Scythe Gekkou Silent Mid-Tower Case Review

David Liu February 22, 2011 0

Scythe, manufacturer of high-quality case fans and CPU coolers, has recently entered the PC case market with its Gekkou line. Standard and "silent" models are available, both of which are available with a black, silver, or mirror-finish front panel. We tested a black silent model, keen to see whether Scythe's initial foray into the highly-competitive case market was worth considering.


The Build

As Scythe's previous cooling products were of top-notch build quality, I would settle for nothing less from the Gekkou—and neither, apparently would Scythe. The stainless steel frame is solidly put together, and every edge on which you might accidentally cut yourself has been rolled in for your fingers' sake. All the external panels are of excellent fit and finish: edges line up exactly, and the paint is devoid of any unsightly swirls or waves that I've found has plagued other manufacturers, including giants like Antec. Soundproofing foam is attached to the inside face of the side panels as well as to the top of the frame. The front cover on this black model is made of ABS plastic, which feels very solid, and sports a brushed metal finish down the central panel that helps to break up the monotony of black. Two identical buttons are mounted on the top of the faceplate for power and reset, and on the left side are a pair of USB ports, headphone/mic jacks, and an eSATA port. The front door can be made to open in either direction by simply removing the front cover and switching the hinge to the opposite side's mounting points, or it can be removed entirely at no cost to aesthetics.

Inside, you'll find that the Gekkou is very simple. The power supply sits unadorned at the bottom, and it can be mounted right-side-up or upside-down. Often, with bottom-mounted power supplies, there is not enough ground clearance under the case for proper ventilation and therefore you should keep the power supply fan facing upward, but in the Gekkou, four small rubber feet lift the PSU about 3mm off the bottom of the case, and the case itself rests on four rubber-padded chrome feet that give the PSU fan another 5mm or so of clearance. Because of these, there is plenty of space for the power supply to be mounted fan-side-down. There are, surprisingly, no holes for cable rerouting through the back of the case. The lack of cable holes is a strange omission, especially considering the case is compact enough that you're going to have quite a bit of leftover cable length. A large hole in the back is provided to allow the installation of CPU cooler backplates without having to remove the motherboard, which is a nice touch—except that the motherboard is mounted very high in the case, leaving no room for any overhang past the edge of the board. Smaller heatsinks and liquid-cooling setups will not have any problems, and nor will larger heatsinks on motherboards where the CPU is mounted inward, away from the board's edge, but wide heatsinks mounted near the edge will be blocked by the soundproofing foam on the top of the frame. Scythe should have left an extra centimeter or so of space at the top.

The Gekkou has five external 5.25" drive bays (one of which can be converted into a 3.5" bay), all of which use an excellent spring-loaded integrated thumbscrew mounting system that isn't as flimsy as some clip-based tool-free systems but equally convenient. The same thumbscrew system holds the four-slot hard drive cage in place. The trays that hold your hard drives in place are secured using rubber rails, which grip securely but are still very easy to change. The plastic hard drive trays also have mounting points for 80mm or 92mm case fans, if you're so inclined. Otherwise, cooling is provided by two 120mm Slip Stream fans running at a quiet but efficient 800rpm. I was initially a bit skeptical about the effectiveness of two low-speed fans in what's basically an insulated case, but with an i7-920 on a stock CPU fan, the case provided good enough airflow to keep the core temperature at a perfectly reasonable 62°C under load.

The Soundproofing

The party piece of the Gekkou Silent is, of course, its soundproofing, and it works quite well. Since my aftermarket CPU heatsink/fan wouldn't fit in the case, I reinstalled the stock Intel CPU cooler, which I replaced because of an unknown fault that caused it to emanate a loud buzzing noise as the fan spun. Naturally, this noise made it a perfect way to test the soundproofing ability of the case. With the side panels off, the idle volume hovered around 63 dB; the closed Gekkou idled at a whisper-quiet 51 dB. (For what it's worth, Wikipedia states the difference between 53 and 65 dB as the difference between a dishwasher and a handheld electric mixer.) There are several nice touches that add to the silencing effectiveness, including the baffles on the sides of the faceplate which allow airflow to the lower fan while still keeping noise to a minimum.

The Verdict

Scythe has really raised the bar with the silent-model Gekkou. It's a compact, attractive, well-built, well-engineered case that accomplishes its stated goal. Despite its one or two minor faults (the lack of clearance for a CPU cooler, for example), it is superbly designed product. At $92, it might be on the expensive side for its class, but the premium feel and ease of use make the Gekkou worth a place on your short list.  


Model Name: GEKKOU-BK-S
Chassis Color: Black
Front-Panel: Model BK – Black
Dimensions (WxHxD): 196 x 430 x 525 mm / 7.717 x 16.93 x 20.67 in
Weight: 7.3 kg | 16.09 lb
Case-Type: Mid-Tower
Supplied Case Fans: 2 x Slip Stream 120 mm (800 rpm)
Compatible Motherboards: ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ATX, Mini ITX, Flex ATX
Internal and external Bays:
5x 5.25 inch Bay (external)
4x 3.5 inch Bay (internal)
I/O-Panel Connectors:
2x USB 2.0
1x eSATA
1x Audio Input
1x Audio Output
Power Supply: Standard ATX

 [Scythe Gekkou Silent Model] – $92.00

Noise tested at idle using Smart Sound Lite app for Android (max 81 dB)

Temperature tested using CoreTemp 0.99.8

Built a system consisting of an EVGA X58 SLI3 motherboard, Intel Core i7-920 processor, 6GB (3x2GB) 1333MHz RAM by Corsair, 1GB MSI R5770 graphics card, 2x1TB 7200rpm Seagate Barracuda hard drives, and 650W Cooler Master GX power supply{jcomments on}

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