Waiting

September 13, 2008

After spending way too much time researching HTPC cases, I’m almost certainly going with an OrigenAE case – either the black S10V or the slightly taller S14V.  Unfortunately there’s only one distributor for OrigenAE in the US – pcalchemy.com – and they are currently sold out of the black cases until November according to the site.  It looks like I’ll be waiting a while before proceeding with my build.

In the meantime I have already ordered the Abit AN-M2HD micro ATX motherboard along with two 1GB sticks of Corsair memory.  I’m looking at the AMD X2 5400+ black edition chip, a 2.8GHz dual core 65w processor for the motherboard since it should easily overclock without much effort and it’s cheap.  Some people are successfully using hotter quad core Phenom socket AM+ processors with this board, but it currently requires a tricky bios flash.  It doesn’t seem like a good option for a small HTPC so I’ll probably give the low wattage 5400+ a try and think about upgrading later if it struggles with HD content.

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HTPC Cases: the good, bad & ugly

September 5, 2008

I guess I’m too picky.  After spending countless online hours trying to locate an attractive case I have found only a few that satisfy my taste.  Don’t get me wrong, there are hundreds of HTPC cases to choose from, ranging from the cheap and downright ugly to those that incorporate nifty touch screens and a lot of other features that I really don’t need.  My requirements are a smallish low profile case with a nice clean look with good build quality.  Here are some cases that caught my eye:

 

Omaura TF8

Omaura TF8

The Omaura TF8 has a nice clean simply look but further research shows quality problems with this case and distribution problems.  Dell was selling Omaura cases for a short time but apparently they no longer handle them, presumably because of all the problems users have reported.  I couldn’t find the case available from any other US distributors, but I think I’ll pass anyway based on what I’ve read so far.  Too bad…


 

 

Here’s an interesting case made by A-Tech Fabrication.  It’s a passively cooled Mini ITX case made from CNC machined aluminum and features a proprietary CPU/GPU cooling solution which directs heat to the finned case.  I love the clean minimalistic look and high build quality, but high quality comes with a high price tag.  Nice case, but expensive…


 

 

OrigenAE S10V

I keep gravitating towards the OrigenAE S10V slimline case.  I think it’s the best looking Micro ATX case in this group and is highly regarded among enthusiasts for it’s exceptional build quality.  While I don’t need a VFD, the display on this case is larger than normal and should actually be readable from a distance.  I also understand that the display is compatible with Linux.  Things that concern me are cooling and the high price – around $390.00 US

Reviews:
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Origen_ae/S10V/


 

 

MCubed HFX-519

MCubed HFX-519

The MCubed HFX-519 is another passively cooled case with a similar minimalistic look as the A-Tech Fab case.  Though cheaper than the A-Tech case, it’s still expensive at around $340.00 US and I was unable to locate a US distributor for the case.  More info here.


 

 

Thermaltake VC7001SNS

Thermaltake VC7001SNS

Here’s another interesting slimline case that caught my eye made by Thermaltake.  The Mozart Sx VC7001SNS features an attractive front with VFD display and numerous control buttons.  The VC7000SNS is also available and excludes the buttons, which I probably wouldn’t use anyway.  See Thermaltake’s site for more details on these cases.  Newegg is currently selling the case for about $200.00 US, unfortunately reviews concerning this case are not encouraging.  Users are reporting problems getting the 2nd generation VFDs to work under Linux and there are some problems using PCI tuner cards in this case.  While I don’t plan on using a tuner card, I like to leave my options open.  I’ll probably stay away from this case, but I do like the look and the price isn’t bad compared to some of the others here.

Reviews:
http://www.futurelooks.com/378-Thermaltake-Mozart-SX–VC7001SNS–Slim-Home-Theatre-PC-Enclosure-Review.html


 

 

Lian Li PC-C37B

Lian Li PC-C37B

I recently came across photos of this case by Lian Li.  I am not familiar with Lian Li but the case gets fairly decent reviews at newegg.  This case currently retails for around $155 and looks decent, but I’m not getting the warm fuzzies over it.  I haven’t had a chance to pull up any reviews on the case yet.  Perhaps I could be persuaded by some glorifying reviews.


 

 

Silverston LC19B

Silverstone LC19B

The Silverstone LC19B is yet another slimline Micro ATX case that looks stylish and simplistic.  It retails for around $200.00 US.  I haven’t had a chance to research this case but intend on finding out more about it.  It might be a strong contender.