Why don't we crowdfund our own HTPC case? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 159 Old 08-29-2013, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been shopping for an HTPC case for the last year and haven't found one that I liked. They either lack an LCD, or lack adequate cooling or the ones that have adequate cooling also have space for a gazillion hard drives that I don't need etc, etc. It doesn't appear as if the case manufacturers are investing much time and research in htpc case design anymore. HardOCP forum members just crowdfunded a mini-ITX case, why don't we explore the same?
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post #2 of 159 Old 08-29-2013, 02:45 PM
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I feel that people have different ideas about what an HTPC should be. Some like LCD screens, some don't. Some like the device small like the Intel Nuc, and some want it to look more like there audio gear. I like the idea of this device but would prefer it to be more of the dimensions of my audio gear - http://www.ecosmartpc.com/ei3.html.

These are other cases I like but seem pricey for the size... http://www.shop.perfecthometheater.com/HTPC-FC5-EVO-Black-FC5WS-EVO-Slim-HTPC-aluminum-chassis-HTPC-FC5-EVO-B.htm and this one http://www.shop.perfecthometheater.com/HTPC-e4-v3-Black-Ultra-low-profile-aluminum-chassis-HTPC-e4-v3-B.htm

I really like the faceplace of the HTPC-FC5-EVO-Black.

Right now I actually own the nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum panel & Steel HTPC 1000B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case which is OK and gets the job done but I don't need it that big/bulky.

Silent/low profile is ideal but then it is hard to add say a video card to it if you don't want to use the onboard video as well as other items.

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post #3 of 159 Old 08-29-2013, 02:52 PM
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I like shuttle cases. Been using it for many years. Not into LCD on case.
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post #4 of 159 Old 08-29-2013, 04:54 PM
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I think the Silverstone GD cases are close to perfect. an ir receiver would seal the deal.

the Morex 887 is also great but requires a specific Sandy Bridge motherboard and laptop hardware.

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post #5 of 159 Old 08-29-2013, 05:54 PM
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Their crowdfunded case is $205, in that price range there are tons of options. A lot of good, sleek options for SFF cases like Streacom, OrigenAE, and Wesena fall within that price range. And then if you want something bigger there are even more options.
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post #6 of 159 Old 08-29-2013, 06:10 PM
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This is actually something I have been considering myself. Well, not crowd-funding a case, but having a bespoke PC case manufactured.

I was actually thinking of designing a tower case to replace my Silverstone FT02, because I think there were a number of poor design choices with it, and while I appreciate that they actually decided to "think outside the box" and use vertical airflow, working inside that case is a chore, and there are a number of baffling design decisions. Despite it being the largest PC case I've ever owned, it's surprisingly limited on what hardware can fit inside it. But I'm thinking about a high-end PC case, not a HTPC. (I use mine for HTPC, but it's located in another room from the TV)


I think the market for small passively cooled cases is reasonably well covered by the likes of those Streacom cases and similar designs, and NUC boxes.

The problem is that there are not many good cases designed around modern hardware (e.g. the move towards closed-loop water cooling) for people that want an AVR-sized device with higher-end hardware and/or a number of drives in there.
Most HTPC cases in that form factor are horrifically ugly, and appear to have very poor thermal design.
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post #7 of 159 Old 08-29-2013, 06:22 PM
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I'm pretty sure A-Tech Fabrication can hook you up.

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post #8 of 159 Old 08-29-2013, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cburbs View Post

I feel that people have different ideas about what an HTPC should be. Some like LCD screens, some don't. Some like the device small like the Intel Nuc, and some want it to look more like there audio gear.

Agree, my overall preference would be to house a server in a "media closet" with good climate control along with the avr and ups. Just a large, easily movable server case that is primarily tool-less with well thought out cable management and sas backplanes would do. Then my HTPC preference would be a bunch of new/improved RPis running XBMC on a next-gen Exynos architecture to handle all 2D playback w/ HD audio and HDMI-CEC for the remote portion. If it took too long to boot I wouldn't mind moving around to some kind or IR/RF remote solution instead, but I prefer the case to be small and the machine to idle down to 3-5 W. I'd probably mount it behind the TV and just find a nifty way to hide the remote solution (which is why I'd prefer HDMI-CEC). It's sad how close the Raspberry Pi already came to fulfilling these needs for less than $50, but it badly needs an ARM refresh to be useful
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post #9 of 159 Old 08-30-2013, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamawass View Post

I've been shopping for an HTPC case for the last year and haven't found one that I liked. They either lack an LCD, or lack adequate cooling or the ones that have adequate cooling also have space for a gazillion hard drives that I don't need etc, etc. It doesn't appear as if the case manufacturers are investing much time and research in htpc case design anymore. HardOCP forum members just crowdfunded a mini-ITX case, why don't we explore the same?

