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Silverstone's Temjin TJ08-E Evolution enclosure

Small case with a big heart

Manufacturer SilverStone
Model Temjin TJ08-E Evolution
Price (Street) $97.99
Availability Now

Over the years, our tendency has been to review mid- and full-tower enclosures bursting at their riveted seams with fans and features. The occasional small-form-factor case has caught our attention, but other dimensionally challenged boxes have largely gone unnoticed. The winds of change are blowing, however, and today we have something on tap that should be of interest to the less-is-more crowd: a Micro ATX case from Silverstone.

Every night, after I've finished counting 01100100 sheep in binary and nodded off to sleep, the perfect enclosure that materializes in my dreams tends to be a large mid-tower that also cooks a mean slab of bacon. Even during an off night, when my dream case lacks bacony goodness, there still remains ample room for a power-thirsty CPU and a high-end graphics card or two. Imagine my surprise when the Temjin TJ08-E Evolution arrived on my doorstep one morning purporting to realize my fantasy in mini-tower form, minus the integrated skillet.

Intrigued, and inexplicably hungry, I tore into the understated packaging. Could this Micro ATX case hold its own against larger towers?

External impressions
Half of the battle when building a case is creating something visually appealing to the target audience. Like other members of the Temjin series, the TJ08-E has a tasteful and conservative design. Every surface inside and out is finished in matte black. The brushed aluminum front panel adds texture, while the remainder of the case is built out of smooth steel. This all-metal construction feels structurally solid and exhibits none of the tell-tale wobbling or flimsiness common in budget cases.

The centrally located port cluster is well organized and contains two USB 3.0 ports as well as headphone and microphone jacks. The power and hard drive activity LEDs are positioned in between the reset and power buttons. These buttons are crafted from aluminum and have an excellent tactile feel when pressed.

The TJ08-E's external drive accommodations include two 5.25" bays up top and a single 3.5" bay at the bottom. Sturdy, anodized aluminum covers protect the empty bays, though the gap between the 5.25" covers is too large for my tastes. The gap disappears when an optical drive is installed.

Sandwiched between the port cluster and the external 3.5" bay is a surprisingly large mesh grill that discreetly conceals the case's secret weapon: a massive 180-mm intake fan. Seriously: 180 mm, in a mini-tower case. A removable dust filter lurks behind the mesh and can be easily popped out from either side of the front panel. This is perhaps the best intake filter configuration I've seen to date. To curb the intake fan's appetite for air, a two-setting speed controller switch is recessed into the right edge of the front panel.