Date: June 15, 2006
Author(s): Greg King
SilverStone is back again with another great looking case, but this time it’s for you BTX users. The pure black case has a brushed aluminum surface, and is one of the classiest looking you can find on the market. Is the performance up to par with it’s looks?
The argument can be made that the world is getting smaller. Now we all know that physically, the world is the same size roughly that it has been since it formed but it’s our personal space that is collapsing. I know personally that my computer desk in my office has 3 19′ LCD screens and my computer tower. My work space around the desk is not much better.
I am currently running my PC in a full ATX tower. While my case has plenty of room in it, it is rather large. One way to combat this size problem is to take a smaller approach to PC construction all together.
Micro ATX has been around for a while now and offers full size performance in a much smaller package. Most all full size computer cases can accommodate a micro ATX motherboard but the opposite cannot be said of micro ATX cases. You must use the smaller motherboard as a full sized motherboard just wouldn’t fit. In keeping with the micro ATX build, we are taking a look at SilverStone’s TJ-08.
We have taken a look at a fair amount of SilverStone products in the past ranging from small accessories, fans, cases and power supplies. As you can tell, SilverStone has its hands in many different areas in the PC community and in the past, I have been impressed with the products from them that I have reviewed. Let’s see how the SS TJ-08 stacks up.
The TJ-08 case packaged in a brown box with the SilverStone logo and bits of case information printed on it. It’s nothing special but it’s to the point. What more can you ask for?
Once opened, you can see the foam on either side of the case to provide protection during shipping. There is also a plastic bag around the case to further protect it from scratches.
Once everything is out of the box, you can see that the bag completely covers the entire case. This is to ensure that there are no scratches on the case and once the bag is removed, one can get a deeper appreciation for that bag.
Once the case is out of the box and the protective bag is removed, one can see the black finish. The brushed aluminum look on the front is sharp and the paint on the sides and top is well done as well.
On the bottom of the front of the case, you can see the audio jacks as well as 4 USB 2.0 ports as well as one firewire port.
One other nice piece that I would like to point out is the brushed aluminum power and reset buttons. They add to the overall finish of the case and are convenient too.
Right above the USB ports, there is a 120mm intake with a filter to, well, filter out dust and any other small particles that can collect inside your case. This is something that I like to see. Usually small cases will use an 80mm or perhaps even a 92mm fan to save some space but SilverStone was able to incorporate a 120mm fan. 120mm fans move a tremendous amount of air at a relatively low noise.
Heading to the side of the case, we can see that there is a grill to allow air into the case. This opening is conveniently located in the general area of the PC’s hottest components. This will allow cooler air to move over the video card as well as the CPU and then out the exhaust fan in the back.
Speaking of exhaust fans, let’s take a look at the back of the case. Once again, SilverStone was able to include another 120mm fan to blow the hot case air out of the case. With the 2 120mm fans running together, this should provide a good amount of airflow through the small space.
So far, I like what I see. I am a bit worried though about the room that I will have to work with when it comes time to route all of the cables to where they need to be to provide acceptable airflow through out the case.
The inside of the case is what you would expect when dealing with a small case’little room. The case itself, aside from size, it not unlike any other case that you or I might have worked with in the past. The layout is standard with the optical drives being at the top of the case in the front and the 3.5′ drives being directly below. The PSU will be installed in the upper rear of the case. I also want to note that this case has a removable motherboard tray to aid in the installation of your motherboard.
Moving onto the front and rear of the inside, we see the two fans that will be working to keep this case cool once everything is installed.
From here, let’s take a look at the removable motherboard tray and the ins and outs of removing the tray and installing the motherboard.
On the back of the case, there are 2 sets of screws to hold on the two side panels, two for each side. When facing the back of the case, the side panel on the left has one screw in the middle. This is the only screw holding the motherboard tray in the case. Once removed, slide the motherboard tray towards the front of the case and let it fall gently backwards. It’s that simple.
Once you have the motherboard installed onto the tray, place it back into the case, slide it back towards the back of the case and lock it in. Once everything is lined up, secure it with the screw and you are ready for business.
With everything installed into the case, including the PSU, we can take a look and see just how everything fits together.
Yeah, well, you know.
With a full sized PSU, a smaller DVD drive and all the cables to power the computer, the space inside this case is cramped as you can see in the following picture.
Now I had to use a modular PSU as I did not have any other power supply handy to test with and while this worked, I would not recommend such a supply. The cables on this PSU were just too rigid to work with properly but I was able to get everything going. Another nice feature I would like to point out is the HDD mounting area. You can of course install up to 2 hard drives or any 3.5′ device in the bottom cage but there is also 4 mounting holes ‘hanging’ from the bottom of the cage itself.
This is the route I decided to take to allow more surface area of the hard drive to be exposed in the hopes that this will help keep it cooler than if it was in the cage sitting.
The mounting of the hard drive underneath the 3.5′ cage does allow air coming off the 120mm fan to move across the hard drive, giving it more airflow that it would receive in the cage without a fan in front of it.
Well, there you have it. The case designed to be small and quiet was able to accomplish just that. The TJ-08 is a stylishly designed case that would look good on any desk or entertainment center. Being made of aluminum, the weight is considerable light as well, even with everything installed. A case this good is not without some gripes as well. The case does not allow you much room to work with but this comes with the territory when purchasing a micro ATX case so I cannot hold that against it. The price is not too bad either. The SilverStone TJ-08 can be found online for around $100 (US) which to me is a good deal when figuring in how well of a built case you will be getting.
Folks, I am trying to nit-pick this case but I just cannot find very much wrong with it. The motherboard tray was a dream to work with and the overall look of the case, just as with any SilverStone case, is elegant and well done. I am awarding this case a 9 out of 10 on our scale. I would like to give this an editors choice but I am not a personal fan of the micro ATX form factor. This however does not take anything away from the fact that this is a well made case that would look at home in even the smallest of offices.
I leave you with a comparison shot of my current case and the SilverStone TJ-08. Now that’s compact!
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