Silverstone Grandia GD01S - MXR ATX/mATX HTPC Chassis Page: 1
Introduction

Silverstone have shown that they have the stuff to really make some nice cases. Recently we reviewed one of their larger chassis, the TJ09. This time around we are taking a look at one of their smaller HTPC media chassis.

The Grandia GD01 is a desktop size case that is designed to tempt your PC away from it's lonely desk and goad it into joining the amplifier underneath your TV. How does it live up to it's ostentatious settings? We put it there and see...


Packaging

Unfortunately due to the abuse that the case suffered at the hands of the couriers I cannot show you a picture of the packaging that resembles what should be coming through your door as mine is in a terrible state. I will try to get some images off of Silverstone as soon as possible.

You can see that the box follows the understated black look that is a theme of almost all Silverstone packaging. This serves to give the case a professional look on the shelves and should certainly tempt those who like quality stuff to take a closer look.

Inside the box we see that the case has easily survived the bumpy ride it was given. Layers of foam and plastic coating mean that the case remained unscathed during it's ordeal.

silverstone gd01 packaging


Package

Box out of the way I eagerly scraped back the wrapping and opened up the bundle inside.

silverstone gd01 package

There is certainly a fair amount in there with ample screws to suit anyone's needs, ATX power extension for the LCD, foam pads to keep the noise down, a users manual and CD as well as a remote control.

remote control

The remote is rather a big and ungainly affair but in fairness it has to control quite a lot. We'll come onto the remote in use later on.

Overall a pretty nice package with Silverstone delivering their usual high standard of bits in the box.


Specification

Material:
Aluminum front panel, 0.8 mm SECC body

Color:
Black or Silver

Motherboard:
Standard ATX, Micro ATX
Multimedia:
Multilanguage LCD. IR
remote control iMON media center software

Model:
SST-GD01B-R (black, card reader) SST-GD01B-MXR (black, multimedia, card reader)
SST-GD01S-R (silver, card reader) SST-GD01S-MXR (silver, multimedia, card reader)

Drive Bay:
External:
5.25" x 2
3.5" x 1

lnternal:
3.5" x 6
Cooling System
Front:
2 x 92mm or 80mm fan slots Rear:
2 x 80mm exhaust fan, 1800rpm, 19dBA
Side:
1 x 80mm fan slot
Expansion Slot
7
Front I/O Port:
USB2.0 x 2
IEEE1394 x 1
audio x 1
MIC x 1
52-in-1 card reader

Power Supply :
Optional standard PS2 (ATX)

Net Weight:
7 kg

Dimension:
430 mm (W) x 170mm (H) x 430 mm (D)

And the 52-in-1 card reader specification:

Card reader support:

Smart Media - SM, SSFDC, SM Ram, XD
Compact Flash - CF I, CF II, Hitachi Microdrive,IBM Microdrive, Magicstor, HS-CF, Extreme CF, Extreme III CF, Ultra CF, Ultra II CF, Ultra-X CF
Secure Digital - SD, HS SD, Extreme SD, Extreme III SD, Ultra SD, Ultra II SD, Ultra II SD plus, SD Elite Pro, *Mini-SD, *Micro SD, *T Flash, *C-Flash
Multimedia - MMCI, MMCII, HS MMC, DV-RS-MMC, *MMC Mobile, *RS MMC, *RS MMC Mobile, *HS RS MMC
Memory Stick - MS, MS Magic Gate, MS Pro, MS Pro(MG), Extreme MS Pro, Extreme III MS Pro, HS MS Pro, HS MS MG Pro, MS Select, MS Pro Ultra II, *MS Duo, *MS Duo(MG), *MS Pro Duo, *MS Pro Duo(MG), *HS MS Pro Duo, * HS MS MG Pro Duo, *MS Pro Duo Ultra II, * MS Rom


Here we see that the case is a pretty robust size and certainly not a very small form factor.

Silverstone Grandia GD01S - MXR ATX/mATX HTPC Chassis Page: 2
Close-up

The case is certainly great looking from the front and worthy of any media shelf. With brushed Aluminium looks and sleek stealthing.

Silverstone GD01S front shot

As you can see there are two panels that you can flip down to reveal various ports and extensions.

silverstone gd01s open

silverstone gd01s drive bays

Here you can also see the quality of the brushed finish on the case. It certainly has a great finish and would fit right in with top-end audio-visual equiptment. Notice also the mechanism that helps the drive bay to open smoothly. This glides out and gives an extra feel of quality.

