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SilverStone TJ10 Full Tower

Date: January 15, 2008
Author(s): Matthew Harris

Got a hankering for a new case? Been bit by the water cooling bug? Having a bit of trouble reconciling the two? You should have a look at SilverStone’s TJ10B. Despite the nay-sayers claiming it’s not ideal for water-cooling, you might just be surprised!



Introduction

Everyone that’s a PC enthusiast will surely be familiar with the name SilverStone. They make an impressive line of cases and sell an equally impressive line of accessories and power supplies. Today we’re taking a look at the Temjin TJ10, the latest and greatest case in SilverStone’s class leading Temjin line of full tower cases.

Let’s take a quick look at their listed specs:

ModelSST-TJ10B (Black)
SST-TJ10S (Silver)
SST-TJ10B-W (Black, With Window)
SST-TJ10S-W (Silver, With Window)
MaterialAluminum front panel/door
2.0mm aluminum body
MotherboardSSI, Extended ATX, ATX, Micro ATX
Driver Bay External: 5.25" x 4, 3.5" x1
Internal: 3.5" x 1
Cooling System Front: 1 x 120mm Fan Slot
Rear: 1 x 120mm exhaust fan, 1200RPM, 21 dBA

Side: 1 x 120mm mid-section fan, 1200RPM, 21dBA
Top: 2 x 120mm fan slots
Expansion Slot 7 Total
Front I/O Port USB 2.0 x 2
IEEE1394 x 1
Audio x 1
Mic x 1
Power Supply 1 x Optical PS2 (ATX) or 1 x Redundant PS2
Graphics Card Support for 12" graphics card
Net Weight 13 Kg
Dimension207mm x 521mm x 644mm

They’ve even come out with their own radiator mount that’s suspiciously similar to one that I created for the TJ09 I reviewed a while back. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so I’m not bothered by it, I just hope that this review gives them a few ideas because we’re not putting a mere dual 120 rad into the TJ10, we’re going all out!

The TJ10’s lineage is apparent upon first glance. It’s basically a TJ09 with a revamped front so that there’s a door. When she arrives the door hinges on the right which is sort of unfortunate for people with their PC to their left. We’ll look into that in more detail in a bit.

The roof of the TJ10 has the same mesh grill in the rear and expansion ports in the front as the TJ09. I detailed the expansion ports in greater detail in the TJ09 review so I won’t go over them again other than to list them here: 2 X USB 2.0, 1 X Firewire and Audio out, MIC in. The door to the front hides them when not in use.

The rear of the case has remained largely unchanged. It received new PCI slot covers with added venting and the holes for external plumbing were enlarged and treated to perforated rubber grommets. Other than those changes the rear of the removable motherboard tray is the same as the TJ09 it’s based off of.. I’d still like to see the curved handle to the left of the PCI slot covers moved (re-arched or removed entirely) because it gets in the way of the inner DVI connectors on certain video cards (namely mine!).

I don’t know why the case looks so washed out other than the reflective anodizing playing havoc with the flash on my camera. In person it’s black, everything matches nicely. Looking at the door we see that it looks like the hinges are releasable. Good sign even if it means that you can just get the door out of your way.

A closer look at the door shows that the hinges can indeed be moved from side to side. It also shows that there are small pins that limit the door from over extending which would cause the door to scrape the case front which could royally screw up the anodizing. The upper hinge pin is spring loaded as I’ve handily pointed out. Of course this is all for naught if the case doesn’t have points for the hinges to fit into.

And it does! There’s a mirror set in the top of the case front.

Pushing in on the raised bit in the center allows you to pop the hinges free. The spring loaded hinge pin is identical to the non-sprung pin.

This means you just slap the spring into the door on the other side, pop the hinge pin in and put the fixed pin in place and relocate the door.

Voila’, the door now hinges to the left!



Interior, Installation

Moving around to the inside of the case we find that it’s nearly identical to the TJ09. The only real difference being the bracketry on the mid mounted fan. Looking to the rear we see a mesh panel under the PSU mounting location.

If you have a PSU with a single, large bottom mounted fan you can orient that fan down and draw cool air into the PSU rather than heated case air. Plus it’s a cleaner look than having the fan facing up.

The cables are the same. All in one connectors for the USB, FP audio, which has both HD audio and ac’97 connectors and the dual purpose Firewire connectors. Personally, it won’t hurt my feelings to see the separate wires for the Firewire go the way of the dodo. I personally haven’t seen a motherboard that uses anything but the dual row connectors for Firewire since 2004.

The power, reset and LED connectors run along the side of the external 3.5" cage which makes them easy to hide.

Let’s take a minute to ponder the ventilation of the TJ10. As I pointed out earlier the PCI slot covers are graced with goodly sized vents. The side of the mobo tray is punched to allow for good airflow there and there’s a low RPM (~1200RPM) 120mm fan on the rear of the mobo tray to act as exhaust. The fan is your typical three pin style and is easily compatible with any mobo fan header.

