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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HTPC
This is my second case I've purchased. I was pleased with the design and the amount of drives this case will hold. There is plenty of room to run wires to drives and the case comes with the adapter to allow the USB 3.0 front panel connectors to be connector to the USB 2.0 header on the MB if your board does not have USB 3.0 headers on it.

Cons: This is not...
Published on June 27, 2011 by Scott Sutton

versus
71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent entry-level HTPC case with a few issues to consider...
In the past decade, I've built at least 300 media center PCs-- some for personal use, some for friends, and many for clients (I used to own a home theater installation business). I've purchased a few of the more high-end SilverStone cases and have always been happy with the build quality, ease of use, and overall feature set. I bought this case for a low-level build,...
Published 16 months ago by momentarydogma


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71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent entry-level HTPC case with a few issues to consider..., February 27, 2013
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This review is from: SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (Black) (Personal Computers)
In the past decade, I've built at least 300 media center PCs-- some for personal use, some for friends, and many for clients (I used to own a home theater installation business). I've purchased a few of the more high-end SilverStone cases and have always been happy with the build quality, ease of use, and overall feature set. I bought this case for a low-level build, made from spare parts I had laying around for an HTPC to put in the shed on my deck-- I certainly didn't want to go overboard on a case for this system, so I opted for this one mainly because it was cheap and it fit into the space I needed it to fit into.

This particular case is advertised as "the entry-level HTPC benchmark" (says so right on the box), and that description isn't at all deceptive, but if you're an actual entry-level user, there are a number of things you should definitely be aware of. First of all, it doesn't fit most standard power supplies. I tried three modular 500-600 watt PSUs that are what I consider to be the standard size, but all of them were too deep to fit into the space provided, so I had to use a 380 watt, non-modular Antec EA-380D Green power supply that fit the smaller dimensions. Unfortunately, a non-modular power supply isn't really ideal for this case-- one of its strengths is its small form-factor, but the mass of unused PSU wires is a real hindrance to the airflow here. I'm sure there are modular PSUs available in this smaller size, but I can't find one. The majority of the power supplies that will fit into this case are of the cheaper variety, and one thing I try not to skimp on is the PSU.

Secondly, the space between the PSU and the optical drive is so small that you can't fit a larger optical drive all the way into the provided slot because the PSU depth keeps you from being able to plug in the SATA power cable from the PSU. Right now, most optical drives are 6.7" deep, so this won't really be a huge issue for most new builds, but many older drives (especially those of the blu-ray variety) are 7.5" deep, which just won't fit into this case. This is particularly frustrating for me, because I had to drop $60 on a new blu-ray drive for this build-- if I had purchased the case I really wanted to get (the Fractal NODE 605), it would've cost me slightly more than twice as much as this case, but I wouldn't have had to buy a smaller blu-ray drive, so I ended up spending nearly the same amount to use this SilverStone case than I would have if I had purchased the much nicer case from Fractal. Obviously, that scenario is YMMV, but be sure to buy an optical drive that is no deeper than 6.7". Anything bigger than that just won't fit.

Additionally, and I knew this going into it, the case is only made for low-profile PCI/PCIe expansion cards-- most high-end graphics cards don't come in low-profile varieties (though I had a few decent ones with low-profile brackets), and my PCIe HDTV tuner card didn't come with a low-profile bracket either. I'm not knocking SilverStone for this, because there's a market for low-profile HTPCs, but you should take this into consideration when selecting your components.

My last beef with this case is the overall look of it-- don't get me wrong, it looks OKAY, but SilverStone has basically cheated a little bit on this one... it's advertised as an "aluminum/steel" case, which might give you the false impression that the front bezel is brushed aluminum. It's not, although the product pictures make it look like it is. I won't fault SilverStone for this, because they're not advertising it as a high-end case, nor do they claim that any part of it is brushed aluminum, but they have cleverly used a plastic material for the front bezel overlay that photographs a lot better than it looks in person. The material is similar to what you would find on those pictures that change when you move them back and forth (I know there's a name for this, but I can't remember what it is). Kind of a ridged plastic that has a certain sheen to it because of the texture. It doesn't look nearly as nice as brushed aluminum, but for the price, it's about as good as you can expect.

One other small thing to note is that the internal cables on this case that connect to your motherboard (front USB, front audio, HD led, power switch, etc.) are insanely long-- usually this would be a good thing so they're sure to reach the connectors on a variety of motherboards, but given the fact that the case is so small, it's obviously not necessary for them to be the length that they are, and it only adds to the already cramped space for your system's airflow. The wires are literally four times longer than they need to be-- if they were only 8" long, there would be ample length for them to reach my mobo connectors, but they're approximately 24" long. I had to zip-tie the excess and stuff it under the optical drive, which is already cramped for space since none of my modular power supplies would fit inside this case (I've got three or four unused PSU cables stuffed into the same area).

