Silverstone ML03 Home Theatre PC case review

December 28, 2010 // 10:20 a.m.

Tags: #build #case #chassis #front-panel #home-theatre #htpc #matx #micro-atx #ml03 #pc #performance #pics #review #score #silverstone #theater #usb-3

Silverstone ML03: Features

Most notably, though, there's a maximum limit of 70mm for your CPU cooler, which means no tower coolers, although Silverstone has compensated for this by including mountings for four 80mm fan positions in the side, plus an awesome 140mm magnetic fan filter in the roof.

This means you can screw your fan into the filter, and it just latches to the steel frame above the CPU cooler. This is great, not only because it gives you more freedom to adjust the angle, but also because the fan just pops off when you remove the lid, rather than ripping out the power cable from the motherboard. It's a simple, yet wonderful idea. However, no 80mm fans or dust filters are provided in the box, so your box is going to very quickly resemble a Dyson if you do install some extra fans.

Silverstone ML03 Home Theatre PC case review Silverstone ML03: Features Silverstone ML03 Home Theatre PC case review Silverstone ML03: Features
Magnetic fan filters FTW!

The ML03's other major feature is its pair of front-mounted USB 3 ports, which hook up via an internal USB 3 connector. Compatible motherboards don't actually exist at the time of writing, but they'll turn up in 2011. In the meantime, Silverstone has also included an adapter so that you can use a normal pair of USB 2 pin-outs instead.

Silverstone ML03 Home Theatre PC case review Silverstone ML03: Features
The front USB 3 ports

However, squeezing hard drives and optical drives into the ML03 is a complicated task. It's worth noting that the official maximum length of optical drive is 170mm. There's one external 5.25in bay, two internal 3.5in bays and one 2.5in bay. Not only that, but these can be mixed up, so the 5.25in bay can be swapped out for another 3.5in bay, or two 2.5in bays, while the 3.5in bays can be exchanged for 2.5in bays. Get all that? Four SSDs, or three hard drives, or one optical drive and two hard drives, plus all the other combinations. Thankfully, the manual takes you through all the mounting options.
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