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The Silverstone TJ08 has been a very popular MicroATX case for many years. No case sticks around forever however, and Silverstone has decided that it is finally time to update this case to a new version: the TJ08-E.
Before we delve into the review of the new TJ08-E, lets take a minute to compare the manufacture specifications of this new case to it's predecessor.
|Aluminum front panel, steel frame
|Aluminum front panel, steel frame
|Max. Motherboard Size
|Front Panel Connectors
|2 (backwards compatible with USB 2.0)
|Front 120mm, Rear 120mm
|Front 180mm (with low/high switch)
|Additional Fans Possible
The specs between the two cases are very similar. The differences to note are the cooling changes (2x120mm fans on the TJ08 compared to 1x180mm fan on the TJ08-E) and the front ports (4xUSB 2.0 and firewire on the TJ08 compared to only 2x USB 3.0 on the TJ08-E). Some consumers might be disappointed in the drop in the number of USB ports, but the move to USB 3.0 is a good one. One nice thing is that Silverstone has included an USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 adapter with the TJ08-E, so if your motherboard does not support USB 3.0, you can use those ports as USB 2.0 ports instead.
Removing the side panels, we see three of the internal features of this case. First, at the bottom-right you can see the adjustable CPU cooler support stand. This might appear to be somewhat gimmicky to some, but with the gigantic size of some heatsinks currently on the market, it is actually a great way to reduce stress on the motherboard.
We can also see the 3.5" drive cage, which is actually dual-purpose. The first is it's obvious use: mounting 3.5" drives. Vibration dampening foam is included to help remove the vibration noise from platter drives. The cage also works as a shelf for long PCI-E video cards. Again, this might seem gimmicky, but really long PCI-E cards can over time damage the PCI-E slot on the motherboard just from sagging due to gravity.
Since the PCI-E cards pass over the 3.5" drive cage, it also allows very long PCI-E cards to be used (up to 13.25" according to Silverstone's specifications)
With the 3.5" drive cage removed, we get our first good look at the front 180mm fan. The fan is a Silverstone AP181 which is the same fan used in the Silverstone FT02B-W. This fan is roughly the same in terms of noise as an Antec Tri-cool, although due to it's size moves a decent amount more air.
The front fan mount also includes mounting for a 140mm fan, so replacing this fan with a quieter 140mm fan should be possible. In order to replace the front fan, you need to remove the front panel which is held in place with six screws, three on each side.
Looking from the opposite side, we can see the removable motherboard tray. The tray has plenty of options for cable management, but using any of them will essentially makes the tray non-removable.
You can also see that the PSU mount is offset away from the motherboard tray. While this at first appears to be minor detail, it is actually a great thing for cable management. By offsetting the PSU, it creates an extra space in which to store all the extra PSU cables you don't need.
|Silverstone includes both a rubber pad and a USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 adapter. The pad is used on top of the 3.5" drive cage to both cushion long PCI-E cards as well as act as a shim to give a little bit of adjustability.
With only a single front fan, we were curious as to how well this case can keep a hot system cool. Since the motherboard is mounted upside-down, the GPU fans will actually be above the main airflow provided by the front fan, so GPU cooling was one of our main concerns. For this reason, we used a GTX 480 for our testing. While this card is a few generations old right now, it is one of the hottest video cards we have ever seen which makes it ideal for heat testing. When it was our main high-end GPU, we regularly saw 100% load temperatures between 90° C and 100° C.
|Asus P8H67-M EVO REV 3.0
|2x Kingston ValueRAM DDR3-1333 2GB
|Intel 2500K Quad Core 3.3GHz
|Gelid Tranquillo Rev2
|Nvidia GTX 480
|Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
To fully load the system, we ran a combination of Prime95 and Furmark until the temperatures stabilized (roughly 10 minutes) with CoreTemp and GPU-Z being used to log the temperatures. This will cause higher temperatures than any normal user is likely to see, but gives us a clear worse-case scenario for cooling. Lets take a look at the results:
To put it simply, the temperatures look great. The GPU does hit 92° C, but again this is an abnormally hot GPU running a load that is beyond normal real-world levels. The thermal images show that even though the fan does not provide a large amount of cooling to the area above the video card, it is still plenty adequate for a single GPU system.
Overall, we feel that this case is a worthy successor to the Silverstone TJ08. The only major issue we found was a conflict between the hard drive mounting and larger CPU coolers. In short, with larger CPU coolers that have a fan on the front side (like the Gelid Tranquillo Rev2 we tested with) the SATA cables that are plugged into the hard drives get dangerously close the the CPU cooler fan. A 2.5" drive using a short adapter (such as the Scythe Bay Rafter) should not have this problem however, so this space issue is largely limited to traditional 3.5" drives.
The cooling provided by this case is definitely a step up from the TJ08 with the addition of the 180mm front fan. If the case did not also include a mount for 140mm fans, we would be concerned about using this case for an ultra quiet system since the 180mm fan, while quiet, is not as quiet as some 140mm fans available.
- Anti-vibration for 3.5" hard drives
- Removable motherboard tray
- Internal USB 3.0 header for front ports
- All black interior
- Thick rubber case feet
- No dual-audio header cable (HD only, no AC'97)
- Excellent cable management
- Externally accessible low/high switch for front fan
- Externally accessible front fan filter
- Adjustable CPU cooler stand to help brace larger heatsinks
- 3.5" drive bay acts as a "rest" for longer video cards
- 3.5" drive cage or motherboard panel must be removed to install/uninstall the motherboard
- Removable motherboard panel is not removable if using any of the cable management
- Larger CPU heatsinks may conflict with hard drive SATA cables
- Top panel must be removed to install/uninstall PSU
- PSU filter held in place only with magnets
- External 3.5" bay located at the very bottom of the case