All that said, this is about the best case you can expect for the money that doesn't look super-cheap next to your other home theater components. It's a solidly-built HTPC case that will suit the needs of an experienced builder who understands exactly which components will fit properly inside of it. If you don't care whether or not your case looks high-end and you want to use the built-in graphics on your motherboard with no standard-sized PCI cards, go ahead and pull the trigger on this, but the space limitations are going to keep it from being a super-easy build. If you're new to building PCs, I'd opt for something with a little more room inside so you have more options when it comes to power supply, optical drive, motherboard, and expansion card selection.

I wouldn't go so far as to not recommend this product to the right user, but it has some definite shortcomings that might make for a frustrating experience for its target market of entry-level HTPC builders.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HTPC, June 27, 2011
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This review is from: SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (Black) (Personal Computers)
This is my second case I've purchased. I was pleased with the design and the amount of drives this case will hold. There is plenty of room to run wires to drives and the case comes with the adapter to allow the USB 3.0 front panel connectors to be connector to the USB 2.0 header on the MB if your board does not have USB 3.0 headers on it.

Cons: This is not really a con but you really need to be careful about the power supply you pick for this case. a 140mm is about the MAX. Any larger will make it almost impossible to install a Blu-ray drive which most are a little bite longer than standard DVD.A 90 degree connector is a must use in this case.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice, Simple Case, May 31, 2011
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This review is from: SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (Black) (Personal Computers)
I was looking for a slim style htpc case that would look good with my home theater without costing a bunch. This case fits the bill.
Installation of pc hardware was simple. I have a Gigabyte MicroATX USB 3.0 mobo that takes advantage of the case's 3.0 front ports which is nice. I'm using an Intel i3 with stock cooler and the temps in this case are fine. Also in the case is 2 3.5 Hard drives & the case has a nice mounting system for them. The only problem is that, as other reviewers have mentioned, the space for the optical player is tight.
I installed a Sony Optiarc BD-ROM Model BR-5100S & it was barely short enough but it did fit. So watch the length of whatever optical drive you want to put in this case. Other than that I am very pleased with it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looks Great! Average Quality., April 10, 2012
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This review is from: SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (Black) (Personal Computers)
I just built this case up. When received, it wasn't square, the panels were a little bent and the whole unit was not square. It took a little fiddling for 2-3 minutes to get it all lined up. Once that was done, screwing in the pieces was easy.

Things to note:
If you plan on installing an optical drive, get a power supply that is only 140mm long.
Try, if you can, to get a modular power supply. It gets a little crowded around the optical drive with all the cables
Make sure you have a cpu fan that can fit in here. Standard oem ones generally work, but don't buy a heatsink or fan without first looking this case over with your components.
It can take 4 80mm fans to help with air flow.
The USB 3.0 front ports come with an adapter for 2.0 headers, in case your motherboard doesn't have 3.0 headers.
I broke the cover of the Optical Drive when removing it, it was tough to remove.
The front is plastic with an aluminum face with texture
The power supply fan draws in air from below and pushes it out through the rear. It does not extract case air, so think about the 80mm fans
When using the 80mm fans, think about blocking the unused 80mm fan holes to help aid air exhaust - this is not if you plan to use 4 80mm fans
The paint chips easily, so don't rub this thing the wrong way.
The LEDs are bright, but as long as you are not facing them, they seem ok- otherwise, dont plug em in

I would buy this case again!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overall functional and small footprint., November 12, 2012
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This review is from: SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (Black) (Personal Computers)
I like this case a lot for the price and size. You can fit a lot into it, but there are drawbacks. My main concerns are that the case came to me slightly bent/warped. I noticed this when trying placing the case on a flat surface and the again when trying to get the case door back on. Unfortunately I needed to work hard to get things realigned properly. The back of the case is very flimsy and easily bent so be careful and don't apply a lot of pressure (especially when the top of the case if off). You can fit a lot into it, but the biggest problem is that depending on the positioning of your motherboard's ATX power connectors you might not be able to to reach to plug in the ATX power cables from your PSU. You can resolve this by flipping the PSU (which puts that power cable closer to the motherboard, giving you about 3-4 more inches of cable to work with), but this is a problem because the case's PSU air intake/outtake is on the bottom of the case. There are a variety of ways to configure things internally which really makes it easy for people to customize it how they'd like. I think overall this case is a 4 Star product, but I gave it 3 because mine came bent. You'l find many better HTPC cases on the market, but not at this price point. For a budget HTPC build this is an excellent option. I used older hardware in mine because that's what I had on hand.

