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Silverstone’s Flagship: Temjin TJ06 PC case

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The TJ06 is a tall mid-tower aluminum-steel hybrid with a host of unique features: Upside down mounting of the motherboard, a "wind tunnel" duct that directs the airflow of two 120mm fans in push-pull mode across the CPU area, separate thermal zones, a hinged front bezel, etc. It is a most unusual thermally and acoustically optimized PC case. We review the Silverstone Temjin SST-TJ06 along with the Silverstone TN01 heatpipe heatsink made expressly for this case.

Dec 8, 2004 by Mike Chin with Jordan Menu in the lab – Note: Analysis revised Dec 12.

Product
Temjin TJ06 case
NT01 CPU heatsink
Manufacturer
SilverStone Technology
Street Price
TJ06: US$130~175
NT01: ~US$45

We have previously reviewed the SilverStone Technology LC01 and LC04 of the LaScala series, which are horizontal cases designed to mix and match with typical home audio / video components. SilverStone offers six tower cases as well: The Temjin series, from the TJ01 to the TJ06. The subject of this review is the TJ06, the most recent addition to the SilverStone Temjin tower case lineup.

The TJ06 is a large aluminum-steel hybrid mid-tower. It bucks the general trend toward smaller cases, being at least a couple inches taller and deeper than the usual mid-towers. The aluminum is on full display in the front bezel; the steel is everywhere else. From our point of view, this is the best combination: Brushed aluminum for that high-end look up front rather than the usual plastic or acrylic, and steel for its superior strength, density and acoustical properties for the main chassis.

Quoting SilverStone’s marketingspeak:

“Only a handful of cases over the years can truly claim to be influential, and we believe the TJ06 belongs in this elite group. The commandingly styled aluminum front panel allows abundant airflow that with an aid of a massive wind tunnel, can achieve cooling performance and quietness at an unprecedented level.”

The TJ06 has several unusual features that make it stand out in the sea of PC cases:

  • Machined aluminum bezel with steel chassis (already mentioned)
  • Bezel hinges open for effortless access to front panel
  • Motherboard mounted in inverted position so that the CPU is at the bottom of the case.
  • CPU and heatsink designed to be positioned in a large “wind tunnel” (their terminology) that runs front to back with a 120mm fan pulling cool air in at the front and a 120mm fan pushing hot air out the back.
  • Hard drives mounted in unique bay between PSU on the top of the case and the motherboard.
  • Unique sectional cooling compartments.

Some of these features are unique enough that the words above don’t really do justice. You’ll have to look at some photos.


It’s a handsome silver facia with a serious gray finish on the rest.

But there’s nothing here to suggest anything unusual under the skin.


This side also presents a smooth conventional facade.


Finally, the back panel reveals some of the truth:
The motherboard is mounted upside down, and there is an odd blank space between the top slot cover and the PSU.

The first impression is one of high quality, great attention to details, and very sturdy construction. There is no question that this is a well built case. Before we move on any further, specifications for the TJ06 from SilverStone:

SILVERSTONE TJ06 SPECIFICATIONS

Material

Aluminum front panel, 0.8mm SECC body

Colors
Black & Silver (it’s gray, though, not black.)

Motherboard type

Extended ATX, ATX, Micro ATX

Drive Bays

5.25″ (5) Exposed
3.5″ (2) Exposed
3.5″ (6) Hidden

Cooling System

Front intake: 80mm Fan, 2200 rpm, 21 dBA
Front intake: 120mm Fan, 2200 rpm, 21 dBA

Rear exhaust: 120mm Fan, 2200 rpm, 21 dBA

Expansion Slots

7

Front Panel

4 x USB 2.0
1 x IEEE1394 Firewire
Headphone output
Mic input

Dimension

566 mm (H) x 205 mm (W) x 474 mm (D)
22.3″ (H) x 8″ (W) x 18.7″ (D)

Going back to the front, consider the bottom portion. The front intake grill is almost half the width of the case and some 10″ tall, a pretty generous area. Note the four USB ports, audio in/out and the Firewire port on the bottom left. You can’t help but notice the key.


That brushed aluminum is hard to photograph!


This is what happens when you turn the key. The front bezel is hinged just like a door.

