Looking back at everything I have seen from Silverstone over the years, it is really amazing what this company has actually been able to do for the aftermarket case industry. While most manufacturers stuck with the standard square cases with typical layouts and features, Silverstone just thought there was something better, or a different way to look at the problems case users tend to run into. With many of the series' that Silverstone has introduced like the Ravens, the Temjins, Fortresses, all of these designs were very innovative in their time, and to be honest, they are still some of the coolest cases on the market. That isn't to downplay on the Grandia, Crown or any other series from them, Silverstone usually does a great job of meeting their customers' needs in some shape or form.
This time around, instead of pushing the boundaries of technology with extruded aluminum, mechanized front panels, or digging deeply into your wallet, with the Redline Series from Silverstone, the idea is to offer a budget friendly solution without being the typical lame black box. I don't typically do this, but I think Silverstone says it best, so I will add what they have to say about this chassis.
"The Redline series was created with the goal of exceeding user experience and expectation for affordable PC chassis by offering punchy styling and features reserved often for more expensive models. The RL04, with its chest armor styled front fascia punctuated by glowing red SilverStone logo that doubles as a power button that will surely raise the adrenaline of PC enthusiasts. Its bottom mounted power supply layout and flexible drive storage options enable it to support a wide selection of components. The top, front, and the bottom side of the RL04 are also fully filtered to ensure that positive pressure setup, a prominent feature in SilverStone's high-end chassis, is a viable option for creating a dust-proof PC. For enthusiasts looking to build a PC with quality features and styling on a budget, the RL04 is an excellent choice."
Since they covered quite a bit about the Redline Series SST-RL04B that we are going to be looking at today, I guess the only thing left to do is get into detail with the specifications so we can see the chassis that arrived for testing.
Considering what Silverstone has to say, up front, this chassis looks really good, and coupled with the price you are about to read about, I really think that Silverstone may have made the right move here.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The SST-RL04B does have three brother cases named RL01, RL02, RL03, and of course the version we are discussing now. While the others are slightly different externally there are three different layouts, with this version being the best offering of the series. Externally the SST-RL04B does have a part of the bezel that is angled and sticks out a bit like armor as discussed earlier, but it also has raised mesh panels with aggressive lines to give this chassis a bit of style. Internally you are given four 5.25" bays, and room for five 3.5" or 2.5" storage drives below it. The motherboard tray will hold an ATX or Micro-ATX motherboard, and the back can hold seven slots worth of expansion cards, and there are even holes for water cooling.
To cool this chassis there are a lot of options. While the SST-RL04B only comes with a single 120mm fan in the front of the chassis, there is plenty of room to add on. There is another spot in the front for a 120mm, and the top of the chassis can hold either a pair of 140mm fans or a pair of 120mm fans. The rear of the chassis can also hold a 120mm fan, and on the left door panel you have the same options as does the top of the chassis. Keeping the cost down has to be felt somewhere, and in this chassis it is the cut in provided air flow. For me personally this isn't an issue, as I have a ton of fans around, but for the average user, this is at least another $30 you have to invest to fill all the fan holes in this chassis.
Since a lot of what I have had sent to me recently is so fresh to the market, in the US, locations to obtain them are somewhat limited at the moment. I found four hits, two of which were overpriced eBay hits, but on the full retail front, there were two more to look at. Newegg was one of them, and is currently listing the SST-RL04B at $52.99 and requires another $9.99 in shipping fees. The other location is SuperBiiz.com with a $49.99 pricing, and with shipping to me, the price is exactly the same. Considering we are dealing with a $50 chassis, that really lowers the bar as to what should be in a chassis, but that doesn't mean Silverstone are.
If you want to see what is included within the SST-RL04B, stick with me through the packaging and we will get right into this new budget friendly Redline Series.
The Redline Series comes in a plain brown box with black printing. In this front panel design, you get the company and chassis naming at the top, a rendering of the chassis on the right, and to its left there are eight features listed.
This panel is well covered with shipping stickers and what is left from the packing slip, but the information here is the same eight features that were listed on the front just now in nine other languages.
The back panel is designed much like the front was, but here there is a rendering of the inside of the chassis with the various features pointed out around the RL04.
The last side of the packaging contains the introduction that I quoted above a specifications chart so buyers have access to all the information they need if buying this off the shelf.
