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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,


First off, I LOVE this forum. I have read through just about all 32 pages of the "Guide to Building a HD HTPC" thread and thought I was ready to get my components and start building. Then I realized the case I wanted couldn't fit in my cabinet.



I have a cabinet depth of just under 18" with approx. a 2" "slit" opening in the back for cables. Therefore don't think the Zalman HD160 case I was looking at would fit, with the DVI & power cable coming off the back and making 90 degree bend(s) to the opening.


I am hoping somebody could recommend another case for my situation. I would like to have a black case, with a full size DVD opening, front USB & firewire ports and a multi card reader. It would also be a plus to have a VFD on it.


I have only found one case that fits it all but it's $399 just for the case! That case would be the new OrigenAE S16V. It's a beautiful case but I just can't get myself to accept it's price. Another case that might be available soon is the Silverstone Grandia GD02. This is a nice case at a responsible price although it has three issues. The first two minor issues are that is does not include a card reader and does not have a VFD. I can add a card reader so then it's only the VFD which would be missing. Although, the larger issue is that it only hold a uATX board which highly limits the number of cards I can use and the number of boards available.


Does anyone have any other suggestions?


Thanks in advance,


Milo
 

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Well, I bought Thermaltake Mozart SX VC7001SNS, and once I touched it, I felt in love with this
The one thing you wrote about and it doesn`t have is the card reader, but you can mount it in external 3,5" bay so it shouldn`t be a problem.
 

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I had the same problem. I though my credenza would fit my case no problem. I forgot about the depth. I had to cut out the backing of my credenza so the remainder of the case would poke out the back. I'm happy with the results.


 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey Guys,


Thanks for the comments. I just checked out the Thermaltake Mozart SX VC7001SNS although it's 440mm (or ~17.3") deep. So that won't work.


I have also though about cutting the back of the cabinet although that idea got a very low W.A.F. At least those pictures let me know that I'm not alone on this cabinet depth problem.
 

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I also had that issue with my TV stand that I put my HTPC on (Moncaso Moneual 932) but luckily the back plate isn't used for any support, just cable routing, so I was able to take that off and it fits fine now.
 

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18" isn't very deep. You'd be had pressed to find a case that will allow an optical drive and mobo/psu and be under that, unless it's a small mATX or microATX case.


I'd go the route of cutting out the back. You can always find a way to minimize the ugliness of it all.
 

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If it helps a little bit with the depth, 90 degree power cords are readily available and I've seen 90 (and 270) degree HDMI connectors. I haven't seen similar right-angle plugs for DVI, but if you used a video card with an HDMI port, that could net you an extra inch before you had to cut into the cabinet.
 

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How soon are you planning to build? There are several new cases coming out that should work well for you.


Lian Li

Omaura

Silverstone

Themaltake

Coolermaster

Compucase


All have new chassis that have just come out or are coming out soon that would work well for your limited shelf depth. I think the next few months will see a variety of different solutions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Java Jack /forum/post/12912836


How soon are you planning to build? There are several new cases coming out that should work well for you.


Lian Li

Omaura

Silverstone

Themaltake

Coolermaster

Compucase


All have new chassis that have just come out or are coming out soon that would work well for your limited shelf depth. I think the next few months will see a variety of different solutions.

Jack - Do you know approx. when the new cases are due for release? I was waiting for the E8400 CPUs to come out and then I was going to build. I was finalizing my shopping list when the case size hit me.



Andy - I checked out the chieftec cases and really like the HE-02B, although at 460mm (18"+) it would kill me.


Thanks for all the other comments as well. I'll have to look into to the 90 degree connectors. I have seen the power plugs but haven't seen the HDMI connectors yet. Although I think I'll really need a 90 degree DVI, if they make it.


I can't really remove the back panel without cutting it since it's also the back to the two shelfs above. My wife has claim to those shelves and wants a back panel. She is also the one that will not allow me to cut the cabinet.
Just gotta love that W.A.F.



So far it still looks like the OrigenAE S16V at 390mm (15.4") deep or the new Silverstone Grandia GD02 at 360mm (14.2") are my best two bets.
 

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Judging from your original post, I'm guessing that this won't work for you, but I thought I'd throw it out in case anybody else reading this might be interested.


Have you considered putting the case somewhere else, like in the basement or a closet? Just about any signal can be run over cat 5e, including hdmi and IR repeated signals. You could get a bluetooth keyboard/mice if you really need to have one in the living room. You could then get away with the cheapest case you could find. Heck, for the difference between a cheap case and an expensive case, you might be able hire someone to run the wires if you are not willing/able. The home automation and A/V distribution forums have good info on putting your A/V crap somewhere else and running all the necessary signals.


