ProsClass-leading styling; excellent balance of thermals and noise levels; fits big fans and coolers
ConsLimited cable management space; only one 120mm fan included
We always start our case reviews by noting how many cases we've reviewed here on TBG, and with this review we're up to 28. You'd think we'd be buried in PC cases at this point! But given that PCs are ultimately defined by the cases they are housed in, we think it's a critically-important component, so we keep reviewing every interesting case we can get our hands on. And because we've seen so many, we have a pretty good sense of what makes a great case, and where the rest of PC cases fall behind.
That's why we're so excited to be the very first review outlet in the entire world to publish a review of SilverStone's newest budget-friendly ATX case, the PS14-E. It's been a while since we've been hands-on with a mid-range case like the PS14-E, specifically the Corsair SPEC-06 that we reviewed about a year ago. We typically review high-end specialty cases and small form factor cases, but that doesn't mean we don't know what makes for a great mid-range case. To the contrary, what we're looking for are the key elements of high-end cases, minus the fancy bells and whistles.
Special thanks to SilverStone for providing us a sample of the SilverStone PS14-E ATX Case featured in this review.
Description and Features
What's most notable about the PS14-E is just how compact it is, and how much high-end gear it can fit. At 8.27" wide, 18.46" high, and 17.24" deep, it comes to 43.1 liters, which is quite small for an ATX case. It's certainly not the smallest ATX case around (that would be SilverStone's 27-liter GD09, which we reviewed here), but for a standard desktop, it's compact. And what's so unusual about this narrow little desktop is that it can use 140mm fans in all its fan mounts (as shown below), where many much larger cases are limited to 120mm fans. It also has a lot of space for big coolers, including tower air coolers up to 177mm tall (which means any air cooler), plus liquid cooling radiators up to 240mm on top and 360mm in front. Oddly, SilverStone's website makes it seem that coolers can't fit in the top, but trust us, they do (as you'll soon see!).
So we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves, but we think it's important to call out what makes this case different from the dozens of others you'll find selling for around the same price (the PS14-E is currently $65 at Amazon). Another nice perk you get is an excellent tempered glass side panel. It's nicely tinted, and while it uses a very basic mounting system (four thumbscrews), rather than a more sophisticated slide-in or hinged mount, that's just fine given the pricepoint of the case. Also of note: the front panels vents are angled downward to direct noise away from the user without reducing airflow, an innovation first seen in some of the SilverStone's more expensive quiet-oriented cases.
The PS14-E borrows another feature from high-end models, namely a vertical GPU cutout on the rear panel, plus a bespoke GPU support, shown below attached to the PSU shroud. While this is a nice touch, and potentially a great way to show off a GPU through the glass panel, it really doesn't make much sense in this case. First of all, like all such setups, it starves the GPU of air, and that's made all the more problematic by the fact that this case comes with just one 120mm fan (mounted in the rear, although we moved it to the front for our testing). But even sillier is that the PCIe extension cable required for a vertical mount is not included, and would cost nearly as much as the case. Simply put, we don't quite understand why SilverStone included this feature, and we'd we would much rather have seen a second 120mm fan included instead, which probably would have cost the same..
Two features that we definitely think are great in this case are the slick magnetic dust filter up top, which is more commonly seen on cases costing twice as much, plus a removable fine mesh dust filter for the power supply intake vent. The front panel intakes area isn't filtered, but that doesn't bother us too much at this pricepoint. Again, it's all about fitting in the right features at the right price.
As with all modern compact ATX cases, where the PS14-E must skimp is in drive cages, but we absolutely applaud that move, because old-timers need to be discouraged from porting all their 10-year-old 250GB hard drives over to their new systems! Seriously, hard drives don't even belong in PCs anymore, unless they are secondary or more realistically tertiary storage. In any event, the PS14-E has just two 3.5" caddies, which can also be used for 2.5" drives like older SATA SSDs. There are also two additional 2.5" drive mounts in the main compartment's interior panel, near the front of the case, but these are surface-mount, which we really don't like. Without a sled, they are less convenient to use, and can cause clearance problems for SATA power and data cables. We didn't bother with them, and instead used the two 3.5" sleds in our test build.
Speaking of our build, let's get into the details of the gear we installed in this case. We like to keep our builds as modern as possible, and while the components below are 2018 vintage, we used them because we've collected a lot of data using them in a number of recent high-end case reviews, which provides an interesting comparison. Here are the full specs:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
- Motherboard: Asus ROG X470 Crosshair VII Hero (Wi-Fi)
- Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Hybrid 11GB
- RAM: Corsair 4x8GB Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4-3600
- Solid-State Drive #1: Samsung 970 Evo 500GB M.2
- Solid-State Drive #2: Samsung 860 Evo 500GB 2.5"
- Solid-State Drive #3: Crucial MX500 500GB 2.5"
- Power Supply: SilverStone PS-ST85F-PT 850W Platinum
- CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i RGB Platinum 240mm
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home
Don't have time to read the full review? Then just watch our YouTube video review, which covers just about everything you'll see on the next few pages!
Ready to dig into more detials? Then turn to the next page to see what it was like to install this gear in the case, and how the PS14-E handled the heat of some seriously high-powered components!