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Inside Silverstone with chassis guru Tony Ou

While all of the world’s top chassis designers fight it out in the mid-range to entry-level, only a select few have consistently battled for the accolade of the finest chassis ever produced. KitGuru was lucky enough to be allowed inside Silverstone’s Taiwan headquarters for a 1-on-1 with Chassis guru and Silverstone veteran, Tony Ou.

Having seen the brand new Temjin TJ12 design on the show floor at Computex 2011, we were fascinated to find out more about the company and what their design philosophy is all about. For that, we needed a special invitation from Tony Ou and a 30 minute cab ride to Chung Ho City.  It was well worth the cab fair.

Tony Ou walks around with a Silverstone halo on his head - all day long - honest

Once we passed the huge logos in the hall, we entered the presentation area, which is decorated (literally from floor to ceiling) with the evolving range of Silverstone’s designs over the years.

Originally from Taiwan, Tony Ou moved to sunny California as a kid and grew up State-side, before moving back in his twenties. As a result, he has a truly global view of the technology market.

We asked him what drew him to Silverstone.

“That’s easy”, he replied. “The quality of the designs and the manufacturing process”.

Silverstone's HQ is lined with shelves - and each shelf is full of what you can only call desire

Tony joined Silverstone a couple of years after it was founded. So what was his first project?

“My dream chassis”, he replied, with a big smile. “The TJ07. It included features that I had in mind for ages and it was great to be able to join a company with such a great design team. It was really exciting to be involved in the project and we all felt very proud when it launched in September 2005”.

Over the next couple of years, Tony worked closely with the high-end product team, as they created successive generations of Temjin chassis, right through to the TJ10.

Tony Ou shows us the difference between the huge TJ11 (front - and closer to the camera!) and the monster that is the TJ12

Tony’s role evolved and he became much more involved in marketing. The results of Silverstone’s continuous design innovation are all around our film crew, as we interview Tony for Pro Class TV [Cool new thing, more about that later – Ed].

He talked us through everything from the smaller form factor products in the Sugo series, as well as the later mass market/affordable chassis in the Precision range.

One thing is clear, from the smallest Mini ITX chassis, through the Temjin, Sugo and Raven series – right onto the Marantz-inspired monster HTPC rigs, all of the designs are distinctly Silverstone.

Silverstone's investment in airflow technology means they can jam-pack cases with kit and still stay cool

Before we left, we got Tony to line up the huge TJ11 against the monster mother trucker chassis that is the TJ12. Considering the TJ12 only left the drawing board last quarter, Silverstone’s done a marvellous job in getting the prototype ready for public consumption at Computex 2011. We also did  the same thing against the Raven RV02.

For a real laugh, we lined up the brand new Temjin TJ12 against Zardon's fave-rave, the Raven RV02. Result = Wow

We asked Tony about the inspiration, “The truth is that one of our top engineers is absolutely nuts about folding. He wanted a rig that would comfortably hold 6 double width graphic cards with plenty of room for ventilation. So that’s what he designed and this is what it looks like”.

Pound for pound, the Raven RV02 is still the (technically) coolest case Silverstone's created. So far.

We packed up the kit and headed out to a local noodle bar with Tony for some equally simple/stylish/tasty beef noodles. Nice.

Big thank you to Tony for inviting the crew into Silverstone’s HQ – we’re looking forward to his team’s next designs!

Ben is stunned when Richard explains that water cooling doesn't involve dumping a water bottle into a chassis

KitGuru says: More power to Silverstone. Affordable chassis that are easy to build with in the sub £50 range, the singularly stylish aluminium-clad Fortress FT3 at just over £100 and the monster Temjin range for clockers who just can’t clock enough. We love it!

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