Tempered Glass with Silver Trims Everywhere…
You’ve got that right. The SilverStone LD01 chassis, part of their Lucid Series of cases, comes with three sides of tempered glass. On top of that, it also has a very stylish silver trim that yearns to be in your living room. It will serve as a modern and very sleek looking power house. Whether it be used as a gaming chassis or as a HTPC that just wants to look beautiful, this is one you may wish to consider. It looks to set the stage for a more modern and sophisticated look rather than your normal steel and plastic counterparts.
We’ve reviewed some SilverStone products in the past, and they’ve typically offered great bang for your buck. The LD01 chassis comes to market at approximately $130 – that isn’t a terribly steep asking price when all things are considered. However, it isn’t on the cheaper side of things either. We will have to judge whether or not it is worth the price, but that is of course why you’re here. From my initial impressions, this is going to be one heck of a case for those slightly more enthusiastic PC builders out there.
What’s under that cardboard box?
A SilverStone LD01! Har… har! But seriously, though, let’s take a look what is inside this rather boring looking exterior to get to the good stuff. The packaging serves its purpose to protect your chassis in the mail, but it doesn’t offer up anything visually appealing. With that said, though, not many cases have more than a brown box with lettering/branding on it. No point deduction here, that’s for sure.
What’s nice to see is the construction of the foam inside the box. It’s firm and densely packed, making it ideal for protection. The chassis comes in a plastic bag, which won’t serve much purpose other than keeping dust off of it; and to give you a wicked static shock when you pull it off.
Upon first glance, you can see the protective film over the three tempered glass panels. I made the rookie mistake of peeling these off before putting the build inside … whoops! I would strongly recommend not doing that. The glass is a nightmare to keep clean, as one might expect. It is absolutely stunning in the flesh – pictures do not do it justice.
All of the panels are trimmed with this silver lining, which serves two purposes here. One, it acts as a gorgeous trim, and two, it is how the panels mount to the chassis itself. I’ve yet to see a design like this, and I am actually pretty impressed with the ease of use and its function.
On the top of the LD01, we can see a few USB 3.0 connectors as well as a Type-C which is a beautiful thing to have in today’s age. Furthermore, we have a headphone and microphone jack as well as your power button to the right. The button has a nice tactile feel and a very satisfying click to it at the bottom of the switch. Oddly enough, there’s no reset button present.
Moving to the underside of the case, we can see a PSU filter and a couple of screws. Those screws are what mounts the HDD cage to the base. If you have a longer PSU, you will need to move them accordingly. You can also opt to remove the cage entirely if that’s more to your liking.
The PSU dust filter is easy to remove, and does not require any form of disassembly. All you need to do is lift the tab and pull.
Another dust filter is present for your intakes at the front of the case. Though no fans are provided, it is nice to see that the filter is there should you wish to add your own down the line. We were intending to use an AIO cooler for our test bench, but this proved to be an issue in prior testing, so we’ve resorted to the good ol’ fashioned air cooling.
Just like the PSU filter, it is easily removable by simply pulling on it. There are no screws holding it in place.
To finish off the exterior of the LD01, we have the top and its filter. Yes, it’s weird to have a filter on this side of the case as the hot air naturally wants to escape, but this is a slightly different design in the sense that it is inverted. Some users may wish to feed their GPU with more directed, cool air from the outside. If not, the air for the GPU will simply be pulled through here, so a filter makes sense in either situation.
How are the internals?
Having checked out the exterior of the LD01, let’s look internally to see what is on offer. The first thing that stands out is the long PSU shroud, a welcoming sight in a more luxurious case. There’s nothing worse than seeing a bundle of cables under your motherboard because there’s nowhere to hide them. Granted, you’re going to see them through the glass panel, but hopefully it’ll be up against a wall or somewhere you don’t often look.