You must be building your first HTPC. Everyone wants an LCD in it. Once the novelty of the LCD wears off, you just end up turning it off, or dimming it, because it is annoying.

Here is one with OLED that I no longer use. Want it?



MSI_MEGA_180

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #10 of 159 Old 08-30-2013, 09:01 AM
 
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The LCD ends up being too small to be useful for anything but it sheds plenty of light when you want it dark. My HTPC is not inside my theater room, so it would be useless to be.
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post #11 of 159 Old 08-30-2013, 09:39 AM
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Yeah, I actually had a 7" LCD display on one of my cases, and it was cool for a few months before the frustration of it (mostly multi-monitor related) overshadowed the appeal.

Personally, my favorite HTPC case was one that was being crowdfunded from HardForum for a while, but CNC and other issues ended up killing it. (For what its worth, the info is here: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1750863 )

Unfortunately, the only way to get a slim gaming HTPC style case is something like the Falcon NW Tiki or the Digital Storm Bolt. There's a ton of cube cases, and a ton of slim cases without any expansion slot, but zero that include two slots (for gaming GPU) and a riser. Still keeping my eye out for any manufacturers who make a case like that. (Silverstone showed an early version of one, but no idea if it'll come to market).

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post #12 of 159 Old 08-30-2013, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

You must be building your first HTPC. Everyone wants an LCD in it. Once the novelty of the LCD wears off, you just end up turning it off, or dimming it, because it is annoying.

Agree in theory, with the exception that I never wanted one. I don't object to someone who wants to put in the effort to get it working smoothly, but I honestly cringe when I think of someone building their first HTPC with one of these
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post #13 of 159 Old 08-30-2013, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

You must be building your first HTPC. Everyone wants an LCD in it. Once the novelty of the LCD wears off, you just end up turning it off, or dimming it, because it is annoying.

Here is one with OLED that I no longer use. Want it?



MSI_MEGA_180
You can't make an argument without insinuations and insults? Even when I built my htpc two years ago I wouldn't have considered your fugly case. I used an Antec fusion remote case. I'm shopping for a new case now because it's poor airflow often overheats my ceton infinitv cable card resulting in dropped tuners. I find the LCD display handy because if there's lack of TV display due to either WMC crashing or an awry hdmi handshake a quick look at the display will give me the required info. My HTPC is in the family room btw so I prefer that it looks like AV equipment.
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post #14 of 159 Old 08-31-2013, 07:19 AM
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The "perfect" case for an "HTPC" is an Apple TV sized case, with an optional optical drive attachment.

Now, let's crowdfund the perfect hardware for that. smile.gif
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post #15 of 159 Old 08-31-2013, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone View Post

The "perfect" case for an "HTPC" is an Apple TV sized case, with an optional optical drive attachment.

Now, let's crowdfund the perfect hardware for that. smile.gif
I assume you don't watch Cable TV.
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post #16 of 159 Old 08-31-2013, 01:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamawass View Post

I assume you don't watch Cable TV.

What does the size of the case have to do with watching Cable TV?
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post #17 of 159 Old 08-31-2013, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamawass View Post

I assume you don't watch Cable TV.
I do. My two Ceton cards are in the server. In our world, an "HTPC" is never complete without lots of storage, and putting that storage right next to the TV/Display is counter productive. Hence the server. The "HTPC" really needs to be tiny.
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post #18 of 159 Old 08-31-2013, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrsage View Post

What does the size of the case have to do with watching Cable TV?
Exactly.
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post #19 of 159 Old 08-31-2013, 04:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone View Post

Exactly.

My HTPC is pretty large (I have all my HDDs in the same machine as my WMC), but it sits nowhere near the screen (due to noise issues, like you alluded to). I use an IR repeater to control the HTPC. With the advent of the networked CableCard Tuner, HTPCs can be very, very small - especially when you split the storage and TV duties like you have.
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post #20 of 159 Old 08-31-2013, 07:19 PM
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LCD screens are one of those things that seem like a good idea when you buy them but ultimately turn out to be a wasted investment. The only advantage of a large LCD screen that mimic's your desktop is that you can access your PC features without turning on the TV. Other than that, they become a distraction and can actually get to be annoying.

I bought a Silverstone HTPC case many years ago that I still use today. The case had a fluorescent display with scrolling text that could be programmed to display things like the weather, PC status, etc. The text was way too small to read from my chair and the software would crash or simply stop working. Upgrading the software was more of a PITA than it should have been, IIRC. I got to where I just disconnected it and uninstalled the software.

