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Silverstone branches out

Silverstone branches out

Real speakers...reeeealll speakers.

Those of you who are familiar with my case decisions know that Silverstone is probably my favourite case designer of all time. The sleek look and clean frames are attractive on their own or easy to mod if you choose. But, try as I might, it's often hard to think of the company outside of cases except for the excellent NT-06 cooler.

At least, until today. Silverstone showed me three very interesting devies that it's been working on that branch very far out from cases. I was quite impressed with a couple of them, and I think that you might be as well.

First up was a set of audio accessories for the PC. The EB01 (retailing in a few weeks) is a USB driven DAC, or Digital to Analog Converter. The EB01 pulls digital sound information from the USB port and translates it to an analog equivalent. Then, the EB02 unit (sold separately) takes the feed and ports it out to the speaker connections on the back - which are designed for proper speakers, as in RCA and wire jacks like you connect to your stereo.

The combined units will retail for around $250 US (no EU pricing yet) and should be available in the next couple weeks in the States and by mid-February in the EU. Silverstone designed the product in order to fill what the company considers to be a horrible deficiency in PC audio - the speakers. It seems that no matter what high end sound product you have, you still have to port out to tinny little speakers or expensive, high-end head units with digital inputs. Needless to say, we'll tell you more about it as soon as we have them in our eager hands.

Next up was a mouse that Silverstone has been working on - it contains more bells and whistles than you can imagine, including a thumb wheel that is designed for the Vista alt-tab replacement. Button placement is really not like much that you've seen before, including two spare buttons down the right edge as well as the wheel and extra buttons on the left. The "palm" spot of the mouse is made of carbon fibre, which is actually a bit of a hint of what's to come from the company case-wise.

Though the general idea is pretty nice, it overall feels a bit too big to use and could be hard to justify for those who like a light, fast mouse. As a gaming feature, the mouse actually has five different "program modes" (for different button functions) and can control the resolution of each axis independently. However, I go back to the fact that it is so big (though comfortable) that I could hardly imagine someone that doesn't have quite a bear paw for a hand thinking it's fast enough to game with.

Next, the company is releasing a bay-insert that is a Microsoft Sideshow device. The insert is actually removable (it's technically a mini-USB connection) and able to be taken around as a Bluetooth remote for the computer. It also has 1GB of memory on-board to carry MP3s, pictures, or videos, should you like. It's not a lot, but it's plenty to tool around the house with for a little while while you're away from your desk. The unit even has a little easel so that it can be stood up like a picture frame.

Finally, for all of you ESA nuts, Silverstone is hearing the call. The TJ-10 is undergoing the addition of an ESA board for fan control and will be sold as a special model (the five large green-LED case fans are included). As well, Silverstone has received the nod from Nvidia and the ESA group to sell an ESA commander bay insert to control fans on cases that were purchased before ESA was created. The commander will not be certified (as there is no knowledge of what case you could put it in), but it will allow people to get the benefits of ESA in a case that they already own.

So, it looks like we'll be seeing quite a bit from Silverstone in 2008. Personally, I'm quite excited about the audio product, but does any of this grab your attention? Let us know in the forums.



The audio units EB01 and EB02 stack to form a nice little controller on your desk, sending sound from USB to proper stereo speakers.


The Sideshow double-bay screen can be completely removed from the case to function as a remote or portable media player.


The TJ-10 now comes in an NVIDIA-branded ESA version. For cases that aren't already ESA compatible, Silverstone will release an ESA commander bay insert.

17 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Mankz 9th January 2008, 15:35 Quote
Thats slideshow thing looks quite interesting!
TTmodder 9th January 2008, 15:43 Quote
Neato stuff. especially about the sideshow/portable media player combo.
samkiller42 9th January 2008, 15:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mankz.
Thats slideshow thing looks quite interesting!

It certainly does look good, might have a noosey around silverstones website later to look for it, if its there.

