In and Around the AZZA Silentium

Grief over the odd-numbered USB ports notwithstanding, I found a lot to like about the Silentium's exterior design. It seems a little bulbous in places, but there's some thought in regards to function that went into it, and as a whole AZZA manages to keep the case away from being an ostentatious "g4m3r"-oriented product.

The front of the Silentium gets a little close to gaudy, but it's extremely smart and functional. AZZA is able to avoid the end user having to open the front door by actually including a fold-down front flap that hides the optical drive (assuming there's an optical drive in the top bay). This is good, because the plastic snaps that hold the door shut don't feel super sturdy (magnets would probably have been preferable here). The bulge beneath the door actually hides the 120mm intake fan, which pulls in air from the bottom. Above it are the indicator LEDs and the power button, and to the left are the front panel I/O. For the most part I like the look of the Silentium, but there are ways AZZA can improve this design further still: five front bays are unnecessary; AZZA could've gone down to two and added a second intake fan, and they'd be fine.

You'll notice that the sides and top of the case are closed off, but the sides themselves are extruded. This is a way to increase interior space so that the thick acoustic padding in the side panels doesn't actually cut into it. It also helps tremendously in providing space behind the motherboard tray: the padding is soft and pliable, and it's easy to squish cables into it without having to fight to put the panel back on. Finally, the rear of the case is business as usual, though I'm not sure what purpose the radiator tubing holes serve on a case like this (or really any modern case.)

The side panels are held into place with thumbscrews, and slide into notches. Maybe I'd been spoiled by so many cases that use hinged side panels before the current batch of cases, but the notched panels are always a royal pain to remove and replace. I really hope the savings in manufacturing is worth it, because this definitely passes real inconvenience down to the end user when they have to put the case on its side to put the panel back on.

Unfortunately, while the exterior design of the Silentium is for the most part fairly intelligent, the interior suffers from some poor design choices. AZZA does include toolless drive trays that support both 2.5" and 3.5" drives, as well as toolless snaps for 5.25" drives and even a dedicated external 3.5" bay. They also have parts of the motherboard tray extruded specifically so you don't have to install many (or any) motherboard standoffs.

Where AZZA loses points is in the mess of cable headers (needlessly cluttered as a result of the odd-numbered USB ports), and both surprisingly and damningly, there is no routing hole in the motherboard tray for the AUX 12V line. None! I'm genuinely confused as to why this isn't here, since it's been Motherboard Cabling 101 since routing holes were introduced.

As for cooling, there are just the two 120mm fans and no fan controller of any kind, so we have to hope that AZZA chose its fans well. It should be obvious that while other silent cases have tried to straddle the line between performance and silence, AZZA aimed squarely at silence. After building, when we get into testing, that's what we want to watch in our stock configuration.

Introducing the AZZA Silentium Assembling the AZZA Silentium
POST A COMMENT

22 Comments

View All Comments

  • 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

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now