[section label=1. Introduction]
SilverStone’s Entry Level Enthusiast/Gaming PC Case
Similar to Lian Li, SilverStone typically specializes in conservative, but functional high-end cases. However, with SilverStone’s Redline series cases, SilverStone is taking a step out of their conservative case design philosophy and giving the cases a more modern, gamer-centric appeal. With a glowing logo and HDD activity lights as well as a red 120mm front fan, the SilverStone Redline RL01 looks tough and ready for action.
You can probably guess then that today we’ll be doing a review on the SilverStone Redline RL01 mid tower case. For our review, we received the USB 3.0, windowed model of the Redline RL01, but several editions such as the non windowed or USB 2.0 editions exist as well. My first impressions of the case were quite good. The styling on the front of the case caught my eye, as well as the raised areas on the side panels. The window seemed to be just the right size and despite this being a lower end budget oriented PC case, it still features SilverStone’s high quality dust filters. The weight seemed perfect as well. At only 5.1kg (just over 11lbs), the Redline RL01 was especially light and can be easily transported, even after installation.
SilverStone markets the Redline RL01 as an affordable enthusiast case. The looks certainly fit, but will it perform as well?
Redline RL01 Specifications
|High-strength plastic and meshed front panel|
|External||5.25″ x 3|
|3.5″ x 1|
|Internal||3.5″ x 5, 2.5” x1|
|Front||1 x 120mm red LED intake fan|
|Rear||1 x 120mm fan slot|
|Top||2 x 120mm or 1 x 120mm and 1 x 140mm fan slots|
|Bottom||1 x 120mm fan slot|
Front I/O Port
|USB 2.0 x 2 (SST-RL01B-USB 2.0+SST-RL01B-W-USB 2.0 only) USB 3.0 x 2 (SST-RL01B-USB 3.0+SST-RL01B-W-USB 3.0 only) Audio x 1 MIC x 1|
|1 x optional standard PS2(ATX)|
|Compatible with expansion cards up to 11”|
|192.5mm (W) x 440.3mm (H) x 485mm (D), 42.0 liters|
[section label=2. A Closer Look (Exterior)]
A Closer Look at the Redline RL01
As mentioned before, this case has a much more flashy look than most of SilverStone’s cases. The front panel is a gray plastic with black mesh to cover the fan and drive bays. As you can see, there are three 5.25″ drive bays, along with a 3.5″ drive bay used for floppy drives, smaller fan controllers, memory card readers, etc. Each piece of mesh is removable once the front panel has been taken off.
Zooming in on the front panel, we can see the two stripes of red on either side of the logo. These are the HDD activity LEDs, which flash while the HDD is active. The SilverStone logo functions as a power button, and lights up while the PC is turned on. Personally, I think integrating the power button and HDD lights into the styling of the case is a great move on SilverStone’s part.
After removing the front panel by pulling out the the latches at the bottom, we get a clear view of the drive bays and included front fan. The mesh pieces may be removed to allow for installation of 5.25″ drives. Here we can also see the wires connected to the front panel USB ports, audio ports, power button and HDD LEDs. The front fan is a SilverStone branded 120mm red LED fan and is the only fan provided with this case. There are also mounting holes for a 90mm or 80mm front fan.
The top of the front panel for this model houses two USB 3.0 ports along with the typical 3.5mm audio and microphone jacks. SilverStone has printed their name and logo on this portion of the case as well.
The tiny reset switch at the top of the front panel eliminates accidental presses with your knee. This makes us question why SilverStone didn’t just put the power switch on top as well. Nonetheless, they are both located in easy to reach areas for convenient access.
The side panel of the case includes a sides window that provides a view of your system’s internals. The raised area on this panel matches the panel on the other side of the case. Unfortunately, you can clearly see in this shot that this case is not resistant to fingerprints.
As mentioned before, the side panel on the other side is the exact same, minus the window. Notice how the panel here is flared out. This will allow for cables to be hidden here.
