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Installing The HTPC In A Home Theater Enclosure

Antec Fusion 430 HTPC Case
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The most demanding test I undertook was to install my HTPC in an enclosed home theater system, a solid oak cabinet next to a 65" HDTV.

My HTPC installed

I installed the HTPC on so as to isolate it from the other components during full load testing with Prime95. Connecting the system to the TV was simple using the DVI connector. A quick check of the TV owner’s manual provided the proper configuration of display resolution. Be very careful when configuring resolution, a mistaken setting can cause damage to some TVs. Once installed and configured, the system worked well with no noticeable problems.

I then ran Prime95 for 24 hours to create as much heat as possible. In the enclosed area, the CPU temperatures never rose above 142 degrees under full load, while the nForce and the system’s temperatures peaked at 160 degrees and 96 degrees, respectively. So while these temperatures are considerably higher compared to open-air testing temperatures, they are not unexpected in a closed environment.

It’s a good idea to provide some ventilation if installing your HTPC in solid cabinets, even if the temperatures still remain within the norms. Otherwise, there could eventually be heat issues that would prevent you from using system as an HTPC.

The system records TV shows and plays DVDs and performs the other functions it is supposed to. However, one of the disadvantages is that text on the TV is not very clear. This is due to the large size of the screen and the failure of the fonts to scale properly. Readability improved when I connected the HTPC to a 42" LCD.

The installation of a wireless mouse and keyboard is a good idea. Be sure to pick devices that offer a good operating range. If the devices use line of site technology, be sure the mouse and keyboard receiver(s) face the front of the case.

Finally, the HTPC’s IR receiver requires a compatible remote, such as a Microsoft Media Center device. Or you might want to opt for the remote that is bundled with your tuner card, or purchase a remote with a separate IR receiver. If you do pick one that has its own receiver, remember to disable the Antec receiver in Vista’s Device Manager.

The media center remote performed well, and its range is acceptable. However, sometimes I had to point it directly at the front of the system case to get it to work, but who has not had that experience before with a standard remote ?

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