Final Thoughts and Conclusions
The SilverStone Crown Series CW02 is a very impressive HTPC enclosure with a significant WOW factor that is sure to be a show piece in any high-end AV equipment stack. The CW02 is a large HTPC enclosure and is taller than most, which allows installing multiple high-end graphics adapters, a large power supply, and up to six internal 3.5" storage devices. This provides phenomenal storage capacity for all your favorite music, photos, and movies.
Your Basic HTPC Stack
(oppo S-ACD, SilverStone HTPC, Denon AVR)
The CW02 HTPC enclosure is made entirely from aluminum and the case is both sturdy and yet very light weight. The overall build quality and attention to detail are excellent. The case is very well ventilated and offers good airflow and case cooling, which is always important to keep high-end components running reliably.
The CW02 is one of the very few HTPC enclosures that can accommodate multiple high-end graphics adapters. In addition to providing the physical space necessary to install extended length graphics cards, the CW02 also allows installing a large, high capacity power supply and provides good airflow. However, as we pointed out in the Hardware Installation section, you will most likely need to remove the internal ODD to install extended graphics adapters and pay close attention to the PCI-E power cables as there is minimal clearance between the top of the graphics adapter and the bottom of the ODD enclosure (see Hardware Installation section for our solution to this potential problem). My only other minor complaint with the CW02 is with the convoluted iMON software installation and outdated documentation that ships with the system. The latest drivers, which support both Win XP and Win 7 are available from the iMON support website at ( www.soundgraph.com ).
Overall, we were thrilled with the SilverStone CW02 HTPC chassis based on both form and function. If you are in the market for a large, high-quality, good looking HTPC enclosure that is capable of housing a full, high-end gaming system or media server, then the SilverStone Crown Series CW02 HTPC chassis should be at the top of your list! On the other hand, if you are looking for smaller HTPC chassis, check out some of SilverStone’s other HTPC enclosures in their Grandia and Lascala series.
The SilverStone Crown Series CW02 HTPC enclosure is currently available with a street price of $359.99 USD (Amazon.com, May 2012).
At Home in the Rack
• Beautiful, high-end HTPC system enclosure
• Premium, heavy grade aluminum alloy construction
• Available in Black or Silver anodized finish
• Multilanguage, multifunction LCD display with remote control
• iMON software supports Win XP (SP2) and Win 7 (x86, x64)
• Supports ATX and Micro-ATX motherboards
• Supports extended length graphic cards
• Supports CPU coolers up to 160mm tall
• One external 5.25" optical drive bay for DVD/Blu-ray player
• Six internal 3.5" drive bays for multi-terabyte storage
• Suspended vibration dampening on hard drive cages
• Excellent case ventilation with multiple dedicated vents
• 120mm Quiet exhaust fan on back included
• Additional mounting holes for two optional 92mm case fans
• Built-in 52-in-1 card reader
• Front I/O ports and card reader concealed behind front door
• Expansion cards over 9" long may have a potential clearance problem between the PCI-E power connectors and internal ODD enclosure
• Convoluted software installation with outdated documentation
• Front I/O ports don’t support USB 3.0*
SilverStone Crown Series CW02 HTPC Chassis
*Note: SilverStone informed us that the CW02 HTPC chassis will be updated later this year with a new card reader and USB 3.0.