SilverStone Precision PS11B-Q PS11 Review
Published: 29th January 2015 | Source: SilverStone | Price: £40.99 |
When we first opened up the box to the Silverstone PS11B-Q we couldn't help but think "Oh great, another budget box" It's also fair to say we couldn't help but recall the skin stripping experience we had with the PS08 a year or so ago. Delving a little deeper though we have to say we were more than pleasantly surprised by what we found. Now you might assume that a manufacturer such as Silverstone will put as much care and attention into its cheaper cases as it does its more expensive ones, but this isn't always the case, and it's not limited to Silverstone either. With the PS11 though, there's a level of build and construction quality that belies its £40 price tag. The exterior finish is good, there are no rough edges or poorly finished rivets, and no nasty burrs on the reverse side of the motherboard where drill holes have not been properly finished. In short it's a well-made and well put together case.
So we know the box is good, but what of the internals? Well you get just enough of all the things you need, there are just two 5.25" drives, which is a vast improvement over the PS10s four 5.25" drives (yes, less 5.25" drives are better). There's also room for up to three 3.5" drives, which again, with the improvements that have been made in drive capacity should be more than plenty. Add into that a set of two 2.5" brackets which are mounted above and below the 5.25" and 3.5" racks respectively and we think Silverstone have the storage bases covered. The absence of an upper 3.5" rack also creates a space towards the front of the case meaning that should you wish to house a monster GPU, anything up to 16.2" will fit just fine. Cooling is a little sparse on the PS11B, with just one 120mm fan in the front included as standard. That's not to say there's not plenty of room for fans, no-sir-ee, there's room in the front of the case for either a pair of 120s or 140s, space in the base for a 120, and a slot in the rear for a 120 on extract. Opt for the high airflow “W” version of the case and you'll also get mesh grills up in the roof for a pair of 120s should you so desire. If you're planning on putting a traditional tower CPU cooler into the PS11 you'll be able to mount anything up to 162mm high.
Building into the PS11 was a simple affair, as although small there was room enough to manoeuvre hands and screw drivers. One thing we did find though was that it was best to pass the 8 pin CPU cable through from behind before mounting the motherboard as things get a bit tight up in the roof area. On the face of it there doesn't appear to be much room behind the motherboard for cable management, however it must be remembered that the case sides are dished outwards so as to allow additional room even allowing for the thick noise absorbing foam layer that covers both side panels and the roof, affording the PS11 a very low sonic footprint. Cable management is made even easier by a good smattering of cable tie points and effective placement of decent sized routing holes, which although not grommeted do benefit from smooth rolled edges.
If that was where we ended the review of the Silverstone PS11 we'd be saying it was a fine, well made, good quality case with good storage and ample room for coolers and Graphics cards. We'd also comment on there being ample sound absorption material in the sides, roof and front which afforded the case a low sonic footprint. But this isn't where the review ends. You see the PS11 has something of an ace up its sleeve. Although Silverstone do not make any claims at all with regards to native water cooling support we found it entirely possible to mount a 240mm radiator in the front. To do this it's first necessary to remove the 3.5" rack, which because it is screwed in, as opposed to riveted, as it is on so many other cases, is eminently possible and easily accomplished. Doing so opens up a space of 290mm between the floor of the case and the underside of the 5.25" rack (which it should be said can also be removed if you need a little more space). There are though a few provisos. Firstly, 290mm isn't a huge space for a 240mm radiator so you'll have to select one that doesn't have large end tanks. Secondly, even if you are planning on keeping the 5.25" racks you are most likely going to have to remove the under slung 2.5" bracket. The upshot of all this is that you will have 140mm of depth to play with meaning that if your radiator fits, it's theoretically possible to set up a thick radiator with a set of very low RPM, low noise fans in push pull, giving you a very low noise system. It's more likely though that a decent quality 240mm based AIO will be used with the PS11, especially as it doesn't have a window to show off a custom loop. If this is the case then as AIO rads tend to have smaller end tanks they should present less of a problem. Remember though that Silverstone do not claim water cooling support for the PS11, so don't go getting all upset if you find your rad doesn't fit.
All in all we are really quite delighted with the PS11. It has a heck of a lot to offer, few discernible weak points, and at just £40 represents fantastic value for money. If you're on a tight budget and want a very well made low noise case with the possibility of water cooling support then we think you'll struggle to find anything better for the money. It's very rare for us to award three awards, but in this case we think with all the cards on the table it's entirely warranted and well deserved. So not only does the PS11 scoop a well deserved Gold award, it also nets itself the coveted Value for money award.