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SilverStone Temjin SST-TJ08-Evolution M-ATX Tower Chassis Review

The TJ08 of yesteryear gets not only a facelift, but a complete rethinking of what makes for a successful Micro-ATX chassis. SilverStone has delivered the latest Evolution; come take a look!

Manufacturer: SilverStone
19 minute read time


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I actually had to go back to SilverStone's own pages to find the history of the original design concept of this case. I knew it existed as I had seen it many times looking around at their site over the past three years, but I never really took a deep look at the chassis. That is until now! No offense intended to SilverStone with this, but even with the chassis being originally released in 2006, the case is quite boring and standard by today's "must have's" in cases. The basic effort then was to deliver a Micro-ATX chassis that offered four expansion slots, a removable motherboard tray, a couple of fans; but aside from that, you only got a face covering of aluminum on the bezel and an unfinished steel interior.

Aesthetically the chassis hasn't changed that much on the outside; by this I mean that even the new version is made of steel with an aluminum facing that has a large mesh panel to allow the chassis to breathe. A similar configuration is found in the latest sample, but even here, things have been arranged with more attention paid to what is almost in an order of importance for use. Inside is where things really get rearranged! SilverStone packs quite a few tricks of the trade into this small chassis and offers something very innovative, and is something I have seen nowhere else on the market, yet. I'm sure this idea will be the "inspiration" for others to follow suit with this really ingenious solution.

I don't want to give too much of what the Evolution has in store for you to see and admire about this chassis. SilverStone had five years and from the original configuration, a ton of room for improvement! I think ample time has been there, and from what I wrapped my mind around during the build process SilverStone went above and beyond my expectations, and as long as you follow a couple of simple suggestions about specific sizes of certain components, I am pretty sure you will be just as excited about the Temjin TJ08-Evolution Micro-ATX tower chassis as I am.

Grab a beverage and get comfortable, as you are about to see plenty of innovative solutions to what makes smaller chassis' fail, and one simple solution that just makes you think "why hasn't this been done by now?". I say it's enough with the chatter; let's get on with the show!

Specifications, Availability and Pricing

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Going by model number, you will want to look up this SilverStone chassis under SST-TJ08-E, as described, this is the Temjin TJ08 Evolution, Micro-ATX tower chassis, in black. Now that we know this is the Evolution of the older design, let's go around the outside and see what's new. The front of the chassis has an aluminum layer applied to a plastic front bezel, while the rest of the chassis body and panels are made of steel and painted black. In this bezel you are offered two 5.25" drives with aluminum covers in the openings as you receive the chassis. Moving below those, you run into the front I/O consisting of two USB 3.0 connections, the audio and MIC jacks, the power and reset buttons and the power and HDD activity lights. Moving further down, you will find a large area covered in black steel mesh to allow as much air to the fan behind it. At the bottom you are left with one other thing, and that is a 3.5" cover in a hole to allow for a floppy drive to be installed as well. The sides of the chassis don't offer much besides covering the side, as there is no ventilation or anything of interest. The rear of the chassis offers room for a 120mm fan, four expansion card slots and room at the top for the power supply (note the suggested length for easy installation of 160mm).

With the four expansion slots in the back, I immediately thought I could show this with SLI enabled and pack as much as I can into this chassis. What I found was my motherboard uses the wrong slot configuration, so I actually wouldn't be in SLI with the slots in this case. Just something to plan ahead for as you choose wisely for components. That being said, I might as well go ahead and continue with all of the limitations. CPU coolers cannot be taller than 165mm in height, expansion cards can be up to 13.25" in length and the PSU should be no longer than 160mm to give you a good chance of fitting your components inside of this small, yet very roomy interior. I just want to give fair warning to anyone thinking of buying this chassis. With the right parts this chassis can be a real gem to work with and get the desired results with the finished product. Without doing your homework, this chassis can easily turn into a nightmare for those who didn't think ahead and plan every detail.

