Internal Impressions & Building The Rig
Looking at the interior of the GD02-MT, I knew from the outset that fitting all the components into it would be a tight squeeze. The case is around the same size as most AV components, so space is limited within. This limited space brings with it a few niggles when it comes to assembling the PC, and we shall discuss this more in detail later. First let's take a look at the interior of the case.
Upon removal of the lid, we can see that there is a large object spanning the case from front to rear. This is the DVD/CD drive caddy and it also acts as a strengthening support for the lid. Four screws hold this in place, and when removed the mass of cables for the front panel were exposed. There is quite an assortment within the case, with the usual fan, I/O, reset and power cables. In addition there are the power, USB and VGA cables for the LCD screen. Looking at the amount of cables is initially quite daunting.
Cooling within the case is quite limited, with just two 80mm fans acting as exhausts, which are located in-line with the CPU on the rear panel. There are no other fan mounts within the case so the option to add more fans is non-existent, unless you are prepared to butcher the case. Although limited this shouldn't be a problem, considering the cases intended function. You can read our findings on how well the GD02-MT cools further on in this review.
The DVD/CD caddy holds a single slimline optical drive only, you cannot use a standard drive in this case. This is a bit of a bugbear, as Silverstone would have only had to raise the overall height of the case by around 15mm to be able to accomodate a full sized drive. For someone who is building their HTPC using parts already owned, having to buy a slimline drive would be an unexpected extra expense. I don't understand Silverstone's logic regarding the design and factoring out using a full sized optical drive. The caddy itself has the relevant mounting screw holes for a full sized drive, so maybe they did consider it?
To mount the optical drive, you need to remove the caddy and then remove the tray within the caddy. You attach the drive to the tray and fix the tray to the caddy. Unfortunately, we did not have a slimline optical drive to hand when reviewing the case, so we cannot show the drive fixed to the caddy.
The hard drive cage can hold two 3.5" hard drives and Silverstone have provided anti-vibration rubber grommets on all mounting screw holes. The cage is located at the front of the case, in front of the PSU. This is where another problem cropped up, as the space between the PSU and the rear of the HD cage is very small. When attaching the molex connector to the HD, the molex plug only just managed to fit between the HD and the PSU.
The PSU tray has rubber standoffs to aid in reducing vibration noise, and the bottom is vented so you can use a PSU with a bottom fan either way up. The relevant mounting screw holes are there for either orientation. Due to the limited space available, only a standard sized ATX PSU, or smaller, can be used. As previously mentioned, when using a standard sized PSU, the space between the HD and PSU is incredibly limited.
Now we have the task of putting our rig together. We have covered fitting the PSU and drives, let's now move on to the motherboard. Fitting the board was straight forward, and there were no unwelcome surprises. Once the board was fitted, I went about sorting out the mass of cables from the front panel. Considering that the case will only accommodate a micro-ATX motherboard, the lengths of the cables was more than enough.
There are the usual set of front panel cables to connect to the motherboard, and then there are the LCD screen cables. The screen draws power from the 24 pin motherboard PSU connector, and uses a splitter. One end slots into the motherboard's 24 pin connector and the other slots into the PSU 24 pin motherboard cable. Then there is a USB lead, and you can either use a standard USB socket or a motherboard USB header to connect it. The final cable to worry about from the LCD screen is the VGA cable which runs along the top edge of the case and is passed outside to be able to connect to the Graphics card.
The only tasks left now in the build are to fit the graphics card, replace the optical drive caddy and put the lid on. It should be mentioned that cable management options within the case are very limited. The only way to tidy the mass of cables is to bunch them up as tidily as possible. Other than the already mentioned problems, the build was easy enough and the result was OK. If we had more time, and the case didn't have to be returned to the supplier, I would have considered shortening over-long cables and braiding them for a much tidier finish. Another thing worthy of mention is the fact that the case, although Micro-ATX and very limited in internal space, will fit a full sized modern graphics card in. I test installed my GTX280 and it fitted with no problems.
So now we have a completed PC, let's now put it through it's paces on the next page.