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MORE CASE DETAILS
The PCI cards utilize a tool-free retention bracket that works quite well.
PCI cards are mounted without screws with a hinged retention
Here is the final innovation of the Silentium case: The HDD Muffler, an elastically suspended aluminum box into which the main hard drive can be placed for both quieting and cooling purposes.
Small rubber O-rings in the corners provide just enough flexibility to float the aluminum box when a hard drive is inserted.
The plastic mounting frame of the HDD Muffler" actually bolts on to the casing of the PSU.
Note the black tab in the bottom right of this photo; it's one of three tabs that need to be disengaged to remove the bezel.
With the unusual airflow management in the case, it comes as no surprise that the front bezel is completely sealed. There is room behind the plastic bezel to install some noise or vibration damping for those who are so inclined.
The bezel is completely solid; the case is designed not to need airflow
from the front.
This should be good for noise levels, as it prevents direct sound
The unusual layout of the Silentium has a number of consequences:
Relocating the PSU to the front of the case means that all power
cables now originate from the bottom front corner of the case. This is probably
a slight improvement over the standard ATX layout, as it keeps the cables out
of the intended air paths. The cables are routed parallel with the back edge
of the motherboard which keeps them close to both the drives and the motherboard
itself. However, the cables from the front bezel are unavoidably routed directly
through the fresh air path of the power supply, so the usual cable clutter around
the air intake of the power supply is not avoided.
The HDD Muffler is located parallel to the power supply. This is quite an efficient
use of space, but, because it is not located near any other drive bays, it means
that the IDE cable required for the suspended drive cannot be attached to any
other devices. Of course, using a second, unsuspended, hard drive in a case
like this would defeat the purpose of suspending the first drive. In practical
terms, this means that the case is limited to only a single hard drive if it
is to be used for quiet computing.
The rest of the drives may be mounted without tools,
Accessing all of the drive bays (including the secondary internal bay) requires
removing the front bezel, which makes installing optical drives a little more
involved than usual. Luckily, the bezel is easily removable by lifting up three
clips along the side of the bezel.
The base could have been better implemented. Seating the case
on its base requires a certain amount of finesse, and when they finally fit
together the case falls into place with a sudden drop that may not be good for
the delicate components inside. Furthermore, the vents have sharp fins that
make moving the case a bit painful if you put your hands in the wrong place.
The base is made out of brittle, low-grade plastic that breaks easily; we broke
two of the fins early on during testing by putting the case down at the wrong
This case should never be used on a carpeted floor. Not only would dust collect rapidly, but both the bottom intake and the PSU exhaust vents could be blocked, especially with longer fiber carpets. Overheating would be far too easy.
It is impossible to take the side cover off without first removing the base. Removing the cover while there is a
system running inside is a delicate and potentially dangerous procedure. It's a very awkward design compromise. Our
impression is that this case is aimed mainly at system integrators who would
sell it as part of a complete system to customers who'd rarely open the case..
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