Inside of the chassis you are in for a bit of design gone all topsy-turvy, and I mean that in a good way! SilverStone took just about every part inside of the chassis and rethought where it went or its orientation to make the Evolution not only a bit of the old, but with a flavor all its own. You haven't lost any of the removable parts; in fact, you have more in the Evolution. In the front there are the drive bays for the pair of 5.25" bays up top; these are permanent, but the roof of the chassis is removable to place the drives and power supply. The hard drive cage that holds up to four 3.5" drives is also removable. Under that cage is a smaller rack that can either hold one 3.5" dive in it, or covers the placement for a 2.5" drive in the floor, and is removable.

The Motherboard tray is not only removable, but going with the Fortress and Raven chassis, they shook things up a bit and use an inverted orientation of the motherboard. This puts the GPUs at the top of the chassis and the CPU cooler at the bottom inside of the TJ08-E. With this brings the innovation of the CPU cooler support system. This plastic, adjustable "arm" has a rubber pad on top and is used to sit against the side of the CPU cooler to help support the weight of even the largest 165mm tall coolers.

The TJ08-E is fairly new to the scene and as I check with Google shopping, that fact is supported by the limit of only seven locations I can find it currently. has the best deal at $99.00 with free shipping as I type this, with Fry's right behind them at $99.99. On the top end of pricing there are places much closer to $120 once shipping is included. One of these is with a $117.07 delivered pricing. Even on the pricing end of things, you can see it pays to do your homework on all aspects of this chassis so that not only does everything fit and work as it should in the sub-$100 price point, but even so you don't get charged the extra $20 to deliver the TJ08-Evolution to your door.


The Packaging

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As with most manufacturers trying to keep pricing down, SilverStone delivers this Temjin in a plain brown box with black printing over it. On the front there is the large Temjin Series TJ08-E Evolution, with the smaller text covering the breakthroughs in cooling and storage of this Micro-ATX tower chassis. Next to a rendering of the front of the TJ08-E is an eight point feature list of what is included.

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For those who don't read English and to cover SilverStone's markets, the features listed on the front are covered on this side in eight, possibly nine other languages. I just wish FedEx hadn't stickered it all over, so you could actually see it.

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On the back, the same naming and description are applied to the top, but the bottom two-thirds has a larger look at the inside of the chassis. Around the drawing there are eleven bullet points referring to where things are, if they are removable, and what you are seeing when you actually get the box off of this chassis.

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The last panel has a large specifications list. On most packaging the specifications chart is something small under a bunch of other information, almost as an afterthought. With this, you will be able to read this from across the room or even halfway across a store for that matter.

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An opaque plastic liner separates the chassis from the protective materials and protects the case all around against minor abrasions. With the use of two shims of Styrofoam, the thick protective end caps hold the case even tighter once the shims are placed in. At the top you can see just a hint of the corners of a plastic bag. This contains your owner's manual and the hardware included with the TJ08-E.

The SilverStone SST-TJ08-E Evolution Micro-ATX Case

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The TJ08-e is exactly as described in the specifications. A black brushed aluminum sheet wraps around the pair of 5.25" bay covers at the top and the large mesh panel at the bottom. Splitting the two is the front I/O. At the very bottom is a 3.5" drive bay if you have to have that floppy drive.

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The front I/O is pretty basic but offers all you really need. There are the 3.5mm jacks for headphone and a microphone flanked by a pair of USB 3.0 connections. To the right are a pair of LEDs, the left is hard drive activity, the right is the power indicator, and the light is blue for both. On the far right there is the smaller reset button and the larger power button, both covered in aluminum to complete the look.

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Stepping back a bit, you can see that is really about it for things to look at thus far. The left side panel is flat and smooth making for a nice clean look.

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In the back things might look a bit strange, but keep in mind the motherboard is upside down in this case. At the top is the power supply, then we run into the four vented expansion slots. Under those is a trio of holes. One is for the optional 120mm fan, the other is for the rear I/O plate to go into, and the last little one is a pop-out slot for CMOS clearing optional part. The right side panel is also plain and offers little more than a sound barrio and a way to hide messy cables.

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The top of the TJ08-E has a dust filter that is magnetically held in place over the large mesh hole. This is intended to be used as the intake for the power supply, and that is why the dustcover is supplied in this location.