Let’s repeat what was already noted: The bezel hinges open for effortless access to the front panel. It is a fantastic feature. As soon as you’ve used it, you wonder why all cases aren’t made this way! (There are one or two other cases which feature a similar bezel, but this is the first one we’ve tested.)


Padlock hasp to secure the case; intrusion alarm switch is on the inside.

The key is a security feature, along with an intrusion alarm switch and the padlock hasp for the right panel. The other side panel is not lockable, but the components cannot be accessed from that side. A knob replacement or alternative for the key would have been nice for those who don’t need to keep the case locked up.

The external drive covers are screwed in place, and there is a metal mesh dust filter behind the front grill, also screwed in. Two fan grills are on the inside panel, the higher one with a white 80mm fan behind it, and a 120mm fan at the bottom. The fan grills are very nice and open, and you would not cut them unless you were a crazed SPCR diehard seeking zero airflow restriction.

GETTING INSIDE

Two small tabs unlock each side panel for removal. It’s simple and very positive. Because the motherboard is mounted upside down, main access to the interior is via the right side.

The photo below shows the whole interior from the right side. The PSU goes on top, as usual, and just below it is a drive bay for up to six hard drives slid in sideways on rails. The added height of this case over the more standard 17~19″ height of mid-towers can be attributed to this odd hard drive bay. Without it, the case could be 4″ shorter. Below the drive bay is the motherboard compartment.


Access is via the “other” side. The small cardboard box contains all the usual hardware.

The clear plastic wind tunnel has a U-shaped cross-section and occupies the entire bottom portion of the case between the front and back 120mm fans. This is a sturdy piece made of somewhat soft plastic that is very unlikely to vibrate or resonate. The front fan draws air in, the back fan blows it out. The CPU heatsink is meant to be enclosed within this duct. The idea is not only to ensure excellent cooling for the CPU and the motherboard components around it, but also to isolate the heat from this area from getting into the rest of the case.

It may be hard to see in the photos, but the wind tunnel has raised lettering that reads “PATENT NO. 093106090”. Whose patent this is or where the patent is issued is not clear.


Another angle, with back fan removed.


Outside air for the rest of the case is provided by the 80mm front intake fan, located just above the 120mm fan.

One obvious issue with the wind tunnel and the positioning of the 80mm fan is that the space usually used for hard drives is lost. Hence the odd HDD bay under the PSU.

Looking at the top section from the other side, you can see that there are vent holes both above and below the HDD bay. There are also two metal pods with rubber ends on which the PSU is meant to rest. The PSU actually mounts to a removable plate that in turn screws into the back panel opening. It allows for some flexibility, as the PSU can be mounted upside down if you wish. It also allows the PSU to be mounted by sliding it in from the outside, as is a tight squeeze to get it in place from the inside.


Note opening for rising airflow between the HDD bay and the front optical drive bays.


Looking up, you can see a rubber block on the underside of the top panel that supports the PSU.

Here’s a photo from the left side, with the cover off. This is the underside of the motherboard “tray”. It is perfect for hiding unused PSU cables by just taping them here. Note the access hole to the motherboard power connector area…. as shown below.


Note the bottom plastic feet, which swing out to make the base effectively wider for better stability.


A better view of the feet: Note center rubber inserts.

Here’s an illustration of the target airflow in the case. The different colors represent roughly separate zones.


Airflow pattern.

The blue arrows represent airflow for CPU/motherboard cooling. The yellow arrows show airflow from the from 80mm intake fan going to the PCI / VGA card area, from which it mostly rises. There is also a fairly open vent beside the peripheral slots on the back panel, and some heat must exhaust there. The green arrows represent airflow through the HDD bays, the front drive bays (at least the unpopulated ones) and the power supply. Given the fact that the PSU is the only exhaust port at the top of the case, the use of a bottom mounted fan PSU is probably mandatory.


View from below of HDD cage and PSU area.

All the drives are mounted with snap-on screwless rails made of steel. They work positively and smoothly. The cables for the HDDs have to run on the other side of the drive bay. While this is not a problem with a couple of drives, filling all six drive bays would be quite a challenge because of the cabling. On the other hand, if you were trying to fit six drives, you wouldn’t be thinking about quiet at all. The PSU intake would be rather blocked, and reduced intakje airflow into the PSU would likely cause an increase in its fan speed. Six drives, even quiet ones, would make enough of a racket to push the PC well out of the quiet zone.


Several different types of snap-on rails for HDD, optical and floppy drives.
The clear plastic ones are for floppy drives.

We also received a SilverStone NT01 CPU heatsink sample which appears to have been designed specifically for this case. It was used for the test system installed in the TJ06.

It is a simple device: A copper base to which the ends of three copper heatpipes are clamped and soldered. The heatpipes extend up into a system of lateral copper fins. An aluminum frame surrounds the fins and provides mounting points for two 60mm fans. The base is well polished but not flawless. The main advantage of this socket 478 cooler is that it allows the heated air from the CPU / heatsink to be blown directly out the back exhaust vent or up through the PSU fan. The direction depends on the juxtaposition of the retention frame on the motherboard.

The case fans are all mounted within plastic holders, an arrangement we’ve often decried in the past. Most plastic frames provide a sloppy fit, have a nasty airflow impeding grill, and serve no function other than mere convenience in mounting the fan. Driving in four screws to mount the fan conventionally hardly qualifies as a hardship that must be made more convenient.

The 120mm fan plastic holders in the TJ06 are not typical. They don’t have any grill, they are firmly secured to the case with four screws, and they hold the fans quite securely. Also, they serve as mounting blocks for the wind tunnel. They probably have little or no effect on either acoustics or airflow.


120mm fan holder. The grill is part of steel chassis.
Note the tool-free easy to use tension mount for the PCI slots on the left.

The 80mm fan plastic holder is more typical. It is clipped quite tightly to the chassis, adds about a 1.5″ distance between the fan and the front panel, and it does impose some impedance to airflow. The airflow-impeding bits of plastic were easily removed with a hacksaw, as shown in the before and after shots below.


80mm fan holder, modified on right.

The fans themselves have SilverStone’s logo and name, but are also identified as Everflow models. Both the 120mm and 80mm fans have 4-pin Molex connectors with pass-through feed. Only the 120mm fans have a single wire motherboard fan header for RPM monitoring.

Fan details:

  • 120mm Everflow R121225SL – 12VDC – 0.2A. Interestingly, it has 9 blades instead of the more usual 7.
  • 80mm Everflow R128025SL – 12VDC – 0.09A.
  • The SL code at the end of the model number designates Sleeve bearing and Low speed.

The fans were tested individually for acoustics at various airflow levels. More on that later.

INSTALLATION

Installation begins with the removal of the big clear plastic wind tunnel. The dual clips on each side that hold it in place are rather fiddly, and one has to use some force to get it off. It’s a tight fit, and at the back, a portion of the wind tunnel tends to interfere with closing of the side panel. In the photos below, the green arrows show the protruding piece, which was cut away with a hack saw. The cover goes on much more easily now.


A little mod.

With the duct removed, installation of the motherboard can begin.

The test system consisted of various available components in the SPCR lab and do not represent anything like an ideal set. It’s just to get an idea of how installation will go, and of the cooling and acoustic properties of the case.

Component Comment
AOpen MX4SGI-4DL2 M-ATX motherboard This microATX board was one of many sought in recent months for a suitable HTPC P4 platform. We’d hoped for one with the extremely versatile BIOS so many AOpen boards have, including some mATX models, but this was not one of them. Vcore adjustments are lacking, although it is otherwise a very full featured board.
Intel P4-2.8C processor It was there, purchased specifically for lab use.
ATI-9800 Pro VGA w/Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer (original) Powerful and hot enough for thermal / noise testing.
512MB DDR400 OCZ RAM (two 256MB sticks) Contribution from OCZ, a sponsor of SPCR.
Seagate 7200.7 80G hard drive It’s a very quiet sample, a parallel ATA model with acoustic management turned on.
Seasonic Super Tornado 400 PSU (Rev.A3) A very quiet bottom feeder (airflow wise) 120mm fan PSU that’s high on our Recommended list.
SilverStone NT01 CPU heatsink A heatpipe copper HS meant specifically for this case. We ran it without a fan on it.
Enermax UC-A8FATR4 multifunction panel Another sponsor contribution (from Maxpoint), this 4-channel fan controller with 4 temperature sensors, very handy for testing. The fan controller may be PWM but works well with all the fans we have tried.
Various Panaflo & Nexus fans For experimentation.
Optical Drives Whatever was handy.

