SilverStone ML04 & ML05 Slim HTPC Cases Reviewby E. Fylladitakis on April 18, 2014 2:30 PM EST
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Silverstone Milo ML04 Overview
Silverstone's packages are usually simple and straightforward and the packaging of the Milo ML04 is no different. It is a plain brown box with the basic features of the case printed on it. The bundle however is thoughtful for a case of this price range. Aside from the necessary screws and hardware, Silverstone also provides a 120mm fan filter, cable management straps, and a cable gooseneck lock. There is also a plastic key for the faceplate. Unfortunately, only one key is provided and these things are easily misplaced; however, the shape and size of the key is identical to a 2.6mm triangular screwdriver bit, which is relatively easily found and may be used as a crude replacement it if it comes to that.
As the expected environment for such a case is some kind of home theater / entertainment console, Silverstone focused on what really matters: the faceplate. The faceplate of the Milo ML04 is a large, thick plastic door with an anodized aluminum cover, creating a minimalistic, clean aesthetic design. The company logo, perhaps a bit oversized for the relatively compact case, is printed on the top left corner of the faceplate and a rectangular metallic power button can be seen at the lower right corner of the door. The door is held closed by a magnet, which feels a bit weak but it's actually just as strong as it should be for the smooth opening and closing of the door.
Behind the faceplate, there is a visible 5.25" device tray, two USB 3.0 ports, headset audio jacks, and the power and reset buttons. It is interesting to note that even though the power button is accessible from the outside of the faceplate, it is possible to lock the exterior button and require the door to be opened in order to access it. Alongside the rudimentary lock, this is a very good feature for families with children. When the door is open, a significant aesthetic flaw becomes apparent: there is a large gap between the plastic faceplate and the metallic chassis, which is normally masked by the closed door. This isn't a major concern as we expect most users will keep the door closed, but it does detract from the overall design.
The chassis of the Milo ML04 is simple SECC Steel and just 0.8mm thick. Visually, the difference between the faceplate and the steel body is significant, but Silverstone obviously bet that it will be hidden by furniture or other equipment. Large areas are perforated, such as the entire right side panel, the area above the CPU, and nearly 40% of the left side panel. As there is virtually no space at the rear of the case for a vent, Silverstone is using perforated, reusable expansion slot covers.
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johnny_boy - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - linkThe ML04 looks alright (not great, not terrible) but the ITX ML05 is terribly ugly. Diamond buttons? Big plastic strip across the front? There's a serious lack of nice, affordable, ITX cases especially in this HTPC form factor.
Dave12311231 - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - linkI would like to use the Milo ML05 with a 19V DC connector equipped motherboard and a Broadwell or future AMD system. This would negate the cables from an internal PSU whilst still having a very small case, hopefully cheaper than a NUC system overall.
jabber - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - linkThese are NOT great looking cases.
C'mon people try harder!
Alan G - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - linkWell they do look better than the traditional cable box that comes courtesy of your provider!
I've built several HTPCs for family and friends over the past six months and these cases should be OK. You don't need any graphics cards with new CPUs (I use Intel but I'm sure the same is true with AMD on board graphics). In addition HTPC systems are not energy demanding and I've got one in a Lian Li PCQ-27 case which is passively cooled. Temperatures under operating conditions with only the Intel stock cooler run just over 30C which is fine. The review is correct about the lack of choices in PSUs for these applications. I've been using Seasonic G-360s which work just fine and are silent.
Thanks for this posting and continue to find some small HTPC case to review.
irusun - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - linkAgree.
And especially the "mirror" front on the ML05 sounds awful... why would I want that sitting under/next to my TV bouncing all sorts of reflections?
jtd871 - Monday, April 21, 2014 - linkSilverstone now offers the recent ML06, which is the same chasis as the 05, but dumps the acrylic front panel for anodized aluminum like the 04.
irusun - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - linkI'm aware others have had similar comments, and I'm sincerely not trying to hurt E. Fylladitakis feelings or question his technical competence, and I'm rooting for him to succeed, but he really needs help with the writing. It's pretty obvious that english is not his first language, and it results in wordy paragraphs, weird phrasings (at times it sounds like it was written by a bot), and it's just plain difficult to follow at times. I expect better writing at Anandtech.
irusun - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - linkI'm surprised there's so little mention of "noise" in HTPC case reviews where noise is one of the primary issues of concern. I understand what was stated in the article about not being able to quantify results above background room noise, but how about some subjective comments just based on experience. Were the supplied PSUs "quiet"? Do the cases offer any advantages or disadvantages for building a quiet system? It's understood that there are an infinite combination of coolers and fans and PSUs, but I would expect some further thoughts on the noise front, even if they're just informed opinions.
Daniel Egger - Monday, April 21, 2014 - linkWhen building an HTPC noise is completely in your hand. Even if the case contains fans you almost certainly don't want to use them without any sort of fan controller if at all. Getting a mainboard with enough 3 or even 4 pin connectors for controlling the fans is highly recommended. In my setup I connected the 2 case fans only to provide some general airflow through the case so the rest of the components will also receive some cooling (and the CPU fan blowing out at the top can run at the slowest level for a longer time) but they're setup to run at the lowest possible speed so they're inaudible unless you hold your ear right next to them. Before changing the fan controller setup they were blowing at full pace making some unacceptable amount of noise.
Voldenuit - Sunday, April 20, 2014 - linkOK, I can understand why the ML04 doesn't have one, but wth didn't Silverstone design the ML05 with a GPU riser card to accommodate at least a medium to high end GPU? Even if a user opted not to turn their HTPC into a gaming device, this would open up the possibilities for more expansion cards that are not half height.