Silverstone GD01 and LC17 HTPC Cases

Cases|Damping
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MP3 RECORDINGS

HOW TO LISTEN & COMPARE

These recordings were made with a high resolution, studio quality, digital recording system and are intended to represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

The one meter recording is intended to give you an idea of how the item sounds in actual use — one meter is a typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. For best results, set your volume control so that the ambient noise is just barely audible. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

More details about how we make these recordings can be found in our short article: Audio Recording Methods Revised.
  • Silverstone GD01 - Fans at 6V, 25 dBA@1m: One Meter
  • Silverstone GD01 - Fans at 9V, 27 dBA@1m: One Meter
  • Silverstone GD01 - Fans at 12V, 30 dBA@1m: One Meter

Sound Recordings of Comparative Systems

  • Moneual Moncaso 932 — Config 1 (System default) @ idle: 33 dBA@1m: One Meter
  • Moneual Moncaso 932 — Config 2 (Reduced Fan Speed) @ idle: 25 dBA@1m: One Meter
  • Zalman HD135 — Stock fan at 50%: 35 dBA@1m: One Meter
  • Zalman HD135 — Stock fan disabled: 28 dBA@1m: One Meter
  • Antec NSK3300, Config 1 (System Fan @ L) — 24 dBA@1m: One Meter
  • Antec NSK3300, Config 2 (Rear Fan swapped to Nexus @ 5V) — 23 dBA@1m: One Meter
  • QMicra, Config 1 (System Fans @ 12V) — Idle: 28 dBA@1m: One Meter,
  • QMicra, Config 1 (System Fans @ 12V) — Load: 30 dBA@1m: One Meter

CONCLUSIONS

The GD01 and LC17 are variants of Silverstone's family of full-ATX home theater PC cases which provide good cooling and have good potential for low noise operation. They combine handsome looks, reasonable size and good functionality at prices that aren't out of this world. The aluminum bezel and sturdy steel chassis strikes a nice balance between looks and functionality.

As supplied out of the box, neither case is optimized for low noise, but turning down the fans, removing the internal blocking plates over the front vents, and finding a way to soft mount the hard drive(s) is enough to lower the noise to SPCR-acceptable levels. As long as the overall thermal load is not significantly higher than the test system we used, DIY builders should have no problems achieving good noise levels. Naturally, you still have to exercise care in component selection: Quiet fans, large heatsinks and lower power consumption are the keys.

The side intake vent for the power supply dictates the use of a "bottom-mounted" fan PSU, which is a simple requirement to meet, as almost all current retail PSUs fall into this category. With many modern power supplies (or at least one selected from SPCR's Recommended PSU list), its fan won't ramp up in speed except under very high load or high ambient temperature if attention is paid to keeping the sides of the case free from impedance. This brings us to a basic point: All HTPCs need some room around them to breath if they are to stay quiet under load or extended use.

There is definitely room for improvement: The front vents near the hard drive cages could be less impeded, the mesh grill material over the side vents could be more open, the case fans could be soft-mounted, and provision of soft-mounting for the hard drives would also be welcome. The side vent would also be better if designed to accommodate a fan larger than 80mm diameter. Finally, an inch greater depth would help ease the cabling challenges around the front edge of the motherboard and the back end of the drives. But these are more quibbles than serious complaints.

All in all, the Silverstone GD01 and LC17 are fine cases for quiet home theater PCs.

Many thanks to Silverstone for the case samples.

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Articles of Related Interest

Moneual MonCaso

Zalman HD160 Home Theater Enclosure
Zalman's HD135 HTPC Case: Gasping for Air
Antec NSK2400 / Fusion Media PC Case
mCubed's HFX mini: Fanless HTPC "heatsink case"
Cases: Basics and Recommendations

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