Rather than give you the blow-by-blow details, suffice it to say that the installation process was straightforward and should be fairly easy for anyone with a bit of experience. Even if you are a novice, the TJ06 is not a difficult case to work with. There are no sharp edges that can hurt you, and everything is pretty self-explanatory. SilverStone does provide an installation guide, mostly a step-by-step pictorial, as well as a Socket 478 motherboard list (for assured compatibility) on the TJ06 product page.

Two points of interest:

1. The PSU cables to the motherboard can be routed along the underside of the motherboard tray and brought into the motherboard area via the opening near the wind tunnel location. If the cables are not long enough, then the cables can be run through the HDD cage and down. A little creativity made be needed to ensure tidy routing of cables, and you really need to choose a PSU that has long cables. Most high quality PSUs do.

2. The wind tunnel has an inset that can be removed to make a large notch for better clearance with large Extended ATX motherboards. A smaller inset is also provided.

Here’s is our complete system.


Everything but the wind tunnel.



The bottom half.
NOTE: The steel clips for the SilverStone HS were misplaced, so a set of Zalman 6500 plastic clips were pressed into service.


The whole thing, with wind tunnel in place.

THERMAL & ACOUSTIC TESTING

We won’t bore you with pages of benchmark graphs that show this setup to be within 2-3% of any Intel P4-2.8C / 865 chipset system around. That’s not the point. Generally, it’s a pretty zippy desktop system that should work fine for just about any application. The more important question is how well the case cools the system and how quietly.

Note that with this unusual case, there are so many different ways to configure a system that it is not possible in the context of a review to explore them all. A cpmplete exploration of possibilities will require concerted effort by many experimental users with different combinations of components.

Lab Tools:

  • Enermax UC-A8FATR4 multifunction panel for measurement of temperatures.
  • CPUBurn – CPU stress loader
  • 3DMark03Futuremark VGA testing benchmark
  • Custom 4-channel variable DC power supply (made expressly by SPCR’s Sean Boyd) for precise control of fan voltages
  • Digital anemometer to measure fan airflow
  • B & K B&K 2203 sound level meter
  • Digital Audio Recording system: Taylor Hohendahl Engineering (THE) KP- 6M Reference Microphone in a suspension shock mount on boom mic stand. Modified Shuttle Zen PC running a P4-2.53 and suspended Samsung 40G 2.5″ notebook hard drive, with single channel M-Audio Tampa mic preamp and M-Audio Firewire 410 external digital sound interface feeding the signal from the microphone.

(Please see the article SPCR’s Test / Sound Lab: A Short Tour for more details of our testing setup.)


Key SPCR test tools: The THE microphone, the power supply that Sean built, the anemometer and the SLM.

Three temperature sensors from the Enermax multifunction panel were positioned thus:

  • HDD Bay: In the middle of the HDD bay.
  • CASE: In the middle of the motherboard section, about 2″ above and behind the fan of the VGA Silencer.
  • CPU: At the edge of the P4-2.8C CPU casing, touching both the casing at the heatsink base. (The CPU temp diode could not be accessed in this motherboard.)

Other conditions:

  • The sound pressure level was measured with sound level meter positioned one meter away from the front bezel.
  • MP3 sound recordings were made with the microphone positioned 3″ from the very center of the front bezel, just about in front of the top floppy drive bay. MP3 specs: 96kbps / 16 bit / 44.1kHz sampling
  • Ambient conditions were 18 dBA and 21°C.
  • The system was run for 15~20 minutes between changes before any measurements were recorded.
  • The Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer on the ATI 9800 Pro VGA card was always set on low to minimize its noise contribution. It measures less than 20 dBA/1m at this setting.
System at full load, CPUBurn
Fans
Wind Tunnel
CPU
Case
HDD Bay
SPL*
All 3 fans at 12V
out
52°C
27°C
28°C
34
All 3 fans at 12V
in
46°C
29°C
30°C
34
All 3 fans at 7V
in
49°C
30°C
31°C
26
Both 120mm fans only at 7V
in
50°C
32°C
33°C
22
120mm exhaust fan only at 7V
in
53°C
33°C
33°C
21
120mm exhaust + Nexus 80 intake fans at 7V
in
53°C
30°C
31°C
22
* SPL readings at in dBA at 1 meter
NOTE that all noise readings and recordings include the effect of the Seasonic Super Tornado PSU’s 120mm fan and a hard mounted Seagate 7200.7 hard drive. Both are very quiet, but they do add a layer of background noise, especially the hard drive, whose vibrations translate into a low level, low frequency rumbling.