I'm in an apartment, but will be buying a house soon and one of the first things I'm doing is putting the HTPC/stereo/cable box/xbox 360/etc in a closet or basement.


If not, I know how annoying the cabinet depth problem can be. We had to buy a TV stand anyway, so we bought one where the back does not provide any structural support and can be taken off. I have a feeling that my wife would never let me cut a giant hole in the back of an entertainment center, if I needed to.


Right angle connectors make a big difference. The power, video and cable tv cords are the ones that could be a problem. I have a right angle power cord and VGA cable. You can probably get right-angle cable tv connectors as well.
 

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Omaura case in production now as I recall it is only about 14" deep, however price is around 300


Silverstone, you already looked at.


Thermaltake, rumor has it by April or so. Saw it at CES, looks awesome.


Coolermaster, not sure, I think they are working on it.


Compucase, saw it at CES as well, I think they said April/May.


My guess is that new ones will be launched just prior to Computex.
 

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I've been under the same depth constraints for years now. I have a shelf that is 15 inches deep with little room to grow on the back side. My advice? Take a deep breath and buy one of the OrigenAE S-Series cases.


I've never been impressed with the build quality of Silverstone, Coolermaster, or Thermaltake cases. Additionally, they all tend to be pretty deep (16 inches or more). Silverstone, in particular, is quite popular, but their cases always feel unrefined to me (edges that don't sit flush; "doors" that "fall" open rather than "gliding" into place; etc).


I owned one of Ahanix's cases in the past (MCE302, if I recall), but it was way too deep and I quickly moved on to something different (Moneual seems to be rebranding Ahanix cases now...Or perhaps there was a merge there or something).


I then purchased the OrigenAE x15e. Again, too deep, but the build quality was fantastic!


And now I'm in the market again. I've been keeping an eye on Omaura cases (mentioned above), but I'm fairly confident that the TF8 is somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 or 17 inches deep (though it seems they've recently removed case sizes from their website). It may be worth tracking down Chris Morley ([email protected]) and asking him. I'm also beginning to wonder if those cases will ever make it to market.


I seriously considered a passive case from mCubed ( http://www.hifiatx.com ...But talk about expensive (the wife shot that idea down pretty quickly)! Check out the HFX Mini just for fun...That's an amazing case!


All of that researching, waiting, and researching some more brings me back to the OrigenAE S-Series. While expensive, the build quality is unmatched by others and the depth is right. I'll be purchasing the S10v from PCAlchemy (I'm gonna give slot-load/low-profile a try, but may end up ultimately with an S14v).


Let us know how it turns out.


Nathan
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey Nathan,


Yup! I hear what you are saying. I actually started to think about the price difference and it's not all that much. I was going to get the Zalman HD160 for about $254 so the OrigenAE S16V at $399 is a lot more but isn't the end of the world.


Be careful about the S10V since it requires a slim optical drive and therefore no HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. The S14V uses a standard drive but I didn't like how close the top cover was to the power supply intake. The S16V is a little taller although the supply is positioned is a much better way, in my opinion.


On a side note, I have been looking into 90 degree plugs and found some interesting things at Cables to Go. The have DVI-D to HDMI and DVi-D to DVI-D connector with a 360 degree swivel. I don't know how good these would be in regards to signal integrity but they would open my options a bit. Everyone can check them out here:
HDMI to DVI-D
DVI-D to DVI-D


Hope these connectors can help others as well.
 

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The slot-load drive is indeed a concern of mine, but I'm leaning toward aesthetics rather than functionality...And I'm hoping that the industry will evolve quickly, releasing Blu-ray/HD-DVD drives in a mobile, slot-load form factor for under $1,000 sooner rather than later. A guy can dream!


With that said, I may ultimately get the S14v to satisfy the gotta-have-it-now in me.



Nathan
 

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We'd love to have you as a customer. Our first batch destined for a major e-tailer will hit the water in less than 2 weeks. We are working with that customer on a press release. They sure as hell are going to hit the market. =) MAINGEAR, Envive, and other integrators are bringing to market HTPCs with our chassis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisMorley /forum/post/12936503


We'd love to have you as a customer. Our first batch destined for a major e-tailer will hit the water in less than 2 weeks. We are working with that customer on a press release. They sure as hell are going to hit the market. =) MAINGEAR, Envive, and other integrators are bringing to market HTPCs with our chassis.

Hi Chris,


I saw the cases on the Omaura website. I am a little worried it might be a little deep although it's close enough to make it a very viable option. Please let me know more information about the "11" as you get it. I searched the website for the case's manual or something but only found the OLED driver / software downloads.


