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Silverstone ML06-E Mini-ITX HTPC Case Review

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SilverStone ML06-E Detailed Features

The Milo series of cases have always served a slightly different purpose than a typical computer case. Let’s take a closer look at what makes them different.

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The accessory pack contains only the essentials, although the vertical stand/brackets are a new addition. A 140mm magnetic mesh filter accompanies a pack of screws and the rubber feet with some zipties and vibration-dampening grommets completing the lineup.

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The front I/O consists of two USB 3.0 ports and the usual 3.5mm headphone/microphone jacks.

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The power button is very discrete and a bit difficult to hit from the front. In a vertical orientation, it’s a simple matter of running your finger along the ridge and hitting the only button you can feel – the reset button on the left is recessed, you’ll need a tiny finger or some type of tool to actually press it.

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The power/HDD activity LEDs are very subtle, and cast a very blue ambient glow (since they’re recessed, they remain pretty dim and only highlight the immediate surface the ML06-E is resting on). It’s a pleasing effect, especially for an HTPC – there’s only a slight hint the machine is powered on and working. Easy enough to tell at glance, but never distracting – this aspect was executed very well in my opinion. You’ll have to be careful if the ML06-E is used in a vertical orientation not to shine it directly towards an audience, but that probably won’t be an issue for most setups.

ML06-E_00010The internals follow the layout of the back panel.  The motherboard sits underneath the “4-in-1″ multipurpose bracket (more on this later), with a 4×2.5” drive cage accompanying a structural cross-bar as the only other internal features.

ML06-E_00012The front I/O wires run across the front panel inside and should be long enough to reach any mITX motherboard. There aren’t any cable management channels to speak of, but there are multiple tie-down points on the front of the interior which should be adequate to keep cables out of the way of spinning fans.

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Everything removes easily, freeing up direct access to any component. The structural cross-bar removes with two screws, but it is positioned so that it wasn’t really necessary to remove (unless you just wanted the extra freedom during the install). A slim 120mm fan is already fastened to the 4-in-1 bracket, and the drive cage removes with three screws (two on the front, one on the floor – each of these should be relatively easy to access with a system installed as well). I don’t have any complaints whatsoever for the internal layout, but I do wonder if the 4-in-1 bracket could be secured with a few magnets rather than screws. Accessing the motherboard after installation isn’t difficult, but it could be made even easier if you could just lift the multi-purpose bracket off of the chassis instead of removing the four screws at the corners. It already sits in four small depressions for the bracket, which would keep it in place without screws especially with the top cover on…Perhaps for the ML07?

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Since the bracket is the same one used in the ML05, I’ll just borrow a few old photos to show the different configurations possible. As we’ve already seen, there’s enough space up here for a 120mm fan – SilverStone includes one of their new slim 120mm fans with the ML06-E. Two 2.5″ drives fit as well, although cabling might prove to be a bit of a challenge.

ML05_Bracket35HDD

Finally, a 3.5″ drive can be mounted here, although you’ll decrease the available clearance for any aftermarket CPU coolers (without anything mounted to the bracket, there is 70mm of clearance available above the CPU socket). My experience with the ML05 showed this to be a questionable choice unless you’re going with an i3 or cooler CPU – a drive mounted here blocks most of the intake ventilation, so you’ll need a purpose-built system with carefully selected components to pull this configuration off. What about the “4” in “4-in-1”, you ask? The final configuration is that of a slim, slot-load optical drive mounted here instead – as with the ML05, while it’s nice that this is an option, such drives are generally $80 or more – an external or network attached drive makes more sense to me with these sorts of enclosures.


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