As you can see, there’s a massive cutout for the CPU cooler installs, which makes your life so much easier when you change coolers more than you change your underwear. Every case should come with this as standard. Also within view is the GPU holder that keeps your GPU from sagging due to its own weight. Although I’ve always considered it normal due to the natural flex in PCB, it’s nice to see that SilverStone included such an option if you wish to use it. You have it, so why not?
While we have the case open in this image, I feel obligated to point out that you are not mistaken by the fact that there are no case fans installed. The LD01 does not come with any from the factory, which is a little underwhelming given its $130 price tag. At least an intake or two would’ve been superb, and may possibly really help with thermals within the chassis.
On the rear of the motherboard tray, we have the front panel connections as well as cable management options available to us.
A few more angles of the LD01…
The back of the chassis is very standard. One bonus to note here is that it has five expansion slots. Most of the mATX boards on the market, if not all, will not be able to take advantage of this, though. There’s room for a single 120mm fan at the back, too. 140mm would’ve been nice, but that would make the case wider than it already is.
Diving back into the chassis, we can see the PSU shroud that takes care of both the PSU and HDD/SSD cage. It will limit your choice somewhat if you wish to install water cooling due to radiator thickness. I did think about it, and even contemplated doing my next Ryzen build as mATX, but I just can’t.
Last of all, we have the accessories package. It comes with a quick guide, some warranty info, and all of your essential screws to get your build finished.
Installation of the miniature beast…
It is time to install the test bench into the LD01 to find out how it performs from a temperature standpoint. It already looks stunning, but that’s only half the battle. At this point, I feel it is worthwhile to reiterating the fact that there are no included fans with this chassis. This could quite possibly make for some mediocre temperatures. That remains to be seen – just a prediction for now.
Installing the PSU immediately presented an issue that was quickly rectified by moving the drive cage. The EVGA SuperNOVA G3 isn’t exactly a big PSU, but there was no way to fit it without moving the cage. At this point, I would’ve really liked to see the PSU shroud extend the length of the case.
With that said and done, you can see the HDD cage poking its way through the shroud. The rest of the build went in smoothly. I would thoroughly recommend plugging in your 8 pin EPS before situating the cooler. If you have large hands like myself, it’s a bit of a struggle.
The cabling is hard to hide at the best of times. It is made even more difficult by the fact that you have a glass back panel. You can’t see it very well without looking for it, but the real perfectionists among us may struggle to ever be happy with it.
You can see an SSD… barely!
Speaking of which, when you install an SSD or HDD to the two available positions behind the motherboard tray, you can’t help but run some ugly cabling to them. It’s almost impossible to do it neatly, unless you have custom cables (you really should in this case!) or have a unique PSU that doesn’t have the normal cable arrangements. To be fair, though, unless you light it up… you’ very unlikely to see the cabling. You can only just about see the SSD behind my reflection of the glass panel.
Lastly, this is what the internals of the rig look like through the glass. I have an extremely minimalistic setup going on here in terms of RGB/lighting, but it looks fantastic. If I had the RGB cooler I was intending to use, then it would look incredible. You can barely see anything through the glass when the rig is turned off – perfect!
The Test Setup
These components are part of our standardized setup for mATX case reviews;
Motherboard: ASROCK Z170M OC Formula
CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K (de-lidded) @ 4.8 GHz (1.31v)
Cooler: Thermalright Venemous X w/ 1x Noctua Redux 1700RPM Fan
RAM: GeIL SUPER LUCE 2x8GB DDR4-3200 C14
GPU: MSI GTX 580 Lightning
SSD: Intel 545s 128GB
PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA G3 850w 80+ GOLD
We run the CPU and FPU tests concurrently for ten minutes to until the cooler reaches equilibrium. Once it’s warm, we take the average maximum temperature from all four cores and perform our math from there.
For our GPU testing, we run Unigine Valley on the Extreme HD preset for ten minutes. We record the maximum temperature seen in GPU-Z.
The T-Delta°C is shown as well as the actual core temperature readings. T-Delta°C is a little more accurate due to it removing the ambient temperature from the equation. Showing both gives you a good idea as to what you could expect in your environment.
