SilverStone PS14-E Tempered Glass Mid-Tower Case Review
An Affordable ATX Case from SilverStone’s Precision Series
In the timeline of the custom PC marketplace, SilverStone has been around an ice age or two, having started business in 2003. They have a reputation of making many high quality, yet unusual enclosures. They were a pioneer of the small form factor case that could accept a lot of hardware. I’m Clueless to why they don’t receive more recognition for some of their designs.
I’ve built systems in a handful of their cases, including a Raven 3, which held my personal system for a while, and the Fortress FT-04, which is still on my wife’s desk holding its third different set of components.
SilverStone has been on a new design tear recently. They have sent the PC Perspective staff several units for review over the last few months, with their new budget oriented ATX Mid tower, the PS14-E landing on my doorstep. I’ll be honest; it was difficult locating pricing information on this chassis, and eventually I had to follow the link from SilverStone’s website to Amazon, which lists it as the PS14B-EG (SilverStone’s specs actually list it as “Model No.: SST-PS14B-EG” -Ed.).
At the time of writing this review it was selling for $64.99 (current street price on 12/13/19 is $57.99).
- Model No.: SST-PS14B-EG
- Material: Plastic front panel, steel body
- Motherboard: SSI-CEB, ATX, Micro-ATX
- Expansion slots: 7
- Drive bay:
- External 5.25″ x 1
- Internal: 3.5″ x 2, 2.5″ x 2
- Cooling system
- Front: 120mm fan slot x 3 (support 140mm fan x 2)
- Rear: 120mm fan x 1 (support 140mm fan x 1)
- Top: 120mm fan slot x 2 (support 140mm fan x 2)
- Radiator support
- Front: 120mm / 140mm / 240mm / 280mm / 360mm x 1 (5.25″ drive bay unavailable*)
- Rear: 120mm / 140mm x 1
- Top: 120mm / 240mm x 1 (5.25″ drive bay unavailable*)
- Front I/O ports:
- USB 3.0 Type-A x 2
- Audio x 1
- MIC x 1
- Power supply: Standard PS2(ATX)
- Component Clearance:
- Expansion card: Support up to 14″ (357mm), width restriction – 7.2″ (183mm)
- Limitation of CPU cooler: 177mm
- Limitation of PSU: 190~210mm
- Net weight: 5.7kg
- 210mm (W) x 469mm (H) x 438mm (D)
- 8.27″ (W) x 18.46″ (H) x 17.24″ (D)
- 43.1 Liters
The basic design of this chassis should be familiar to most at this point. It’s a black steel mid-tower that supports up to ATX motherboards. Beneath the full size, lightly tinted, tempered glass side panel, it has a full length power supply basement which conceals two 3.5 inch drive trays, and a ventilated top panel with a magnetic dust filter.
The front I/O consists of power and reset switches, separate headphone and mic jacks, and two USB ports, which appear to be USB 2.0 (as they are black), but connect to the motherboards USB 3.0 header.
In a Blast from the Past, and much to the joy of museum curators everywhere who still use optical media, the PS14-E comes with a 5.25 inch drive bay at the top front, which is removable if you so choose. (I can make fun, I have hundreds of CDs, DVDs and Blu Rays within reaching distance of my desk.)
Also, if you like to make sure your GPU stays nice and warm in the cold winter months, it includes an adjustable, vertical GPU support bracket, though you will have to purchase an optional PCI-e extender cable if you want that look.
The PS14-E comes with a single, 120mm fan in the exhaust position (which is the best place if you’re only going to use one fan). The very cheap looking and feeling plastic front panel offers minimal airflow through the two rows of vents which run almost the full length of each side.
I will note that while Silverstone uses the “four grommeted posts” method to attach the glass panel, there is something different about their posts, as they held the glass more securely in place during installation than any other case of this design which I have encountered.
