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HT80 mini-ITX HTPC case build (with pictures)

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 
Yesterday I received my carton of sample mini-ITX HTPC cases from China. These are the HT80 I mentioned in a previous post. The pictures I saw did not do them justice. They are very nice looking, all brushed black aluminum with nice feet on the bottom like you'd find on A/V equipment. I would say the quality compares to Lian-Li, though without all the extras like SATA cables, wire ties and accessories brochure. Inside, there is a 120W DC power supply board that takes a 12V AC adapter with a 2.5mm barrel plug, a 40mm fan and a tray for a slot load ODD with a place to mount a 2.5" HDD or SSD underneath. There are vents on the top, sides and underneath. There is also a 84W AC adapter, made by Delta.









Things are definitely tight inside as you would expect from a case this small. It is only 9.4"W x 8"D x 3.1"H. With the Silverstone NT07-1156 cooler on a H55 mini-itx motherboard, it's a perfect fit. With these components, there would be no way to mount a 2.5" HDD/SSD under the ODD tray. However, there is room on the side next to the power board for an SSD although nothing to mount it to. That's not a real issue for an SSD but it would not be ideal for a HDD.







Building with this case is very quick. Once it's flipped over there are four small screws to undo to take the one piece top/sides off. Inside, four screws need to be loosened to slide out the ODD tray. Nothing else needs to be removed to fit in the motherboard. The front has USB, audio, HDD LED, power LED and power switch connections to be made. The power supply has a 20+4 pin connection so it'll fit either a 20-pin or 24-pin board. It also has a P4 connector if the CPU needs its own power. There's one SATA, one molex and one Berg connector. Since this case can only hold one ODD and one SSD/HDD I'd rather see no Berg connector. Who has a floppy and where would you put it anyway? The SATA goes to the SSD/HDD and the molex can be used for a slim SATA data/power adapter for the ODD.





Despite the size, there really is room to move all the connector wires out of the way. Having a single 4GB stick of RAM helps with routing the 24-pin power connector or having low profile RAM. With higher profile RAM it's not clear the power cable would have a place to fit once the ODD tray was put back in place. With the top back on and everything running, temperatures aren't bad despite the majority of the HSF being covered by the ODD tray. With an ambient room temperature around 72F, idles temps hovered around 100F and temps under Prime95 got as high as 136F (58C). For such a small case that's not bad at all especially since the installed processor is a 73W TDP i3-540. I find the little 40mm fan too noisy and it doesn't push much air so I am going to remove it.



I am thoroughly impressed by this little case. It's ideal for a small media PC where all that is needed is an ODD (or even not as long as you don't mind an empty slot) and a SSD. To have an ODD and 2.5" HDD, you'd really need something even lower profile than the NT07-1156 (37mm) or maybe a board without an HSF like an AMD Fusion or one of the new Cedar Trail Atom boards. Or, maybe even the DH61AG. I'll be trying the new Intel D2700DC board next and then I'll get to test all the clearances, etc.

post #2 of 79
Thread Starter 
I removed the little 50mm fan that came with it and it made a huge difference with the noise. It's amazing how much sound a little thing like that can make, especially when it's trying to push air through the side vents. With it taken out, I realize just how quiet the NT07-1156 HSF is. I also don't see a difference in temps so it was useless.

This would definitely do for an HTPC, at least to my ears.
post #3 of 79
Nice looking case. Thanks for posting.
post #4 of 79
Nice case, but it looks like you're extremely limited in choices for mounting a hard drive if you decide to install a slot load slim optical drive. Aside from the drive tray there doesn't appear to be much room for anything else. I assume you'd have to attach an eSATA or USB drive if you go with an optical drive.

Never mind. I just reread the initial part of the post and it looks like you can mount an SSD underneath the tray. Looks very promising for a nice SFF HTPC that would fit nicely in a bedroom or other satellite location.
post #5 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Nice case, but it looks like you're extremely limited in choices for mounting a hard drive if you decide to install a slot load slim optical drive. Aside from the drive tray there doesn't appear to be much room for anything else. I assume you'd have to attach an eSATA or USB drive if you go with an optical drive.

Never mind. I just reread the initial part of the post and it looks like you can mount an SSD underneath the tray. Looks very promising for a nice SFF HTPC that would fit nicely in a bedroom or other satellite location.

If you mount the slim ODD, there is room on the side for an SSD. If you mounted it under the tray you'd have to have something lower than the 37mm NT07-1156. There's nothing to mount an SSD to on the side but it fits perfectly -- maybe use a little velcro or something.

Right now I don't have an ODD so I have the SSD mounted on top of the tray. Despite the HSF being mostly covered, it's super quiet and running cool. I think that's thank to the top vent. I am going to get a slot load ODD though to test it all out fully configured. I need to get an IR receiver too. I wish I'd ordered one with at least one of the cases when I sent for the samples.