As to getting everyone in this forum to fund the design of a case, I doubt that you'd find a majority that could agree on what features should be included. Besides, there are enough different case designs on the market that it shouldn't be that difficult to find one you like.
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post #21 of 159 Old 09-01-2013, 02:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone View Post

The "perfect" case for an "HTPC" is an Apple TV sized case, with an optional optical drive attachment.
Now, let's crowdfund the perfect hardware for that. smile.gif
Isn't that just an Intel NUC? I'm sure someone must offer a case for them with room for a notebook-sized optical drive.
In fact, the older aluminum Mac Mini was the perfect device in that sort of form factor. It's too bad that Apple decided to stop putting an optical drive in there, because one of them with Haswell and a Blu-ray drive would make an amazing player/client device.

That's fine as a client, but not my main HTPC though. My HTPC is an entertainment device rather than just streaming videos and that includes games.
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

As to getting everyone in this forum to fund the design of a case, I doubt that you'd find a majority that could agree on what features should be included. Besides, there are enough different case designs on the market that it shouldn't be that difficult to find one you like.
I think you're right that crowd-funding an HTPC case probably wouldn't work, because everyone here seems to want different things.

I think there are already good choices for low power devices to be used as clients.
There are reasonable options for AVR-sized cases, but I do think most of them are quite ugly if you want to have an optical drive.
There are a ton of regular tower-style PC cases (for when the PC is not in the same room) but surprisingly few that actually have been well thought out when it comes to managing heat and noise, considerations for dust filtering, and being nice to work in.
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post #22 of 159 Old 09-01-2013, 05:12 AM
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"Isn't that just an Intel NUC? "

Well, kind of. Make the NUC less than a $100 and we'll talk. At $300, Intel's dreaming. And the case is still ugly. It needs to be prettier.
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post #23 of 159 Old 09-01-2013, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamawass View Post

I assume you don't watch Cable TV.
If I was doing it now, I wouldnt have the Internal Ceton either. I would have either the HdHomerun, or the newer Ceton Networked tuner. Much better than sticking inside a hot computer case.
In fact that might be your cheapest option, just get an external tuner and your system should be fine!wink.gif
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post #24 of 159 Old 09-01-2013, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post

I think there are already good choices for low power devices to be used as clients.
There are reasonable options for AVR-sized cases, but I do think most of them are quite ugly if you want to have an optical drive.
There are a ton of regular tower-style PC cases (for when the PC is not in the same room) but surprisingly few that actually have been well thought out when it comes to managing heat and noise, considerations for dust filtering, and being nice to work in.

The Silverstone GD04 does a nice job of hiding the external drive with a faceplate and is designed to prevent a lot of dust from getting in.

Also Fractal Design makes great towers that dampen sound and are well designed too. I saw they came out with an HTPC case too, if I was building again that might be the one I would use.
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post #25 of 159 Old 09-01-2013, 09:00 AM
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I can't believe this thread is still running. I expected it to fade into oblivion.

Honestly I think it's a dumb idea because you will never make everyone happy, and there is no single universally perfect solution for everyone.

Once you realize this ^

The second issue is economies of scale. A crowd sourced project could never be as high quality and as cheap as a MFG solution. Unless you wanted to overpay for the feeling of being part of something I don't see how this would ever work.


Silverstone for example makes a pretty darn nice HTPC case for $60 (MILO 3) and I don't see how a crowd sourced project could ever get to what you get retail from Silverstone for $59. It's impossible.

Lastly,

M-ITX is just garbage IMO. It's easier to hide a real HTPC than try to move heaven and earth to make a full performance ITX build that has no heat issues. At the end of the day all you need is an HDMI wire, and something to control it (remote, keyboard, tablet etc)

Why does HTPC always have to be cute and on display? Seems like lots of people overpay and over frustrate themselves to try and get this. I prefer my HTPC hidden away, unheard, unseen and full capable in performance and cooling.

For a superior HTPC experience you need a GPU card anyways (MadVR, Reclock, SVP etc..)


Either you are a simple XBMC streamer that wants some netflix and play back some torrents you downloaded, (for which all you need is INTEL NUC) or you are enthusiast level with a dedicated server full of bluray rips uncompressed and your looking for a decidedly high end experience, including better picture and sound. Perhaps if you are the first - a crowd sourced case might be attractive- but I doubt the cost would work out. Usually those types are not willing to invest like the second group is.

I believe there would always be a better retail option available at at price point and there is no point in even trying. Nice to dream though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone View Post

The "perfect" case for an "HTPC" is an Apple TV sized case, with an optional optical drive attachment.

Now, let's crowdfund the perfect hardware for that. smile.gif

Worth it over just buying a NUC ??? Doubt it.

And that is not the "perfect" case at all. Where are you going to put a GPU card? Will it run Madvr with reclock or SVP ? Will it overheat ?

