In and Around the SilverStone GD07

Where I think SilverStone made a major improvement for the better is in ease of assembly and disassembly with the GD07, and that much should be evident when you really examine the enclosure. The GD04 was and is an attractive piece of kit, but servicing it can be an absolute nightmare.

The GD07 maintains the same attractive steel and aluminum finish its predecessors have; the brushed aluminum front door is as minimalistic as it gets, with just a SilverStone logo, the keyhole, and a power button. Unlock it and you'll find that the hinges are both smooth and sturdy, but the inside surface is a matte black plastic. It matches the drive bay shields, but feels unusually cheap for a SilverStone case. Thankfully the interior face should spend most of its life hidden behind the door.

On the sides you'll see three vents; on the left is the vent for the power supply's fan while the right features two 120mm vents, one of which is occupied by a 120mm intake fan by default. SilverStone actually spent a lot of time figuring out exactly the right pattern for the fan grates to minimize air turbulence and keep things quiet; I had a chance to see several of the different designs they tested along with the results, and you'd be amazed at just how much work really went into something like this. Of course, behind both vents is a fan filter.

Move around to the back and you'll see a fairly logical layout that's essentially what you'd expect: the motherboard is oriented to the bottom of the enclosure and aligned to the left, while the power supply is mounted on its side on the right, with the bottom intake fan being served by a vent on the right side of the enclosure. SilverStone also includes an eighth expansion slot above the primary seven. Space is essentially maximized here, though; I don't think they really could've made this case any smaller and still allowed for a full ATX system.

Opening the enclosure, you'll find things are a lot simpler inside. There's a removable drive cage secured by six screws along with a pair of handles for lifting it out of the enclosure, and then beneath the cage are two bottom-mounted 120mm intake fans. This is much, much simpler than the GD04's layout was, but that's a side benefit of the increased size of the case: more space to work in.

I'm used to SilverStone enclosures being puzzles where once you understand the logic of how they were designed, everything locks into place. Indeed, even the GD07 comes with a piece of paper telling you it isn't like a typical enclosure and strongly urging you to read the manual. The funny thing is, this really is one of the simpler designs I've seen from SilverStone. Overall it's a nice and attractive design, but I do have some qualms with the build quality, which does feel a hair chintzier than some of the other SilverStone cases I've tested.

Introducing the SilverStone GD07 Assembling the SilverStone GD07
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  • randinspace - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    Dustin, I enjoyed the review, and in particular think you absolutely hit the nail on the head with your conclusion that the system has a lot of potential. I'm left wondering if it has a bit too much potential in place of realized excellence since I would personally have appreciated better cabling options, a fan controller that actually worked, and a straight out dedicated hot swap bay, but the headroom (and accompanying theoretical lack of expense from such inclusions) must only make it more attractive to boutiques like the very Puget Systems mentioned in passing for providing the i3 used in the review.

    I bring them up mostly since I recall reading a case evaluation they did last year, though unfortunately not the case, in which they mentioned that because of some of the design choices that were made in order to make it "toolless" they didn't trust it to survive shipping with a fully installed system in it. I personally find Puget to be a little too conservative in various ways, but considering that and their willingness to make their own modifications to cases I can at least imagine how a toolless version of the GD07 with grilles on the fans might be an unappealing prospect to an outfit like them. Then again it's not like they actually have a product line the GD07 seems to beg inclusion in (yet?).

    As to the "controversy" you alluded to at the start, I don't expressly have a problem with the fact that you used the mini-ITX testbed instead of the (micro) ATX one with a different cooler. However, with the present lack of apples to apples comparisons in the charts, I think the review would have been better served with additional anecdotal comparisons, or even testing out additional fan configurations like some people have been clamoring for. Pulling the fans and maybe even a drive or two out of your own GD05 and then taking the noise and thermal readings again (or even doing noise readings on your GD05 as it usually runs for the aforementioned anecdotal comparison) for instance would have been absolutely brilliant. Then again if you give in to a dog begging for food from the table even once...
  • Hulk - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    17" depth is simply too much for most entertainment centers once you figure in stiff HDMI cables. I'm using the GD04 which Anandtech rightly criticized for the loud fans. All you have to do is reconfigure the power leads to the fans so they are running off the 5V rail and voila, it's quiet. Takes about 1 minute and costs nothing. And the cooling of the three 120's is fine for a low power HTPC. In fact I'm running mine that way with a C2D at 3.0GHz no problem with the stock cpu cooler.
  • PhoenixEnigma - Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - link

    Agreed on the depth - my GD04 is about as deep as I'd want a media center case to be. 17" is ridiculous, IMO. It's at the point I'd be setting it on its side (tower case style) beside everything else, which sort of defeats the point.

