Silverstone GD01 and LC17 HTPC Cases

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That brings us to the interior. The cover, which has a short lip on either side, comes off easily with the removal of four screws on the back panel. The metalwork on the main chassis is identical in the two cases, down to the raised impressions on the bottom, and the "nipples" for the motherboard mounting points.

Almost identical interiors.

Note the central stabilizing beam. It does improve overall rigidity. In both cases, if you want to remove the drive cage, the center beam must be removed.

Both cases have a side vent about 80mm diameter on the other side near the I/O panel. This is very close to CPU on most motherboards; the side vent allows intake of outside air for the CPU area. The mesh baffle over the holes is somewhat restrictive; some 60% of the area is open. There's less an inch between the side wall and where the edge of the motherboard would be, but the bottom edge of an 80mm fan would actually clear the top of the motherboard. If there are any tall capacitors or other components on the board near that edge, fitting an 80x25mm standard fan could be problematic.

Both cases have vents near the CPU area.
The side vent is set up to accommodate an 80mm fan.

The main internal difference between the two cases is in the hard drive cage: The GD01 has a single cage to accommodate up to six drives vertically, while the LC17 has two cages each able to hold three drives horizontally. Interestingly, both cases can accommodate two fans on the side of the front panel, just ahead of the HDD cages, but both cases are delivered with plates covering the vents.

Potential fan vents in front of the HDD cage in the GD01.
Note thin layer of damping on the drive cage for reduction of vibration transfer from the drives.

Same setup of front vents in the LC17.

Now, if the blocking plates in these front vents were removed, would there be any airflow path to the outside? Certainly not through the front panel, as there are no vents in front at all. However, looking underneath the case reveals something:

The two cases upside down, facing each other: Vents on the bottom side of the front bezels.

These vents access the cavity between the aluminum front bezel and the front steel metalwork. On the LC17, they run across the entire width of the case; on the GD01, the vents are smaller and they run only under the VFD area, maybe a little over half the width of the case.

Naturally, we felt compelled to remove the plates covering the vents on the inside. This required removal of the drive cages, and some twisting with a pair of pliers. The end result on the GD01 is shown below.

Front vents uncovered on GD01.

As you can see in the photo above, the VFD module blocks much of the uncovered vents, and only the bottom portion of each circular opening has access to the vent grill on the underside. Still, because of the side vent near the CPU area, these vents are only useful for providing a bit of cooling for the hard drives. It will be interesting to find out whether any airflow ends up going across the HDDs because the back panels fans are such a long distance away, and they will naturally draw from the side vent first.

The manual actually shows how fans can be mounted here. The hard drives would have to be mounted further back in the drive cages. Given the limited spacing between the front edge of the motherboard (where most of the connectors have to do) and the back edge of the HDD cages, this would lead to an impossible collision of connectors and cables, except in the LC17 if only the top slots are used. We don't recommend using 80mm fans here, especially in the GD01 with a VFD:

1) The fans would spin uselessly against the impedance of the VFD module and make unwanted noise.
2) The ensuing cable mess due to the HDDs being pushed further over the motherboard.

LC17 front vents uncovered.

The LC17's front vents are much less blocked; there's no VFD module in the way. Putting fans there is still not going to be a good idea, though. The turbulence through the narrow bezel space and bottom intake vent slots might be almost impossible to eliminate.

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