1) All three stock fans at 12V without the wind tunnel

Most SPCR readers would not use the Silverstone TJ06 this way, but running all the fans at 12V establishes a reference starting point. As the 34 dBA/1m SPL reading and the MP3 recording below indicate, it’s not quiet, but the overall noise signature with the selected components is not bad. The temperatures are all very low for system under full load drawing over 140W DC. Although the CPU temperature is probably a few degrees lower than it would be directly from the thermal diode in the die, the numbers are very good, especially when you consider that the closest fan is at least an inch away. The temperatures are all quite low for a system of these components.

Silverstone Temjin TJ06 case in P4-2.8C test system with all fans at 12V

2) All three stock fans at 12V with the wind tunnel

There’s little question that the combination of the 120mm fans and the Silverstone NT01 heatsink in the wind tunnel of the TJ01 case is capable of very good cooling. The substantial 6°C drop in CPU temperature shows much more effective cooling airflow across the CPU area. The power supply components around the CPU socket benefit from this cooling airflow as well. The only price is a very slight 1~2°C increase in temperature in the rest of the case, probably due to the intake airflow being restricted to just the 80mm fan.

At first, it seemed as if there was a bit more low frequency noise with the duct in place, but careful back and forth listening revealed that the difference is very minute, and probably only there at the highest fan speed / noise level. The air in any enclosed space has a resonance and that resonance can accentuate lower frequency noise from the fans and hard drives, but the effect was minimal in this case. No sound recording is needed for this configuration because it would sound just like the one above.

3) All three stock fans at 7V with the wind tunnel

CPU temperature rose a few degrees from the 12V level, as did the other temps, but overall, the difference was small. The noise change was very substantial. Now down to the mid-20s in dBA/1m, it’s at a level that would be acceptable for a lot of users. However, there is a buzziness that is coming entirely from the 80mm fan. Perhaps you can hear that in the MP3 below.

Silverstone Temjin TJ06 case in P4-2.8C test system with all fans at 7V

4) Only 120mm fans at 7V, 80mm stock fan removed

The sound is now very smooth and quiet. 22 dBA/1m is extremely good for a 80W CPU system. (It’s certainly on par with my own PCs.) The CPU temp is hardly affected, but the case and HDD bay temps rise, as expected. The rise is much less than it could have been because the Seasonic PSU’s 120mm fan does pull some air from that area and the Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer also blows some heat out.

Silverstone Temjin TJ06 case in P4-2.8C test system with 120mm fans only at 7V

5) Only the 120mm exhaust fan at 7V, both front fans removed

This is the quietest config, but not by much, and the cooling performance is probably close to borderline for hotter weather. It was an experiment that just had to be done.

Silverstone Temjin TJ06 case in P4-2.8C test system with single exhaust 120mm fan at 7V

5) 120mm exhaust fan plus a Nexus 80 intake fan, both at 7V

This is probably a bit quieter than the two 120mm fans at 7V, but it is hard to tell. Cooling performance is pretty close to all three stock fans at 7V.

Silverstone Temjin TJ06 case in P4-2.8C test system with exhaust 120mm and intake Nexus 80 at 7V

Overall, the cooling performance of the case, the NT01 heatsink and the wind tunnel is impressive. So is the fact that it can do it very quietly with stock fans. The 120mm fans are very good, although the 80mm fan is a non-starter: That buzzing kills it for most listeners. But quiet replacement 80mm fans are not difficult to get. A Panaflo 80L undervolted to 7V would be an easy recommendation.

Here is measured test data on the stock fans, and some sound recordings.

Silverstone Temjin TJ06 120mm
(Everflow R121225SL)
12V
47 cfm
23 dBA/1m
7V
24 cfm
18 dBA/1m
5V
14 cfm
17 dBA/1m
Silverstone Temjin TJ06 80mm
(Everflow F128025SL)
12V
30 cfm
27 dBA/1m
7V
15 cfm
19 dBA/1m
5V
9 cfm
18 dBA/1m

The 120mm is very smooth and quiet, pretty close to the Nexus 120, although the bearings feel a bit sloppier. It has higher maximum airflow than the Nexus, and at the same airflow, has very similar acoustic performance. The 80mm fan is another story altogether. It buzzes badly at any speed and is easily outperformed by many 80mm fans.