SilverStone has included a filter for the top vent on this case to maintain positive pressure and eliminate dust. This filter is magnetic so it can stick to the case and be easily removed for washing. This is a very high quality dust filter compared to what’s offered with other cases in this category, but the filter we received with our RL01 sample had a slight bend in the middle of it and wouldn’t sit properly even when pressed down. Some stylistic features were incorporated into this filter to match the front panel.
With the filter popped off, we can see mounting holes for two 140mm or two 120mm fans. SilverStone’s specifications show that only one 140mm fan can be used, but you may be able to install two if you find fans that don’t hit each other. The top of the case extends above the motherboard leaving room for a small 2x120mm liquid cooling radiator. Unfortunately, no fans are provided for the top of this case.
[section label=3. A Closer Look (Interior)]
A Closer Look at the Redline RL01
The interior of the RL01 is painted completely black, which is a pleasant suprise for a budget case. It features a bottom PSU mount. The HDD cage is rotated 90° outward for easy hard drive installation.
These 5.25″ bay locks continue with the styling on the front of the case. The red centers twist, which releases the lock allowing you to remove the whole plastic piece. Once the piece is removed, you can insert a drive, then replace the lock to hold it in place. I’m not sure why SilverStone only included two locks, since there are four slots.
The HDD cage features the same tool-less locking mechanism as the 5.25″ bays. The HDD cage can hold up to a maximum of five 3.5″ hard drives. The hard drive cage is also removable to to increase airflow.
The cutout in the motherboard tray is especially large, allowing for the easy installation and removal of practically any size CPU cooler.
A large fan filter can also be found at the bottom of the case. As you can see in this picture, the filter extends all the way to the hard drive bays. This means that it will be able to cover even the largest power supply. Unfortunately, this fan filter does not come with a magnetic mounting bracket, so removing it is significantly more work. Then again, how often will you need to take out a bottom mounted fan filter?
One of the more interesting parts of this case was the SSD mounting holes on the bottom of the case. Four holes directly under the HDD bays allow you to mount your SSD on the inside of the case, just under the last HDD.
On the back of the Redline RL01, we find 7 expansion slots. Water cooling tubes may be routed through the two rubber grommets. However, with the side panel on we can see that the right two screw holes are covered, making a back-mounted radiator much more difficult to attach. The case also allows for a optional rear mounted 120mm or 80mm fan.
[section label=4. Installation]
Sandy Bridge Test System
|CPU||Intel Core i5 2500k|
|CPU Cooler||Prolimatech Lynx CPU Cooler|
|Motherboard||ASUS P8P67 Pro|
|Memory||16GB Kingston HyperX DDR3 1600MHz|
|GPU||XFX Radeon HD6950 1GB|
|Case||Antec One Computer Case|
|Boot Drive||OCZ Agility 2 60GB|
|Storage Drive||Hitachi 320GB|
|Optical Drive||LiteOn iHAS124|
|PSU||OCZ Fatal1ty 550W|
|OS||Windows 7 Professional 64-bit|
Redline RL01 Installation
My P8P67 sat nicely inside the RL01, but there was very little room for my hands to work with. That being said, with the case laying flat on a table, the installation was smooth and painless. The tool-less drive bays were simple to use and worked well, keeping the drives in firmly in place. As you can see here, my HD6950 fit just fine since this case is rated to fit cards up to 11″ long. Although my Prolimatech Lynx is almost 160mm tall, and this case is only rated for 155mm tall CPU coolers, the side panel was still able to close securely and without touching the cooler.
The only problem I found with this case is the cable management. SilverStone left enough room for some cables behind the motherboard tray, but didn’t give us a way to get to them. With no hole next to the PSU to route our cables through, they started to bunch up quickly, leaving us with a messy looking case.
As you can see here, in order to do any sort of cable management at all, you have to go behind the motherboard tray, then back out from behind and into the item that you’re supplying power to. This might have been manageable, but with just over a quarter inch of space between the side panel and motherboard tray, I didn’t think it was worth the hassle.
The SSD was screwed to the bottom of the case using the screws provided. However, the way that the SSD sat, I was forced to use a straight SATA cord since my right angle cord would not fit.
My favorite part of this case has to be the front panel, specifically the power button. The red LEDs along with the jagged edges give this case a very tough look.
