While some small-form-factor PC cases come with a custom-made power supply and motherboard and could more accurately be called bare-bones systems, the $150 SilverStone SG01-E is just an empty shell, waiting to be filled with your choice of components. And the choices the SG01-E affords are many; the chassis can hold any micro-ATX motherboard and any standard ATX power supply. That kind of flexibility gives you the ability to build almost any kind of system, from a Media Center box to a gaming rig, while keeping it all wrapped up in an attractive aluminum package that won't upset the feng shui of your room.
The case measures 10 inches wide by 8.5 inches tall by 15.5 inches deep, but it serves up an impressive amount of room for your components, including bays for two hard drives and two optical drives, as well as four slots on the back for PCI or PCI Express cards. The lack of a removable motherboard tray made slotting components a bit tricky, and when we tried to insert a slightly lengthy video card (we're looking at you, ATI X1900 All-In-Wonder), we butted up against the hard drive cage. We had to unscrew the cage, slot the card in, then wedge the cage back in place. Everything fit, but it wasn't pretty. Only the longest cards will pose such a problem.
The front of the case features audio jacks, plus four USB 2.0 ports and a single FireWire port. Cooling is provided by a fan located in the hard drive cage and another that's angled over where your PCI cards would be (it doesn't get in the way of the cards). And if you need more, there's an optional cross-flow fan--it looks like a paddle wheel--that you can screw into the back of the case just below the power supply.