SilverStone Grandia GD09 & GD10 HTPC Cases

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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 5~10 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

Considering the overall size of the GD09/GD10 compared to a typical tower enclosure, it performs admirably under hot and heavy conditions, but only if you remove the incredibly restrictive dust filters. That leaves the fans almost entirely exposed, ruining its aesthetics and allowing dust to get sucked in with impunity. The positive pressure setup used is efficient but unfortunately, the filters are equally efficient at choking airflow. The result is high temperatures and high fan speeds to tame the extra heat which leads to considerable additional noise. Although we didn't do it, some simple modifications of the filters to reduce the impedance could be helpful.

In this day and age, full ATX for a HTPC doesn't make really sense unless you plan on multiple add-on cards, particularly video cards, which the cooling system can't handle. If you take gaming out of the equation, you could shrink it further to mini-ITX without sacrificing a thing. Being a bigger case doesn't free it from compatibility issues either. Some of the unusually large video cards may not fit and downblowing CPU coolers are limited in height unless the drive cage is jettisoned, depending partly on motherboard layout. SilverStone could have addressed this issue by outfitting the chassis with a slim optical drive bay. Furthermore, right-angle power and data connectors are required for 3.5 inch drives if a video card of appreciable length is used.

The GD09/10 fill a gap for those who want ATX compatibility but don’t want a typically bigger HTPC case like the GD07/GD08 and other models before it. Their design is versatile and clever to get ATX capability in just 27 liters volume. But there are numerous smaller alternatives and perfectly capable HTPC gear to fit those smaller cases. I do like the internal design, build quality, and ease of assembly, but ATX may be overkill for a modern HTPC.

If you need both optical drive and a full-sized graphics card in a HTPC, GD09 and GD10 are OK choices. There really isn't much serious competition for them in this product category, and all other ATX HTPC cases are bigger. I prefer the GD09 to over the GD10 as it's cheaper and has a cleaner look. The GD10's locked up front panel is useful if you have mischievous children/pets who enjoy poking at ports and buttons.

Our thanks to SilverStone for the Grandia GD09 & GD10 case samples.

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