The term budget PC chassis has often been synonymous with flimsy build quality and an uninspired aesthetic design. Usually, reducing net costs result in too many compromises as cooling performance and case adaptively leaves a lot to be desired.. However, there has been a recent deluge of PC cases on the market designed to provide excellent levels of performance whilst maintaining virtually-silent operation. Newcomers on the scene such as the Bitfenix Neos and Silverstone Precision PS10 claim to have solidly built, well-thought out cases at a price to please the budget-conscience consumer. Have Silverstone managed to pull this off this difficult feat?
● ATX, Micro-ATX Motherboard Support
● High-strength plastic front panel and steel body construction
● 4 x 5.25” external drive bays
● 5 x 3.5″ or 2.5” internal drive bays
● 2 x 120mm fan slot or 2 x 140mm fan slot in the top, 1 x 120mm intake fan, 1 x 120mm fan slot in the front and 1 x 120mm fan slot in the rear.
● 7 expansion slots (support for up to 11.5” graphics cards)
● 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x audio, 1 x microphone front I/O ports
● Standard ATX PSU compatibility
● Net weight – 6.2KG
● Dimensions – 220 x 480 x 522 mm
● Quick access filters for easy cleaning
● Motherboard back plate opening for quick CPU cooler assembly
● Side intake vents to minimizes noise
● All black painting inside with stylish look
● Foam padded side panel for noise absorption
● Highly flexible drive storage options
Silverstone’s packaging materials are fairly impressive given the low price point of this case. Unfortunately, this review unit had been recklessly thrown about by the carrier and contained a substantial dent in the box. As such, I feared the worst and expected to see some cosmetic marks at the very least. The thick cardboard and strong, resilient foam protected the case extremely well during transit and I couldn’t even find a small defect in the manufacturing process. Hardened foam protection is an additional cost so I applaud Silverstone for not cutting back in this vital area. The box itself is fairly plain and outlines features you wouldn’t expect to see from a budget case such as noise dampening.
The PS10 case employs a simple, understated design but adds a slice of character through the striking and protruding side panel layout. These panels have an elongated section in the middle where the noise-reducing foam is placed. The extended portion of the side panels is quite thin so its not designed to support a large concentration of cables pushing out of the actual case. I was impressed by the overall aesthetic design as it emanates a professional and classy look. The top intake vent has support for dual 120mm/140mm fans and offers CLC water cooling options if you want to go down that route with a Corsair H100i or similar device. Additionally, there is a magnetic dust filter which is incredibly easy to remove and does a great job of eliminating dust in an area which can be difficult to clean thoroughly. To put this into perspective, my £105 Corsair Air 540 does not have a dust filter in the roof whilst this case at half the price does.
Now we move onto the rear portion of the case which has a mounting point for a 120mm fan and clasping system to keep your expansion cards securely in place. By default, the case only comes with 1 120mm fan in the front so I would allocate a proportion of your budget to buy some fairly inexpensive fans if you want to attain reasonable temperatures. Using the included fan on its own will not offer adequate cooling for gaming purposes especially if you decide to overclock your CPU and GPU. The PCI bracket clasp is well designed and adds some additional support to larger graphics card with a substantial weight. However, it isn’t going to protect from bowing due to the plastic construction.
The front section has 5x 5.25” bays, 2x USB 3.0 ports, Power/Reset Buttons, LED indicator and headphone/microphone connectivity. Removing the front panel is relatively simple and all you have to do is place your hand under on the bottom and firmly pull until release. There are also two removable dust filters with a honeycomb design which reduce the ambient noise levels to a certain degree. The case uses a flap to remove these filters for cleaning purposes. In my view, they feel a little bit too flimsy and I can see the plastic flap breaking without too much effort. Another slight niggle is the Power/Reset buttons as they feel mushy and can be fairly hard to press down.
On another note, the rear part of the case contains a dust filter for your power supply. This is a welcome addition and not something I would expect to see on a lower priced PC chassis. Silverstone seems to have made a conscience effort to reduce as much dust as feasibly possible from your system build. Unfortunately, one cutback seems to be the feet as they are made entirely from plastic with no rubber padding which usually protects against unwanted vibrations. The lack of vibration dampening may irritate people looking for a perfectly silent rig.
Onto the internals now and Silverstone has done a fairly proficient job in terms of the case layout and features. There is a large CPU cutout to aid the installation of air cooling heatsinks such as the Noctua NH-D15 with aftermarket backplates. The optical bay mounting mechanism is tool less and works by loosening two latches and affixing them to your device. This excellent system is let down slightly by the need to remove the front panel to pop out each front panel cover. Installation of SSDs or traditional HDDS are a breeze and requires you to push in the tabs, remove the drive bracket and screw your HDD/SSD into place.
There are a few minor grievances such as the lack of rubber grommets which make cable management messier than it should be. It’s annoying because without the black rubber exterior, every cable can be traced to its source. This complaint may seem a bit excessive but if you are using braided cable extensions then the stock cables might be on show if its a tight fit. Another issue which is inexcusable and doesn’t cost anything to remedy is the lack of pre-installed motherboard standoffs. Corsair cases all come with the standoffs for ATX sized motherboards pre-installed and this makes the user build quicker and more user-friendly. You could argue that people may use other motherboard types such as mATX but the majority of consumers will be opting for a standard ATX build.
I was thoroughly impressed with the steel frame which has a small amount of flex and is remarkably sturdy. The build quality is exceptional for the price. Despite this, the one major reservation to take into account is the maximum GPU length of 11.5”. High end GPUs like the Sapphire Tri-X 290X are 12” long and will not fit due to an upright metal piece which supports the case. As a result, I couldn’t test this particular case with my discrete graphics card. There has been some thoughtful ideas into the design though as this metal piece features ventilation holes for GPU cooling.
The installation process was relatively painless and I didn’t encounter any major problems during the entire build. As mentioned previously, the lack of pre-installed standoffs is a little counterproductive but it only takes a minute or so to screw these in. When the motherboard is in position it feels extremely solid and the large cutout makes working around the CPU area a breeze. The front panel connectors are of a good length and can be routed well to give a clean and tidy look. I didn’t experience any issues when mounting the fans so the screw points were solid and didn’t buckle under the pressure.
So how does the case perform? The stock build with only 1 fan is extremely quiet but lacks cooling proficiency under load. When you add 2-3 of your own fans, the cooling dramatically improves but this comes at a cost of increase noise. If you’re looking for a basic rig with no overclocking and light usage then you can get an ultra quiet system out of this case. On the other hand, if you want to push the limits of performance, it is highly recommended that you choose additional cooling over silent operation. Achieving both was fairly difficult during the install.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
The Silverstone Precision PS10 case is an extraordinary value-for-money proposition when you factor in the dust filters, good build quality and aesthetically pleasing design. There are elements which could be improved such as the plastic feet and lack of rubber grommets, but these are only very small criticisms especially considering the current price of £33.72/$49.99. This case pushes way above its weight and has a wealth of features to suit someone looking for a reliable product at an affordable price.