On the inside, you will find the chassis wrapped in plastic, and secured in one place within the box with the Styrofoam caps at the top and bottom. Inside the bag, and wrapped in the bubble wrap, are a pair of 140mm fan dust filters.
Silverstone Redline SeriesSST-RL04B Mid-Tower Chassis
The front bezel is completely made of plastic, and you can see that the removable bay covers at the top are inset, where the rest of the panel sticks out much further. Near the bottom there is a mesh panel for ventilation and louvers and steps around it. The red logo in the middle is also the power button.
Instead of just a plain rectangular section to rise to allow for AIO coolers under this, Silverstone uses this pointed end to match the doors and the aggressive looks of the front bezel. You can see that there are holes for either 140mm or 120mm fans.
The left of the chassis offers the front I/O at about the middle of this side of the bezel. The door panel offers a raised section that is like that on the top, but much larger. This time there are the same fan mounting options as the top.
With the power button on the front of the chassis, the front I/O panel starts with the reset button. Under this are two USB 3.0 ports with HD Audio jacks between them.
The back of the RL04 offers a pair of knock-outs at the top for water cooling just above the 120mm fan option and the rear I/O. Then you get seven break-away covers in the expansion slots, with a plastic cover to keep people from getting to the screws.
On the right of the chassis you have the same shaped bump as the other side offers. Here there is no ventilation, but there is almost 1/2" gained in room for wiring.
Under the RL04 you get smaller round plastic feet to support the chassis. There is not an optional fan mounting area in this floor, but there is a dust filter that slide out for easy cleaning of the PSU intake.
Inside the SST-RL04B
Removing the panels was simple enough, but they do take a fair bit of grip to be able to get them open. Once they are out of the way, you will find the hardware and paperwork tied to the hard drive rack, and the wiring is bundled and run though one of the management holes for safe transit.
The RL04 offers four 5.25" bays in this design. Both sides of the rack have these same tool-free clips in them. You do still have the option to use screws, but with one on each side, these clips are very secure.
The lower section offers five plastic trays in a steel rack for storage drives. Each tray will accommodate 3.5" and 2.5" drives. In front of the rack you can see the one 120mm red LED fan that is installed in the chassis above the optional fan position.
The top of this chassis offers options for two 140mm fans or two 120mm fans. Also if you look closely, the risers are set pretty low, so that an AIO and its fans should go in here without any issues.
The motherboard tray will hold ATX or Micro-ATX motherboards, has a large CPU access hole, and offers six management holes and a few places to tie wiring down.
At the bottom of the tray there is one other large hole to allow the PSU wiring to easily get behind it. The PSU will then sit at the left on top of the steel bumps around the dust filter.
Inside of the back of the RL04, you notice there isn't an exhaust fan, and this lends to the positive pressure feature. The expansion slots are moved all the way back to create more room inside, and under the plastic cover are no screws currently.
Behind the motherboard tray you can see the wiring from the front enters mid-level and may get in the way of the drive bays if you aren't careful, and since they come out this side of the chassis this may be important. There is near 20mm on the right, but at the left you do have much more room.
The included wiring is the four leads for the front panel header of the motherboard, an HD Audio connection, and a native USB 3.0 connection. If you don't have a native USB 3.0 motherboard you will need to purchase an adapter for any USB functionality on the front panel.
Accessories and Documentation
I took this image thinking all of the hex head with Phillip's head centers were all the same. In actuality the screws on the left are both 6/32 and M3. You also get nine standoffs and a handful of screws for mounting the storage drive into the plastic trays.
In the kit is the unsealed dual 140mm fan dust cover. I flipped it upside down to show the 13 magnetic points that should hold this filter to anything made of steel. On the right is how you would get this filter if you were to buy it retail for any chassis.
The manual isn't that large, in fact it is just a couple of pages long. On the front there is an image of the chassis with a list of the special features. At the bottom is an exploded view of the chassis along with a parts list for the hardware.
Once unfolded, the instructions cover the removable bay covers to allow you to install an optical drive and then explain how the tool-free clips work. The right side addresses the storage drives and trays. Here it shows that the screws go through the sides for 3.5" drives and through the bottom for 2.5" drives.