Sam
E.E.L. Ambiense 9th January 2008, 15:51 Quote
What I find kind of funny is the second to the last pic has what looks to be an Enermax Caesar keyboard there. Using one of their competitor's products. :) It'd be cool if Silverstone would put out their own aluminum keyboard to match along with their chassis.
Whalemeister 9th January 2008, 15:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mankz.
Thats slideshow thing looks quite interesting!

Interesting indeed, remote and MP3/Slidshow!!! I want one, anyone know european or UK prices?
salesman 9th January 2008, 16:02 Quote
I'm going to read up on that case
Aterius Gmork 9th January 2008, 16:11 Quote
This audio thing - You do not need any amplifier any more right? You can connect it right to the speakers, right? And you can also connect some headphones at the same time? There is also no need for a high-end soundcard? OMG if that is true it is extreme cheesecake.
hawky84 9th January 2008, 16:18 Quote
I like the DAC idea it is by far the best way to get music from the PC.

I've been using a Theta DAC which takes the optical out from the onboard sound card, then from the Theta DAC to my amp. I have tried a direct comparison between my Theta CD transport playing a CD against a FLAC file I made from the same CD and even though both CD transport and PC go thorugh the Theta DAC, the CD transport still sounds better. I thought with the lack of moving parts (the CD mech) FLAC would come off better
Da Dego 9th January 2008, 17:43 Quote
Hey guys, just wanted to give a couple answers to the questions here. The Sideshow device is due out in late Q1, you can guarantee I'll have it in hands for a review around the same time. The price on both sides is unsure, but I was told that the target is to hit "under $200 USD."

The EB02 (speaker connection) is indeed an amplifier - therefore, you need nothing else. You hook it directly to the speakers. It can be fed via the EB01 DAC or via your headphone jack if you don't want to buy the EB01. It takes away some of the cool potential, but it will function separately (whereas the EB01 needs the EB02 or another amp to work).
Aterius Gmork 9th January 2008, 18:23 Quote
So you don't need a good sozund card if you got the EB01 DAC right? It would probably cost about the same but maximise quality right?
Redbeaver 9th January 2008, 18:53 Quote
aye, the sideshow is cool! the price is nice if its indeed under $200.

no picture on the mouse?


hmmm... TJ-10.... too bad those darn things are so freakin expensive :(

i have a TJ06 and TJ04 at home :)
myhottrashcan 9th January 2008, 19:51 Quote
Glad someone's attempting to use sideshow. It was beginning to look a bit useless.

On the DAC end, I've had something similar for a few years. It's a only a headphone amp though, however it gets power via usb, and has nice crisp digital sound, so there's no expensive internal card hogging my PCI space!
3.5SE 10th January 2008, 03:23 Quote
The sideshow device looks sweet. I'd be in for one at least if it comes in around the $200 mark. It will look cool in my TJ09. Too bad it won't fit in my Silverstone LC17 HTPC case.
Naberius 10th January 2008, 06:58 Quote
I have always liked silverstone, so its nice to see them branching out into other area's, just looking forward to seeing this stuff hit the market.
3000MACHINES 10th January 2008, 15:34 Quote
Looks like a lot of good product, i specially like, the audio unit and the slideshow unit, Silverstone is going to become more bigger than ever with all this product. I will keep an eyes on it !
Nexxo 10th January 2008, 18:42 Quote
Removable sideshow screen that doubles as remote/portable media player?!?

OMFG. NEEEEEEED!!!!
Rocket733 11th January 2008, 05:27 Quote
Quote:
At least, until today. Silverstone showed me three very interesting devies that it's been working on that branch very far out from cases. I was quite impressed with a couple of them, and I think that you might be as well.

Devices* ;)

Also the EB01 has been out for quite some time now (seeing as how I have one) and while it's quite good for music if you want any sort of post-processing, EAX, 5.1, etc you'll need to use your traditional sound card as the EB01 doesn't support it. Also the EB01 uses a Burr-Brown 2072 which only supports 16-bit and is powered through the USB instead of higher-end USB dac's which employ a separate power supply.
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