There is a 60mm version w/o a ODD and a 100mm version with a LCD windows and ODD I might look at next.

I'll probably post the rest of the HT80 samples in the classifieds.
post #6 of 79
Im definitely interested in 1. Can you detach the ODD tray or is that a combo ODD tray and HDD tray?

EDIT: Nevermind. Just saw the pic with no ODD tray. Still interested in 1.
post #7 of 79
Dont mind I'm asking how much did you pay for that case. Thanks.
post #8 of 79
Thread Starter 
I bought these as a carton of samples at a price I negotiated with the manufacturer so I can't disclose my price. I can say that they're very high quality -- all aluminum except the ODD tray which appear to be steel. I also got them with the power supply which is not included so they were not inexpensive -- not ridiculous but not cheap for sure.
post #9 of 79
i'm guessing the usb headers are usb 2.0?

Will there be a possible choice of changing it out to usb 3.0?
post #10 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLOCKMONSTER View Post

Im definitely interested in 1. Can you detach the ODD tray or is that a combo ODD tray and HDD tray?

It detaches easily by loosening 4 screws and then the tray slides off. Without the tray, there's room on the side for an SSD, just nowhere to screw mount it.
post #11 of 79
Very nice. Also I love that new Alpine Springs Sam Adams
post #12 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by koshia View Post

i'm guessing the usb headers are usb 2.0?

Will there be a possible choice of changing it out to usb 3.0?

I am not sure how you would do that and it's not something the manufacturer offers in any of their cases, no.
post #13 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FantaXP7 View Post

Very nice. Also I love that new Alpine Springs Sam Adams

That's the very yummy Latitude 48 IPA. So much better than comparing the size to a Market Basket can of soda . I am a hophead but I am interested in giving the Alpine a try. Nothing goes better with building PCs than an IPA .
post #14 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

That's the very yummy Latitude 48 IPA. So much better than comparing the size to a Market Basket can of soda . I am a hophead but I am interested in giving the Alpine a try. Nothing goes better with building PCs that an IPA .

Ah, my mistake. Bottle is very similar.
post #15 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

I removed the little 50mm fan that came with it and it made a huge difference with the noise. It's amazing how much sound a little thing like that can make, especially when it's trying to push air through the side vents. With it taken out, I realize just how quiet the NT07-1156 HSF is. I also don't see a difference in temps so it was useless.

This would definitely do for an HTPC, at least to my ears.

Good call. I doubt that that fan was actually helping cool the system much anyway. It may have been disrupting the airflow and doing more harm than good.
post #16 of 79
I like Green Flash Red IPA and of course Bell's Hopslam.

Dogfish head as well.

Was disappointed with both of the SA beers mentioned in this thread.

Yeah, I like hops as well.
post #17 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I like Green Flash Red IPA and of course Bell's Hopslam.

Dogfish head as well.

Was disappointed with both of the SA beers mentioned in this thread.

Yeah, I like hops as well.

Green Flash West Coast IPA is so good. I work next to a pub that has 100 beers on tap and 10-15 of them are IPAs but I seem to just keep ordering this one.

Latitude 48 tastes horrible in the bottle but if you pour it and give it a few to "breathe" it's very, very good.

My favorite IPA comes from a can, believe it or not, and is brewed in Maine. It's called Stowaway IPA and it comes from Baxter Brewing Co. It goes very well with lobster in the rough. A close second would be Smuttynose IPA, brewed in Portsmouth, NH.

One thing about the Boston area is that we have a great selection of microbrews. There was a time if I wanted a good IPA I had to brew it myself but no more. Thank goodness because I can only handle so many expensive and time consuming hobbies .
post #18 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by user4avsforum View Post

Good call. I doubt that that fan was actually helping cool the system much anyway. It may have been disrupting the airflow and doing more harm than good.

It was crazy noisy too -- for such a cute little thing . IMHO, based on this one sample, 50mm fans are a waste.
post #19 of 79
Yea I personally am not a Latitude 48 fan, but I will have to try it poured out of the bottle.

I like the clean, crisp taste of the Alpine Spring with the full flavor. Most crisp,clean beers are light. Not really a hoppy beer.
post #20 of 79
Thread Starter 
A few more pictures, one of the bottom of the case (I like the AVR-looking feet) and a couple of the ODD tray.
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post #21 of 79
I cant seem to find any other ones that are like the OrigineAE m10. This case is slowly growing on me.

When will this be available in the open OP?

Id like to get my build going.
post #22 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by koshia View Post

I cant seem to find any other ones that are like the OrigineAE m10. This case is slowly growing on me.

When will this be available in the open OP?

Id like to get my build going.