    One tip - you can get around the HDMI cable (and most other cables, for that matter) issue with angled connectors, or possibly Redmere cables.
  • zlandar - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    I have a Grandia GD06. Not sure what the point is of making a case large enough to support ATX boards. As the reviewer pointed out, a major problem with this case style is the lack of height to support a tower-type cooler. There is a 18mm of additional height compared to the GD06 I have, but most tower coolers require 150mm+ which this case is short by 12mm. You can go with a low-profile cooler like a Gemini 2 but the performance will never match a cheap tower like a Hyper 212+.

    Depending on your HTPC usage you can use a stock cooler and be happy. I use my HTPC for commercial skipping (DVRMStoolbox and showanalyzer) and for transcoding to my iPad (Airvideo) which will take as much cpu as you have. My i3-550 runs fine with a slight overclock to 3.6GHz.

    Would also prefer these type of cases come with a fan controller.
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - link

    I had not problem with my Silverstone LC10B-E. It could fit a tower CPU heatsink just fine and was pretty quiet. You seem to think there are really only about 3 options, which is ludicrous. Tons of CPU heatsinks of various designs fit in those ATX desktop cases quite easily and can cool even overclocked quad cores. My i3 530 ran with the aforementioned tower cooler (cheap Arctic Cooling 64 or something) at 4.5GHz. When I used a Lian Li Cube (V351-B) I had a Noctua NH-C12P, which is just under 12cm with the standard fan (you could always use slims) ,I had my i7 860 running at 3.5GHz just fine. :-)
    So don't be so narrow minded. Lots of options to choose from in every height and cooling segment. :D
  • mcnabney - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    The purpose of this box is to hold an ATX-sized board which provides the extended number of slots and drive connectors to completely populate the case as a home/media server. It has made some mistakes along the way.

    1. It should have been built 'up' instead of 'out'. It is just too deep. I had to modify my entertainment center for a similar design four years ago. You would have thought that the engineers would have corrected that issue by now.
    2. By being too thin you noticed that it wouldn't hold many CPU coolers. This also eliminates the ability to silently cool a CPU - a colossal mistake. Living room PCs shouldn't be making noise.... at all. Small HTPC cases can do it, why not a larger one which should have more options.
    3. The drive cage design is stupid. If they are going to provide groups of 5.25" drives they should put them in groups of 3 and also include 3to5 adapters to allow their use in holding 3.5" drives.
    4. The best design for the cage would include a thin area across the top that is designed to hold the two 2.5" SSDs AND a slim DVD/BD drive. This would allow the rest of the space to be dedicated 3.5" drive space for storage.
    5. There may be ventilation issues for the hard disks. Have you tried filling the case completely with drives (and put them in an array so that activity spins them all) and checking the drive temps? The board looks adequately cooled, but the drive cage looks like a pit of dead air.
  • mmsmsy - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    I don't know how PC enclosures could stay pretty much the same for so long when they can be totally reinvented to be less noisy, have less wasted space, be much better ventilated and be much, much, much cheaper. This is getting frustrating since I can't buy literally anything neither to my PC nor a PC to the living room that wouldn't be a complete waste of money, because every single one of them is basically the same and begs to improve it's design. There's only so much to do about it as to build one myself... if I had any skills in bending and cutting metal. Ridiculous...
  • xpeacemaker - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the review -- I was excited to see a review of this Silverstone's latest product. I own a GD04 and love the look and quality of it. My biggest gripe for the case is that it's obviously cramped and a nightmare to do maintenance on.

    As time went on, my need for hard drive space has increased in priority, yet physical room inside the case is not available (GD04). In addition, I have a sound card that I would love to add to take over the primary responsibilities of sound output, but I can't because with a 5770 in there, there just isn't any room for it.

    I would love to see how this case stacks up compared to the GD04 in detail (since this is a newer model). I am most curious to know, what can I fit in here more comfortably that I couldn't do before? How much hardware can I actually stuff in here without modifying the case? How many hard drives were you able to actually install and wire up completely?

    I would have liked to see what you meant by the clearance issues you encountered with the 2.5" drive install.

    Sorry for the critical feedback. All that being said, I do appreciate your review.
  • Stabgotham - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    Yes, please answer all of these questions. These are the exact questions coming to my mind as well. I'm in the market for an HTPC case, but I really need it to store the physical hard drives (5 x 3.5" HDD's).

    I'd also really like to see some future reviews of some of the Lian-Li HTPC cases as comparison.
  • zlandar - Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - link

    I keep my hard drives in a separate Sans Digital enclosure. I use four 2TB drives in a RAID 5 connected to my HTPC through eSATA.

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