Sunbeamtech Silent Storm Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on April 9, 2008


Introduction

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Silent Storm is an inexpensive mid-tower case from Sunbeamtech – it costs only USD 50 at Newegg.com – coming with three 120 mm fans, a transparent side window and screwless installation mechanisms for daughterboards and disk drives. Let’s take an in-depth look at this product.

This case has five 5.25” bays, two external 3.5” bays for floppy disk drives and three internal 3.5” bays for hard disk drives. The front panel is protected by a plastic front door. The quality of this door isn’t the best and we wouldn’t expect a better quality on a USD 50 product.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 1: Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 2: Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 3: Front door.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 4: Front panel.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 5: USB ports, mic in and headphones jacks.

In Figure 6, you can see the rear panel, using the very traditional ATX design, but with the addition of one big 120 mm fan there. This case uses two thumbscrews to hold the left side panel (the one that must be removed for installing parts inside the case).

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 6: Rear panel.

Inside Silent Storm

As you know by now this case has an acrylic side window, which is somewhat small compared to the ones used on high-end cases that have this option. This side window has two venting meshes, one with a 120 mm fan attached, as you can see in Figure 7. All fans from this case glow blue when turned on and all of them feature a small 3-pin connector, allowing you to connect all fans directly to your motherboard and monitor their speed through your favorite monitoring software. If you don’t have enough fan connectors on your motherboard don’t worry, all fans come with an adapter to allow them to be connected to any standard peripheral power connector.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 7: Side panel and its 120 mm fan.

Even though you can remove the right panel (the panel behind the motherboard) the metallic plate where the motherboard is installed is permanently attached to the case, so you can’t remove it to facilitate the motherboard installation.

In Figure 8 you have an overall look inside Silent Storm.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 8: Inside Silent Storm case.

There are two more 120 mm fans inside Silent Storm: one on the rear and another in the middle of the case. You can also install another 120 mm fan on the front of the case, right in front of the hard disk drive bays. If you want to have this fan you will need to buy it or remove the side fan or the middle fan and install one of them there.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 9: Rear 120 mm fan.

Inside Silent Storm (Cont’d)

What is interesting about the middle fan is that you can change its position or even remove it. As you can see in Figure 11, it is fastened to a column that has several holes, so if you’d like to change its height all you need to do is to unscrew it from its default place and install it on the place you’d like.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 10: Middle 120 mm fan.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 11: Column where the middle fan is installed has several installation holes.

In Figure 12, you can see the place between the front panel and the hard disk drive bays where you can install a front 120 mm fan.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 12: Place for installing a front 120 mm fan.

This case uses screwless mechanisms for holding daughterboards to the case, as you can see in Figure 13.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 13: Screwless mechanism for holding daughterboards.

Installing Hard Disk Drives

This case has five external 5.25” bays, two external 3.5” bays for floppy disk drives and three internal 3.5” bays for hard disk drives, all of them using 100% screwless mechanisms to hold the drives (on some cases, like Thermaltake M9, you still need to use screws on their “screwless” mechanism). Unfortunately the floppy disk drive bays cannot be used by hard disk drives (we tried, they don’t fit), so you can only have up to three hard disk drives with this case, being its greatest disadvantage. Even though the number of bays is sufficient for average users, we think the manufacturer should have added a fourth hard disk drive bay sacrificing one of the 5.25” bays – who needs five 5.25” bays anyway?

As you could see in Figure 13 in the previous page, the hard disk drive cage containing the three HDD bays are 90° rotated in relation to the other bays.

Installing the hard disk drives is very easy. The case comes with six rulers and each hard disk drive should use two of them, one at each side of the drive, as you can see on the pictures below.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 14: Rulers for hard disk drive installation.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 15: Hard disk drive with two rulers installed.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 16: Installing the hard disk drive in the case.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 17: Hard disk drive correctly installed.

Installing Optical and Floppy Disk Drives

The installation of optical and floppy disk drives is even easier, as you don’t need to install any kind of ruler to the drives. Just remove the front cover from the bay that you want to use, break the metallic cover that may exist behind it, slide the drive in and then lock the screwless mechanism, see Figures 18 and 19.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 18: Sliding an optical drive in.

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case
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Figure 19: Locking an optical drive in place.

We were impressed by this mechanism, as the drive will be really tight in place.

Main Specifications

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case main specs include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

Sunbeamtech Silent Storm case provides a terrific cost/benefit ratio: it is inexpensive and provides great features for the average user looking for a mid-tower case and is worried about cooling.

The highlights of this product are its three 120 mm fans with a middle fan that you can change its position and its 100% screwless mechanisms for holding daughterboards and disk drives. We have recently reviewed a case from Thermaltake (M9) where the mechanism for disk drives wasn’t 100% screwless, as you still needed to use screws to fasten the hard disk drives to the case. This doesn’t happen with this product.

On the down side we think the front door could look better (it uses a cheap plastic) and the manufacturer could have provided four hard disk drive bays instead of three, sacrificing one of the 5.25” bays – which are in excess anyway –, even though the number of hard disk drive bays is adequate for the average user. We could also criticize the lack of an eSATA port, but for a product on this price range this isn’t really an issue.

But these deficiencies are easily forgotten when we think about Silent Storm’s price tag. Costing only USD 50 at Newegg.com this is definitely a great pick. Just to put things into perspective, Thermaltake M9 costs USD 80 at this same store. Even though this case from Thermaltake uses plastic parts with better quality, it doesn’t justify paying USD 30 more for a case that has the same basic limitations from this Sunbeamtech model, comes with one less 120 mm fan and uses a mechanism for holding disk drives that isn’t really screwless.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Sunbeamtech-Silent-Storm-Case-Review/543


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