Silverstone LC-11 media PC case

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SYSTEM BUILD

The small LC-11 isn't as easy to work with as a more typical mid tower case. Ease of assembly is somewhat sacrificed for low profile and stacking ability. Its proprietary airflow design means care must be given to the arrangement of the hardware in the media equipment case. You really don't want it directly over a big hot AV amplifier.

Starting with a Pentium M processor that draws only ~21W greatly reduces any potential thermal problems, but some thought also had to go into the choice of the rest of the hardware as well. A 2.5" notebook drive was chosen for low thermal and sonic output, along with a low-powered passive videocard. I had initially planned to use the passively cooled ATi-Sapphire 9600 Ultimate, but the design and positioning of the AGP riser card was not compatible. The riser card positions the AGP card only about 1/4" from the bottom edge of the case and the passive heatsink of the 9600 Ultimate protrudes almost 1/2" above the PCB. A passively cooled ATi-9250 video card was pressed into service. There are two open PCI slots included on the Silverstone riser so there shouldn't be any issues with a TV-tuner and/or PCI sound card. A fairly quiet (and great performing) Plextor PX-716 DVD-RW drive was also used.

The assembly was reasonably straightforward, but a little extra planning was needed. I used a modified Zalman 7000AlCu heatsink, which just barely overhangs the top edge of the motherboard. A few fins rubbed up against the side case fan; I ended up removing the board and bending the fins to clear the case fan.

As noted above, the HDD cage was used with a 2.5" notebook drive suspended within it. The design of the cage would require a 3.5" drive to be hard-mounted to the steel cage and allow drive vibration to be transferred into the case. The drive cage snaps and screws into place. It is a pretty tight fit once the motherboard is installed, especially if any cables are already attached to the drive.

Installing the optical drive was a bit of fun due to the location of the screw mounts. No magnetic tip screwdriver in my toolbox, but a set of tweezers saved the day. The optical drive itself mounted up precisely in the correct place for the stealth drive cover and button. This drive bay door is constructed of aluminum, like the rest of the front bezel, and it is equipped with very sexy damped hinges.

The PSU comes pre-mounted into the case, and has plenty of connectors to accommodate the limited amount of hardware that will fit into the case. One warning: The voltage selector on my US review sample was set to "230V". Fortunately I noticed this and set it to the "110V" setting before I ruined anything.

The AGP/PCI riser card mounts very firmly to the case and motherboard, thanks to its sturdy design. However, as already noted above, the riser card positions the AGP card very close to the bottom cover of the case, which will preclude the use of many oversize cards.


Front view of assembled system.
Remember that you're actually looking at the underside of the case in this view

The LC-11 comes with a plethora of wiring for all the front I/O devices. There are a pair of USB 2.0 connectors for four ports total, a Firewire connector, audio I/O connectors and a complete set of front panel switch and light connectors. All worked quite well, with the added bonus that the USB and Firewire connector blocks happened to be configured perfectly correctly to plug right into the headers on my motherboard. This is a nice treat, as often these connectors are wired in a non-standard fashion.


Rear of assembled system. Note AGP card on riser
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AGP card on riser. Due to its location, there's no room on the back of the card for any passive heat sink.



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