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SilverStone Primera Series PM01 Review

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For your reading pleasure today, we have the SilverStone Primera PM01. SilverStone has always been a staple with the enthusiast community and are known for their bold cases and clean lines. The Primera, translating to “First” or “First Class” in Spanish, is no exception and is already staking claim to what we can expect from it. Myself being a modder, I am looking forward to see not only what this case offers, but also what can be done to make it that much better with a little crafting. So, grab some snacks and we will jump right in.

Product Specifications

As always, here are the specifications straight from SilverStone.

Specifications
Available Color Red LED – Black, Matte Black, Titanium
Blue LED – White
LED’s have 4 included modes (look below table)
Material Plastic outer shell, Steel body
Dimensions 220mm x 571mm x 560mm
Side Panel Windowed
Weight 9Kg
Motherboard Type ATX (up to 12″x 10.71″), MicroATX
External Bays None
Internal Bays 2.5″ or 3.5″ x 4, 2.5″ x 5
I/O Panel USB 2.0 x 2, USB 3.0 x 2, Headphone x 1, Microphone x 1
Expansion Slots 7
Fan Support Front – 3x 120/140mm (3x 140mm W/LED included)
Rear – 1x 120/140mm (1x 140mm Included)
Top – 3x 120mm or 2x 140mm
Power Supply Standard PS2 (ATX)
Graphics Card up to 16.5″ long, width restriction of 6.88″
CPU Cooler 180mm
Water Cooling Front – 120mm x 2; 240mm/280mm/360mm x 1
Rear – 120/140mm x 1
Top – 120mm x 2; 240mm/280mm/360mm x 1
(total thickness of rad and fans must not exceed 33mm depending on motherboard)

Features

This case doesn’t host anything ground breaking, but it is quite an inclusive case offering a few things that others manufacturers do not:

  • The LED feature modes include full brightness, half brightness, a breathing pattern, and, while its not really a mode, the fourth is off.
  • The massive window on the side of the case really shows off the superb lighting included with the case.
  • This case being offered in four different colors is a huge plus for personalization.

Retail Packaging

The PM01 packaging is interesting and rather clever if you ask me. One side depicts the White/Blue version of the case, but the reverse side depicts the Black/Red version. The thinner sides of the box give consumer information about the case.

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Parts and Accessories

Here we see the included hardware. As usual, we get everything we need to fill this case up with all of our tech goodies. Two fan extension cables included. The manual included is actually a decent one. While it is small print it does have somewhat detailed images and helpful text. Moving on…

Manual and included Hardware

Manual and included Hardware

From the Outside

As you can see below, SilverStone sent the white version of this case for us to review. With its sleek lines and beast of a window, it makes this case feel huge. The front has a large mesh grille covering a filter over three fans (see below). Working our way clockwise, we see a very large windowed side panel. As we sweep around back, on top is an enthusiastic exhaust-like grille and below that the motherboard IO cutout is sitting next to a 120mm fan mount. This continues down to our seven expansion slots, to the PSU location on the bottom. On top, near the front, we have our power button which is color matched to the case, other than a small cutout with an LED to give the system status. Opposite that we have our IO area which has an LED button for the built-in LED’s, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and the usual headphone output and microphone outputs.

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On the Inside

Let’s start by stripping her down. With the upper shroud removed we see a large open area big enough for a couple of fans or maybe a radiator (more on this in a bit). After removing the other panels, on the backside of the motherboard tray, we see locations for two (five total) SSD’s, three HDD’s, and we can also see a fan controller supporting ten channels (WOW!). On the build side of the case we see a very large cutout for CPU mounting compatibility, a few vertical holes to the right of that (more on this in a minute), and, finally, the PSU enclosure to keep the case wiring clean. What I found particularly awesome about the vertical SSD mounting location (to the left of the Velcro straps) is that it not only holds SSD’s but the vertical slots cut into it allow for a variety of things to be mounted, such as a reservoir (overall around 12″) with bolt mounted clamps. It has a slight impression relative to the SSD mounting points with just enough room for a nut.

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As we begin to get a little more in depth here, I wanted to show the front of the case a bit more. Now, to be fair, there were four screws holding the front bezel onto the case, BUT before you close your tab in frustration due to overly complicated filter maintenance, know that I removed these screws on my initial tear down. Every bit of moving it around for a photo, building in it, and placing it again was done without the screws installed. I personally believe that they are not necessary and the interference fit seems to hold it just fine. The front bezel has a cut out on the bottom to pull away from the case and the fan filter simply snaps out using two retention detentes on either side. Pull the top toward you, then lift, and it comes right out.