For the sake of this review, I am using a SSD. While it is just as easy to install the screws into the sides for larger drives, the SSD is mounted through the bottom of the plastic tray.
The Build and Finished Product
The way the RL04 is designed, you shouldn't have to remove the bezel since the 5.25" bay covers remove from the outside. Since the wires are attached to the bezel, the only reason to be in here at all and possible stretching the wiring would be to add a second fan.
Removing the top cover and sliding in the DVD drive, the way it lines up with the front bezel makes it look like it belongs there. With the way this area is inset anyways, adding the drive doesn't detract from the styling of the bezel.
I was really impressed with what I could get in here. I got the 165mm tower cooler on the CPU, and I also got the HIS Radeon HD 7950 in with no issues. I did dress things up a bit with sleeved cables, but it was more to show the capabilities behind the tray.
Even in the back of the case, the PSU, the card, and the rear I/O dust shield went in without much effort. To secure the cards, using the hex head screws makes things easy enough, and with just a tab holding the plastic cover, it isn't too much of an issue to deal with.
As you can see, it is very easy to block off the storage bays with extra wiring, but I was able to get some really thick connections laid out in the wiring to show that the 20mm of space on the right is plenty. Because of the bump in the door, these wires never got close to that panel.
Taking a step back to appreciate the completed chassis build, even here, you really can only tell that this has a system in it due to the DVD drive showing. Otherwise there is nothing that changes much in the aesthetics.
I tried a couple of places for the dust filter. Here I found it just oddly shaped for the job and on the inside the plastic frame is too large to even allow the magnets to attach.
The dust filter does seem to fit the side panel a little better, but again the lines don't match. The real issue I had here is that the magnets aren't strong enough to keep the filter attached to the chassis.
The way the chassis is shipped from Silverstone, if it weren't for the slight red glow of the red logo for the power button, you really have to get down at an angle like this to even get any of the red LED lighting from the front 120mm fan. A second red LED fan is almost a must in this chassis.
When you step back again to look at the chassis as we normally do, you can barely even see the red glow of the Silverstone logo on the bezel, and you definitely can't see any of the glow from the front fan. This is a good thing though, as most of these will end up in bedrooms, and too much LED lighting can get to be an issue anyways.
Silverstone has definitely proven to me that not only can they cover the enthusiasts and even the more average users and buyers, but now, they are even catering to the budget conscious builders out there. While this chassis is a little sparse when it comes to stock fitted air flow in the chassis, the five optional locations will give users the ability to add-on parts as they need them. I know when I got my first case, it was an Apevia, and it was crap compared to what this chassis brings, and is half the cost. Considering where cases have come from, and what usually comes in a $50 wrapper, it is a fresh blast of air to see you can get a case with some style that works well and delivers what most economically minded buyers desire in a chassis.
Everything about the chassis functioned as it was designed to do. In the front, the bay covers come out easily and the power button that is a red glowing Silverstone logo is a nice touch. Even though the styling is a bit aggressive, compared to most others in this field, at least there is a defined styling. Inside the chassis the tool-less clips were very secure, and the hard drive trays stay in place and don't rattle. The standoffs went in easy with no paint blocking the threads - and same for the expansion slots, the screws went in very easily. The wiring could have been slightly longer, my HD Audio cable just made it to the spot on my motherboard. Even if you are to fill all of the fan mounting holes in the chassis, you would still keep the positive air pressure design. Just instead of one fan in and no fans out now, you would have four fans in and three fans out. As the chassis sits, and as you would assume, things were a bit toasty during the testing, but the point is to leave it up to the buyers to fill these slots before using it for overclocking or heavy gaming. The way it is set up, it is sufficient to keep stock rigs under control with little issue.
From what I gathered on paper before I got this chassis, and from what I could tell with actual hands on testing, I can say that this is a really nice case, especially once you consider the pricing. There are a few cases out there that are in the market, and are doing quite well actually, but cases like the NZXT Source and many others fall flat on their faces, literally - the faces of these cases are flat and boring.
With the price set just over $50 prior to shipping, and much closer to $63 to get one to your door, it shows that Silverstone isn't all about glitz and glamour, they are more than willing to do what it takes to give users with less money the ability not only to buy a reasonably priced mid tower chassis, but they definitely get styling and aggression that is normally associated with more expensive full-tower solutions.