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SilverStone Precision PS07: Budget MicroATX Tower

SilverStone Precision PS07: Budget MicroATX Tower

July 6, 2012 by Lawrence Lee

Product
SilverStone Precision PS07

microATX Case
Manufacturer
Street Price
US$80

SilverStone has a reputation for well-built towers with stylish aluminum facia but they also have a lesser known line of more mainstream models. The Precision series is essentially a budget family of towers, often with plastic fronts without some of the amenities associated with high-end SilverStone cases. Their latest seems to be sort of a hybrid, a more affordable version of the Temjin TJ08-E microATX tower, retaining much of the original design.

The TJ08-E surprised us with good performance despite its more compact size (total volume is only about 30 L). Its upside-down motherboard design was interesting but we felt the enormous 18 cm intake fan was primarily responsible. We were also impressed with its clever modular design. Every part of the case could be taken apart, making installation and service trouble-free for such a small case.


The Preicison PS07 box.

The Precision PS07 carries over the TJ08-E's basic layout and features except for one main difference. The 18 cm intake fan and large vent has been replaced with a pair of 12 cm models and ventilation slots running down side of and under the front bezel. It's a design used by many "silent" cases that produces a more stylish look, along with less direct path between user and noise source, but it can also restrict airflow.


The case.

Aesthetically, the Precision PS07 is cleaner and more attractive than its predecessor. The front bezel is flat with everything flush against the surface and gone is TJ08-E's awkwardly placed external 3.5 inch drive bay in the bottom right corner. The aluminum facia has been replaced with a plastic one accented by a striped aluminum band running down the left side. The start and reset buttons as well as the front ports are positioned vertically rather the horizontal orientation of the TJ08-E.


Accessories.

The accessory pack includes the same goodies as the TJ08-E: a manual, screws, zip-ties and an internal USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 adapter (in case your motherboard doesn't have a USB 3.0 header). As the PS07 lacks an external 3.5 drive bay, a 5.25 inch adapter kit is also thrown in.

Specifications: SilverStone Precision PS07

(from the
product web page
)
Model No. SST-PS07B (Black)
SST-PS07W (White)
Material High-strength plastic front panel & aluminum accent, steel body
Motherboard Micro-ATX, DTX, Mini-ITX
Drive Bay External 5.25" x 2

3.5" x 1(transfer bracket for hard drive installation)
Internal 3.5" x 5 , 2.5” x1
Cooling System Front 2 x 120mm fan, 950rpm, 18dBA (PS07B only)

2 x 120mm fan, 1200rpm, 18dBA (PS07W only)
Rear 1 x 120mm fan slot
Expansion Slot 4
Front I/O Port USB 3.0 x 2 (backward compatible with USB 2.0)

Audio x 1

MIC x 1
Power Supply Standard PS2(ATX) Optional, max length 180mm*
Expansion Card Compatible up to 13.5 inches in length
Limitation of CPU cooler 165mm
Limitation of PSU Unlimited
Net Weight 5.2 kg
Dimension 210mm(W)x374mm(H)x400mm(D), 31.4 liters
Remark *1 Power supply and optical drive’s combined allowable total length is 399mm including connectors, which may take up additional 20mm. We suggest maximum length for PSU is 180mm (ST1200-G).

EXTERIOR & LAYOUT

The Precision PS07 is a modestly sized microATX tower, measuring 21.0 x 37.4 x 40.0 cm or 8.3 x 14.7 x 15.7 inches for a total volume of 31.4 L and it weighs 5.2 kg or 11.4 lb. It's almost exactly the same size and weight as the Temjin TJ08-E; only depth is greater by 1.5 cm.


It's unusual to see a SilverStone case with a plastic bezel but it looks rather fetching paired with the aluminum on the left side. The shape of the start and reset buttons has been changed from round to square to better complement the crisscrossing lines running across the front face.



The intake fans are mounted with standard fan screws and are impeded by a curved, swing-out fine mesh filter and a plastic door.



