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HTPC/Hardcore Gaming Machine

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August 19, 2009 7:29:26 PM

Hi! Thought I would ask the experts for some advice here. I'm planning on building a HTPC/hardcore gaming rig to last several years. Its going to be running front-end software (HyperSpin) for stuff like MAME and emulations of my old game consoles as well as running high end PC titles like Just Cause 2/Arkham Asylum and lower end stuff like The Old Republic and World of Warcraft. Basically, I'm building it to be an all-in-one box. Its also going to serve as my primary Blu-ray player in the house to the 55-inch Sony TV via HDMI. I plan on installing a pair of Powercolor Radeon HD 4890 PCS+ cards via crossfire as well as at least 8GB of RAM and Vista 64-bit, but I was wanting to ask if anybody could confirm these parts will work together.

Specifically, I was wanting to know if anybody can tell me if this motherboard (the ASUS P6T Deluxe V2) will fit inside this (Zalman HD160XT HTPC Enclosure) case or this (Zalman HD160+ HTPC) case.

If those cases wouldn't work, could someone please point out a good HTPC case that would? I'm really open to any suggestions, and any help would be greatly appreciated.
a b 4 Gaming
August 19, 2009 7:45:33 PM

Yes, both cases support full-size ATX motherboards.
August 19, 2009 7:51:28 PM

Both of those cases are intended for full sized ATX boards, so the board itself shouldn't have any problems with fit. I can't really tell you if you can get any large i7 coolers to fit though, the product images show Zalman's older circular HSF that was used for LGA775 boards. I know that Zalman's own i7 compatible cooler is a big, chunky square, though don't know just how much bigger it is than the older style.

You may also run into problems with really long graphics cards, can't get a good angle of the interior shot, but it seems that the PCIe slot lines up with the PSU. Shorter and low profile cards tend to be the choice for HTPC, so you might try to find out if a GTX 275 or such will actually fit.

Overall, they put in a lot of features to keep the case as quiet as possible. At $300 plus for a smallish case they better be giving you plenty of features.

For my last HTPC build I just used a normal desktop case. Get a nice, tasteful, simple design like what Lian-Li offers and it won't draw much attention to itself. I'll admit the Zalman has a lot of fancy bells and whistles, but when I have to start thinking about cutting back on internal components because the case costs too much, I usually look for a cheaper case.
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August 19, 2009 8:08:37 PM

Yeah, putting a powerful gaming rig into a htpc case, even if it fits, is a bad idea. You'll run into heat problems. Just use a normal mid or full atx case.
a b 4 Gaming
August 19, 2009 8:25:58 PM

The Zalman cases will work fine for this system. They're large cases with good air flow. They're actually just like a mid tower case layed on its side. If you have the money to get one of those nice Zalman cases, I say go for it.
August 20, 2009 1:04:07 AM

Okay, I'll drop the HTPC case and go with something more practical both for space and airflow. Costs too darn much anyhow, and the touch screen wouldn't be worth much to me since I'm going to shell windows anyway. Do you think I could cram a couple of 4890s into this (Lian Li PC-7YFC) case?m
!