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You can see under the chassis that the construction is a fair mix of screws and rivets to keep things together. Things that are removable such as part of the hard drive rack to the right, or adjustable like the CPU support system in the middle, are held in with screws. The body of the chassis is riveted, and supported on a table with four large rubber feet. The holes to the right without screws in them are for installing a 2.5" drive to the inside of the floor.

Inside The SilverStone SST-TJ08-E Evolution Case

Inside The SilverStone SST-TJ08-E Evolution Chassis

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With the side panels finally removed you can get a good look at what I have been trying to explain with the interior layout. At first glance it is almost if they have just flipped a case on its head.

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As we get closer, the motherboard tray has a lot to offer. A huge CPU cooler access hole is surrounded with wiring tie points and at the top, even offers ventilation for the cards up there. At the top is where the power supply goes, but we aren't getting it in from this angle.

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Access to remove these screws is done on the outside of the chassis. The cover you saw on the back of the case has to be removed, and then you can remove these to install your expansion cards.

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I know this might not make too much sense at this point in the review, but I wanted to show the CPU cooler support system SilverStone developed for this chassis. As shipped the adjustment screw is shipped lose so that it can rise up with ease. The top piece is fully adjustable and rubber padded so that it doesn't make noise or damage your air cooler. Once contact and support is made, you simply tighten the screw under the chassis to lock the support in place.

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The hard drive assemblies are all removable. The top section can house up to four 3.5" hard drives. The inside of this rack is padded on both sides, again to keep vibrations to a minimum inside the chassis. Removing the two screws you see on the left side allows the top to come off, and then you are left with the single rack for a 3.5" floppy drive that also coves the holes in the floor where you mount the 2.5" drive.

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At the top of the left side is where the rack is that holds the 5.25" drives into place. I noticed once I did a bit of disassembly (marked by the arrow) someone overlooked a rivet placement. Without one here, the case didn't fall apart, but is noticeably wrong, as with it missing the case doesn't want to stay "together" in the unassembled state.

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Spinning the TJ08-E around, I found three screws are what is holding the motherboard tray in place. There is one in the bottom with access through the round hole in the frame, one at the top right under the wire management hole, and one on the outside of the rear of the case. With this out of the way, this little case gets larger and larger inside.

Inside The SilverStone SST-TJ08-E Evolution Case Continued

Inside The SilverStone SST-TJ08-E Evolution Continued

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With the tray out we can get a better look at how things are set up. Seven of the eight risers needed for a Micro-ATX board are welded to the tray, leaving the eighth one optional depending on the board's layout. There are two large holes on the left to pass wires through along with seven locations to tie wiring to. The hard thing to miss is the big access hole, but there is even a little cutaway at the bottom to allow the 8-pin to plug in with the bulk of the wire behind the scenes.

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Removing the top may take a glance into the manual to find the screw locations, but once the six of them are removed, the top of the chassis slides to the back a bit and then lifts off for access. This allows you to finally be able to fit a PSU, and offers a good time to wire and install the drives going in the front of the TJ08-E.

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I should have covered this before, but better late than never. With the drive cage removed, you can see the plastic layer applied to the top. This is to keep the graphics cards from dragging on metal, and offers a place to put a foam pad to help support longer graphics cards, and do it vibration free.

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Removing the four screws I mentioned under the chassis, you can see now that to install an SSD into this placement, you need to do a fair bit of work to get here.

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I had to break the wiring images up due to the length, and lack of, that made it near impossible to get them all in one shot. Here we have the longer of the cables for the HD Audio to supply the front panel. The large black connection is a native USB 3.0 connection. If you board supports this connection you are good to go. For those who don't, SilverStone has you covered as well.

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The shorter group of wires is these four. There is the power LED connection, the HDD LED connection, the reset, and the power connections. These are shorter for good reason. They don't need to go as far with the orientation of the motherboard in the TJ08E without turning into a mess. The length is needed for the pervious connection to reach across the case, and is provided where needed.