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The next gallery is somewhat random, but I included different features of the case. The fan model, and ratings. The bay divider that slides open, which opens to a small area inside of the PSU shroud, at 1.8″ wide a slim pump such as a Swiftech MCP35* can fit very well. Next, you see the different LED locations.

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I feel I need to point out the fact here that this case has SO MANY options for growth. I am not sure if this was intended by SilverStone, but everything about this case is removable with screws, it is a fantastic thing to see. Aside from the rear panel, every exterior panel is threaded. The upper plastics attach to the steel frame and to the rear mesh grille within the upper bezel. Even the lower trim are attached via screws. The possibilities of paint and customization are nearly limitless.

The lighting bars that run along the outer edge of the interior, and the ones included in the upper plastics, are held in with screws instead of glued. Also, if you took the time to notice, the LED’s used in the bar lighting are the 5050 SMD. I dug a bit deeper into them and found that they work by simply applying power to the specific color for the case selected. You would be able to run exterior traces (jumper wires) to the other legs of the LEDs for a fully custom lighting situation if you so choose. The reason I specified 5050’s were used is because you can simply replace the entire lighting hardware with one purchased elsewhere. With modern hardware trending toward RGB illumination control, its fantastic to see framework like this in place, whether it was intended or not.

While I was dissecting this case and looking at all of the possibilities it offers, I found a few things that I would have like to seen done differently, mainly around the top fan/rad mounts. With the upper shroud removed looking at the mounting location it is 360mm long, but, towards the front where the IO panel is, the dimensions change. It goes from a 120mm wide mount to a mere 105mm mount. This means two 120mm wide fans can mount perfectly but you must select a smaller fan for your third. The perimeter bezel around the mounting location does not have routing holes for your fan wires, so we must send our wires all the way to rear of the bezel to then snake them back forward toward the IO panel and drop them down, either to our fan controller or motherboard header. This then brings up the other idea of mounting our radiator in the top on the outside of the case, which I imagined would be perfect with little modification, but I would have love to seen SilverStone plan for this. This also has limitations. First, there are no hose/fitting pass-through cut outs, so we must make our own, but doing this will also limit our maximum rad size. As discussed earlier, the bezel is only wide enough for two 120mm fans. Because of this, I decided to complete the build with air cooling.

Testing Hardware

For this build I will be using the following components:

Test Setup
CPU Intel G3258 running 4.6GHz @ 1.28V
Cooler Zalman CNXP5
Motherboard Asus Maximus Hero VII
RAM 16GB Corsair Vengeance 2400
Graphics Card Nvidia GTX 760 (Reference)
Drive HDD and/or SSD
Power Supply PC Power&Cooling – silencer 750
Operating System Windows 7 64-bit

The case, in all of its glory, with contrasting lighting.

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Testing

You’ll notice in the photos that there are two GPUs installed. In my moment of excitement, I had a brain fart and had a 760 and 560TI installed, thinking that I had two 760’s installed. Not my finest moment, so all testing was done with only a single 760 installed.

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Conclusions

I am amazed with this case. Overall, the quality of the PM01 is superlative. The frame of the case is very rigid. The lines of this case draw you in, giving you a unique image from any angle. With a large window, seamless buttons, beautiful color scheme, and aggressive styling. The lack of disturbing audio tied with the sport car styling really makes the translation “first class” come to mind.

Water-cooling options and flexibility are usually lack luster and, while this case does have a few drawbacks to get that exact image from your mind into the real world, this case allows you to do it. The multiple locations for mounting your solid state drives was also really nice to see, not to mention the reservoir mounting location is a HUGE plus. Having a case where the manufactures leave the option for expand-ability or modification, having foresight into doing so or not, is a massive appeal to me. It really is great to see a company offering an enthusiast level case with such nice features and not skipping the little things or cutting corners.

This case was full of surprises that made me smile, and you will too. I found so many little things that I loved like the SSD vertical mounting location, the easily accessible front fan filter, and perfect lighting accents. On top of those that were built into the case the option for modification like changing the LEDs, upper rad support, and lower pump install, with a little bit of DIY know how you can make this case bend to your will without jumping through hoops to make it work. I was very impressed.

I was able to find this case at Newegg.com, offering either white or (gloss) black, at $104.99 with $7.99 Shipping (after $15 rebate). At that price, even with no plans to modify, its hard to not buy another. I thoroughly enjoyed building with this case and am already planning out a greater project for it in the future.

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TuKr

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Discussion
  1. Nice review Tukr.

    I have 2 questions for ya.

    1. Will a 420mm rad fit up front? It comes with 3x140mm fans but doesn't list 420mm as an available option for water cooling.

    2. Could you please measure the distance from the back of the motherboard to the side panel to determine how much clearance there is for cable management?

    Again, great write-up.