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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at putting together a non-obtrusive HTPC so I have some requirements:
  • Must be no more than 3.5" tall
  • Must look like a normal piece of AV equipment
  • Must have a remote control/IR package
  • Support an ATX or mATX board

The internals will most likely consist of:
  • Universal ABIT NF-M2 nView MB (don't need a separate video card or sound card with this since it's got the DVI and Optical SPDIF onboard plus a 10/100/1000GB ethernet)
  • AMD Athlon 64 3800+ Orleans 2.4GHz Socket AM2 Processor
  • 1 GB of RAM (CORSAIR XMS2 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400))
  • DVD +/-RW
  • 120GB HD (media content will be either on the network or an external drive so a large drive isn't needed, just big enough to run Linux)


Based on this, there were 2 cases that I found that worked for me. The first one was the HIPER Media Chassis. It had the slim design which I really liked and supported mATX, but I don't think it comes with a remote and it's impossible to find in the US. It's also a bit underpowered with a PSU rating of 220 at peak load. It might be enough for the limited amount of components I have in it, but it might not be. I would rather have more than enough and be able to add on some components later if need be.


That led me to the Cooler Master RC-260. It's a a bit larger than the HIPER Media Chassis, but it comes with a remote and can support most standard size ATX power-supplies. It'll also support a full ATX board if need be (but I don't think so).


It's been a very long time since I put together my own computer since I went mostly laptop in my house. There are some restrictions on the type of board that can be used in the RC-260 with the PCI-E x 16 Riser, so question number 1 is: Will the ABIT board fit?


Then there is always the question about the case itself and the quality of it. Has anyone else used it and have they had any problems? I've read some reviews and they seem to be fairly good, but I'd like to hear real-life examples.


And finally, is my setup going to be ok? I'm in the mindset that a HTPC should be a thin client to a beefier, but hidden, server to store and serve up the content to the remote clients so I think I should be good.


As always, thanks for any info you can provide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Any thoughts?
 

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You can exceed those requirements with the Hiper case, I just ordered mine from their CA office yesterday. Have a look at their site, they have the H1 models here... You can get a 250HD or higher and still have the slim size, plus it comes with a lot of features. Hope this helps.
 

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I just received one of these cases in order to build the next incarnation of my HTPC. I do not have it built yet, but can give you a little insight.


First, make sure you get the RC-260-PCI2 riser card. You will only get 1 PCI slot, but the RC-260-PCIE (with the two PCI slots) will not work. I needed 2 PCI slots for tuners, so had to hunt quite a bit for a motherboard that would work.


The back of your video card must be fairly flat. I had a Gigabyte 6600GT passively cooled card and it would not fit in this case due to the heatsink on the back of the card.


The case has 2 70mm exhaust and 1 60mm intake fan. These are not ideal sizes in my view. Also, the placement of the 60mm fan (left side of case) is strange. If you have anything but a very short optical drive, the end of the drive will cover the top left corner of the fan. I don't understand why they didn't move the fan over a little as there is space before the hard drive case. According to my measurements, they could have also put in an 80mm fan. I have ordered two 70mm and one 60mm AcoustiFan fans, along with a 7v resister cord for the 60mm fan and a splitter for the 70MM fans. I can't tell you about the noise or cooling yet as I don't have the parts yet. There are vents all over the case, so I'm a little concerned that airflow won't be very directed.


My last beef (so far) with this case is the SCART and RCA holes in the back. It would have been much more useful to have a slot or two where you could install a standard I/O card-type panel (I don't know what you call those). I would love to be able to plug my SPDIF panel in there as I already have things in the three slots given. As it is, I'm looking at drilling some screw holes next to one of the RCA ports and installing a single RCA plug connected to my motherboard's SPDIF header.


I installed a full set of innards in this case before I realized that my motherboard didn't work with the riser cards. It was a tight fit and took some rerouting and stuffing of cables to get things installed, but it wasn't too bad. I hope the mATX board I'm getting now makes the cable management a little nicer. With the full-sized ATX board I had to reroute the front panel cords to reach their connectors.


I'll know more next week when I get all my innards...
 
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