Full-sized home-theater PCs seem to have fallen out of favor in recent years thanks to the popularity of smaller form factors like microATX and Mini-ITX. If you want to built a living-room box loaded with multiple tuners, gobs of storage, a discrete sound card, and enough horsepower to handle future games, there's still merit to an ATX build. Silverstone has a couple of new cases geared specifically toward that market, and we spent some time checking them out at the Consumer Electronics Show last week.
Silverstone says it hasn't done a major redesign for its HTPC line since 2005, so the Grandia GD07 and GD08 are a long time coming. The two cases are actually quite similar, differing only in the configuration of their drive bays and front panels. The GD07's front face is hidden behind a locking aluminum door, while the GD08 offers a clean front face with spring-loaded doors for just the optical bays. Both cases feature front-panel USB 3.0 connectivity and little sliders that adjust the brightness of the LEDs.
Internally, these cases are all about a move to bigger fans. Although the rear fan mounts can only accommodate a pair of 80-mm units, there's room for one side-mounted 120-mm fan in addition to two 120-mm air movers in the bottom panel. Those bottom and side fans are covered by removable dust filters, as is the expansive venting on the right side panel.
The bottom-mounted fans are designed to blow directly onto the removable drive cage, which can accommodate five 3.5-inchers in the GD07 and up to eight HDDs in the GD08. In exchange for fewer internal bays, the GD07 has two more external 5.25" bays then the GD08. Both cases sport dual mounting points for 2.5" drives.
The new Grandias are large enough to accept Extended ATX motherboards, so you should have no problem squeezing in longer graphics cards. They looked quite attractive at Silverstone's CES suite, but I couldn't help but notice the absence of tool-free amenities. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the recent surge of enthusiast mid-towers, which are admittedly more likely to be the subjects of regular tinkering than a home-theater PC. The fact that we scoped Corsair's latest cases right before meeting with Silverstone probably didn't help, either.