The rear is identical to the TJ08-E with ample ventilation surrounding the expansion slots and power supply.



The same power supply fan dust filter with magnetized corners is present.



The bottom is similar as well except for the air vent under the front bezel.

INTERIOR

The overall build quality of the Precision PS07 is decent, similar to the Temjin TJ08-E. The only difference we noticed was slightly thicker construction at the top unsupported area where the optical drive bays and power supply are located. It's not as flimsy as we remember in the TJ08-E.


The side panels are a bit thin, but they fit incredibly tightly thanks to the long guides and multiple catches.



Like the TJ08-E, the major components are accessed on the right side of the case. The layout is the same except for the smaller fans at the front. They blow through the hard drive cage and over the CPU section of the motherboard. An optional fan slot is located at the rear.



The main drive cage can hold four 3.5 inch drives and is secured with just two screws, pulling out from the side. A smaller cage underneath is affixed to the bottom panel and offers both a 3.5 inch and 2.5 inch option.



If you use a tower heatsink, this support stand will keep it from bending downward.



The power supply is mounted just under the top panel, drawing air from top.



On the opposite side, there are just enough holes and hooks for routing and tying down cables.

ASSEMBLY

The PS07 is a bit small for a microATX tower, but everything inside can be taken apart. This makes assembly much easier than in a typical case with similar dimensions.


The motherboard tray is secured with three screws, but there are catches at the top and bottom to increase support.



Servicing and installing a system is not difficult thanks to modular design.



Another minor difference from the TJ08-E is the presence of release mechanisms for ejecting the 5.25 inch bay covers.



Cable management is good. The ample 21 mm of space behind the motherboard tray is very helpful.



The interior with our test system installed: Core i5-750, Radeon HD 6850, and Noctua NH-U12P. Note: There was 11 mm of clearance above the CPU heatsink, making the total clearance about 169 mm.



Though the PS07 is slightly deeper than the TJ08-E, we still ran into the same heatsink fan clearance issue. We had to move our CPU fan to the opposite side (pulling rather than pushing) to avoid interference with a hard drive mounted in the main cage. The NH-U12P is unusually wide at 71 mm but the fan would not have fit even if we used a right angle SATA power cable.

TESTING

System Configuration:

Measurement and Analysis Tools

System temperatures and noise levels were recorded with SpeedFan and GPU-Z
at idle and on load using Prime95 (large FFTs setting) and FurMark, an OpenGL
benchmarking and stability testing utility.

Stock Fan Noise



One of the PS07's 120 mm intake fans.

Rather than the Temjin TJ08-E's single 18 cm intake fan, the Precision PS07 opts for a pair of standard 12 cm variants. The model used is one we're familiar with, a "golf" style fan with a large hub, dimpled, paddle-shaped blades and 3-pin connectors.



With the stock fans at 9V, noticeable tonality was detected at about 300 Hz.

The stock fan had a "dry" character thanks to a low-pitched hum at all speeds. In addition, when both fans were on, we noticed an odd "wobbly" sound exacerbated by the intake dust filter. The filter is quite large and not particularly secure, so it amplifies vibrations generated by components inside.

Baseline Noise Level
Fan Voltage
Single
Combined
12V
20~21 dBA
23 dBA
9V
15~16 dBA
18 dBA
7V
12 dBA
14~15 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle left/front
of case.

The measured noise level of the fans was reasonable considering they were 1200 RPM models. At 12V, the combined noise was 23 [email protected], very low for case not specifically designed or marketed as silent. The stock fans become quiet at around 9V, emitting 18 [email protected] in tandem. It should be noted that PS07 doesn't have a built-in speed control like the TJ08-E's large stock fan, so altering the voltage isn't possible without using either motherboard or hardware fan control.

TEST RESULTS: AMD Radeon HD 5450

Our first test configuration features a low power passively cooled graphics card, a Radeon HD 5450. Our test configuration only gives us temperature data on the CPU and hard drive(s), so the HD 5450 gives us an extra data point from a different location within the case.