TJ06 Vs. SPCR PSU INTAKE DUCT

One question that arises for regular SPCR readers is whether the TJ06’s reversed motherboard position and CPU-dedicated duct is better than the PSU intake duct we’ve been espousing in the forums for a while. This is not a simple question, and it is unlikely to be adequately answered without many users trying various things with both the TJ06 and the PSU duct idea.

Our PSU intake duct idea is simple:

  • Use an 80mm fan PSU in a conventional case.
  • Create a duct or tunnel from the intake side of the PSU to the top one or two optical drive bays.
  • The duct separates the PC into two thermal zones, one for just the PSU, and another for the rest. The main benefit is to keep the PSU’s thermally controlled fan from ramping up in speed as a result of heat from the rest of the components being sucked in through the PSU.

The best documentation of the PSU duct idea is in Leo Quan‘s article Quiet MP Dual-CPU Workstation and a reader’s site (which I hope can take the traffic this link will generate): Lilla’s first homebuilt computer – with PSU intake duct

Having been a PSU intake duct user for years now, and encouraged both of the above-mentioned silent PCers in their quest, I know firsthand how well it works to keep the PSU cool and quiet. A well designed quiet PSU hardly ever ramps up under any kind of load in this setup. However, CPU cooling still needs to be treated separately.

The Silverstone TJ06 reverses our PSU duct concept. It’s the CPU that gets its own dedicated duct, and the rest of the system is fairly well isolated from both the airflow and the heat within the CPU thermal zone. So the CPU gets the benefit of the dedicated airflow tunnel rather than the PSU. The big difference is that in the TJ06, the only exhaust vent for the rest of the case is through the PSU. This lack of another exhaust vent for the upper chamber seems like the most serious thermal management flaw in the TJ06. It’s too bad that they did not find a better arrangement for the hard drives so that a 120mm exhaust fan could be incorporated on the back panel below the PSU.

Still, ventilation in the upper half of the case will not be an issue until you get a seriously hot combination of VGA cards and hard drives. At that point, there are probably several options:

  • Open up one or more of the front optical drive bay covers and create an intake duct to increase airflow through this area and the PSU. Yes, you could still install a PSU intake duct in here!
  • Open up on or more of the floppy drive bay covers to create an intake duct closer to the VGA card
  • Remove all the PCI slot covers above the VGA card to create an exhaust path; you could even rig up an 80mm or maybe even a 120mm exhaust fan here. This assumes you have at least 3-4 slots free.
  • Cut a 120mm hole on the back panel behind the HDD bay and use a 120mm exhaust fan.


This area could actually accommodate two fans for the modder.

Is the Duct Necessary?

This is not a trivial question. If a HSF that blows towards the back exhaust fan is used, and the back exhaust fan is left on, then you have much of the push/pull effect of duct + dual 120mm fan setup. While the incoming air to the CPU HS might not be as cool as if the duct was used, the pressure and air velocity across the fins might benefit from the close placement of the HS fan and so compensate for the absence of the duct.

This might cause more of the CPU heat to rise up into the rest of the case, obviating the upside down motherboard placement, but with the HSF and back 120mm exhaust fan working in tandem, it probably would be a very small thermal change. There would also be the added benefit of the incoming 120mm fan airflow now spreading throughout the case rather than just through the duct.

For the modder, another possibility is to shorten the duct so that it falls short of the front fan by a few inches. This would retain much of the benefit of the full duct but allow more of the intake air to flow up to the rest of the case. Some effort would have to be made to secure the duct, however.

The answer to this question, like with so many questions about thermals in cases, probably depends on your particular setup. Some experimentation is well worthwhile with this case.

CONCLUSIONS

The Silverstone TJ06 is certainly not the first to incorporate upside down mounting for the motherboard. The recently released V series cases by Lian Li (including the PC-V2000 reviewed here by Charles Gilliatt) come to mind. Those are also large cases with unusual layouts, but they position the PSU in a rear chamber blocked off fromt the rest of the case, and position the CPU almost smack dab in the middle of the case, heightwise. They are all aluminum (much more prone to translating HDD and fan vibration into noise), and everything I know about them suggests that both acoustically and thermally, the TJ06 is probably superior.

