Many people say that reviewers get cherry-picked samples. As my contact at Silverstone told me when I sent him a copy of my tear-down as a heads-up for what was coming, reviewers get whatever inventory is in the warehouse like everybody else and I doubt anybody will dispute that here.
This was awesome. Thanks for this kind of content TH. Makes this feel like a real technically oriented website instead of just tech gossip. Kinda felt like that was where things were headed for a while.
Good on SilverStone for asking for your unvarnished criticism. But it's disappointing that SS's own QA/QC doesn't pick up these issues.
Most of these were more 'quibbles' than serious issues though: as long as the flux is non-corrosive at room temperature, there is nothing technically wrong with leaving the finished PCB drowned in it. Solder blobs may not be pretty but as long as they don't touch anything they shouldn't, there is nothing wrong with those either. Ripples and noise on VBus may not be pretty but section 22.214.171.124 of the USB 3.1 spec (VBus) does not have a noise or ripple specification. Anything from 4.45V to 5.25V appears to be fair game.
The only real issue I have with it is the mechanical/shield hole on the upstream port since leaving one tab loose means more stress on the data pins when the cable gets (dis)connected or tugged. SilverStone told me one tab is enough, but I don't have to like it.