SilverStone Temjin TJ04-E Evolution Case

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AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The first SilverStone "Evolution" case we reviewed, the Temjin TJ08-E, impressed us with its modular design and clever use of space that didn't compromise its cooling proficiency. We were hoping the Temjin TJ04-E would bring more of the same to the ATX space but this isn't the case. The TJ04-E's design is fairly pedestrian, with most of the "improvements" focused on hard drive cooling. It's not necessarily a bad thing to concentrate on one aspect of case design but keeping drives cool isn't a particularly hard thing to do — generally they only need a little bit of airflow blowing over them to be kept happy.

SilverStone bought into this idea heavily and went in the odd direction of screwing heatsinks directly on to the hard drives, designing the case to work around this notion. To maximize the heatsinks' effectiveness, they had to be mounted to the sides of the drives, so a big portion out of the hard drive cage was left out, leading to reduced sturdiness and increased susceptability to vibration.

To optimize HDD cooling, the intake fan placements were placed on the side, rather than the front, a decision which seems to have resulted in a lack of direct intake airflow to the rest of the system and subpar cooling. The HDD heatsink prevents individual drives from being easily removed, a big no-no if the case is to be utilized as a file server, the one application for which the TJ04-E might have been well-suited.

Externally, the Temjin TJ04-E is attractive, but for US$150 we expect more, particularly if it doesn't run cooler or quieter than the competition. Much of the cost seemed to be in the thick aluminum front bezel, the hard drive heatsinks and the included daisy-chain SATA power cables. With no other extras, there aren't any compelling reasons to purchase it over the likes of the SilverStone Raven RV03, Antec P280, or Corsair Obsidian 550D. These are more balanced designs, delivering superior performance, yet slightly more affordable. Oh, well, you can't win them all.

SILVERSTONE'S COMMENT: THE FUTURE IS SMALLER

8 Aug 2012: Silverstone's Tony Ou clarifies the design goals that drove the TJ04-E

I like to give you some additional information about the TJ04-E and KL04 (same internals, but more affordable version of TJ04-E) because as more reviews are starting to come out, I am seeing very polarized opinions on them. I noticed those that dismiss the cases as just another ordinary tower with nothing special (when at first glance compared to our other recent efforts such as RAVEN & Fortress). Those that liked the cases usually got the chance to meet me in person during CES where I was able to explain in detail why we designed the cases the way we did. So please bear with me as I try to convey those conversations below!

Somewhat similar to what you wanted to promote when you started a few years ago with the Eco computing focused website, we believe there is a need to reduce the size of enthusiast casse and PSUs. Many of us in the industry have been so caught up in trying to add features such as better efficiency (for higher 80 PLUS ratings), more wattage, better performance, and modular cables that we ended up with much deeper PSUs than the original ATX spec. of 140mm. The result of deeper PSUs meant that we have also been designing ever bigger cases to accommodate them, and the cycle goes on as PSU designers are less worried about size restriction in cases. While we still love bigger cases for what they are and would like to continue designing them in the future, with KL04 and TJ04-E we decided to show people a better way to utilize the space in front of the PSU (and other areas) instead of just leaving it for future proofing.

With the goal of maximizing the available space in a mid-tower design like the TJ04-E and the KL04, we made them into the only cases of this size with the capacity to fit nine 3.5” hard drives and six 2.5” drives without sacrificing graphics card compatibility. We calculated that with the hard drives fully installed and drive cables connected, you can still fit cards up to 12.2", the exact length of the longest consumer graphics card ever released, the Radeon HD 5970 (the HD 6990 is just a hair shorter at 12").

Even with a longer card such as those with extension brackets (or if AMD and NVIDIA break their promise to us and deliver a >12.2" card in the future) fits in the TJ04-E’s drive cage without removal. One only needs to move the hard drive around in the drive cage to free up the room for the longer card. This is very different approach from others in which you must remove the drive cage to fit (thus losing 3 or 4 drive slots in the process) or just design a bigger case (easy, but wasteful).

The biggest PSU that will fit in the TJ04-E without relocating the 2.5” cage is our Strider Plus ST1000-P, a 1000W unit with a depth of 160mm, and is fully modular so there shouldn’t be worries about insufficient power.

I also attached a PDF file showing our internal test on the hard drive cage and the heatsink from the TJ04-E, which show the hottest temperature reached for any drive was 42C. This is a good result considering that Google’s hard drive study showed that 35 ~ 40C operational temperature range correlated with lowest failure rate. If you haven’t seen it, here is the entire study in PDF.

If you look at the chart closely, you can clearly see that as the hard drive temperature gets closer to room temperature, failure rate starts to skyrocket. This kind of contradicts many modern enthusiast case designs with a lot of large fans in front of the drive cage and cooling hard drives unnecessarily. our approach for KL04/TJ04-E’s system cooling is much more efficient as the front intake fans are moved to the sideto allow about half of the available airflow to go directly into the main chamber of the case where the graphics cards are located instead of all going to hard drives.

Results for cooling performance from a couple of sites look good thus far considering TJ04-E/KL04 lack a side panel fan (as you know, we prefer not to have side fan to better seal the noise away from the user). Below are a couple of examples:

Hexus, Anandtech

Hopefully that covers it and if you still have questions or comments, please feel free to let me know!

 

Our thanks to SilverStone for the Temjin TJ04-E case sample.

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Articles of Related Interest
SilverStone Precision PS07: Budget MicroATX Tower
Corsair Obsidian 550D Quiet Mid-Tower Case
Silverstone Fortress FT02 Revisited
SilverStone Raven RV03
Antec P280: Performance One Refresh
SilverStone Temjin TJ08-E: MicroATX Evolved

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