Our test system with a Radeon HD 5450.




Vibration effects were noticeable.

The PS07, like the TJ08-E, is susceptable to noise from hard drive vibration. We could feel the case shaking, and placing pressure on the top of the case helped somewhat. With a weight pressing down on it, the overall SPL did not change, but our acoustic analysis picked up a substantial reduction in the peak at ~90 Hz, the frequency corresponding to the 5400 RPM rotational speed of the Samsung EcoGreen hard drive used in our test configuration.

System Measurements (Radeon HD 5450)
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
System Fan Speeds
off
7V
9V
CPU Temp
25°C
84°C
72°C
67°C
HD Temp
30°C
40°C
34°C
32°C
GPU Temp
40°C
77°C
68°C
64°C
16 dBA
16 dBA
19~20 dBA
21 dBA
System Power
45W
160W
154W
154W
CPU fan set to 9V.

Ambient temperature: 22°C.

Without any assistance from the case fans, our test system heated up considerably under load, with the CPU temperature hitting 84°C. Running the fans at just 7V resulted in a substantial improvement, chilling down the CPU and GPU by 12°C and 9°C respectively. The system was fairly quiet, emitting just 19~20 [email protected] At 9V, the cooling improved by an additional 4~5C at the cost of an additional 1~2 dB.



Our HD 5450 test system on load measured 19~20 [email protected] with stock fans at 7V.


Radeon HD 5450 Configuration: Comparison (Load)
Case
Lian Li

PC-V354*
SilverStone TJ08-E
Fractal Define Mini
SilverStone PS07
System Fan Speeds
3 x 6V (two intakes)
low/9V
2 x 7V
2 x 7V
CPU Temp
56°C
60°C
59°C
72°C
HD Temp
28°C
25°C
32°C
34°C
GPU Temp
65°C
56°C
59°C
68°C
18 dBA
19 dBA
19 dBA
19~20 dBA
*PC-V354 tested with Noctua NH-C12P heatsink rather than the NH-U12P due to incompatibility.

CPU fan set to 9V.

Ambient temperature: 22°C.

In our HD 5450 test configuration, the Precision PS07 was noticeably inferior to the Temjin TJ08-E, despite sharing much of the same design. The PS07 temperatures were 9~12°C higher, while also a bit noisier. As only major change was the intake fan design, it's safe to say that the TJ08-E's 18 cm fan and its more direct fresh air path is superior to the PS07's dual 12 cm models drawing air from vents around the edge of the front bezel. The PS07 also performed poorly compared to the Fractal Define Mini and Lian Li PC-V354, both fairly popular microATX models.

TEST RESULTS: Asus EAH6850 DirectCU

To simulate a more demanding gaming system, our second test configuration uses an HD 6850 graphics card from Asus. The 6850 uses about 100W more than the 5450, creating a hotter, more stressful environment.


Our test system with an Asus EAH6850 DirectCU.


System Measurements (Asus EAH6850 DirectCU)
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
System Fan Speeds
7V
9V
12V
GPU Fan

Speed*
1580 RPM (minimum)
2780 RPM
2300 RPM
2040 RPM
CPU Temp
24°C
76°C
71°C
68°C
HD Temp
28°C
34°C
30°C
29°C
GPU Temp
42°C
90°C
90°C
90°C
GPU VRM Temp
48°C
88°C
88°C
88°C
19~20 dBA
25 dBA
25 dBA
28 dBA
System Power
58W
277W
274W
274W
*set as low as possible to maintain a GPU temperature of ~90°C on load.

CPU fan set to 9V.

Ambient temperature: 22°C.

With the stock fans at 7V and our HD 6850's fan running at minimum speed, there was no measurable difference in noise when the system was idle. On load, the GPU fan had to be set to 2780 RPM to keep the GPU at the desired 90°C level. Bumping the system fans up to 9V allowed us to slow the video card fan by 480 RPM, but the noise level measured the same: 25 [email protected] This was the sweet spot as no extra noise was generated and the CPU and hard drive temperature improved by 5°C and 4°C respectively. Running the stock fans at full speed required a GPU fan speed of just over 2000 RPM, but the overall noise level was 3 dB higher and thermal improvements were minimal.


