SilverStone Grandia GD03 HTPC Case Review

Written by: Maxwell Anderson
Date: November 28th, 2014
Rating: 7.8 out of 10
Page:

Installing Stuff

I initially installed the following into the case: power supply, motherboard, processor, RAM, two 2.5″ SSDs with 3.5″ adapters, a large video card, and a PATA DVD burner. The motherboard installation was easy, as all of the case cables were of a sufficient length to reach across the case. The motherboard tray is NOT removable, though, which is kind of a bummer. Installation of the two SSDs was fairly straight forward, necessitating the removal of the 3.5″ drive bracket. My video card, which is 9″ long, fit with about a 1.5″ clearance (1″ after taking the PCIe power connector into account). For those desiring to put a large video card in their HTPC, this is where the GD03 really shines.

The least enjoyable part of the installation was the DVD drive. Since the GD03 has its own integrated drive bezel, it is necessary to affix, with adhesive tape, the integrated bezel to the actual drive bezel. SilverStone’s installation instructions stated that the drive should be installed, with the included 3M tape attached to the drive door, and the integrated bezel door attached afterwards. For me, this resulted in the cover being attached too low, which meant I had to remove the extremely sticky tape and try again. After a couple tries, I got it though, with only about 5 min worth of work. The worst part was that the 5.25″ drive bracket had to be removed each time I retouched the adhesive, which really isn’t that bad.

The two removable 3.5″ hard drive bays are pretty neat, but I’ve never really seen the point in having hot-swappable HDDs, except maybe for transferring data quickly between computers. Since the removable bays aren’t made to any standards that I know of, I would assume that they are not plug-n-play compatible with other removable bays, and therefore not useful for that purpose. They ARE good for quickly installing hard drives, though, which may be a worthwhile feature for some. Unfortunately, these removable bays are not perfect, as they do not slide smoothly into or out of their ports. Also, interestingly, this particular case came with the removable bays upside down, which caused me little confusion when it came to installing a hard drive into one of them. Otherwise, I think they look nice, and the locking mechanism works well. All in all, the removable hard drive bays work as they should, but could be a little smoother.

I also wanted to note that there were two things the case came with that I didn’t install: an anti-EMI ring for the case switch and light cables, and a screw-on pad lock ring to put a security lock on. I’m not too worried about electro-magnetic interference, or having my case stolen or broken into, but they may be worthwhile features to someone else and it’s nice they’re included. Also important, nothing in the case is “tool-less,” except for the two removable hard drive bays, which I personally prefer. I just wish they included some thumb screws.

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