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Thermaltake DH102: Specifications, Bundle, And Unique Features

HTPC Cases With LCD Screens: Bringing Bling
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Specifications

Thermaltake’s DH102 is the lowest-priced offering in this touch-screen LCD case roundup, but it doesn’t skimp on the features. It offers the same 7” iMon OEM Touch LCD screen that the Moneual 972 has and sports front I/O-panel connectivity options such as two USB 2.0 connectors, a FireWire connector, and headphone/microphone jacks. The panel is hidden behind a pop-open door, which is a nice touch.

At 16.6 lbs., the DH102 is tied with the Moneual 972 as the lightest case in this roundup, although the Moneual 972 offers a lot more space. The case body is SECC steel and just the front panel is aluminum. While the DH102 doesn’t come off as cheaply made, the Moneual and SilverStone offerings definitely have more of a solid feel to them.

The case supports one external 5 ¼” drive and three internal 3 ¼" drives. The main external drive door is covered by a classy aluminum cover that will easily open when an optical drive pushes it, which is a good way to keep the look of the front panel clean without having to worry about the optical drive's color or appearance (since it remains hidden most of the time). While the available drive space is similar to that of the Moneual 972, there’s really no place to put an internal card reader in the DH102, which is unfortunate. Of course, and external card reader could be used with the USB ports.

Bundle

The Thermaltake’s DH102 bundle includes pin-to-molex adapters for the fans, screws, a manual, software installation CDs, and the iMon remote and batteries. Thermaltake is the only vendor in the roundup to include a cloth for cleaning the LCD touch screen.

Unique Features

What makes the DH102 stand out from the other cases is its small size--it's 3/4 of an inch shorter than the next tallest case, and it’s also the smallest in length and width by a small margin. While this doesn’t sound like much, this space savings allowed us to fit the DH102 in a home entertainment center that the other cases couldn’t squeeze into. Of course, this is a mixed blessing, as the DH102 is the most cramped case to work with during installation or when making modifications.

Another unique feature is that the DH102 is the only case in this roundup with a 120 mm intake fan. This is augmented with two 60 mm fans in the rear of the case, which saves some space compared to 80 mm fans.

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  • 1 Hide
    Hamsterabed , February 3, 2009 5:50 AM
    Nice Review, I agree with your take on cost but if i had the funds i would defiantly get one of these cases for an HTPC. the Moneual looks like the one I would get. This review was nice and balanced and took into all the different factors affecting the cases. noting that the screens were very similar and that the remotes were identical was something I was very happy to see as well as using the fan less psu as another control. A note of how the VGA cables get to the out side from the touch screen would have been a nice note but the pictures demonstrated it accurately showing that they have a pass through to the back video card area.

    A+ review in my book
  • -1 Hide
    cruiseoveride , February 3, 2009 12:23 PM
    ... and we're supposed to put these "hub caps" on my car?

    Seriously, this looks so cheap. Who is going to put it on a rack with $20k worth of audio/video equipment.
  • -1 Hide
    average joe , February 3, 2009 1:17 PM
    I like the rack mounting feature of the Silverstone. But I like the other case better. I think a rack would fit my sparse industrial theme.
    I have a fairly small space. Lots of Ikea furniture.
  • 0 Hide
    DiscoDuck , February 3, 2009 1:18 PM
    The touchscreen to me seems a bit of a waste. I prefer to use a standard computer monitor and a HDTV connected to a video card setup in a way that creates a workstation in the front wall of my hometheater with a slide out shelf for keyboard mouse. That way it can be a workstation/gaming machine from chair and HTPC from armchair via remote. I use mce2005.
  • 0 Hide
    JeanLuc , February 3, 2009 1:44 PM
    Why would you want an expensive touch screen interface on HTPC? The whole point of having a HTPC is use can operate it remotely from your sofa. I would also like to have seen what motherboards these cases can support whether it be a micro ATX or full ATX motherboards.
  • 1 Hide
    cleeve , February 3, 2009 1:48 PM
    Yeah, I have to agree with you fellows and I tried to get that across in the review; any productive use for these screens is a bit of a stretch. The only thing I could come up with is using the frontview media player to access music if you didn't want to power up your screen; I have a projector with a limited bulb life and I don't want to turn it on to listen to my music library.

    But thanks for reading it anyway, I hope the info was useful to you guys.

    And thanks for the kind words, Hamsterabed!
  • 1 Hide
    cleeve , February 3, 2009 1:50 PM
    JeanLucI would also like to have seen what motherboards these cases can support whether it be a micro ATX or full ATX motherboards.