Our HD 6850 test system on load measured 25 [email protected] with stock fans at 9V.


Asus EAH6850 DirectCU Configuration:

Comparison (Load)
Case
Fractal Define Mini
SilverStone TJ08-E
SilverStone PS07
Lian Li

PC-V354*
System Fan Speeds
2 x 9V
low/10V
2 x 9V
3 x 9V (two exhausts)
GPU Fan Speed
1670 RPM
2330 RPM
2300 RPM
1740 RPM
CPU Temp
65C
59°C
71°C
60°C
HD Temp
31°C
25°C
30°C
26°C
GPU Temp
89°C
89°C
90°C
89°C
GPU VRM Temp
90°C
87°C
88°C
76°C
22~23 dBA
24~25 dBA
25 dBA
26 dBA
*PC-V354 tested with Noctua NH-C12P heatsink rather than the NH-U12P due to incompatibility.

CPU fan set to 9V.

Ambient temperature: 22°C.

The PS07 was more competitive with an HD 6850 installed, but the TJ08-E still beat it handily. Video card cooling was about the same as the GPU fan had to be set to around 2300 RPM in both cases to keep the GPU at ~90°C, but the TJ08-E's hard drive and CPU were 5°C and 12°C cooler respectively.

Update, July 12, 2012:

Some of our readers have suggested that the "pull" placement of the CPU fan puts it an unfair disadvantage against the other cases in our comparisons. We used this configuration because it was how we tested the Temjin TJ08-E. Also, we tested our CPU/heatsink combination in an open testing environment, the "push" placement was only 2°C cooler (64°C vs. 66°C), so the difference should be very minor.

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 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

It's impossible to talk about the SilverStone Precision PS07 without comparing it to the Temjin TJ08-E. The Temjin is superior in both thermal and acoustic performance thanks to its larger, better sounding stock fan, and its more direct intake vent. The PS07 uses smaller, less efficient fans that pull air from slots along the sides and bottom of the front bezel like many "silent" cases. The door covering the fans might make it marginally quieter but this is negated by the increase in fan speeds needed to make up the difference in cooling. The numbers don't lie — the temperatures we recorded at similar noise levels favored the TJ08-E by a considerable margin, and the PS07 was also beaten handily by other microATX cases like the Lian Li PC-V354 and Fractal Define Mini as well.

Performance issues aside, we have most of the same complaints we had about the TJ08-E, along with a couple of new ones. The interior of the PS07 feels a bit stronger at the top of the case near the power supply but the hard drive cage is still a mess. It's held on with only two screws on one side, not braced either above or toward the front of the case, making it prone to vibration. Furthermore, the front dual fan filter isn't secured very well, so it rattles as well. The new fan setup also lacks a controller. The case is deeper than the TJ08-E but not enough to seem significantly different in size. The only time it felt cramped was when we noticed that hard drives installed in the main cage interfered with our thick CPU cooler.

Had we come across the SilverStone Precision PS07 before the Temjin TJ08-E, we would have had a much more favorable impression despite its lackluster performance. Especially impressive is its high degree of user-friendliness, something usually reserved for more upscale full ATX models. You would think that working inside such a shallow case would be a pain but its modular design makes it nicely workable.

If you're in the market for modestly sized case, and value usability and convenience over performance, the Precision PS07 is a pretty nice microATX model with an affordable sticker price of US$80. Just keep in mind that the Temjin TJ08-E offers much of the same plus substantially better cooling for only US$20 more.

Our thanks to SilverStone for the Precision PS07 case sample.

* * *

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Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

SilverStone Temjin TJ08-E: MicroATX Evolved

SilverStone Fortress FT03 mATX Tower: Redux

SilverStone Fortress FT03 microATX Tower

Lian Li PC-V354 MicroATX Mini Tower Case

* * *

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