SilverStone Grandia GD03
For testing out the Grandia GD03 we installed an ECS A785GM-M motherboard, an AMD Phenom II X3 processor, an OCZ EliteXStream 600W power supply, and a Western Digital 160GB SATA 2.0 hard drive. Even with using the integrated ATI graphics and not installing any other peripherals or even a DVD drive (thanks to Linux USB installations), managing and routing the cables within this case was the only and biggest problem. Additionally, we just used one hard drive and when getting into multiple HDDs managing all of their cables may be a real problem. The ECS motherboard is micro ATX based, which helped in making the layout less crowded, but because of the two hot-swappable drive bays directly behind the power supply unit, routing all of the power cables was more challenging than other HTPC cases we have previously reviewed. Granted, if using a power supply with modular cables, this is less of a problem.
Once all components were installed, however, we had no other issues with the Grandia GD03. When running this system, the thermal performance was reasonable while the noise level was quiet. Using the stock cooling, we were pleased with the airflow and temperatures while the system could not be heard if a distance away.
Usually when we are done testing out a new SilverStone case, more times than not we are jumping for joy with love for their latest and greatest creation. With the Grandia GD03, however, that is not exactly the case. This is not to say though that the GD03 is a bad case, it just does not provide the same impressions that we had when testing out the Raven RV01 or Temjin TJ10 or their other high-end enclosures. The Grandia GD03 does offer dual hot-swappable drive bays, dust filters, and a new front panel, but this HTPC enclosure really is not that different from other SilverStone media enclosure designs. The GD03 lacks any front-panel eSATA ports, has effectively the same internal layout as the other HTPC enclosures that often gets crowded and difficult to manage an immense amount of cables, and there really are no other new innovations. The GD03 though is backed by the SilverStone build quality that we have become to know and expect from this company. The cost of the SilverStone GD03 is about $190 USD (available at Amazon.com), which is expensive, but is a price that is reasonable if you are looking for a very well built HTPC enclosure that has only a few blemishes.
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