Hopefully the timing will work out. That is, I finally decided to buying a OrigenAE S16V although they are sold out in black at this time. Hopefully the Omaura 11 will became avaliable before the OrigenAE is back in stock.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by aamilo /forum/post/12945026


Hi Chris,


I saw the cases on the Omaura website. I am a little worried it might be a little deep although it's close enough to make it a very viable option. Please let me know more information about the "11" as you get it. I searched the website for the case's manual or something but only found the OLED driver / software downloads.


Hopefully the timing will work out. That is, I finally decided to buying a OrigenAE S16V although they are sold out in black at this time. Hopefully the Omaura 11 will became avaliable before the OrigenAE is back in stock.

Aamilo,

I was in the same exact boat and had been waiting for a TF11 for a month+.

I finally threw in the towel and bought the S16V. The Omaura cases certainly look spectacular, but will not be any cheaper...

The S16V is a nice, well-built case with a good layout. It holds a full ATX, up to 5 hard drives and a standard optical. I'm generally quite happy with it. I really have only 2 small complaints. 1) The case's eject button needed some double-sticky tape to ensure that it reached the door open mechanism on the optical drive. 2) I'm currently having a "maximum power exceeded" issue withe the front USB ports; working with customer support to resolve.

The way I see it: there will always be a new and better component just on the horizon, so you'd be in a perpetual wait for the ideal case.

Good luck.
 

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There are so many choices to go with. When I built mine, HTPC cases were still a bit of a novelty. This isn't the case now.


Here are some tips on which to choose:


1) Try to steer away from cases that use PCI adapters to fit a card in. It will greatly limit your ability to expand. the same with cases that require low profile cards- avoid them


2) Make sure it fits atleast a micro atx motherboard.


3) You are going to need more expansion bays than you think. You may only feel you need 2 at first (Optical and HDD). Trust me, 99% of the people on here end up using more than 1 HDD. I even have one of my from 3.5" bays holding a card media reader with 3 addtional usb ports.


4) Try to stay black. The silvers look cool, but it is hard to find drives that will match.


5) Make sure there is enough room for ventilation. HTPCs tend to get much hotter than towers as all the heat sits a few inches above the mobo and CPU.


6) don't just consider the width of the unit for your AV rack. Consider the depth as well.


7) Find one that uses a standard PSU. It will make things alot easier if you need to replace it.


Here is what I went with


Cooler Masters ATC-620 BX-1 (black)









I liked the fact it didn't take low profile cards, used a standard power supply and fit a standard mATX board. It had four bays for drives and I was able to squeeze two more in with a little ingenuity. I was not sure that I like the fact that the drives had a cover that opened and close, but I found I put discs in every now and then and that is was just as easy to transfer an iso to the player via my network.


It can still be found at a few places... here is a review

http://www.dansdata.com/atc620.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjmarchini /forum/post/12956120




6) don't just consider the width of the unit for your AV rack. Consider the depth as well.

That's a good list of information regarding case selection. The second part of #6 (depth) is my sticky point right now.


That's a nice case you have but from what I can find it's ~17.5" deep which is about 2" deeper than I can handle.



Fishflake - I hear what you are saying. I'm about done waiting and that's what threw me over the edge on buying a S16V as well. Unfortunately, as soon as I decided to jump in, the black cases went OOS. Silver won't work so I'm once again waiting.


Here are the pluses and minuses the way I see it:


OrigenAE S16V-

+ Beautiful Design with curved corners.

+ Includes nice and large VFD display

+ Includes IR & remote

+ Full size ATX motherboard & Power Supply

+ Four+ hard drives

+ Includes card reader and front USB & Firewire ports

+++ Only 390mm deep!

- Optical Drive behind door (Rather not have to open and close to access drive)

- Larger door to access ports & Optical Drive (This would require my entertainment cabinet door to remain open widely when using USB ports)

- Cost (seems a bit high)

- Availability (currently out of stock & only available at one US vendor)

- Fourth hard drive location (seems like it would get hot or hotter then the rest)


Omaura TF11-

+ Beautiful Design with small doors at bottom.

+ Full size ATX motherboard & Power Supply

+ Five+ hard drives

+ Includes card reader and front USB & Firewire ports

+ Optical Drive is not behind a door (I also believe the cover is hinged)

+ Small door to access USB & Card Reader

+ Only 401mm deep!

- Optional OLED display

- Optional IR & Remote

- Cost (currently unknown in US although much lower than others on UK sites)

- Availability (currently unknown)


It's a close call! I wish the details as far as cost and availability were finalized for the Omaura case. From what I have seen on the UK sites, it seems the TF11 is about half the price of the S16V. Although once you add in the OLED display and the remote, the cost difference seems to drop to only about 15% less.
 
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