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Antec Fusion 430 HTPC Case

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January 17, 2008 4:19:58 PM

Antec's Fusion 430 HTPC case is explored and used to build a full system. Then various parameters are measured to assess the case's functionality when it is use for different HTPC functions.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/01/17/antec_fusion_430_htpc_case/index.html
January 17, 2008 6:48:15 PM

Why are all of the temps in Fahrenheit instead of the usual Celsius? I have never read a hardware review where the temps weren't in Celsius. Not a big deal, it just makes it pretty much unreadable (without looking up conversions) for the majority of the world.
a b ) Power supply
January 17, 2008 6:50:39 PM

Damn that stereo stand has NO ventilation at all.....

"Antec's" power supply calculator is the Extreme PSU calc talked about all over the forum.

It is well known to over rate(since this covers them....)

Its shows over 100 watts too much for my Athlon64(3200+ system that takes about 125 watts from the wall...so the DC load is even lower...) system....

I get 496 for my system with no cap aging 85% TDP and 90percent load

My ups shows me at about 374(2 x F@H SMP(2 cores each) + Ati tool[By new benchmark for power waste, a good 20-30 watts more them any game] + defrag on 2 drives)

I think you would be surprised at how much that psu can run(even 24/7)....

If this is your new HTPC, Under volt the cpu a bit to drop(i got my A64 from 1.55 to 1.4...) the temps. And also a Zalman CNPS7000 or 7700 should fit the case(and when controlled with speedfan can be dead silent...)....

Its good to see a new article....I have looked at that case myself(because its nice and small...)
Related resources
January 17, 2008 7:00:04 PM

430watts should be plenty for a NON-gaming system.

A real good test would be to get a watt meter and measure how much the system really draws at the wall.

And whats with the sudden change in temps? the whole industry uses Celsius.

Suggestion to edit the article and convert over.
January 17, 2008 8:02:12 PM

I'd build an HTPC for gaming. With HTPC you get rid of the DVD player and TiVO box, you'd might as well get rid of the gaming console too.

friggen freaks trying to eliminate games from HTPC are among those who have essentially kept HTPC from becoming popular.
a b ) Power supply
January 17, 2008 8:24:56 PM

you can run games on a 430 watt psu....hell the 6750/8800GT would be no problem at all...
January 17, 2008 8:55:49 PM

Could ya PLEASE do an ATI HDMI based HTPC sometime soon? I don't understand how tech sites keep overlooking HDMI. I would think a one cable solution would beat the mess of wires ya got there.
January 17, 2008 10:54:23 PM

Did they really use onboard graphics for a HTPC? How is that supposed to produce a great picture??? Also, why did they use onboard sound? And a 939 board? I could understand if that board is what they had lying around but to measure the quality of heat dissapation, they should have used a hd2600 or something and a creative labs sound card.
January 18, 2008 12:41:26 AM

Crashman said:
I'd build an HTPC for gaming. With HTPC you get rid of the DVD player and TiVO box, you'd might as well get rid of the gaming console too.

friggen freaks trying to eliminate games from HTPC are among those who have essentially kept HTPC from becoming popular.



I agree. I sold my old PS2 after not touching it for over a year, and I can't really justify to myself paying $500 for a PS3 I wouldn't play much. All gaming is done on my PC now. I'm also working on turning my wife's into an HTPC and you can bet I'll be playing some games on it then also. I don't care if it gets a little loud during gaming because the stereo will be cranked! Gunfire and bombs sound awesome when the house is shaking and neighbors are taking cover! :p 
January 18, 2008 11:50:10 AM

Looks like Antec is improving the HTPC offerings - and while Silverstone is still the Rolls Royce of HTPC cases, some viable competition might shake their prices a bit lower.
January 18, 2008 5:42:44 PM

I work in a small store putting together all kinds of computers. I've worked both with Silverstone cases and the Antec Fusion and have to say that I like the Fusion a bit more although the Silverstone had much more hardware based potential because of the non-cabin based design, you could install at least 5 HDD and a ATX-sized motherboard.

About the Antec Fusion, 430W with 32A on the 12V rail is MUCH MORE than enough, even for gaming! You have to look at the fact that you won't be able to install more than 2 HDD, 1 Optical drive, no extra fans and so forth. Although I haven't tried installing a fullsized, dual-slot GPU like 8800GTS (or GTX for that matter, I hardly doubt it would fit :/ ) the PSU isn't what would be stopping it, it would be the size of it.

And with those cases as with every other one, when you put together lots of them you learn new and new ways to hide the cables, although it doesn't have idiot-proof cable-management there are lots of places where you can hide the wiring and do that much more effectivly than we see on your photos :) 

But non-the-less, it's a good article for those who are looking to buy a HTPC, but I can't agree with you about the shortcomings of the PSU and the Tri-Cool fans.
January 18, 2008 6:09:56 PM

I have no problems running a 85W AthlonX2 with a 3780 a raptor, soundcard, and two optical drives off my Antec 430 Truepower power supply. You would be well advised to stop overstating PSU requirements. The rest of the industy is catching on, when will Tomshardware.
January 18, 2008 8:23:01 PM

Hey, I'd put a high load on that power supply, but I'm not going to argue with someone who wants more. I prefer the Antec Fusion over most others because it's among the smallest to provide for full-sized cards.

There are a few similarly sized cases that offer the same options.
January 18, 2008 9:13:38 PM

Good points about the PSU by everyone but l was being cautious. Notice I did say 30% aging on the capacitors. Also this is not a Truepower eventhough it is close. For a strictly HTPC the PSU should work fine. I would only like the Tri-cool fans to be quieter on higher settings other than that they are great. As I said in the article it was a pleasure to work with this case and I would recommend it to many but it would be even cooler if they had a 7" touch screen model like some of the really high end HTPC cases but again they are not sub $200 cases : )
January 19, 2008 3:33:43 PM

I've had this case for a couple of months now (Fusion 430, Silver) and must admit it's the best change to my HTPC in a while. I'm running it with an Abit uATX board based on the nVidia 630a/7050PV chip with onboard HDMI. I soon found that insufficient to for Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, so a MSI 8600GTS Diamond Plus video card was dropped in soon after (also has HDMI). The power supply has no problems at all with all of this.

I'm running the CPU on a passive cooler (Thermaltake SI-128, it fits) and the video card has also had the cooler replaced with a passive unit from Thermaltake. The idea of just running case fans is a little frightening at first, especially in the Australian summer heat, but it coped fine even with the TriCools at low speed.

There's been a bit of talk about the PSU; it's an Antec Earthwatts 430W. The specs are on their site.

The VFD on the silver unit is an iMON unit, like just about every other HTPC case out there. The software distributed by Antec allows it to understand the Microsoft MCE remote codes; almost. If you press a number key when searching the HTPC receives the number, and not letters and numbers SMS style. Works fine with the Ricavision Sideshow remotes also.

The short comings I found are minor:

1) TriCool fans; Antec, seriously, what's the point of a speed control on the inside of the case? It's a HTPC case... typically in a hifi cabinet of sorts and not as easy to access as a PC case might be. This was fixed by replacing them with two normal, good quality, 120mm fans, and connecting them to the MB's CPU and System fan headers (3 pin) and setting the BIOS to control them. When idling, they're pretty much off, and crank up as needed. The only time they get loud, the movies are cranking and louder.

2) Both sata power connections from the PSU are on the same cable. The HDD and ODD are in two different locations so they don't reach. If you're enthusiastic about your HTPC you'll be looking at HD-DVD and BD; and all newer ODD's these days are (finally) SATA. This one is overcome with a molex to SATA connector, or by finding a drive that has both old and new power feeds. That won't last forever.

3) I'm surprised the power LED wasn't mentioned in the review. It's white (at least it is on the silver case) which looks classy, but it's extremely bright. Watching a movie in a dark room makes the room glow as if by moonlight. That you get used to. The hard disk light flashing periodically, similarly white and bright, is more irritating. Disconnecting it from the motherboard solves that.

The only thing missing now is a single HD-DVD and BD drive, such as LG's, at a reasonable price. At the moment I'm getting by with a Pioneer BD-ROM drive internally (no BD-RW) and an Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive. Ugly, but the cheapest solution until there's hybrid drives I think.

Couldn't recommend the case enough. It single handedly dropped the PC's noise level more than any other thing I've tried. It's also doesn't look cheap (no plastic).

a c 124 ) Power supply
January 19, 2008 5:20:46 PM

I'll not build an HTPC / MMPC until I find case with multiple (2 min, preferably 4) exterior Hard Drives on the front panel. An internal HD (twin HD cage in case ya wanted RAID) for the OS and programs and exterior hot swappable HD's for content. This box allows two HD's ....not exactly a lotta room for an serious MM collection. Even storing music as SHN files will eat that up very fast.

Or, seems some enterprising vendor would match their front panel design to say an exterior HD enclosure or NAS like the Infant / Netgear NV+ which holds 4 hot swappable drives.

http://infrant.com/products/products_details.php?name=R...

Or the external HotSwap systems like from Granite Digital

http://www.granitedigital.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEW...

Or come up with something of their own.
January 20, 2008 12:52:12 PM

IMO HTPC's should never have more than one drive (ssd preferably)... you put your large data arrays somewhere ELSE. I've got two HTPC's, Silverstones, very quiet P/S's (Seasonic - quietest available at the time these systems were built... these days I'd go passive), Zalman CPU coolers, passive cooled video cards, Audigy, DVD, one HDD and gigabit ethernet to my multi-terrabyte file servers (loud, power hungry, fast, and most importantly - IN A DIFFERENT ROOM). The idea is to keep the noise somewhere else, which means mid-power processors (instead of power hungry extreme editions), passive cooling wherever possible, and minimizing component load (especially noise generating components).

Both systems are about as loud as my PS3 (a LOT quieter than the 360).
a c 124 ) Power supply
January 20, 2008 10:07:26 PM

I gotta disagree....I don't want to be building multiple hard drive towers or walking all over the house to "swap HD's" Even forgetting movies, let's say I was ever to reach my goal of having a copy of every dead show ever played. There's something like 2,674 shows. Figure at about 2 Gigs per show (many are longer) in lossless format. With about 465 Gigs of space on a 500 GB drive, I can get 233 shows on a drive....that's 12 drives....just for my GD fixation, then there's the released material, my other musical interests, my wife's, my 3 kids, and that new fangled "HD video" stuff.

Yes, that's probably one far "end" of the spectrum on the music side but a HD video collector, can eat up 25 or more gigs a pop. 18 movies and you're done with a 500 GB drive. So you can start building huge towers or ya can just use hot swappable drives. If you want to start building server racks with 8 - 12 15k SCSI HD's, by all means , hide those out in the garage or something. But regular SATA hot swappable drives let you have the same capacity w/o all the size, noise, ugliness and heat.

For simple HT and MM delivery, we don't need 15k rpm SCSI drives, we can use quiet, thermally efficient modern SATA drives. I have an Infrant NV+ about 3 feet from my head and I can't hear a thing. I put my head against the fan.....while it gives my ear a little chill, I don't hear anything. I can hear my laptop tho. A single 120mm fan on a very low, non audible speed is certainly enough to cool 4 hard drives in a properly designed case.

The problem with most HTPC equipment is that manufacturer's design their units to account for consumer's propensity to install such equipment in tight unventilated spaces. A properly designed cabinet, will go along way towards eliminating noise and in all likelihood keep fans from ever being called to turn on or at worst on at low speed.
January 21, 2008 1:41:26 PM

Well I guess it's a matter of design parameters. I'm not big on swapping hard drives in any circumstance other than failure. I especially don't want to have to shuffle drives to watch a movie or listen to music. IMO a bunch of hard drives sitting on a shelf is no better than having a bunch of DVD's sitting on a shelf... except they're a LOT more fragile. For HD content and movies we don't often watch we just leave them on the media and save the bother of copying them to disc...

Someday I expect I'll invest in a large capacity disc changer with some decent library management software... drop that onto one of the servers and I expect that will quickly become the easiest way to manage media - and again... in the media room all I'll have a single compact and (by then fanless) PC to display content streamed from the servers. I'd like to get to the point that the only noise source in my HT is the audio track... although the toughest nut to crack will likely be the projector, I've yet to see a passively cooled projector that can still throw a 120" or larger image. The LCD unit I have is fairly quiet but not silent... and the CRT projector I just acquired is so loud I'm building a hush box for it.

Personally, I would never use HDD space to hold HD movies - aside from the fact that I don't pirate movies it's not very cost effective - you can just about buy the movies legally and spend less. HD burnables are still expensive, and mtbf is going to be much higher with the legal media than you'd ever get with a swap hdd arrangement. You could do better reliability wise with server/raid setups like mine but then you're definitely more expensive than buying the media.

A single 120mm fan at low speed is sufficient for 5400rpm drives, but not for 4 7.2, 10, or 15k drives... and 5400rpm is insufficient for playing HD content (unless it's in a fast raid setup). Of course hard drives aren't like processors... they won't immediately lock up if you overheat them (unless you REALLY overheat them), but their lifespan will be significantly reduced. On servers with 4 or more drives... I want a LOT of airflow. When I spend $350 bucks a pop on terrabyte drives I don't want them failing from heat fatigue in 2 or 3 years. I've got Intel and Supermicro server cases, both do a great job of keeping the internals cool... both are REALLY loud.

January 21, 2008 2:26:58 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
But regular SATA hot swappable drives let you have the same capacity w/o all the size, noise, ugliness and heat.



You still gotta put them somewhere, and they're much more safe in a rack or server case than they are in some bookshelf or something. There's a reason the world is moving away from removable media: They don't want to deal with a bunch of drives/disks getting lost everywhere. The way you've got it, you may as well just use DVD/HD DVD/Blue ray (your choice) to store all your shows and have a single small hard disk.

Not to mention, if you've got it on a fileserver, you're able to see those videos anywhere in your home, and you have access to your entire catalog without getting up. If you've got a fast internet connection, you may even be able to stream them while you're away.

Also, while I'm not going to get into an argument over video quality, I believe your storage requirements are somewhere on the order of 5-10 times larger than they need to be.
a c 124 ) Power supply
January 21, 2008 3:50:32 PM

d_kuhn said:
Personally, I would never use HDD space to hold HD movies - aside from the fact that I don't pirate movies it's not very cost effective - you can just about buy the movies legally and spend less. HD burnables are still expensive, and mtbf is going to be much higher with the legal media than you'd ever get with a swap hdd arrangement. You could do better reliability wise with server/raid setups like mine but then you're definitely more expensive than buying the media.


I don't see the logic of owning movies myself. Except for rare exceptions, the idea of seeing a movie a second time is not something I quite understand. But people make movies as a hobby or business whether they be wedding videos, or whatever. And by my experience, MTBF of plastic media is very poor if you are subject that most scary of PC malware called "children". The success of those programs which let you move games to ya hard drive is to a large part fueled by frustrated parents tired of being told they have to pay full price for a media exchange.

d_kuhn said:
A single 120mm fan at low speed is sufficient for 5400rpm drives, but not for 4 7.2, 10, or 15k drives... and 5400rpm is insufficient for playing HD content (unless it's in a fast raid setup). Of course hard drives aren't like processors... they won't immediately lock up if you overheat them (unless you REALLY overheat them), but their lifespan will be significantly reduced. On servers with 4 or more drives... I want a LOT of airflow. When I spend $350 bucks a pop on terrabyte drives I don't want them failing from heat fatigue in 2 or 3 years. I've got Intel and Supermicro server cases, both do a great job of keeping the internals cool... both are REALLY loud.


Well one may "want" a lot of airflow, that doesn't mean it's doing one any good in their particular situation. Much of people's PC habits are based upon what they learned "back in the day". A big server handling 100's or 1,000's of I/O's per second is one thing. Some dude watching a movie is another.....3 drives idle, 1 drive pumping. Let's consider for example that the HTPC in question offers no active HD cooling at all. IBM's white paper on the subject shows that a 10 degree increase in temperature cuts HD life by 50%. Before PC cases had mounting for cooling fans, I was putting my HD's in 5-1/4 bays with HD coolers in all the machines I have built going back to 1992, though most of the Hi Performance boxes had 15kSCSI drives.

Your reference to 5400 rpm drives was true years ago but not today. Look at it this way.....if a 120 mm fan is insufficient for 7200 rpm drives why are NAS manufacturers using even smaller ones ? The Infrant NV+ for example has an industry best 5 year warranty on unit and HD's and all it has is a 92mm fan. If a 120mm fan "can't cut it, would you offer a 5 year warranty on $2400 worth of HD's and NAS box with an even smaller 92 mm fan ?

I am sitting next to an Infrant NV+ and the fan is barely running. Check out some NAS reviews and you will often nore reviewers commenting read that HD chattering is louder than the fans. The Buffalo Terrastation, same size....92mm...Yellow machine P410T, smaller , looks like an 80 or a 60.

Until rather recently, I had always used 15k SCSI drives in most high end builds. Those are the kinds of drives a SuperMicro case is designed to hold. Your SM also holds all the other components (MoBo, CPU, chipsets, PSU, etc) which generate tons of heat. That's why it needs huge fans. But look at external drive cases....though very small, the are most often passively cooled. Same thing with NAS units....extremely quiet, using enterprise class drives more often than not and little cooling or noise issues. They use so little power that their PSU's are most often fanless. I did hear the NAS while it was building the RAID volume, my guess partly cause I was specifically listening for it and partially because all the drives are working hard, but haven't noticed it since.

Again, where you will run into problems with any actively cooled device, is when you let ambient temperature climb. As long as your room is 65 - 72 degrees, and you don't have everything stuffed into a small "stereo cabinet with a closed back, you shouldn't hear anything.....especially not sitting 12 feet back watching Star Wars with the subwoofer amp pegging the VU meters.

This seems the ideal solution

http://www.granitedigital.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEW...

But the big thing for me is security / serviceability. If my HTPC goes south, I don't want my library at risk. If a HD in my NAS fails, I yank the drive, I replace it with one of the same size or bigger and I'm done. No restores, no RAID array rebuilding, pop the new drive in and it does the rest itself. When the HTPC goes south or is about to be upgraded.....slide the old out, slide the new in, connect the gigabit cable and done....library remains untouched, unthreatened and me unbothered.

January 21, 2008 4:00:11 PM

Operating a Fusion-based HTPC in a traditional fully-enclosed audio equipment cabinet? Unless the audio cabinet is one of the latest models featuring multiple 120mm ventilation fans, I say it's a short path to a quick death for your HTPC. The only real drawback to the Fusion design is that it virtually requires a TV stand or cabinet with an open front, back, and sides for effective cooling. At the very least, you must remove your rear panel on an enclosed cabinet or your Fusion HTPC will overheat within an hour. Disagree? See how long it takes for the onscreen graphics to start breaking up from overheating, and see how long your drives will live at 50C.
a c 124 ) Power supply
January 21, 2008 4:51:41 PM

elpresidente2075 said:
You still gotta put them somewhere, and they're much more safe in a rack or server case than they are in some bookshelf or something. There's a reason the world is moving away from removable media: They don't want to deal with a bunch of drives/disks getting lost everywhere. The way you've got it, you may as well just use DVD/HD DVD/Blue ray (your choice) to store all your shows and have a single small hard disk.


The fastest growing segment of the consumer market is the Home NAS. It's not just a removable drive, it's a removable set of drives. Grab the whole thing and go. Kid's going to college, peeps going to summer homes....you wanna pack up that huge file server, wires and cables and cart it back and forth ? Or ya gonna grab the handle on the NAS, yank out the gigabit cable, grab the power cord and put that 7" x 10" x 10" baby on ya car seat.

I don't understand the logic of not wanting to deal with or worry about losing 2 extra drives but willing to deal with 8,000 CD's or about 100 Blueray's. How long it gonna take you to find the right one ? Can ya do it by "remote" ?

elpresidente2075 said:
Not to mention, if you've got it on a fileserver, you're able to see those videos anywhere in your home, and you have access to your entire catalog without getting up. If you've got a fast internet connection, you may even be able to stream them while you're away.


An NAS *is** a file server. And if they on removable drives or an NAS, I don't have to stream em, I can take them with me. Not to mention that I already can *see* anything on the existing NAS or anything on any of the 9 PC's on the network without getting up.

I don't hardly ever swap HD's now and I don't expect I will that much in the future. But I do want that flexibility. Mostly I want my library completely isolated from the HT system. Yes, I could invest a couple of thousand in a high maintenance windows based file server but an NAS is a far cheaper, flexible and most importantly "potable" alternative. An HTPC which is expandable with an aesthetically matching NAS case is the ideal solution as it gives you the best of both worlds. A removable drive tray on an HTPC for those that want to keep a copy of their library "off site" for safekeeping seems a "no brainer". Regardless of whether you using 100 BR's, a server or whatever, after the fire, your library is gone.

As an alternative to an NAS, an OS on internal drive (drive 0). Library on removable (Drive 1) which you back up to 2nd removable (Drive 2). On 1st of month, ya yank Drive 2 and take off site and replace with Drive 3. Simply rotate the drives off site and worst case, you are at risk to lose no more than what you have collected in the last 30 days. Sync them upon insertion. Yeah ya can do an external USB thing and deal with the slowness and having a cable and enclosure "Stick out like a sore thumb"

elpresidente2075 said:
Also, while I'm not going to get into an argument over video quality, I believe your storage requirements are somewhere on the order of 5-10 times larger than they need to be.


I didn't make any predictions on video quality other than that a BR disk holds 50 GB cause I don't keep any video. Don't understand the concept. I just threw our 25 GB per or half what's on a typical disk. I don't have any idea what " collectors" may want to keep ....just the movie or all those extras ? Do they wanna keep every article written about the movie ?....trailers.....every forum post ever made, I don't know. I gotta think with musical DRM now being "history", I gotta thing some similar movement is forthcoming with video. .

I abhor pirating but am an avid "fair use" proponent. If I was to buy a DVD I have already paid "my fair share" for all of the creative input that went into a movie. Until studios allow for low cost media replacements when one becomes scratched or damaged, to my mind users have every right to make a backup copy. But more importantly, as Jobs just said, who won the format war may soon become immaterial. How long before downloading movies will be the delivery method of choice for many ? It would take about 13 minutes with my current internet connection to download a 25GB movie file.....with no production, distribution, labor costs, it may become just a tossup of whether to buy or rent.

But what will really start to eat up HD space in coming years is dotty parents with full HiDef videos of every one of Biff's little league games and every one of Muffy's dance recitals. :) 

Seems to me to be a no brainer for Antec or someone else in the case field to grab the "king" spot and come out with an NAS with similar aesthetic design as their HTPC. They can sell the HTPC to the same peeps they gonna sell the fusion to. They can sell the NAS to peeps who buy NAS's. Or they can provide the option for peeps to buy both. Those who wanna put em in anotehr room can do that but witha similar front plate design, peeps who wanna put them next to each other will be able to do so.....and won't it just look damn cool in the ads ?
January 21, 2008 5:08:16 PM

I obviously missed the point and thrust of your arguments, and in that light, I apologize. It seems you and I are in agreement. I was under the impression that you'd have a library of hard disks sitting somewhere, and you'd go find the pertinent one when you felt like watching something on that disk, then you'd insert it into an internal hot-swap rack in the case. Obviously wrong, sorry. (tl, dr problem)

Personally I'd rather have a fully featured server with hot swapping capabilities rather than a NAS, but that is because I'd like to run a bit more than just file serving on it. NAS is a nice, inexpensive, and very space conscious way of inserting more storage into your network. Just not my cup of tea.
a c 124 ) Power supply
January 21, 2008 8:14:24 PM

Well you didn't really miss it, that was one of the points is that you had the flexibility do do that "if one wanted to". I'm not so much thinking of popping in Hard Drives like old 8-tracks tho....just that when ya outgrow one box, ya can pop one out and stick it in another.

I had a P2P data server in the SOHO here with 5 machines on the office side and 4 on the home side. The old server has been relegated to backup duty....and I don't miss it much.

If I was to get an HTPC for "downstairs", I might start out just using the existing NAS up here.....but eventually I'd wanna have a dedictaed NAS for media server.
January 22, 2008 4:52:23 PM

The review was ok ,,just that .. The temps were all in Farenheit.. which was unprofessional I feel , get with the program we use Celsius these days just like Toms previous articles.
A bit more detail into Windows Home Server and hows its setup maybe would be better and a video showing how it works ?.. Just my thoughts..
January 22, 2008 10:29:48 PM

Hardware not software review plus no Windows Home Server was used or injured doing this review : )
a c 124 ) Power supply
January 23, 2008 1:06:00 AM

rhysee said:
The review was ok ,,just that .. The temps were all in Farenheit.. which was unprofessional I feel , get with the program we use Celsius these days just like Toms previous articles.


I always prefer both. In US of A, we stuck on the F thing.....and while most are comfy talking about CPU temps in C, when ya start talking "ambient air temp", all we can identify with is 65 - 72 cause that's what are thermostats are set for and if in C then we gotta do math. So in the interests of folks on both sides of the pond, I much prefer 24C (75F)
January 23, 2008 10:15:49 AM

bschuler2006 said:
Could ya PLEASE do an ATI HDMI based HTPC sometime soon? I don't understand how tech sites keep overlooking HDMI. I would think a one cable solution would beat the mess of wires ya got there.


I've actually built into this case twice, using boards providing integrated graphics with HDMI out.

The first time was with a Abit Fatal1ty I90-HD. The build was fine but the board isn't certified for vista & I got a load of blue screen crashes in the ATi video driver.

I replaced the board with a Gigabyte GA-73PVM-S2H which is nVidia 630i/7100 based. (No BSOD so far - *crosses fingers*). The only problem is that the HD LED dosen't seem to want to come on.

Overall, I'd thoroughly recommend the case. It's probably an idea to try some quieter 120mm fans like the Akasa Ambers.

I'm getting temps of around 36C with a E6600 and Zalamn CNPS8000 cooler (which is nice & quiet btw).
January 23, 2008 3:58:50 PM

I like the ASUS M2A-VM HDMI and Gigabyte GA-MA69GM-S2H for AMD CPU with HDMI and for Intel the Gigabyte GA-73PVM-S2H is OK but the ASUS P5E-VM HDMI is very nice and I sometimes think that nothing runs intel CPU's like intel chipsets. I really liked the GeminII heatsink for this install as it adds no fans and since it is a raised surface type it allowed more airflow over the northbridge contributing to greater cooling of the Northbridge without adding noise via any fan.
a b ) Power supply
January 23, 2008 10:23:08 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
I'll not build an HTPC / MMPC until I find case with multiple (2 min, preferably 4) exterior Hard Drives on the front panel. An internal HD (twin HD cage in case ya wanted RAID) for the OS and programs and exterior hot swappable HD's for content.



If you are willing to dish out the money, you can get something pretty close like the SILVERSTONE Silver Aluminum CW03S-MT ATX Media Center for $699 excluding shipping cost. Note, that's just for the case without a PSU:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163106

The case has an exterior hard drive bay and a bay for a floppy drive. You should be able to install hard drive in the floppy drive bay, thus giving you two external hard drive bays. That in addition to the external bay for a DVD drive.

Personally, this is about $300 more than I would like to spend on a case. Then again, if your expectations or requirements are high then you should also expect to pay a price in proportion to your expectations / requirements.

----------------------------------------------------------------

The case I will most likely buy for my next HTPC is the SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum Crown Series CW02B-MXR ATX Media Center for about $390 + shipping:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163084

It won't met your requirements since there is no external bay other than for the DVD drive bay. Internally it can house 6 hard drives for a current potential total of 6TB. Underneath each of the two drive cages is a duct which will fit a 90mm/92mm fan to cool the hard drives.

The case itself will be tall enough to install my Scythe Ninja+ HSF which is about 6" tall alone. One of the things I love about this HTPC case is the fact that the rear exhaust fan is 120mm which is pretty rare; actually make that unique for a HTPC case. Larger fans tends to quieter since they do not need to spin as fast as smaller 80mm or 60mm to move the same amount of air.

Another unique thing about this HTPC case are ports in the back to passthrough tubes for a liquid cooling solution if that's your thing. Not really important to me.
January 24, 2008 9:27:49 AM

I've been using an Antec NSK2400 (similar to Fusion, identical layout but no HTPC display or knob) and agree with most of the article.

I fitted an ATi X1650XL (with passive cooling) and a Core2Duo 6420 with a Thermalright SI-128 cooler used passively. The only fans are the 2 x120mm case fans running on slow setting. It is whisper quiet and runs extremely cool. In fact the SI-128 was so cool that at first I though it was not making intimate contact with the processor! (Shows the thermal improvement of the Core2Duos over my previous Prescot P4 3.4GHz.)

There is just room to mount a 120mm fan to the top of the SI-128, but it would be so close to the case lid as to be unable to produce any air flow without making some vents in the lid.

It is also necessary to mount the SI-128 onto the motherboard before installing it into the case. With my Asus P5B-VM DO, there is just room for this to fit in the case. The edge of the block just touches the rear-most fan: but as the fins are orientated in that direction, it means the fan is extracting the heat directly from the heatsink - though sideways rather than upwards.

My only critism of the case is that Antec should have mounted a third case fan along side the other two fans (there's room for three in line) so that the disk drive chamber is better ventilated as HDDs can get very hot.

However, because the case fan are in the (right) side and not at the front/rear or top, it makes installing it in a unit as shown in Tom's review a bit of a problem. I am certain that much of the temperature increase recorded in the review was the result of reduced airflow because the side vents were virtuall blocked rather than simply being in an enclosed space.
a c 124 ) Power supply
January 24, 2008 1:59:09 PM

A step in the right direction methinks though just think of the room they'd have if they placed the optical drive under the LCD and arranged the rest of the 5-1/4 slots vertically. Again, my "ideal" would be for someone to come up with a HTPC case and a NAS designed to aesthetically match the HTPC case. That gives the best of both worlds.
January 27, 2008 9:08:54 PM

Truely what I would like to see is the VFD moved to the middle and doubled in size, then move the ports under the optical drive behind a door of some type. That way the display would be veiwable and greater distance and the ports would be hidden.
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