Honestly- it's easier for me to buy a cheap case (like my Antec 300 for $30) that has great cooling and just relocate it (AV closet in my case)

Running a HDMI from alternate location is preferable to building and displaying a "cute" HTPC. I just do not have the passion to do that at all. Anyone that has a real theater system (most on AVS my guess) already has AVR, Blurayplayers, Amps, Set top boxes and other component sized cases so building a little cute HTPC case makes no sense - it looks out of place IMO.

I would prefer a nice higher end solution that works with my other components. It won't look out of place if I already have an AVR, or amps. Put your HTPC where your AVR is. Surprised you say this because I always thought you had a rack of stuff.

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post #26 of 159 Old 09-01-2013, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamawass View Post

I've been shopping for an HTPC case for the last year and haven't found one that I liked. They either lack an LCD, or lack adequate cooling or the ones that have adequate cooling also have space for a gazillion hard drives that I don't need etc, etc. It doesn't appear as if the case manufacturers are investing much time and research in htpc case design anymore. HardOCP forum members just crowdfunded a mini-ITX case, why don't we explore the same?

That hardocp case is pretty freaking awesome.
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post #27 of 159 Old 09-01-2013, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamawass View Post

I assume you don't watch Cable TV.

Yup, the only way to get an apple TV size case is to have the TV tuners/Cable tuners built onto the motherboard. If you are just using it to stream there are better options than a HTPC.

I also agree with Mfusick, having a case the same width and depth as a receiver really helps it to blend in with your other equipment.
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post #28 of 159 Old 09-01-2013, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I can't believe this thread is still running. I expected it to fade into oblivion.

Honestly I think it's a dumb idea because you will never make everyone happy, and there is no single universally perfect solution for everyone.

Once you realize this ^

The second issue is economies of scale. A crowd sourced project could never be as high quality and as cheap as a MFG solution. Unless you wanted to overpay for the feeling of being part of something I don't see how this would ever work.


Silverstone for example makes a pretty darn nice HTPC case for $60 (MILO 3) and I don't see how a crowd sourced project could ever get to what you get retail from Silverstone for $59. It's impossible.

Lastly,

M-ITX is just garbage IMO. It's easier to hide a real HTPC than try to move heaven and earth to make a full performance ITX build that has no heat issues. At the end of the day all you need is an HDMI wire, and something to control it (remote, keyboard, tablet etc)

Why does HTPC always have to be cute and on display? Seems like lots of people overpay and over frustrate themselves to try and get this. I prefer my HTPC hidden away, unheard, unseen and full capable in performance and cooling.

For a superior HTPC experience you need a GPU card anyways (MadVR, Reclock, SVP etc..)


Either you are a simple XBMC streamer that wants some netflix and play back some torrents you downloaded, (for which all you need is INTEL NUC) or you are enthusiast level with a dedicated server full of bluray rips uncompressed and your looking for a decidedly high end experience, including better picture and sound. Perhaps if you are the first - a crowd sourced case might be attractive- but I doubt the cost would work out. Usually those types are not willing to invest like the second group is.

I believe there would always be a better retail option available at at price point and there is no point in even trying. Nice to dream though.
Worth it over just buying a NUC ??? Doubt it.

And that is not the "perfect" case at all. Where are you going to put a GPU card? Will it run Madvr with reclock or SVP ? Will it overheat ?

Honestly- it's easier for me to buy a cheap case (like my Antec 300 for $30) that has great cooling and just relocate it (AV closet in my case)

Running a HDMI from alternate location is preferable to building and displaying a "cute" HTPC. I just do not have the passion to do that at all. Anyone that has a real theater system (most on AVS my guess) already has AVR, Blurayplayers, Amps, Set top boxes and other component sized cases so building a little cute HTPC case makes no sense - it looks out of place IMO.

I would prefer a nice higher end solution that works with my other components. It won't look out of place if I already have an AVR, or amps. Put your HTPC where your AVR is. Surprised you say this because I always thought you had a rack of stuff.

Knock it off.

No reason to insult the op or others posting in this thread by using terms "dumb", "garbage", etc. Very insulting and demeaning. Just because someone's view does not match your own (very narrow) view of htpc does not give you the right to do this.

And people wonder why avs has taken a big step backwards? Sheesh.
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post #29 of 159 Old 09-01-2013, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Knock it off.

No reason to insult the op or others posting in this thread by using terms "dumb", "garbage", etc. Very insulting and demeaning. Just because someone's view does not match your own (very narrow) view of htpc does not give you the right to do this.

And people wonder why avs has taken a big step backwards? Sheesh.

I did not intend it as bad as you took it. Sorry.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #30 of 159 Old 09-01-2013, 11:20 AM
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He did state it was his opinion so you might cut him some slack. FWIW, I'm no big fan of mini-ITX either. You pay more to get less just so you can have a small form factor PC. The NUC or BRIX is a much better choice if you really want to keep things small.
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