Introducing the AZZA Silentium

The desktop enclosure market has broken down pretty simply into three categories with only the rarest of outliers. Cases under $100 will either have good acoustics or good thermals, but never really both. Cases between $100 and $150 will typically find a balance. And if you're paying more than $150 for a case, it needs to deliver on both, full stop. The problem that sub-$100 silent cases often run into is that the measures taken to keep noise down result in substantially reduced airflow, and when you start really pushing the hardware (and thus the limits of the case's cooling), those measures actually serve to increase system noise beyond a garden variety case.

With all of that information in mind, AZZA's $99 Silentium is entering a perilous market. The Silentium is meant to compete with cases like the BitFenix Ghost and the NZXT H2, offering quiet computing at a competitive price point. The problem is that when you're at the top of the sub-$100 market, you risk having to compete with monsters like the Fractal Design Define R4 and the soon-to-be-released-on-American-shores Nanoxia Deep Silence 1. Does the Silentium carve out its own niche, or is it fighting an uphill battle?

I admit I feel like we haven't seen enough of AZZA's offerings here. While a lot of their cases on NewEgg seem like garden variety "g4m3r" enclosures, designs like the Genesis and Fusion have some real ingenuity built into them. The Silentium at least superficially has some interesting ideas on hand, too; as a silence-oriented enclosure (if you couldn't tell by the name) it doesn't seem to be working off of quite the same plans that other silent cases do. It has the traditional ATX layout, but AZZA goes their own way in other places.

AZZA Silentium Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX
Drive Bays External 4x 5.25”, 1x 3.5"
Internal 5x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 1x 120mm intake fan
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top -
Side -
Bottom 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 7
I/O Port 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Clearances HSF 170mm
PSU 180mm
GPU 300mm
Dimensions 19.7" x 8.8" x 18.1"
500mm x 225mm x 460mm
Special Features USB 3.0 connectivity via internal header
Toolless 5.25" drive bays and 3.5" drive sleds
Acoustic foam on most interior surfaces
Price $99

What I appreciate about AZZA's design here is that by and large they've elected to eschew even the idea that this is a high performance case. The Silentium is about quashing noise, pure and simple. With that said, whenever a manufacturer opts for an odd number of USB ports (of either variety), I get irritated. This is a cost cutting move, pure and simple. I've heard from reps that it's cheaper to use a single USB 3.0 port and a single USB 2.0 port by a couple of bucks, which is an absolutely pointless savings in the long term and wastes motherboard headers.

In and Around the AZZA Silentium
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  • The Von Matrices - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Are all the pictures broken or has my browser gone crazy?
  • csroc - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    broken for me too unfortunately
  • karasaj - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    happened to me too, so I doubt it.
  • colinstu - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    kinda pointless without the pictures!
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Our server was hosed, should be up with pictures now.
  • pcfxer - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    What? No platter drives? I'm still trying to find a high quality "silent" case that is sharp, has more than just silicone drive mounts and isn't the SOLO or SOLO II.
  • jimmyzaas - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Exactly, there should at least be one hard disk in there. I personally know many people have at least one hdd in their system. Just because they want it quiet, does not mean they want to sacrifice storage capacity. It's a shame no one else is doing suspension mounts like the Solo.

    Temps of SSDs are kinda silly. They don't even get that hot anyway. HDD temps would have been a better measure of storage cooling, which often gets neglected in these quiet cases.
  • hmaarrfk - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Seriously :|, how is only having a 1 USB 3.0 port at the front allowed for a case that cost $100. The review should have stopped there and declared the case as a "do not buy".
  • ShieTar - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Why? Personally, I have yet to find a usefull application for even a single USB 3 port, as I don't transport data on physical media but rather just through network connections. And nothing else I connect to USB, like keyboard, mouse, printer, WLAN-Stick utilizes USB 3. Or needs to be connected to the front of the case.

    I also buitl 4 PCs for friends and colleagues the last year, and none of them had any USB-3 devices beyond external harddrives, and nobody ever mentioned he wants to connect two of those at the same time. So, I don't think a lot of people have any kind of interest in a second front USB-3 port.

    As an engineer I can understand the annoyance with an odd number of case-ports given the fact that Mainboard-Connecters are always provided for pairs of ports, but still I would guess that for at least 80% of potential customers this fact is completely irrelevant.
  • Hrel - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    I transfer data from one external to another, via USB 3.0. 2 Ports is a bare minimum.

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