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SilverStone ML09B Mini-ITX HTPC Case Review and Recording Project

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Posted April 2, 2018 by Brendan van Varik in Cases & PSU

Overview

Hardware:
 
Manufacturer:
 
Price at time of Review: $70.06 for Case, $49.99 for PSU, on Amazon
 

WHAT WE LIKED:

Quality Design, Nice Layout for SFF, Excellent Price
 

WHAT WE DISLIKED:

Included fan is loud and only has a 3-pin connection
 
BOTTOM LINE:
In Spite of some challenges to work around, the SilverStone ML09B is a great option for a HTPC case. A builder would probably have a much easier time with more modern components, but more specialized builds can take some work in this chassis.
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by Brendan van Varik
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Conclusion

As with every product that we or any other site has ever taken a look at, there are some positives and some negatives to wade through before we cast a final judgement on said product. The SilverStone ML09B proclaims to be the HTPC chassis benchmark, so it is time to let the good fight the bad, and see who comes out on top.

To be totally honest, I always struggle with this part as I never know where to start. However, today, I am going to start with the price. I’ve managed to find it for roughly $75 (USD) which is a total bargain. For a chassis of this quality and considering that it is somewhat a niche market, you’ve got to give SilverStone credit for being able to bring this to market at such a low price point. The fact that it is able to look so stylish in pretty much any environment is strong grounds for it to be considered, in my humble opinion. Whilst it does have its drawbacks, which I will touch on in a second, you have to always bear in mind that it is just a $75 chassis at the end of the day.

So, the immediate drawback to the ML09B that sprung to mind as soon as I powered on the rig, as you may have read in the previous pages, is the fan. It’s a 3-pin fan, which is not something that all motherboards are able to control in the UEFI, and the fact that it isn’t as quiet as you may have expected. It was actually annoyingly loud in my (perhaps too quiet?) household. Next up, the airflow from the fan seems to be extremely low, despite spinning at 1600+ RPM. It’s understandable due to the fact that it is a slim fan, and perhaps I was expecting a little too much from it. If you happen to be someone with a more modern motherboard where you can choose between DC voltage control and/or PWM, then this may not be so much of an issue for you. It had to be mentioned as this is how I had to test it, so you’ll need to be the ultimate decider on this one.

The front panel is shiny and attracts dust like there is no tomorrow. I had to wipe it off so many times to take pictures, and even then you can most likely still see some specs of dust on there. I’ve mentioned that mine does seem to have a couple of defects (small white spots), but I feel that it is localized to my sample. Yours should arrive in absolutely perfect condition. In regards to the dust, it may honestly be due to the static buildup on the plastic itself as my house is currently extremely dry. If you live in a dusty region or a dusty house, be prepared to clean it off regularly to avoid it looking nasty.

From a design aspect, I would have liked to see the HDD/SSD cage positioned slightly further away from the side of the chassis, with the ability to mount the drives the other way around in order to better manage the cabling. In this particular instance, I had no issues with it, even though the 24-pin ATX connector was directly in the path of the SATA connections. Perhaps this is more of a personal preference, or an idea that SilverStone tried without success, so I am not going to let that weigh into the overall judgement here.

What would I like to change about the Milo ML09B? Only the fan, from a 3-pin to a PWM version. I do believe that my temperature issues are purely down to the hardware choices, but the increased airflow from the thicker 120mm fan proved to be very important. The extra airflow improved thermals throughout the entire chassis, which is an obvious observation to make, but it had to be said.

With all of the above in mind, I have to say that I do believe this may be the HTPC benchmark that SilverStone were so proud to label this product as. Whilst I did not have the opportunity to test it as a gaming rig, I do feel that the chassis is capable of removing the heat generated, as long as you are mindful with your hardware choices. There aren’t a lot of cases on the market that offer such stunning value for money at such a small price. It is still a niche market, but one that is soon to become the norm as the ever-changing IT world develops itself. If you are gaming in your living room, you’re most likely not looking to crank your details up, nor are you going to be sitting so close to the screen that you can see each spec of dirt on the blades of grass. For me, what you get is a console-sized machine that is capable of outperforming a console, whilst doubling up as a DVR (with an external USB solution rather than the PCI-E card) on top.

Finally, I think that this chassis most definitely deserves an award today. SilverStone did a fantastic job with the Milo Series, especially the ML09B model. It’s only fitting that I give it an appropriate award, and that would have to be the Editors Choice badge. It has the perfect combo for me – great looks, quality construction and a low price that is hard to resist. I can overlook the fan in light of the other positives that it brings to the table.

SilverStone Milo Series ML09 Case

ML09 Amazon Link

SilverStone SFX ST30SF PSU

ST30SF Amazon Link

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