[section label=5. Performance]
Redline RL01 Performance
After running ADIA64 and Furmark together for 30 minutes to create as much heat as possible inside the case, here are the results. The CPU temperatures maxed out right around 70°C, a reasonable temperature considering the small size of the cooler. The video card, however, was another story. Maxing out at 94°C on the default fan profile (which didn’t go above 80% at this temperature) we’re definitely in need of some additional airflow. This could ahve been remedied if SilverStone had included at least a rear exhaust fan, rather than just one intake in the front.
With a rear fan installed, we can clearly see that our temperatures have decreased by almost 10 degrees. Our CPU temps have dropped into a more than acceptable range. The GPU temperature is still slightly high, but is still 5°C cooler than what we had before. If you’re considering purchasing this case, definitely pick up an extra fan or two with it.
[section label=6. Conclusion]
Redline RL01 Conclusions
The Redline series cases are a different breed than typical SilverStone cases. Aimed at the budget end of the market, the Redline RL01 brings style to gamers and PC enthusiasts who can’t afford shell out $150 for something like a Raven 3.
The front panel of this case sets this case off in the right direction from the start. The mesh covers for the 5.25″ bays can be easily removed. There’s even a dust filter for the 120mm intake fan to keep the insides dust free. The power button and HDD LEDs along with the 120mm fan LEDs emit an eye-catching glow as well. Up top, the USB ports and 3.5mm jacks are very subtle and can be accessed without fudging around the front of the case.
The side panels were well thought out too. Featuring a large raised area on each panel, they help give the Redline RL01 a tough, rugged look, but also functions by giving a tad bit more space behind the motherboard tray as well for cable management. The side panels did feel a bit light and flimsy to me though as I’m pretty used to the tough, heavy panels used on the Cooler Master HAF 932, but these sidepanels should be more than strong enough to hold up for the long term.
Around the inside of the case, the only real eye-catchers are the locks for our 5.25″ and 3.5″ bays. With bright red plastic pieces in the center, these are hard to miss. These locks are very light plastic and feel cheap, but are fully functional and serve their purpose. This is definitely a breath of fresh air from SilverStone’s usual routine of not including anything tool-less. The large motherboard tray cutout allowed for easy access to the back of the motherboard, making CPU cooler installation a breeze. Some clips are provided on the side of the motherboard tray, which I assume is for holding down cables, but I can’t really see a reason to use them due to the lack of a good way to route cables behind the motherboard tray.
If there is one part of this case that I’d really like to see improved, it would be the cable management. Specifically, the back of the case simply needs to be more accessible so cables can actually be routed that way. For example, typical enthusiast cases have a holes next to the power supply to route the cables behind the motherboard, so that they’re out of sight. However, this was not the case with the RL01. With the flared out sidepanels, SilverStone definitely left enough room behind the motherboard tray for cables, but it seems as if they forgot to cut out wire management holes to that area. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker for me, but with a window on the side panel, it certainly helps to have a clean look on the inside. Additionally, I’d also like to see a rear exhaust fan included as well. From my performance testing, the addition of a rear exhaust fan resulted in a full 10°C drop in CPU temperatures and a 5°C GPU temperatures, which is quite significant to say the least. Those interested in picking up the RL01, be sure to pick up a fan as well.
The USB 3.0 model without a window (RL01B-USB 3.0) can be found on Amazon for just $55. Considering this is marketed as a mid-range enthusiast case, $55 is a great price designed to compete with other well known cases such as the Antec 300 ($59.99), Cooler Master HAF 912 ($59.99), and the Thermaltake V3 ($39.99). With all of the included features though (especially the high quality dust filters), the Redline RL01 brings a lot of value to the table and is easily my top choice in this price range.
SilverStone has stepped away from their typical conservative designs and have really hit their mark with this one. While I’d still like to see a couple small improvements with the case, it doesn’t change the fact that the SilverStone Redline RL01 is still a highly functional enthusiast case that doesn’t break the bank. Recommended.
Special thanks to SilverStone for making this review possible!
The SilverStone Redline RL01 is currently available on Amazon.