The top of the case lets the whole look down a little in my opinion. It's painted steel and whilst this is painted well, it looks slightly out of place compared to the gorgeous brushed aluminium look of the case front.

silverstone gd01s case top

silverstone gd01s

As we move in to take a closer look at the front panel and connectors something struck me. Yes everything is stealthed away and looks great with the doors closed, but what if you need to plug something in a little more permanently into the front of the case? This is an issue of personal choice but when the case is racked into an AV cabinet you certainly will not want to go fiddling around at the back of the case so I think this could prove an issue.

silverstone gd1 front io panel

The front IO panel is the usual standard affair with dual USB 2.0, Firewire and front speaker and microphone ports. The panel is again stealthed with a lovely piece of aluminium that has a smooth opening mechanism.

silverstone gd01 card reader

Silverstone include a 52-in-1 card reader. This is a really great feature of a high end chassis and shows that Silverstone really wanted to add a special element to the case.

silverstone gd01s lcd display

The LCD display is an iMon although specs are a little thin on the ground. It is multi-language capable and has infra-red control. I'll take a closer look at this later on but it is certainly a very neat feature and a capable screen. The power switch fits into the subtle look that the case has and the LED's are slightly bright, although not too bad in the dark.

silverstone hd01s side fan

The case has subtle side mounts for 80mm fans behind a neat looking grill. These should help to cool down the components in the case.

silverstone gd01s rear

The rear of the case is pretty typical of media chassis with the PSU mounted on it's side. Notice that Silverstone have provided a grill to exhaust hot air from the case. Notice also the two fans mounted above the motherboard IO panel space, which should help to keep the components cool.

silverstone gd01s fans

The fans are rated at 19dba at 1800RPM so they shouldn't be too loud. These are the only fans that Silverstone include with the case so it may get a little toasty in there with high-end components.

Now onto some of the internals...


Silverstone Grandia GD01S - MXR ATX/mATX HTPC Chassis Page: 3
The Silverstone GD01S Internals

The case is large inside with room for a full size ATX motherboard and 6 hard drives. However it all ends up getting quite hard to install and tight in the case once everything is in. I'll look at installation later but lets take a closer look at the internals now.

silverstone gd01s internals

As you can see the interior has a fair amount of room to stash your hard drives and 2 optical 5.5" bays. Although there is a fairly decent amount of height to install a cooler there isn't enough room for a big cooler like my Scythe Infinity. This meant that I was back on the stock intel cooler for this review.

silverstone gd01s drive bays

The drive bays are on a small stand that also hide the wires to the "optional" fans that you can fit to the case. The drive bay fits 6 drives in it on their side, "class leading" in Silverstone's words. Also worth noting the the fact that the drive bays have rubber moulding inside them to reduce vibration.

silverstone gd01s drive bay picture

The drive bay slides out the same as the HDD drive bay enclosure, pretty nifty.

silverstone hd01s hdd bays

The drive bay comes out with 4 screws. It's worth noting that you have to take out the crossbar before you remove the bay.

silverstone gd01s drive bay

Here's the drive bay slid out of it's place. Pretty neat especially considering the size of the case. The removable drive bays mean that you can install all of the equipment out of the case and fit it once everything is in.

silverstone gd01s empty

There's a nice lot of room in the case to install of all the equipment once you've emptied out the drive bays. You can notice the large bundle of wires in the middle of the case.

silverstone gd01s wires

The iMon wires are actually quite large so I'll have to see if I can hide them when everything is installed.

quality media chassis foot

The case comes equipped with nice looking feet commonly found on high end media kit which is another nice touch.

The build quality of the case is certainly good, but the steel feel to the case really let's it own overall. Having taken a close look at the Silverstone TJ09, a few Lian Li's and at the more extreme end the OriginAE cases the Silverstone Grandia feels a little cheap. Now I say only a little cheap as it's certainly not badly built, it just lacks that extra quality feel that some other chassis I have come into contact with have.

Let's move onto installation.


Silverstone Grandia GD01S - MXR ATX/mATX HTPC Chassis Page: 4
Test Setup

silverstone gd01s case

To really test the HTPC I installed a fully fledged Core2Duo system:

Intel Core2Duo E6700 @ 2666MHz (1.3v)
abit IN9 32x Max Motherboard
Mushkin PC2 5300
Gainward 8800GTS 640mb
Hitachi Deskstar 7K160
Sony DVD-RW
Silverstone Zeus 560w

I installed the system into the case and then installed the iMon software.

I measured the temperature using the abit uGuru temperature monitoring software. The system and PWM temperatures were checked with a thermal probe. Idle temperatures were taken after the PC had been on for 30minutes. Load temperatures were taken after 30minutes of dual F@H. Ambient temperature was maintained at  22°C throughout.


Installation

Installation was not easy by any stretch of my imagination. After totally stripping out the case I started by installing the motherboard. Once this was done I installed the power supply, graphics card and memory. It's worth noting that I do have a few cuts and scraped on my fingers as a result of some sharp edges, so be careful.

