Somewhat inconsistently SilverStone has gone for a tool-less design in some areas but not others. The covers for the 3.5in and 5.25in bays are held in place by screws but the drives themselves are held in place without screws. Instead rails are provided and these are stored in the base of the interior so they’re always to hand. It’s a neat solution but in practice it was extremely difficult to get the optical drives in due to the tightness of the fitting. Best avoid building the PC then with children around – swearing is likely to occur. The internal 3.5in area for hard disk is better with space for five hard disk drives. To facilitate disk installation the whole cage can be removed. This is down easily by turning a thumbscrew at the bottom and pressing down on a flap at the top.
The front intake 120mm fan is located behind a dust cover and is located right in front of the hard disk bay, which is a good thing, especially if its you’ve got more than one drive installed. In addition there’s a mount for an 80mm fan by the hard disk cage on the side of the back panel, ideal for drawing the hot air away from the disks after the front fan has brought it in. As well as being good news for the hard disks this also has the benefit that the motherboard and components won’t be as affected by air warmed by the hard disks.
The tool-less approach even extends to the holders for the expansion cards. There’s no thumb screws here – oh no, it’s plastic sliders that you press down to hold the card in place. It works well and it’s handy not to have to put screws back in place, but it proved to be a tricky business every time I needed to get a graphics card in and out.
SilverStone also provides a panel that sits inside the side door and is designed to keep your PCI cards in place and acts as a bracket for two 80mm fans. This is overkill for my system, and I simply didn’t use it, but if you’re building a full-on SLI system, this is just what you want, though inevitably you’ll be increasing the noise level.
The side panel itself has vent holes to enable the air to be circulate. Two thumbscrews hold it I place while the half-oval shapes at the rear of the locking mechanism – apart for the open position and together or locked.