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Detailed Interior FeaturesInterior features make all the difference when it comes to a build. Most of the cases we review here at Benchmark Reviews deal with the ease of the initial build, swapping out parts, and features for making it go quickly and convenient. HTPC cases are a different beast since the demands on space and shape are so high. But is it impossible to squeeze things and still have an easy build? Well, considering what SilverStone has managed to fit inside the GD06 I can't complain too much.
Most of the features revolve around the hot-swap assembly. The assembly itself holds two 3.5" hard drives easy to access from the front. But to get to the rest of the drives you have to remove the assembly with four screws of two different styles. The hot-swap drives have a SATA cable and four-pin Molex connector coming from each drive. While I find the combination unusual it shouldn't cause too much of a problem with current PSU designs. The tail-end of the assembly sits above the PSU and can serve multiple purposes. There are four grommet-lined holes on which a 3.5" or 2.5" hard drive can be mounted (shown later). This space is also shared with the fifth PCI slot in one is installed. As long as the expansion card is small then a small 2.5" drive could be installed simultaneously.
With the hard drive assembly removed the PSU and motherboard can easily be dropped in place. In the picture above you can see the rat's-nest of cables coming from the back of the PSU. SilverStone left space bounded by the hot-swap bays, the left fan and the PSU open so that there would be at least some area to hide away extra cable lengths. There is also significant room between the front panel and the motherboard for tying down more. To make this job easier the GD06 has many anchor points for tie-downs.
With the motherboard and PSU installed we can put the hard drive assembly back in place. But before doing so, now is the time to attach any extra hard drives. The picture above shows a 3.5" drive mounted in the designated area and supported by a rubber bracket on one side. Also, a 2.5" drive can be stealthily tucked away above the hot-swap bays. It's easiest to mount by sticking it through the front of the top bay and screw it on. So if you're counting, that's four hard drives installed so far.
It really doesn't matter when the expansion cards are installed, but it's easiest to do while the case is completely disassembled. As shown above you still have room to install cards once the hard drive assembly and support brace are installed, but the PCB on the GPU actually rests under the brace. I should mention at some point that there seem to be some things missing from the package I received from SilverStone. The manual talks about extra PSU support feet that can be used to support the fifth PCI card, USB 2.0 header, and the previously mentioned fan power connector. Not sure if this is the new standard or just an oversight.
At this point you'll want to finish running, connecting and tying down cables for a clean, finished look before installing the ODD. The ODD tray also requires screw assembly. This is also where SilverStone hid the last HDD mount. Before installing the ODD just slap a hard drive on the bottom side. Screw in the ODD then four more screws to attach the ODD tray back to the frame.
As you can see in the image above, a standard 5.25" external ODD hangs over the CPU when installed. This makes it impossible to install any kind of standard CPU cooler. The distance from the CPU to the ODD is 70 mm and the distance to the top of the case is 120 mm. If you need the extra cooling you'll want to buy either a low-profile CPU cooler or a shorter DVD drive. SilverStone, of course, sells both. Last thing to note from the above picture is the available space for expansion cards. You can fit a video card up to 11" in the GD06.
Building the GD06 wasn't convenient or fast, but everything fit, it looked nice, and there was room to spare. Given my experiences with other HTPC builds I'd have to say it was better than par.