Wire tidying was an issue, especially as I didn't have a modular PSU around to help me with tidying. I ended up hiding the spare wires somewhat. A power supply made especially for a smaller form factor case would have been a bonus here. However I soldiered on.

The case is very tight but then it is a media chassis so I wasn't expecting miracles. Once the wires had been matched up with where they should go on the motherboard I installed the DVD-RW and the HDD.

The hard drive was a tricky situation as I wanted plenty of room for wires. Here the GD01S shined through. With 6 available bays I was able to install this sideways allowing for loads of room to hide wires and store spares:

silverstone gd01s hdd sideways

You could have fitted in the 6 hard drives that are possible, but not without sacrificing the high-end GPU I put in this build.

silverstone gd01s drive bay wires

As you can see I ended up with a bit of a collection of wires but to the cases credit there was room to store them without totally ruining airflow.

silverstone gd01s finished installed

On the face of it it's not too bad an installation. I did have some trouble with the graphics card clearance and no way would an 8800GTX fit in the case, but all in all everything fits in ok.

However I cannot  help but be slightly worried that those with less experience installing PC equipment would go astray. It took me 2.5Hrs to install the system into the case and I had to use some guesswork with some of the wires as the manual does not cover everything there by a long shot.

I would also have to recommend a fully modular PSU to use with the GD01 as otherwise you will end up with a big bundle of wires like mine.


The LCD display

The LCD display provided with the case is an iMon. Once powered on, installation is a pretty simple and hassle free process with no problems. However here the effort is just starting. Now I've configured a few LCD displays in my time but I did find the GD01's iMon to be a rather long winded affair. With multiple screens and programs to change and setup and a whole host of options it's certainly for those who want to really fiddle with their LCD's.

silverstone gd01 software

The upside is that iMon have attempted a media centre approach and the UI is rather pretty, although it can be hard to use at times. I've uploaded some of the basic features in a PDF file that Silverstone kindly provided me with here.

Let's take a look at the LCD itself.

before adjustments

Here's the LCD before I added a custom font and adjusted the contrast of the display. Not too bad out of the box.

silverstone gd01s lcd lcd display

The LCD isn't hugely impressive but with a bit of fiddling around with the settings you can get it so that it's easy to see in the dark and with even more fiddling you can get your track/DVD info displayed on the LCD. Shown is the system settings feature showing system speed, OS info etc

graphical eq

And above is the equaliser function. If you are willing to really get into setting it up there is quite a lot that can be done with the display but I have not found it the easiest thing to get on with to be honest.


Silverstone Grandia GD01S - MXR ATX/mATX HTPC Chassis Page: 5
Test Results

Let's take a look and see how the Silverstone GD01S did in the temperature testing:

silverstone gd01s

I was thoroughly surprised by the results from the above tests. I was expecting the temperatures to be a lot higher than they actually were and certainly higher than the TJ09 by a margin. It appears that the two fans in the GD01 manage to cope with getting air in and out of the case quite effectively.


Noise

Unfortunately I do not have any noise measuring equipment so you are going to have to rely on my ears.

The case only has two 80mm fans rated at 19dba. These plug into the motherboard using 3 PIN fan headers. This means that you can throttle them to your taste. I made sure that they were set at full and tested them for noise in a silent room. The fans are pretty efficient and draw a lot of air through the case and across the motherboard.

With the fans on full there was a rushing noise of air but not much else. Certainly having a DVD playing with the volume on low it was impossible to hear.


Silverstone Grandia GD01S - MXR ATX/mATX HTPC Chassis Page: 6
Conclusion

The Silverstone GD01S "Grandia" is a good solid HTPC enclosure. The brushed aluminium look of the front cover is smooth and clean and sits very well in a media centre environment. The LCD is a very nice touch on a case like this and provides quite a few nifty features.

The build quality on the case overall is good and there is a few extra nice little touches in there such as rubber mounts for the hard drives. However I think the painted steel top of the case let's it down somewhat and the case lacks that quality feel that the higher end Media cases have.

Recommended Retailers

At £140 from our recommended retailers above the case is at a decent price although it does take it near some of the better made cases on the market, but it is still at a good price-point. If you're looking to make a media PC and want the flexibility of an ATX form factor case and full size GPU then the GD01 is a great choice. Remember as well that the case is also available in black.

With some excellent features at a fairly nice price-piont the Silverstone "Grandia" GD01 is a good choice for a media chassis. With this in mind we're giving it an "OC3D Recommended" Award.

Recommended Award

Pro's
+ Great front panel looks
+ Fits perfectly into a media centre
+ Good airflow for only two fans
+ Fully featured LCD

Con's
- Slightly lacking in build quality
- A bit tight to work in with high quality components
- Steel top doesn't suit the case

Thanks to Silverstone for the review sample

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