The side panels slide on and off the chassis via notches and rails, but don't have any handles to grab hold of, which seems like an odd omission these days. The front panel is more clearly flawed, as although it pulls off easily enough, there's no way to get your hand underneath the chassis to get any grip on it. You'll either have to lift the case up or hang the front of it over the edge of a desk to access the appropriate handle.
You can also pull the entire roof panel off (rather than just the interchangeable bit), but doing so brings all the front I/O cables along for the ride too. On the subject of these, the majority of them are much too long for the enclosure's size, and they're all sleeved in different colours too. These are admittedly minor niggles, but we like our rigs looking neat and tidy, especially when there's a window involved.
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The Dead Silence's interior is divided into two main sections, with the horizontal motherboard tray acting as the split. Having the tray this way up means there's heaps of CPU cooler clearance (190mm in fact), and also means the strain on your board when using a hefty cooler will be minimal. The edges of the metal on the tray and throughout the case are well machined as well.
In the lower section, you'll find the PSU mounting area and two internal drive cages. There's overall a lot of space here, which makes cable management very easy, but the PSU area is fairly cramped thanks to the inside wall of the front HDD cage (the rest of this cage can be removed but this internal wall is fixed). Nevertheless, we like the shock absorbing rubber pads for the PSU and as the SSD cage is fully removable you should be able to slide longer PSUs in from that side if you need to.
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To use the SSD cage, which has ventilation holes behind it so drives aren't entirely sealed in, you simply screw four rubber mounts onto your drive and roll it into place, where a plastic arm will lock it. Meanwhile, HDDs are installed at the front using tool free drive trays, which pull apart and close shut again to lock drives in with their pins. They're plastic and a little flimsy but do have rubber pads to absorb vibrations and can also be used with 2.5-inch drives. The front drive cage is also positioned such that it'll receive airflow from the large front fan. We do feel like Aerocool could've done more with the space available to it in terms of storage options, however, as even SilverStone's tiny Sugo SG10 case is better equipped here.
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The upper section is sparse apart from the external drive cage, in which drives are installed the old fashioned way with screws. The lower part of this cage restricts GPU length to 255mm, but like the other cages it can be removed. However, it would be better if you could remove the upper and lower parts separately, as anyone with a high end graphics card (typically over 255mm) wouldn't be able to use the optical drive bay – perhaps not a big loss but still an unnecessary one.
The Dead Silence is more flexible than it lets on when it comes to water-cooling support. As well as the rear fan mount naturally supporting all-in-one coolers like the Corsair H80i (or 140mm models like the NZXT Kraken X40), the front fan mount could easily hold a sizeable radiator providing you're willing to remove the HDD cage, which would give you a lot of depth to play with. If you removed the optical drive cage there would also be room for a 240mm radiator, though a bit of modding would be needed to mount it.
Click to enlarge - There's lots of depth to play with if using a radiator in the roof mounts
The dual 140mm/120mm roof mounts can also be used for water-cooling. The upper section of the chassis is so open that if you don't need the optical drive cage there's nothing stopping you from installing a full thickness 240mm or 280mm radiator with fans on both sides, although you might have to be careful if your graphics card is taller than usual. That said, if you're installing fans on top of the mounts, the front one is limited to 120mm only, as the protruding I/O panels prevent 140mm fans from fitting. Even so, there's enough flexibility inside the Dead Silence to install a decent loop.