I am currently using the following inside the ML03B: Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 1GB DDR5 Micro HDMI/DVI-I/Mini DP Low Profile PCI-Express Graphics Card 11202-10-20G, Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333 MHz (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory (CMV8GX3M2A1333C9), Intel E8400 Core 2 Duo Processor 3 GHz 6 MB Cache Socket LGA775, Gigabyte G41MT-S2PT LGA 775 G41 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard DDR3 1333 Motherboard, Asus Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-Ray Drive (BC-12B1ST), and a Silverstone ST45SF 450 watts SFX form factor power supply. I'm using a 30GB SSD as the boot drive with Windows 8 and have 2 x 750GB drives for local data storage. A lot of the components were from other builds I've done in the past. For Playign Media I am using MPC-HC with LAV Filters and MAdVR. With this setup I am able to Play any media out there at the moment; including 1080P Hi10 (10bit) encodes of all my favorite Anime as well as any other high bit rate content. If you have questions about an HTPC build I'd be happy to answer anything I can. If you're starting from scratch with new components then I'd go for a Core i3 or low end Core i5 for the CPU.

Pros:
*full size PCI braket for a fan connector, e-SATA bracket, or whatever else you want to put there that doesn't need a direct PCI board connection.
*varying options for multiple 2.5" and 3.5" drives with a single 5.25" device. You can fit 2 x 2.5" drives or a single 3.5" drive in the 5.25" bay area as well.
*Decent cable management and internal layout.
*USB 3.0 connections on the front of case.
*space for 4 x 80mm fans
*included extra fan dust filter
*Mini or Mico ATX motheboard compatibility
*Supports standard PS2(ATX) power supplies

Cons:
*Case came bent/warped
*PSU positioning limits cable length for power connectors
*flimsy back part of case can easily be bent/broken
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, inexpensive HTPC case, March 17, 2012
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This review is from: SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (Black) (Personal Computers)
Great value for my HTPC build. The cables for the front panel connections are unnecessarily long.
With a mATX mobo, CPU, RAM, optical and SSD drives and one expansion card, this case gets pretty cramped. If I had to do it all over, I'd stick with the case but get a modular PSU to cut down on the extra cables.
I didn't have a problem with the optical drive and PSU sizes (using an Antec EA-380D), but I did use a 90deg SATA cable for the optical drive.
The only fan I use on this is the OEM CPU fan (Intel i3) and it's good enough. Plenty of space for air to escape and move around on my HTPC. This probably would not be true if I had an actual video card rather than using the mobo's onboard video.
The front panel has a texture to it that attracts and holds on to dust.
The case came with more screws than you could possibly use inside this thing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice HTPC case, beware the power supply size requirements!, February 11, 2012
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DizoAZ (Gilbert, AZ) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (Black) (Personal Computers)
I bought this case along with a power supply that was deeper than 140mm and a optical drive.. Big mistake. Should have read the reviews to save me return shipping costs on the initial PSU I bought for this case.

The case is great, it's small and fit's a microATX motherboard and a ATX power supply. If you plan on installing a optical drive, make sure you buy a 140mm deep power supply, it states in clearly in the case manual, unfortunately I didn't see the manual before I purchased everything. If you think you're going to find a modular PSU that's 140mm, think again. You have to buy a 140mm PSU which means you're going to have to find places in this case to store all the extra un-used power connectors. I shoved them all under the optical drive. It's a tight fit, but if you route all the other cables nicely, you can still get good air flow by buying 4 80mm CoolerMaster fans as outlined in some of the user pictures that were uploaded.

Great case overall, just wish it was 3 inches deeper to allow for a modular power supply.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Case!!, September 14, 2011
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This review is from: SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (Black) (Personal Computers)
Great case, I've had this one for 6 months as an HTPC. I have a wireless keyboard & mouse hooked up and I'm in media heaven. I've barely watched any normal TV. The case runs nice and cool and I have two 3.5 hard drives inside. The 2nd HD location is a little funny, but it works. The connection wires inside are a little too long, but some twist ties help.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST HTPC case for the price..., September 7, 2011
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This review is from: SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (Black) (Personal Computers)
I purchased this to build a HTPC/Webcam server, and it has been an excellent purchase. Made with a strong crossbar inside, so it will support a heavy item on top (I have a monitor sitting on mine), it's built to last. Room inside for 4 80mm case fans (on the right side.) Good ventilation. Do be careful what optical drive and power supply you choose, the room between the two is tight. You will want both items to be on the small size depth wise. I had no problem finding a good combination.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid HTPC case, July 6, 2011
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This review is from: SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (Black) (Personal Computers)
Has pretty much everything you want for a middle of the road HTPC case. Haven't run it for long periods yet, so I don't know about air flow. Some reviews indicate that the lighton optical drives won't fit with a regular ATX psu. I can report that the Samsung SH-B123L bluray drive does fit. Only complaint would be the second HDD/SSD bay area. It is in an awkward location, and the manual doesn't really help with how the drive should be attached. I ended up with my ssd attached directly to the case, which may or may not be the best. Overall a good solid case.
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