Silverstone TJ04-E Review
Published: 13th February 2012 | Source: Silverstone | Price: £110est |
Testing and Conclusion
Building into the TJ04-E is an easy enough affair. OK, so it's not a super tower so you're not going to be able to get inside the case and sit along side your hardware while you fit it, but there is plenty of room to work even for those who have what resemble ham joints on the ends of their arms. There is ample room behind the motherboard for cable management and a good selection of cable tie mounts. It would have been nice to see the cable management holes fitted with rubber grommets but as the CM690 is also grommet free I don't think we can mark the TJ04-E down unduly for this omission. The only exception to the ease of the build was perhaps the assembly of the HDD heat-sink assembly. It's not at all intuitive and more of a fiddle than it needs to be. Put it this way, I've never had to resort to a good read of the instructions before fitting a Hard Drive before. Even once assembled it all feels more than a bit odd in the way the HDDs are essentially only held securely on one side with the other having the heat-sink attached to it. Still it seems to work well and hasn't caused any problems so I'd have to say although unusual and fiddly the concept is a sound one. On a more positive note, a big plus is the large cable stash area at the base of the case, a real gem of an idea and makes hiding all the cables you don't use so much easier, especially if you have a non modular PSU.
Although I've only fitted my trusty old 8800GT, the TJ04-E is able to accommodate cards of up to 12.5" in length without the removal of the HDD rack, and even longer if the rack is removed (please Nvidia and ATI lets not let have cards any longer than they are now). So even with the HDD rack in place the TJ04-E should be able to handle most of the current cards.
On the subject of space, at just 214mm wide I was a little concerned about it's ability to take a tall tower cooler. The Xigmatek Prime is quite a tall heat-sink at 166mm with the fans fitted (159 without). It does fit, but only just, with about 4mm to spare, so all things being equal you should be just able to fit most of the larger coolers on the market such as the NNH-D14 the NZXT Havik.
After building into the case I thought I'd let my i7 stretch it's legs to see just how well this case was able to keep things cool., comparing the temps to those in my usual test rig which has a more conventional front to rear airflow set up. Pushing things straight up to 4.2 with 1.35Volts and with the same Xigmatek Prime cooler fitted as recently used and tested. I have to be honest with so little cross case airflow I was actually expecting core temps to max out. Surprisingly they didn't. After 30 mins of stress testing in the usual way the max CPU temp hit 81 degrees, which with an ambient temperature of 16 degrees gave me a DeltaT of 65 degrees, just 2.25 degrees hotter than the same set up in my usual test set up. I guess there's something to be said for this positive pressure malarkey then! And remember all this with just 2x120mm intakes and a 120mm exhaust. Not bad for out of the box cooling. Should you require more cooling then of course there's room to add to what's already there. With that in mind I can't help thinking that although the CPU heat-sink is fed by nice cool air from the roof the lack of a front fan and direct airflow may leave a toasty GPU starved of fresh air. Installing a fan into the mount at the base of the case should go some way to remedying this.
If you're like me you can't help looking at a case and seeing how easy it would be to fit a water loop. The good news is that there's room in the roof for a slim 120.2mm rad and fans, with Silversone slightly off setting the roof fan mounts to help reduce RAM encroachment issues. If you feel the need you also be able to fit a rear 120mm rad and fan although it's going to be tight with the roof rad
Looking at sonic performance I have to say I was a bit disappointed with noise levels finding them more intrusive than I'd anticipated. More a fault of the fans than the case itself. Rated at 1200rpm and 21 dB-A if you have a motherboard with good fan header speed control then you may be able to quieten things down a bit. The inclusion of a fan controller by Silverstone would also have mitigated this issue to some degree. Don't get me wrong, the noise is by no means deafening, it's just not as quiet as it probably should be.
Quality wise the TJ04-E is head and shoulders above anything I've looked at so far, with only the CM690 coming anywhere close. The use of a single sheet of 7mm thick Aluminium for the front panel the TJ04-E just oozes class taking it up a level from other plain fronted cases on the market. Build quality is also high both inside and out. and although like all products this case will have been built to a budget you get the distinct impression that quality was higher on the design agenda than cost.
For me there are a few minor niggles on the styling front, mainly the choice of the ramped roof I/O port area, I think a covered port or even just a row of vertically inset sockets would have looked better, but this sort of niggle is more subjective than objective. So I can't really mark it down for this just because I happen not to like it.
With no firm UK prices available it's hard to talk about value for money. In the States the case is retailing for about $150 which should equate to in the region of £95. I'm suspecting the UK price point may be a little higher than the straight currency conversion would suggest (as everything in the UK seems to cost "a little more"). So with an anticipated price of about £100-£110 the TJ04-E drops itself right into the mid-high end of the mid tower price bracket. I could talk for ages about the BitFenix cases and the Coolermaster range and how they can be had for a less money and offer largely the same functionality, but basically if you want a case that oozes this sort of quality then the TJ04 is perhaps the only one that fits the bill.
So to summarise then. A stunning looking case oozing style and quality. More than ample storage options, reasonable cooling for a case of this type although a little louder than it could have been. A bit of a fiddle to build into but with some genuine areas of innovation and cast iron build quality.
Falling short of perfection I'd love to give it a Gold but the niggles above mean it's going to have to be a Silver.