|SilverStone SST-GD06B HTPC Chassis Enclosure|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Dan Ferguson|
|Wednesday, 11 January 2012|
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Closer Look: Exterior
I've often heard it said that big things come in small packages. From my experience that's very true of SilverStone's GD06. However, when it comes to packaging the reverse is really true. This rather small thing came in a big package. It was a heavy, well-protected box.
And it's heavy because the case is heavy, not because of the box or the packaging. And to me that's a good thing. The HTPC is not a computer you ever carry from place to place. It's not a gaming rig or a party machine; it usually sits on a shelf for years. But with all the stuff you can fit inside I suppose you could use it for any of those purposes. But more on that later. The point is that the case is solid; made of steel. It's very high quality.
I live in a house with kids, and I often worry about stuff I buy that is made cheaply, made of plastic. I've got a giant acrylic sheet on my TV to protect it from flying toys and rough children. So for a gadget that the kids will probably use frequently, I feel secure letting it sit in an accessible location. So this case can go down low where it's easy for everyone to reach. But having it in the open means it's gotta look nice. Well, the GD06 looks nice. With the aluminum door on the front it looks very nice. The door hides away the unseemly ports.
So as you may have noticed from the specs, the GD06 comes with three 120 mm fans. Two of them are input fans running on the right side, and the other is an input fan on the left side. All three fans are covered with large, steel mesh cut into the side of the case. On the right side of the case they consume almost the entire real-estate leaving little room for any other features or styling. While there are three fans included with the case, more can be installed.
The back of the GD06 has space above the motherboard I/O for two 80 mm fans. These are protected by the same large grating as the side fans. Chances are that most setups won't require these two fans since the three included fans do a decent job of flowing air through the case. Of course, if you have top-end parts and fill every available space in the case you'll generate lots of heat, and there will be less space for air to flow easily through the case. In that circumstance you may find the extra fan mounts very helpful.
With all three fans blowing in, the case is setup as a positive pressure case. I'm a big fan of this setup since it means higher pressure inside the case, and higher pressure means better heat transfer. Since all the fans focus on blowing air into the case it also means that the fans can run at lower RPMs to reduce the noise. The fans are arranged so the right-side dual fans pump air into the case along with the PSU fan if present. Any excess pressure buildup is relieved by gratings occupying a small section on the left side, one on the back, the empty PCI slots, and the empty fan mounts. The motherboard is positioned next to the two input fans so the CPU gets the coolest air.
The expansion slots, including video cards, are oriented almost exactly in the middle of the case. Looking at the top of the case there is a grating oriented exactly above the expansion slots. In fact, the grating is perfectly located as an input grating above the primary PCI-E slot. Depending on the amount of empty space for air to escape, this vent could serve as an input or an output.
Underneath the case there is one more vent with a filter for a PSU fan. If your PSU does not have a fan then the vent will be another place for air to escape. Based on my usage I found it best to use a PSU with a bottom intake since it kept the entire case cooler. The bottom view of the case also shows the large rubber pads used on all four feet. The back two feet are pure rubber while the front two feet are styled with brushed metal for a more appealing look from the front. To me this seems like a good compromise between cost and looks.