The CPU temperatures were terribly close to throttle point within the SilverStone LD01 chassis. As of right now, it can only be compared to our Open Bench Table, but it gives you a rough idea of how important airflow really is.
Similarly to the CPU temperatures, you can see how important airflow is. The GPU temperatures were a lot higher than our Open Bench Table. The reason is the same as the CPU: no fresh air coming into the case.
Final Thoughts & Conclusion
It’s time to weigh in on some final thoughts and give you the verdict. There are some strong positives to this chassis, as well as a couple of negatives. Let’s try to make this into a positive experience, but still shine light on what needs to be addressed. We are, after all, a fair and honest site. Anyway, let’s start off with the good, touch on the ‘meh’ and finish with some more good. Shall we…?
Firstly, the aesthetic may be a little too much for some, but I happen to find it super stylish. It’s actually something I’d be very happy to show off in my living room as a HTPC. On top of that, I’d also be very happy to house my gaming system inside, with a few tweaks, though.
The silver outline which acts as both the trim and the securing mechanism alike is a great contrast to the dark tempered glass. It is a nightmare to keep clean, even after only handling it for the few times that I did in order to install a system. That comes with any shiny surface, though, and isn’t strictly something you can avoid. With the shiny comes the finger print magnet. It’s just the way the world works, folks.
No fans? Really?
The lack of fans is biggest drawback that I wanted to touch on. I understand that many of us will want to purchase different fans to the stock ones. However, the fact that it comes with none at all at $130 is a tall order. Due to the lack of any air movement, the temperatures within the chassis took a pretty drastic change from the open air it came from. Had their been a single fan in the rear, or even one in the front, this would’ve mitigated a good chunk of the temperature difference. I’m not sure that there are many, if any, other cases out there at this price point with zero fan options included. That, and only that, is my biggest gripe about the LD01.
The other little irksome thing, for me at least, is the shorter PSU shroud. I understand that it is short for better radiator support, but a sliding option would’ve been perfect. I dislike how the HDD/SSD cage becomes visible. Let’s face it, most of us are using regular ATX-sized PSUs. The SuperNOVA G3 from EVGA isn’t exactly a large unit either. I chose to remove the cage entirely as I don’t and wouldn’t use it.
Back to the good!
It has a USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 connector! Whoopee! It is, unfortunately, only Gen 1, though. However, I bring good news. The USB Type-C port is actually Gen 2 certified, which is typically only held back by the motherboard header. SilverStone offer an add-in card that will promise to give you the full performance. The card is called an ECU04-E; more info here. It would’ve been perfect to see a Gen 2 port being utilized here, but there are no complaints from this corner. No more USB 2.0 on the front panel… finally! I think we’ve all seen just about enough of that as it is such an outdated spec by today’s standards.
Just in case it wasn’t painstakingly obvious already, this is one sexy case. It definitely deserves its place in anyone’s modernized home. If a fan or two happened to be included in the asking price of $130, then I’d have given it the double thumbs up. Unfortunately, as they aren’t included, the $130 price tag is a slightly tough pill to swallow. If you have deep enough pockets and are positive that you want this case for its stunning looks, then make sure you pick up a fan or two to go with it. My recommendation would naturally be to go down the RGB route with its glass sides. I’ve become quite the RGB fanboi as of late due to the sheer amount of customization it brings to the table.
And the award goes to…?!
Award time, ladies and gents. I believe I have made up my mind after pondering over it for a few days. It only feels appropriate to give the LD01 from SilverStone a Great Style award. That goes without saying. Had there been a fan or two included in the price, it would’ve collected the Must Have award from me. Having said that, it is still one of the finest looking cases I’ve seen in a long time. I truly hope to see a full ATX case (SilverStone, hit me up!) as well as an mITX case at some point down the line.
Special thanks go to SilverStone for providing HWHounds with a review sample. This has been a real joy to play with.
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