Beyond the basic layout, which has become almost an industry standard for mid towers at this point, the PS14-E is slightly larger than most of the budget mid towers I’ve encountered recently, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The PS14-E has much more room for both air and liquid cooling than any of the other mid-towers I’ve reviewed for the site to this point. It has room for up to a 360mm radiator in the front (Sorry Josh, the 5.25 bay has to come out for this), a 240mm in the top, and a 120 or 140 mm in the rear.
In addition, SilverStone claims clearance for up to a 177mm tall air cooler (I measured just over 180mm to the plane of the glass). On first glance the ventilation in the front panel looked like it would be very restrictive, but after temperature testing, I found that it was a bit better than I expected. It’s nothing like a full mesh panel, but still it wasn’t terrible.
Building in the PS14-E was a mixed experience. The basic chassis is very stiff, and has little to no flex, but this can be mostly attributed to the front fan grills and PCI expansion slot brackets which are attached to the chassis, and have to be cut or popped out if you want to remove them. I hadn’t seen a case built like this is some time, and it really should be something you only encounter on cases under $50. I left the front grills in place for the build, as they didn’t interfere with the fans I was using, but there are fans out there which could conflict with the grills.
There was also very little space between the front of the power supply and the drive trays for the PSU cables, which made installation of the PSU slightly tedious. There is certainly not enough room to try to plug modular cable in with the PSU in place, so you will need to insure all the cables you’ll need are already in when you install the PSU.
The PSU can only go in from the right hand side, as there is no bracket to allow it to be installed from the rear of the case, as with some others in this market segment. Aside from those fairly minor issues, the installation was a breeze due to the stiffness and extra space in the chassis. There was plenty of room to work inside the chassis and even the CPU power plug on the motherboard could be reached without much fussing about.
A clean looking build in this budget ($57.99) ATX case! -Ed.
When it got to testing the system, I was pleasantly surprised. When I initially saw how narrow the front vent openings were, and with being limited to a single fan in stock configuration, I didn’t have much hope that the chassis would fare well in the temperature testing.
|Enclosure Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Xeon E3 1245 V2|
|Motherboard||ASRock Z77 Pro M Motherboard|
|Memory||16GB (2x8GB) G.Skill Ripjaw DDR3-1666|
|Graphics Card||EVGA GeForce GTX 980 SC w/ Arctic Twin Turbo II Cooler|
|Storage||Intel 520 Series 120gb SSD|
|CPU Cooler||Scythe Choten w/ be quiet! Silent Wings 3 fan|
be quiet! Silent Wings 3 fan (used with Scythe Choten CPU Cooler) set to 100%. Arctic Cooling Twin Turbo II GPU cooler fan speed set to 33% (highest fan speed reached on default curve during open bench stress test).
Standardized Airflow Test:
- 3 x Be Quiet Pure Wings 2 120mm Fans (2 intake, 1 exhaust at 100%)
- Ambient temperature: 23 C
- CPU Temperature Testing: OCCT set to Small FFTs for 30 minutes
- GPU Temperature Testing: Unigine Heaven set to Extreme at 1080p for 30 minutes
- Sound testing conducted during run of 3d Mark Time Spy Extreme
In the end, it was average (at worst) in stock configuration, but in the better half of the chart in the standardized airflow testing for both the CPU and GPU.
As we’ve seen before, single fans in a system are really only good for noise levels while there isn’t much load. Once the system starts getting hot, and the single fan has to ramp up and try to do the work that should be done by two, it ends up creating more noise. That was exactly the case here as this was the second quietest system I’ve tested at idle, and the second loudest at load.
When it’s all said and done, the PS14-E is really a mixed bag. It has a good deal of room, and some nice features for the price point. SilverStone really went cheap on some aspects of the construction, and to only include one fan is becoming a problematic trend in budget cases. The problem is that these cases really need that second fan, and once you add the cost of a decent fan to the chassis, you’re moving very close to the price of better built cases that come with two fans preinstalled.
Editor’s Note: The SilverStone PS14-E is now selling for $57.99 with free shipping as we publish this review (a month after it was written), which does help its position as a budget option somewhat – particularly when considering the tempered glass side panel at this price point. It now gets the nod as “recommended” by Kent.