A week or so ago, we published our Gigabyte Z87M-D3H as part of our new focus on small form factor gaming PCs. There’s no question that this is the way of the future for a lot of people, especially those who want to game in their living rooms. If you are looking to put together a SteamOS gaming build, this is the kind of case you’ll be looking at.
The question is, what do you give up when building a mATX gaming rig? Are you limited to weak video cards? What about cooling? Will the case be a huge tangled mess of cables coming from the PSU? With the Cooler Master Silencio 852 at least, you might be pleasantly surprised by how much power you can fit into it.
Silencio 352 Review
The Cooler Master Silencio 352 supports mATX motherboards, and is designed to be a silent gaming system. By going with mATX, you don’t give up too much in potential power – you can still use large coolers, you still get 4 DIMMs, and as many SATA ports the chipset can provide. In my opinion, mATX is the best tradeoff between size and power.
Click below for full specs:
|Max CPU Cooler Height||155 mm / 6.1 "|
|Max Video Card Length||355 mm / 14.0 "|
|Case Dimensions (HxWxD)||37.8 x 20.0 x 45.3 cm|
14.9 x 7.9 x 17.8 "
|External Drive Bays||1 x 3.5"|
1 x 5.25" (max drive length 17cm)
|Internal Drive Bays||2 x 3.5"|
4 x 2.5"
|Front Panel Headers||USB 3.0 x 2|
USB 2.0 x 1
SD card reader
|Cooling System||Top: 120x15mm fan x 1 (optional)|
Front:120mm fan x 2 (one included)
Rear: 120mm x 1 (included)
|Motherboard Type||micro ATX, Mini ITX|
|PSU Type||Standard ATX|
The Silencio 352, which looks just as good inside as it does outside, is 37.8 cm high, 20cm wide, and 45.4cm deep – that is quite deep for a SFF case, but this is what allows it to accommodate video cards up to 42.3cm without hitting the front intake fan. For reference, the longest dual GPU cards right now are the Radeon 7990 at 30cm and GeForce 690 at 28cm. The Silencio 352 gives you as much room as you need.
The Silencio 352 can accommodate CPU coolers up to 15.5cm tall. While this barely leaves out monster heatsinks like the Noctua NH-D14 (16cm) and the Phanteks PH-TC14PE (17cm) and such, you don’t have to resort to a low profile cooler.
The Silencio 352 has locations for up to four 120mm fans, two of which are preinstalled on the front and back. The front intake can also accommodate a 240mm length radiator. The top vent has a magnetic dust filter, and can also be blocked with a magnetic piece of plastic which can help dampen noise if not using it for exhaust. The bottom intake for the PSU also has its own dust filter.
The Silencio 352′s plastic front door swings open to reveal the front intake port (with removable dust filter) and an array of ports. Included are two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, headphone, mic, and even an SD card reader. This is a nice touch! There is also room for one external 3.5″ bay, and a 5.25″ bay. These are both hidden when the door is closed.
You may have noticed that the Silencio 352′s side panels and front door are coated in a foam that supposedly helps block noise. I have my doubts about this though, as the coating is very thin and light. Also, the top surface is untreated, which would let any noise out anyway. Compare this to the noise cancellation surface on the Fractal Design Define R3, and you’ll see which company really takes this step seriously. This might dampen the sound a bit, but if you are building a dead silent system, you will need to take further steps.
Looking at the back, we like to see some extra space behind the motherboard (to the left on this photo). Unfortunately there doesn’t look to be a lot of space there. Let’s see if that affects the installation process: