Best HTPC Case Size: Mid Tower or Desktop? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-02-04, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
 
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Question Best HTPC Case Size: Mid Tower or Desktop?

I have a Antec NSK3480 case with a Bluray reader, Thermaltake Media Lab VFD/IR and a 8in1 card reader in the floppy drive.

When I was shopping for a HTPC my gut told me that I should get a desktop style case, like a GD01/LC11 or something similar however in the end all arguments pointed to the fact that mid towers are superior in cooling and ease of assembly, not mentioning cheaper than a prebuilt HTPC case. So I went for the tower and it was able to fit in my HT rack with my amp without having the side vents obstructed (most HTPC cases have side intakes only)

Also, the thermaltake media lab is fantastic in turning any case in to a fully fledged HTPC and I am very happy with the amount of custom features the VFD has.

What are you guys using for cases?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-02-05, 10:50 AM
 
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I think the 3480 is a great case for the $...very utilitarian. Not as cool looking as a desktop style which can disguise and blend better with other AV gear. (I had friends who asked what kind of DVD player was when they were looking at my Silverstone LC11 case)

With a newer system (C2D and A64x2), if you choose to go with onboard graphic, you can really go small form factor and not be too worried about heat.

SFF/heat/noise/($$$) are dependent variables and sometimes you have to compromise.

LG55LW5000/DenonAVR791/MirageOMD5+Nanosat+MM8/ClearStream2/CM7778+3414
OptomaHD33/YamahaRXV1075/KEF3005/Velo15"
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-02-05, 09:17 PM
 
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Thumbs up

The decision on a HTPC case depends entirely on your personal requirements and preferences. I used a mid-tower case for a HTPC for several years because it worked better. The next HTPC was built in a desktop case to meet different requirements (and thanks to improved HTPC case design and availability.) You can even turn a tower case on it's side if that works better.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-02-05, 09:32 PM
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My HTPC is in a Coolermaster desktop/HTPC case largely because when I first built mine it was going in the AV Rack that surrounded the TV.

Right now it is sitting on a stand next to the AV rack because the TV is a LOT bigger than the old one so a mid-tower would actually be a better choice. If I moved the LD player out of the AV stand I could probably put the HTPC in it's place but that would require effort.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-02-06, 02:54 PM
 
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I've got an nMedia 280 (I think it's been discontinued; it looks similar to the 288) & I like it a lot. Good cooling, everything fits well, holds 3 HDDs, low cost & looks great. One of the people over for the Superbowl asked if it was another reciever.
Edit: The downsides are that only an mATX board fits & the front audio connectors are single pins instead of standard connectors.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-02-06, 06:21 PM
 
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I found the toughest decision for my HTPC build was the case.

Mostly because I had size restrictions, needed full size PCI slots (not low profile), & top or rear exausting fans.

I finally settled on the nMedia HTPC-288SA because the HTPC-180BA & other nMedia cases were discontinued & out of stock.

If I didn't have to worth about the restricted airflow on the sides of the case, due to my stand only being 18" wide I probably would have gone with Antec Fusion Black 430 or Silverstone LC11.

I just ordered the case & PSU today, which was the last piece I needed to build my HTPC... I plan on posting the results because I found forums to be a huge help when researching building your own HTPC.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-02-06, 08:17 PM
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Well, for an overall main HTPC/Server box, I would lean towards a tower case as a better solution but a recent announcement from Antec has changed that attitude.

Antec now has a case called the Fusion Max. It is basically an NSK2400 that is able to hold a full sized ATX board, 4 hard drives and an optical drive. It ships with a hefty power supply and because the case is chambered like the 2400, the rotating of the power supply on its end has now caused the case depth to be the same as if it is a tower turned on its side.

The 2400/fusion has been well reviewed and has good cooling design so the Fusion Max is going to simply be a nice size jump over the 2400/Fusion.

And for the record, I only own one HTPC case, a NSK2400 and it is used as the case for the client HTPC and has very little in it. The main HTPC is in a tower and my general server is also in a tower.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-02-07, 12:23 AM
 
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I bought a Nmedia 180 Black before Christmas and also realized they are all gone now.

Unbelievable value for what you get...PSU/card reader/fan display & controller, even a dongle for SPDIF Coax in the back...all for $80

I find the PSU (proprietary) noisier than my taste...so getting their other cases that use standard PSU is not necessarily a bad thing.

LG55LW5000/DenonAVR791/MirageOMD5+Nanosat+MM8/ClearStream2/CM7778+3414
OptomaHD33/YamahaRXV1075/KEF3005/Velo15"
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-02-07, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
 
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the nMedia 180 is a sweet case, I don't know why i didn't consider it.

I might sell my antec and shop around for a Desktop HTPC!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-02-07, 04:43 PM
 
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Quote:
I finally settled on the nMedia HTPC-288SA because the HTPC-180BA & other nMedia cases were discontinued & out of stock.
the 180BA is discontinued, whaaaa? NCIX.com still says they are taking orders.... I was hoping to get a second one for myself....
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-02-07, 08:50 PM
 
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I chose a Silverstone LC20 in part because it holds up to 6 hard drives. In practice, adding more than 1 or 2 hard drives is not a good idea due to heat buildup. I pulled the extra drives to make the HTPC cooler and put them in a desktop PC that has more ventilation. The LC20 is a great case BTW but a little pricey and the included remote lacks support in some applications.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-02-08, 08:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plutoz View Post
the 180BA is discontinued, whaaaa? NCIX.com still says they are taking orders.... I was hoping to get a second one for myself....
Ya it says available on their website I think in 2-5 days or 1-2 weeks.

A week after my order I got a message from NCIX saying they couldn't get anymore from nMedia as they were discontinued.

Not sure if that's true... just what I was told.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-02-09, 09:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan View Post
Ya it says available on their website I think in 2-5 days or 1-2 weeks.

A week after my order I got a message from NCIX saying they couldn't get anymore from nMedia as they were discontinued.

Not sure if that's true... just what I was told.
I got mine from Directcanada...now, there is only one model left in stock...something is up

LG55LW5000/DenonAVR791/MirageOMD5+Nanosat+MM8/ClearStream2/CM7778+3414
OptomaHD33/YamahaRXV1075/KEF3005/Velo15"
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 2008-02-11, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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Spray painted my Antec NSK3480 black and put it in a glass cabinet so I'm done

Thanks for your opinions.
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