Introducing the AZZA Silentium

The desktop enclosure market has broken down pretty simply into three categories with only the rarest of outliers. Cases under $100 will either have good acoustics or good thermals, but never really both. Cases between $100 and $150 will typically find a balance. And if you're paying more than $150 for a case, it needs to deliver on both, full stop. The problem that sub-$100 silent cases often run into is that the measures taken to keep noise down result in substantially reduced airflow, and when you start really pushing the hardware (and thus the limits of the case's cooling), those measures actually serve to increase system noise beyond a garden variety case.

With all of that information in mind, AZZA's $99 Silentium is entering a perilous market. The Silentium is meant to compete with cases like the BitFenix Ghost and the NZXT H2, offering quiet computing at a competitive price point. The problem is that when you're at the top of the sub-$100 market, you risk having to compete with monsters like the Fractal Design Define R4 and the soon-to-be-released-on-American-shores Nanoxia Deep Silence 1. Does the Silentium carve out its own niche, or is it fighting an uphill battle?

I admit I feel like we haven't seen enough of AZZA's offerings here. While a lot of their cases on NewEgg seem like garden variety "g4m3r" enclosures, designs like the Genesis and Fusion have some real ingenuity built into them. The Silentium at least superficially has some interesting ideas on hand, too; as a silence-oriented enclosure (if you couldn't tell by the name) it doesn't seem to be working off of quite the same plans that other silent cases do. It has the traditional ATX layout, but AZZA goes their own way in other places.

AZZA Silentium Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX
Drive Bays External 4x 5.25”, 1x 3.5"
Internal 5x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 1x 120mm intake fan
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top -
Side -
Bottom 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 7
I/O Port 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Clearances HSF 170mm
PSU 180mm
GPU 300mm
Dimensions 19.7" x 8.8" x 18.1"
500mm x 225mm x 460mm
Special Features USB 3.0 connectivity via internal header
Toolless 5.25" drive bays and 3.5" drive sleds
Acoustic foam on most interior surfaces
Price $99

What I appreciate about AZZA's design here is that by and large they've elected to eschew even the idea that this is a high performance case. The Silentium is about quashing noise, pure and simple. With that said, whenever a manufacturer opts for an odd number of USB ports (of either variety), I get irritated. This is a cost cutting move, pure and simple. I've heard from reps that it's cheaper to use a single USB 3.0 port and a single USB 2.0 port by a couple of bucks, which is an absolutely pointless savings in the long term and wastes motherboard headers.

In and Around the AZZA Silentium
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  • Stuka87 - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    But do you plug those drives into the front of your case? I plug my drives into the rear, and if I have a temp drive to transfer data to/from, then that one drive will plug into the front. Reply
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Need better thought than this.

    Because I have no need for a full ATX board, Silverstone could do a fantastic silent case.

    Take the TJ08, widen it slightly to allow room for dampening material (and cable management), maybe a revamp to the front so that (so similar to Antec 180), look at PSU mounting (lots of silicon dampening) and my personal bug bear - will someone please include some anti vibration mountings for optical drives!
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - link

    First, simply don't install an optical drive and it will add 0dB of noise to your system. If you can't handle not having "lasers" inside your computer then realize that spinning a 16g polymer plastic disc at 10k+ RPM is going to make enough noise that any vibration transmitted to the case will be incidental. Reply
  • ShieTar - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Remember what I said about noise levels in silent cases? This is what happens. The Ghost is able to do the best job of keeping our overclocked testbed quiet, but again the DS1 is able to handle the increased thermal load more gracefully.

    We have to keep in mind that the Silentium simply isn't designed for this usage scenario, and that's fine. But in the process, cases like the Ghost and R4 start to look like better deals. The R4 is more expensive, but the Ghost isn't.


    How is the Ghost doing the "best job", if the DS1 outperforms it in almost every single measurement?
    And how does the R4 start to look like a better deal, if it is noisier than the AZZA with higher GPU temperatures, while being more expensive?

    It seems like those conclusions were written without looking at the measurement results at all.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Man I want that to case to come over here. Reply
  • UNhooked - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Given how we have so many All in one watercooling solution it would be nice if you started to incorporate a small section for watercooling with the mainstream coolers. Corsair H100, H80 etc. Reply
  • Ananke - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    I look at the picture, I read till " it's cheaper to use a single USB 3.0 port and a single USB 2.0 port by a couple of bucks" and decided that this is a $19-29 market case at best. At $99 it is a joke. My Dell workdesk PC is dead silent regardless its canny thick case. There is no reason this AZZA plastic POS to be $99 expensive. Reply
  • Beaver M. - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Seriously, dont do it. Buy a case which is not like Swiss cheese and do it yourself accurately.
    Even cheap cases will turn into sound eating monsters (especially weight-wise).
    Plus they will be completely air tight, so the air flow of the case fans will be excellent without any increase in temperature.
    Sure, getting off the side panel and back on, will be more work, but it will really eat sound like nothing and will be more than worth the 12 hours spent to get it done. I can actually run my fans on much higher speeds before I hear them and I never have issues with other noise. You wont believe how quiet my DVD drive is.

    Pre-insulated cases are placebos.
    Reply
  • althaz - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Whilst an air-tight case would definitely be quieter, it's not an option for most people as they don't wish to replace their entire computer every day after it is damaged from excessive heat.

    If there's not fresh air coming in, your computer will gradually get hotter and hotter until something in it melts.

    A closed design case will be quieter than an open design, but even closed designs need to allow for sufficient air to flow out of and especially into the case.
    Reply
  • Tech-Curious - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    I think he meant air-tight except for the fan vents. ;)

    "Plus they will be completely air tight, so the air flow of the case fans will be excellent without any increase in temperature."
    Reply

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