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SilverStone Milo ML05 Review

SilverStone Milo ML05 Review

Manufacturer: SilverStone
UK price (as reviewed): £34.86 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $39.99 (ex Tax)
Preferred Partner Price: £33.66 (inc VAT)

HTPC cases have traditionally been quite niche and expensive but SilverStone's new Milo ML05 retails for a staggeringly affordable £35. While this may seem low to the point of affecting quality, recently we've seen evidence that the days of sub-£40 cases being things to avoid may be over. Cooler Master's recent Elite 130 proved to be a capable mini-gaming PC despite costing just £36. Sure, it had it's limitations - it's not a great base for a heavily-overclocked air-cooled system - but it wasn't half bad.

SilverStone Milo ML05 Review SilverStone Milo ML05 Review
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The ML05, then. It's obviously not going to be made of aluminium at this price but the steel construction is jagged-edge free and well built and supported by two large braces. It's about as small as you can get for a mini-ITX case, measuring just 350mm long and 99mm high. The Elite 130 was one of the smallest cases we've reviewed that can fit a standard PSU inside, and with the Milo ML05 being half the size, its no surprise to see the requirement for an SFX PSU. Thankfully the company offers several models that fit the bill and from our own personal experience, the ST45SF 450W is both quiet and stable.

The front fascia is sadly mostly made of a reflective plastic panel - we say sadly because it's literally like a mirror, which could be off-putting if it's placed directly in front of you. However, the etched SilverStone logo is a nice touch, as are the angular buttons. Combined with minijacks and two USB 3.0 ports on the side, we're wondering how on earth SilverStone has managed to be this lavish with a case that costs less than £35. Even most of Streacom's far more expensive cases don't include USB 3.0 as standard, requiring you to purchase a separate cable.


SilverStone Milo ML05 Review SilverStone Milo ML05 Review
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Despite its size, the hefty 0.8mm steel construction means it weighs in at over 2kg - over a third as much as the considerably larger Corsair Graphite 230T tower case we looked at recently. Combined with hardware, the total weight will likely be double this so it's worth baring in mind should you be eyeing up a space on that dodgy shelf in your lounge as a home for it.

The top panel comes off in one piece and reveals a fairly expansive interior that's relatively easy to work with. The PSU is installed at the back on top of two large rubber mounts behind a groups of four SSD mounts - another four of these are included in a separate bag to stick onto the base, as is a 120mm magnetic fan filter.

SilverStone Milo ML05 Review SilverStone Milo ML05 Review
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Something that many case manufacturers forget with HTPC cases is that you still need some airflow and a way for the heat to escape, especially as many HTPCs end up in stuffy TV cabinets. SilverStone hasn't included any fans as standard here, but there are two 80mm fan mounts in the side and a large vented plate that sits over the motherboard can also house a 120mm fan. As standard the vent in the top panel sits directly over the CPU area, so top-down low profile coolers should reap the rewards of unobstructed airflow.

The plate is the sole location for 3.5in hard disks and this is perhaps the first slipping point for the Milo ML05. Installing a hard disk here will mean that you not only lose the ability to mount a 120mm fan or a slimline optical drive but it will also restrict the CPU cooler height, which already stands at a meagre 70mm.


SilverStone Milo ML05 Review SilverStone Milo ML05 Review
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This restricts the flexibilty of the Milo ML05 for use as a media server, especially if you plan on installing an optical drive. SSDs are cheaper than they used to be but if you have a terabyte or two of videos, clearly things will be very expensive compared to using a single 2TB hard disk for example. However, while most of us own large 3.5in hard disks, it's worth remembering that a 1TB 2.5in hard disk will only set you back £50.

The other sticking point is the slot-loading rather than standard slimline optical drive requirement. If you're planning on buying a DVD drive then you'll be looking at paying double or even triple the price of a standard slimline drive here, however Blu-ray slot-loading slimline drives don't appear to be much more expensive than their push-button cousins.

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm) 350 x 204 x 99 (W x D x H)
  • Material Steel
  • Available colours Black
  • Weight 2.1kg
  • Front panel Power, reset, 2 x USB 3, stereo, microphone
  • Drive bays 1 x external slimline, slot-loading optical, 4 x internal 2.5in, 1 x internal 3.5in (shared with optical drive and 120mm fan mount
  • Form factor(s) Mini-ITX
  • Cooling 2 x 80mm fan mounts (fans not included)
  • CPU cooler clearance 70mm (with no fan, hard disk or optical drive installed)
  • Extras Anti-vibration case feet, magnetic fan filter, anti-vibration hard disk mounts.