ports (installed far away from each other and thus allowing you to install two “fat” USB devices at the same time) and the traditional audio jacks.
[nextpage title=”Introduction (Cont’d)”]
Ventilation was clearly one of the main concerns when designing GD04, and it uses a “positive pressure” design, meaning that more forced air enters the case than exits it (i.e., more fans pushing air inside the case than more fans pulling air out of it). This case comes with one 120 mm fan on its left panel (which can be replaced by an 80 mm model), two 120 mm fans on its right panel, a mesh on top where expansion cards are installed and also a small mesh on the left panel. All fans come with a small three-pin power connector, so you can install them on your motherboard, allowing you to monitor their speed through your favorite monitoring program (the case comes with an adapter to allow the fans to be installed directly on the power supply). They feature a dust filter, installed on the side that is facing the interior of the case. They rotate at 1,200 rpm, producing a nominal 20 dBA noise level.
On GD04 the power supply must be installed with its fan facing down and the case comes with a mesh matching this fan with a dust filter that is accessible from outside the case on its bottom panel. However, you need to unscrew this filter whenever you want to clean it. In Figure 6 you can also see how the front stands match those used on audio equipment.
Finally in Figure 7 we have the rear panel from GD04. The power supply goes on the right and the motherboard on the left. There are only four expansion slots and thus GD04 only supports microATX motherboards. Above the place where the motherboard is installed there is a mesh where you can install up to two 80 mm fans and above the place where the power supply is installed there is a slot for ventilation. All slot covers are meshed, which is great to improve airflow.
[nextpage title=”Inside Grandia GD04″]
To open GD04 you need to remove its top panel, which is fastened to the chassis using three regular screws. The rear panel and the interior from GD04 are not painted black and it would be nice if the manufacturer had painted these parts. On Figures 8 and 9 you have an overall look at the inside the reviewed case (Figure 9 was taken with the hard disk drive bays removed for a better view).
This case supports video cards up to 11” (28 cm) long. If an optical drive is installed, the CPU cooler must have a maximum height of 2 ¾” (7 cm). If an optical drive isn’t used, this limit increases to 4 ¾” (12 cm) by removing the 5.25” bay. SilverStone GD04 supports power supplies up to 7 1/8” (180 mm) long.
Daughter cards must be fastened to the case using regular screws.
The reviewed case has some clips on its bottom panel to fasten and route wires and the case comes with five reusable plastic cable holders that can be attached to these clips to hold and organize the cables coming from the power supply.[nextpage title=”The Disk Drive Bays”]
This case has one external 5.25” bay for optical drives, coming with an aluminum bezel for the drive tray in order to hide the optical drive, as already explained. As for hard drive bays, GD04 uses a unique configuration. It has one fixed 3.5” bay and one fixed 2.5” bay, but the third bay (the one near the rear panel) is reversible and can be used by one 3.5” drive or by one 2.5” drive. Hard disk drives are fastened to the case using rubber rings to absorb the vibration produced by the drive and thus reducing noise level.
The reversible bay comes with a rubber flap attached to it. This flap was added to make sure that hot air follows the path the manufacturer intended it to follow.
In Figure 13, you can see all accessories that come with this case.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
SilverStone Grandia GD04 case main specs include:
- Style: Desktop
- Application: microATX.
- Material: Zinc-coated steel (SECC) with aluminum front panel.
- Power supply required: Doesn’t come with the product.
- Available colors: Black and silver.
- Side panel: Small mesh and fans.
- Dimensions: 17 3/8” x 5 7/8” x 12 ¾” (44 cm x 15 cm x 32.3 cm) (W x H x D)
- Net Weight: 12 lbs (5.4 Kg)
- Gross Weight: 16 lbs (7.4 Kg)
- Bays: One 5.25” external bay, one 3.5” internal bay, one 2.5” internal bay and one 3.5”/2.5” reversible bay.
- Expansion slots: Four
- Fans: One 120 mm on the left panel and two 120 mm on the right panel (1,200 rpm, 20 dBA).
- Optional fans: Two 80 mm on the rear panel.
- More Information: https://www.silverstonetek.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 100.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]
SilverStone Grandia GD04 is a case targeted to users that want to build a media center with a case with the same size of home theater receivers. Here is a summary of what we found about this product.
- Matches the size and style of home theater receivers.
- Aluminum front panel gives it a more professional looks.
- Aluminum bezel to hide the optical drive.
- 2.5” hard disk drive bays.
- Comes with three 120 mm fans.
- The fans come with dust filters.
- Dust filter for the power supply fan accessible from outside the case.
- Meshed slot covers.
- Anti-vibration mechanisms for the hard disk drives.
- The two USB ports are far away from each other, allowing you to install two “fat” USB devices at the same time.
- Could have its rear panel and interior painted.
- Could have come with thumbscrews.
- No screwless mechanisms for holding daughterboards or hard disk drives.
- No eSATA port.
Grandia GD04 is a terrific option for the user that wants to build a home theater PC (HTPC) with the same size of a home theater receiver.