The mid fan housing has become home to a housing that allows longer than average PCI or PCI-e cards to have support on the end hanging past the edge of the motherboard. I can only say, it’d have to be one long ass card to need those supports since most cards that I’ve seen are only as long as a standard ATX mobo is wide if that long.

The front fan (Ok, mid fan) is a nearly identical 120mm fan with the same specs as the rear fan aside from the fact that it has a four pin power connector. It has an RPM monitor plug for hooking to a fan header on your motherboard. This begs the question, why not just put in another three pin fan? If it’s out of concern for the user not having enough fan headers (or one that’s too far away) then include a separate four pin to three pin adapter. This would make life easier for those of us that have enough fan headers or that want to use a fan controller to power our fans.

A look at the top of the case shows mounts for dual 120mm fans. Stock they’re not populated instead allowing you to "roll your own" by putting whichever 120mm X 25mm fans that suit your fancy into them. The fans are secured using a snap fit system.

In between the HDD cages we have another mount for a 120mm fan. It’s literally the same bracket that’s used in the roof so the same applies here, 120mm X 25mm. You can either set the fan to blow up or down although I, personally, am fond of the fan blowing downwards. I think that with the way the side vents are shaped that with the fan blowing up you’ll end up with a pocket of warm air at the top of upper drive cage since it has nowhere to go. Looking through the lower fan cage we can see that there’s a mesh panel, the warm air can exit through that mesh. That’s why I opt for blowing the air down.

Looking at the HDD cages (since I brought them up) we see that they’re slotted to allow for decent airflow (although still not as good as a wide-open fan) and feature strips of rubber to help absorb vibrations from the drives.

The wonderful thing about the TJ10 is that it’s nearly 100% modular. The whole case can be reduced to component parts with nothing more than a no. 2 Phillips bit screwdriver. The exceptions are the rails for the slide out mobo tray, that assembly is riveted together.

Once we have the top removed we get a better view of the inside where the rad is going to live. Yes, there’s plenty of room for a triple radiator. Since SilverStone has taken such an interest in water cooling I can only ask: Why not make the TJ10 a case designed for water cooling? Do away with the top mounted I/O ports, move them to the case front and make the case roof opening large enough to allow for a triple 120mm radiator. We have this new case front that’s over 1/2" deep which would allow for the I/O ports to be mounted across the front near the bottom or down either side edge. If they did that and made the entire roof top mesh you could easily fit a 4 X 120mm rad in the roof.

The bracket that holds the free ends of the monster PCI/PCI-e cards had to go! It’s pretty nice though, I was expecting some little flimsy garbage plastic affair but no, it’s cast metal. As you can see by all the screw holes, it is very secure when it’s mounted in place.

Sans the bracketry, the mid fan is identical to the one in the TJ09. I just wonder if SilverStone will adopt the bracket into the older case.

This is why I had to 86 the bracket on the mid fan, it’s where my reservoir is going to reside! In my last setup I had the res mounted inside the lower HDD drive bay which meant that I lost the capacity for 1/2 my HDD’s (not that I need it but some day I might) and with the new motherboards on the market offering a half dozen or more SATA ports I’d like to keep my options open.

Here’s a look at the backbone of my cooling system, the Swiftech MCR320-QP. As we can see the rad overhangs the opening a bit on both ends but with the offset of the core it won’t be much of an issue. There’s about 3/4" of space between the rad and the ears for the stock fan holders. Plenty of room for the brackets I’m going to fab up. For more detail on them please refer to the forum post I linked to earlier.

The mobo tray is capable of holding everything from a mATX to EATX. In a word, it’s freaking huge! Ok, that’s two words but let’s not argue semantics.

In a lot of cases that have removable mobo trays the weak spot invariably ends up being where the PCI slot covers mount. That area is aluminum and the holes for the screws tend to strip easily.

Wisely, Silverstone chose to make that portion of the mobo tray out of steel. Now, whether it’s plated steel or stainless remains to be seen but it’s still hardier than aluminum which means years of trouble free use.



Installation Cont.

I’ve decked the halls (I have to get into the spirit since I did this build on Christmas day) with an ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless edition. It’s your normal ATX mobo that uses 9 standoffs to mount but it looks tiny on the TJ10’s oversized mobo tray. See? I told you it was huge!

There’s still a lot of real estate left on used on the front edge of the tray.

A quick test fit shows that even with the unorthodox mounting of the reservoir in the case I still have enough room to utilize a full EATX mobo.

I’d lake to address something here. ASUS is kind enough to include a header to mount your switches and LED wires to so you can slap that onto the mobo as one piece later. With the TJ10 being a slide out mobo tray style case I’d like to see something similar added to the case so that you can unplug the wires for the front panel connectors in one fell swoop rather than messing about with several separate wires.

I’d also like to take a moment to mouch about there being no speaker for the chassis. One word, why? Why not include something like I had to dig through my parts drawer to use here? A small buzzer that hangs off the header would be a nice touch since hardly any motherboards have built in buzzers these days.