There appears to be some connection between the Silverstone TJ06 and the Avance Terminator case we reported being shown at the Computex show last June. The front bezel is obviously different, but the interior looks identical. Given the absence of promotional info or reviews of the Avance, it’s probably not available in the US or Canada at this time.

Few cases are truly optimized for low noise computing, and even the best mid-towers have some flaws and compromises in this regard. The keys for a silent computer are:

  1. unobstructed, generous airflow potential,
  2. solid, non-resonant design and construction.
  3. no direct path between noise source and the operator’s ears, and
  4. hard drive decoupling — either built in or ease of employing it.

In the first parameter, the Silverstone Temjin TJ06 achieves excellence for the CPU. The airflow potential for this CPU is very strong. The fan grills are probably good for blocking EMI emission, yet are about as open as a grill can be. The intake side could have been a tad more open; still, the airflow this duct + dual push-pull 120mm fans provides is excellent.

Their NT01 heatsink works well but only with a socket 478 motherboard that has the heatsink retention bracket going in the right direction. (Up/down for length). Any number of good heatsinks could probably be used fanlessly here with those dual 120mm fans. Just choose one with well-spaced fins that allows airflow in the right direction when installed on the motherboard of your choice in this case.

Airflow for the upper chamber is more restricted and could pose a potential problem for a system with a very hot VGA card and/or multiple drives. This issue, and the hard drive bay seem less than ideal.

For the test system, a low airflow 80mm intake fan, a 120mm fan PSU and the heat-exhaust cooling fan we employed for the ATI9800 Pro, which is quite a hot card, there was no issue with cooling in the upper chamber. The use of many hard drives — say more than two or three — would probably increase the temperatures in this area, but there is plenty of headroom for systems hotter than the test rig.

Suspending the hard drive to lower the noise floor further (down under 20 dBA/1m) might pose a bit of a challenge. The only available space is in the external 5.25″ bays, which in most cases are rather hot places. However, the main chamber is insulated from the heat around the CPU, and fresh air can come in through the front panel vent and rise up to the optical bay, so chances are, hard drives suspended in the lower optical drive bays will remain at reasonable temperatures. There is certainly room to experiment.

The very sturdy steel case and elegant hinged aluminum facia are studies in the concept of form follows function.

The acoustic and bearing quality of the 120mm fans provided is about the best we’ve seen for any stock case-included fans. An excellent balance of generous airflow and low noise. We’ve already covered the nasty 80mm fan; that is a mistake but easily corrected by the user. And just as easily corrected by Silverstone; we hope they read this and take action.

The case is tall enough that its natural position is the floor, so even though the front vent has a direct path between noise source and the user, this aspect of noise insulation is not bad at all. It’s the only opening at the front or sides of the case, and it is about as far from the seated user as it can be.

The Temjin TJ06 is a unique design that’s mostly successful. It is good both for a thermally excessive overclocked system of the type still favored by many gamers, as well as for a super quiet, powerful system that many readers of SPCR seek to build or own. The size of the case eliminates it from the running in tight spaces, but for floor placement, it’s usually the footprint, not the height that’s usually the restricting factor. It’s a good case for enthusiasts and modders who will never be happy with a stock case. Our kudos to Silverstone for this thoughtful provacative product.

PRO

* Excellent intake vents and airflow pathways.
* Great cooling for CPU area.
* Sturdy construction and design minimizes panel vibration.
* Lots of room for drives.
* Tasteful understated looks.
* Many exposed drive bays. A multifan controller in one would be very useful.

* Excellent 120mm fans included.

* Back panel behind HDD bay might be good for a radiator for watercooling… although that seems highly unnecessary in this case.

CON

* No exhaust fan in upper chamber. An optional fan vent behind the HDD bay could be useful.
* Area behind low front intake fan can’t be used for HDD suspension.
* The case is a bit too big?

Our thanks to SilverStone Technology for the TJ06 case and NT01 heatsink samples.

Discuss this article in the SPCR Forums.
NOTE: Readers have responded strongly to the unusualy desgn of this case; there is something of a controversial discussion in the thread linked above.

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A quick note from Silverstone: They now offer a windowed side panel version of this case, as pictured below.

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