I put one up in the Home Theater hardware classifieds: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=128
post #23 of 79
Thread Starter 
I took the D2700DC out today and dropped in my bedroom HTPC now that I have a new profile HSF. I decided to give a new one a try. This is the Titan DC-155A915Z/RPW 95mm "Z-AXIS" CPU Cooler.




It's 7mm shorter than the Silverstone NT07-1156 coming in at 30mm. To me the noise characteristics are pretty much the same as the stock Intel heatsink but not as quiet as the NT07-1156. Still, you have to be within 3 feet to hear it.

In the HT80, the G620/H61 with picoPSU, 64GB SSD, 250GB 2.5" HDD running with Prime95, climbed to around 130F. The Titan did a good job of keeping everything cool. I was also happy to discover the picoPSU jack works fine with the jack hole in the HT80. As you'll see the Titan's just a little bit shorter than I/O shield -- perfect for a SFF HTPC.


Here are some pictures:
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post #24 of 79
I ordered one of these cases on Friday and got it yesterday. It is a small very nice looking case. My build is going to be with a I3 2100 and will include a ODD and a SSD. I will be using an H67 or Z68 MB. Do you know if I have have the clearance for Silverstone cooler you used ? If not will the stock heatsink from the processor fit? Also I will mount the SSD on the side with velro but question this statement you made eailer.

Quote:


Without the tray, there's room on the side for an SSD

Does this mean I have to take out the ODD tray thus losing the ODD in order to mount the SSD on the side?

Thanks for your help and the great case.
DRB
post #25 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by koshia View Post

I cant seem to find any other ones that are like the OrigineAE m10. This case is slowly growing on me.

When will this be available in the open OP?

Id like to get my build going.

You might be interested in the HT100 which I will be getting some to evaluate sometime in the next couple of weeks.





AFAICT, it's identical to the m10 except it has front USB/audio and different power button placement. It doesn't come with the LCD/VFD and I am not sure yet what LCD/VFDs will fit. I am working on getting that info.
post #26 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by drb View Post

I ordered one of these cases on Friday and got it yesterday. It is a small very nice looking case. My build is going to be with a I3 2100 and will include a ODD and a SSD. I will be using an H67 or Z68 MB. Do you know if I have have the clearance for Silverstone cooler you used ? If not will the stock heatsink from the processor fit? Also I will mount the SSD on the side with velro but question this statement you made eailer.


Does this mean I have to take out the ODD tray thus losing the ODD in order to mount the SSD on the side?

Thanks for your help and the great case.
DRB

Sorry for the confusion there. With an ODD in the tray, there is room for an SSD (with some velcro) on the side because if you stand an SSD vertically, it's not as tall as the case itself. There might also be room next to the ODD tray, vertically, between it and the DC power board. If you place it on the side of the case, you'll loose the 50mm fan but I found it too loud anyway. It also didn't make a difference in temperatures when I tested it with a 73W i3-540.

There is not clearance under the ODD tray with the Silverstone to hang the SSD because on almost all the mini-ITX Intel 1155 boards, the CPU is right under the ODD tray. The exception is the Foxconn boards which move the CPU over to the right of the tray and the AMD mini-ITX FM1 boards which all seem to have them over to the right (as you face the front of the case). By my measurement, any HSF for a CPU under the tray can't be taller than 27mm to fit an SSD under.

Right now I have my bedroom HTPC setup with a 2.5" HDD in the tray and the SSD creatively mounted next to the tray.

And, you're welcome. I hope you enjoy it. I am loving mine as my bedroom HTPC. I hope to get some of the IR receivers soon to test out and that'll be the icing on the cake.
post #27 of 79
Thread Starter 
This would allow the SSD to be mounted under the ODD tray. It's only 27mm high.



It's the PCCooler S85. Like most cool mini-ITX stuff it's hard to find in the USA. It's sold as Prolimatech in Japan and PCCooler in China. I'll keep digging.
post #28 of 79
Quote:


There is not clearance under the ODD tray with the Silverstone to hang the SSD because on almost all the mini-ITX Intel 1155 boards, the CPU is right under the ODD tray.

I am willing to put the SSD on the side of the case.

If I do that will the silverstone then fit?

Thanks
DRB
post #29 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by drb View Post

I am willing to put the SSD on the side of the case.

If I do that will the silverstone then fit?

Thanks
DRB

Yes, that the original configuration that I tried and you see above in the first post/pictures/etc. I had my NT07-1156 on a i3-540/H55 Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 with the ODD tray installed. It fits perfectly. To me that was the litmus test -- would the ODD tray clear the NT07-1156 and it does.

Please keep us up-to-date on your progress!
post #30 of 79
This is the MB I was thinking of using, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157238

However one of the cons given is that the power connector is on the side of the board making it tough to connect on a small case. Do you think this will be a problem with the HT-80. If so I think Foxcon has some MB with the power connector in the front and I would use that.

Thanks
DRB
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