I got so tired of wondering if my mobo had posted back when I was using the TJ09, yeah I know it’s no big deal since the video powering on will let you know but if you overclock I’m sure you’ve held your breath waiting for the *beep* that told you that you hadn’t screwed the pooch with that last FSB bump.

Ok, while we’ve been pondering the happiness of case buzzers I snuck around and made the brackets for the radiator. They take up the extra space around the rad beautifully.

There’s a bit of space but it’s not enough to worry about.

This time I went the extra mile and put weatherstripping around the radiator opening so that it’s sealed all the way around not just to the mesh but to the case roof where it overhangs past the opening. This ensures that no heated air will recycle back through the rad. Yeah, I know, I’m a genius. I also cut the piece of metal that had been separating the fans out to give better unimpeded airflow.

The rad tucks nice and neat up into the case roof. When it’s all put together it looks nearly factory.

See? Aside from that fan at the rear hanging down you’d never suspect that there was anything up there. Although I’m going to be adding another pair of fans to the rad.

From the side it’s still pretty low key. Although, once I’ve run all the tubing the whole stealth thing flies right out the window.

There’s even plenty of clearance between the upper stiffening bracket on the mobo tray and the rear fan, an issue that had caused me to ponder a bit.

Pulling the top off without completely removing the case front isn’t much of an issue but if you’ve got to pop the top more than once in an outing then pulling the front is a sensible move. I also found that hidden behind the case front there are four tiny rare earth magnets (two per side) that hold the case door shut by attracting the screws where the hinges mount. As you can see, there’s plenty of room to migrate the USB, Firewire and FP audio ports away from the roof and into the case front.

With the PSU, rad and res in place we see that there’s still an abundance of room. We might lose the upper 5.25" bay but with a short enough drive it’ll still be accessible, you’ll just want to attach the cables out of the front of the case. Remember I mentioned adding the remaining two fans? Even with them in place the rad’s still pretty much a stealthed affair.

And things start looking more like a PC. The CPU block is mounted and plumbed into the GPU’s. Next up is a bit of wiring, adding the pump and finalizing the loop.

Now that the plumbing is pretty much completed it’s a bit more crowded but still workable. I’ve got a few more loose ends to tie up but it’s close to time to fill it up and see what happens.

Now she’s all complete. The plumbing’s all hung in the TJ with care in hopes that a massive overclock soon would be there. All the wiring has been run, the drives mounted and after a few hours of leak testing, chasing and stopping (the barbs on the radiator leaked like a sieve) it’s ready to be closed up, fired up and run.

Yeah, it’s a bit of a rat’s nest but I couldn’t locate all my zip ties and due to the day I was doing the build, procuring more was out of the question.

Of course with no case window your cabling skills are for naught.

The black drives fit in pretty nice with the deep black anodizing. Actually, the case is blacker than the drives are.

I guess I should mention that the TJ10 does come with an optional case window, It’ll really show off all that hardware to it’s fullest and since it’s not a huge window you’re not stuck looking at the drive cages.



Temps, Final Thoughts

Now, normally we’d be putting in performance numbers to outline how well the case performed but I’ll forgo that because I ran into some oddities. I tend to use a mixture of Speedfan and Core Temp to obtain my CPU core and case temps but for some reason, Core Temp is broken with the CPU I’m using.

It reports 11°C on core 0 and 5°C on core 1 at idle and under load it reports 25°C on core 0 and 17°C on core 1. Speedfan reports 34°C on the CPU at idle and 61°C under load. None of these numbers jibe particularly well but the case temps hang out at nearly 32°C steady under load or idle. The GPU’s are at 33°C (GPU 1) and 26°C (GPU 2) idle and 38°C (GPU 1) and 46°C (GPU 2) load.

Let’s list the load out since we’re talking about temps at idle and load.

As you can see I’ve managed to pull down a very respectable 40% over clock with a .12V increase in the Vcore. The ram has relaxed timings but it’s 100% stable at 5-5-5-15 whereas when I tried tightening it up it caused me to run into minor issues with certain programs. All told I’m at a loss as to why the temps are being reported like they are.

ASUS PC Probe claims the CPU’s hitting 44°C under load, Speedfan claims it’s hitting 61°C under load and Core Temp says the cores are at 17°C and 23°C under load. I dunno who to believe. I do know that the temps aren’t super hot because the GPU’s aren’t seeing any increase from the heat being dumped into the loop which is something I did encounter with my old system using the very same loop coupled with an MCR220QP and Black Ice Pro II X-Flow.

So let’s see how the SST-TJ10B rates:

All told the TJ10 is a joy to work with, the modular design is fantastic to the modders in the crowd and all the other touches make for a case that’s hard to beat. There are a few niggles but very few and they’re stuff that not everyone would consider to be drawbacks. All told I’m happy to award the TJ10 a 9/10 and our coveted Editor’s Choice Award.

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