Accessories and Documentation

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If you remember back to the packaging images, I mentioned there was a bag on top of the foam that housed the hardware, and here it is. On the left there is a name plate which you can choose where to install it, or not to at all. Under the name plate is the foam pad that goes on top of the hard drive assembly if you choose to use it. The bag in the middle contains two types of screws, those with hex heads and those with round heads. The round heads are for optical drives. The hex head screws are used for everything else. You will also find an optional riser or two in the bag along with five wire ties. On the right is what I meant when I said even if you don't have native USB 3.0 connectivity on the bottom of your motherboard, SilverStone includes a 20-pin USB 3.0 to a 9-pin USB adapter.

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The Manual...all I can say is there is good reason it is packed outside of the chassis. If you decide to purchase this chassis, the first thing I will advise is familiarize yourself with this manual first. On the inside there are terrific explanations of all the features and how they function, or remove. If you aren't the type that likes to read, when you do run into an issue, the images in the manual will show you in fine detail where to locate the screws, or even what something is or how it is used. It isn't very often that I really have to do much more than skim the manual for contents, but in this instance, this manual is a frustration saver at the very least.

The Build and Finished Product

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Orienting the motherboard tray so that the hardware looked a bit better, I figured this was a good time to show this off before I installed it and started to cover this with wires and shadows. As I mentioned, the Z68MA-D2H-B3 GIGABYTE gave me for testing with a full sized tower cooler on top just to test the limitations of the chassis while I'm in here.

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I installed SilverStone's own ST75F-G PSU which is 180mm, the absolute maximum that will fit inside the TJ08-E, and you will soon see why I stressed the 160mm recommendation rather than the absolute maximum. That 160mm suggestion is a point not to take lightly, it took a few waves of the magic wand and a few four letter words to get my system wired.

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You can see that once the optical drive is in, and yes, this is a shorter model DVD drive, I thought I had plenty of room to make all the connections as I grabbed into the tub for the short cable kit wires to get things powered up.

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They were not over stating that 160mm at all. It took me two or three attempts at stacking the modular cables so that they would both clip into the PSU and bend the way I needed them to, but with the GPU power leads being so thick and the lack of room with my bold move to go ahead with a 180mm PSU jumped up and bit me at every turn. I was on a mission, and I wasn't taking no for an answer - the power supply matched the case; it had to go in there!

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Those that follow my reviews know by now that if it's removable and I don't need it, it stays removed for the build. While I can appreciate the drive system and its modularity, I am much fonder of the fact that it's gone. With no cages to disturb the airflow, I am maximizing what cooling is offered in this chassis. That large 180mm Air Penetrator now has free reign to deliver both the GPU up top and the CPU at the bottom with everything it has to provide!

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With the motherboard tray back in the chassis, I was able to simply lay the case on its back, slide the pad up to the cooler and hold it in place while I tightened the screw under the chassis to lock this into place.

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Once the fan is connected to a power source, there are still options. Hopefully you have a header that you can deliver a constant 12V through, because then you can use this switch to power the fan in low or hi modes. If you don't want to mess with the switch, you can always use the BIOS to control the fan with the heat inside the chassis. Since there are now Molex power adapters, out of the box, those are the choices.

The Build and Finished Product Continued

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Under that switch you could see a bit of something. That something is the removable dust filter in the front of the chassis. Mind you, it doesn't have to slide out to the right side; it has openings on both sides to gain access to this filter for easy cleaning.

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With the PSU installed and in the fan up position, I was wondering how the mesh in the top would align once the top was back on the chassis. I am pleased with the amount of access the 140mm fan in my PSU has to gulp cool air from outside of the chassis rather than heated air off of the GPU. Again, this is why SilverStone supplied a dust filter to the top that magnetically adheres to the TJ08-E, for easy cleaning and keeping the insides clean as long as possible.

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Now that the top of the chassis is back on, I thought I should have one last look to show off the capabilities of what this chassis can hold. I can easily see a Hydro Series cooler going in these as well instead of the rear 120mm fan. Without the drive assembly in the case, you can easily do a single 120mm or 140mm radiator custom water cooling kit too.

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Behind the scenes there is plenty of room. The large hole at the top allows the wires to easily pass from the PSU to anywhere else in the chassis. The multitude of tie points left me wanting nothing more for management, what is offered is plenty for my needs. I would also like to point out that my entire back plate for my cooler is visible and accessible, something even the larger case manufacturers can't get right.

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Closing up the doors and getting our last trip around the outside underway, I find the chassis easily keeps its simple, almost sophisticated clean looks even with my scratched up DVD drive in there.

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In the back there is really nothing unusual to report. The rear I/O area is sized well and allows the plate to go in easily. Once the top is off, the PSU is a cinch to mount; even the expansion cards are pretty easy to take care of once this black cover here is removed. A nice touch to the chassis is the rubber washers on the thumbscrews. While it's been done before, it is usually overlooked as a mute point in sub-$10 cases.

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Powered up, the only distraction you have it the solid blue LED you see now, and the occasional flicker of the HDD activity LED. While this image makes the LED appear bright, it is because I was at that perfect level to see it. If you are at any off angle the lights appear much dimmer, and shouldn't cause too much distraction in a living room or bedroom.

Final Thoughts

I would think with everything we saw up to this point, I covered most if not every angle of the SST-TJ08-E. That being said, I still feel like I haven't said enough about this chassis to really express what a great deal this little chassis is. I know we have seen a lot of this before. Inverted motherboards, removable hard drive assemblies, native USB 3.0, it's all been done before, I can't deny that. My stance is more the fact of how they all come together and as long as you follow my advice to plan well ahead when looking into this chassis, you can have some serious horsepower packed into a sleek looking, unassuming black chassis. The only thing I can say this chassis is missing to help cover a whole other segment of users, is an optional handle. This would make a slick little sleeper of a LAN system.

I realize that with the lowered price point in cases, a lot of manufacturers lack in more areas than they win me over for options of how things work inside a chassis as I build them and use them. While the packaging was a bit boring, it allowed for money to be reassigned if you will. To think you can get this in full aluminum at this price is crazy, but I can appreciate the all black aluminum front panel, even if it is plastic backed. The steel construction is good, except for the missing rivet in mine, but this isn't something that should happen all the time; it was a simple oversight, nothing more. I appreciated the removable hard drive assembly and removable floppy drive tray. Even if it left the 2.5" drive mounting holes exposed I like to give the case as much of a chance at cooling the interior as possible.

Speaking of the cooling, that is one place where SilverStone saved a bit of the money. In their defense, the fan they did supply is a good one. The AP181, or 180mm Air Penetrator is no slouch for delivering air flow. In my personal experience, even with a bit of extra noise with the fan on Hi, the directed airflow provided at 1200 RPM is sufficient to cool just about anything. My tower cooler fan and the air pressure from the AP181 were all that were pushing out the back of the case, but even so, there was a fair bit of flow felt at the back of the chassis. The icing on the cake for me with the cooling, was that neither the front nor the PSU intake were forgotten when it came to filtration! I almost forgot about the coolest toy in the box, the CPU cooler support. While I really doubt that the cooler is going to break the motherboard hanging upside down, I do like that it has that added support. so if I lose it setting it on a table, it has a little bit of added help. Either way about it, I like the way they are thinking over at SilverStone and hope they keep these innovations coming.

I've said this a few times already, but it needs to be said here one more time. This is a sub-$100 entry in the SST-TJ08-E from SilverStone. If you shop carefully, you can get this chassis to your door for as little as $94, and for those who just buy it where they see it first, be prepared to pay up to $120 depending on your choice of e-tailer or big box store. It's a shame that the points have to reflect a limited availability, because this case wins in all the other categories so much. I feel bad even giving the hit to the score, but fair is fair. Even coming from a build as immense as the Temjin TJ11 I just recently looked at, this smaller sibling to the series has come on strong and finished out with a build that may have been a bit frustrating, but was very satisfying to get it done and running. SilverStone sold me on the innovativeness, sleek and simple aesthetics and simple and effective solutions to storage, cooling support and internal layout!

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Chad joined the TweakTown team in 2009 and has since reviewed 100s of new techy items. After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM and coolers.

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