    I mentioned on the first page "All three offer full ATX compatibility", that includes MicroATX.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2009 2:27 PM
    I have been waiting a long while for an updated HTPC review. I was hoping to see what kind of components you gurus would use, but this case review was very helpful to me too (been thinking about using an AMD GPU with the HDMI, but was interested in seeing some overall system power requirements of running an HTPC. Don't want a huge jump in electric bills). I was mostly considering building an HTPC for my dad. He's old, and likes to listen to music. He streams internet radio, but sits in the uncomfortable computer chair. With one of these cases he could easily select music AND be able to play a movie using the same box, without a learning curve that would frustrate him. Thanks for the write-up, I hope you can do another one soon!
  • 0 Hide
    neodawg , February 3, 2009 2:33 PM
    nice review, I have the DH101 which is the same - the 7in touch LCD, but it does have the remote and small 2x5 in blue black lcd, that displays computer/media information, i didnt find that the case was flimsy at all, maybe a little without the cover, but once the cover is on it is like a rock. I have to agree with you on the touch LCD, another good idea on paper, but in real world it is an epic fail.
  • 0 Hide
    cadder , February 3, 2009 2:49 PM
    I've thought about this issue in the past and there are times when I might want to use the small screen and not power up the big screen-
    1) to set the PC to record something, say I get up in the morning and remember I wanted to record a certain broadcast, I can do that from the small screen
    2) to take a quick look at the weather maybe
    Actually I've thought about this with respect to just having a large screen and a small screen beside it, sort of the next step beyond "picture in picture". So maybe the touch screen aspect isn't useful but the screen itself might be useful, and if a person didn't want to use the touchscreen in the front of the case, they could use a small monitor or tv setting with the equipment. Some people might want the HTPC to set in the furniture along with the BluRay player and TV tuner, but others might have a more extensive setup with a place to sit and work, video games, multiple screens, etc.
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , February 3, 2009 3:03 PM
    cadder) to take a quick look at the weather maybe


    I probably should have stressed it more in the review, but the frontview player shows the weather, time, system properties (like CPU usage), and a news ticker.

    And in retrospect, the weather feature is the one I used the most. I might add a note about that in the review, cadder.
  • 0 Hide
    BillLake , February 3, 2009 3:08 PM
    The Silverstone has one additional feature that Don missed, because it has a 1080p screen it can duplex the video. This is a great feature as you can have simultaneous display at high resolution, 1080p, it is one of the few cases that has this feature.
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , February 3, 2009 3:20 PM
    Well, I'm not sure if that's much of a feature, Bill. What's the advantage of simulaltaneously displaying interpolated video on a 7" screen at the same time as it's playing on your HDTV?

    If you're watching a movie on your TV, why would you want the same movie displayed on a 7" screen? Or am I missing something?
  • -1 Hide
    niknikktm , February 3, 2009 3:50 PM
    While I'm glad that Tom's finally turned just a little of their attention to HTPC enthusiasts, and the reveiw on the cases was adequate, I do hope that it doesn't end here. Just another case reveiw is not what we need. I beleive a lot of us here would like to see an article about someone actually using one of these cases to build a state of the art HTPC. You know, with hardware and platform and the like???

    That sure would be nice for a change.
  • -1 Hide
    cleeve , February 3, 2009 4:03 PM
    I'll look into it. I'm not unually involved in the HTPC case system builder marathons and I'm not sure when the last one was.
  • -1 Hide
    niknikktm , February 3, 2009 4:21 PM
    Thanks Cleeve. I beleive it's been nearly three years and much has changed since then. It's long overdue! I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope that the decision makers at Tom's give it a green light.
  • -1 Hide
    cleeve , February 3, 2009 5:52 PM
    niknikktmThanks Cleeve. I beleive it's been nearly three years and much has changed since then. It's long overdue! I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope that the decision makers at Tom's give it a green light.


    Here's some from May 2007:
    http://www.tomsguide.com/us/s/marathon/
  • -1 Hide
    Orion75 , February 3, 2009 6:09 PM
    Well for those of you who don't want to upgrade their existing HTPC cases... here's an alternative: http://www.mimomonitors.com/products/mimo-740
  • -1 Hide
    niknikktm , February 3, 2009 6:48 PM
    I stand corrected. Nearly two years (not three) since the last HTPC build. The point is still valid. A lot of new hardware has come out since then and a new build is long overdue. HD PVR recording and Blu-ray authoring are just a couple of key aspects that are now possible but weren't then. Also, the advances in graphics and video capture hardware is notable. There are many reasons to revisit an "HTPC" or "Media Center PC" marathon after two years.
  • -1 Hide
    cleeve , February 3, 2009 7:55 PM
    I wasn't calling you out Nik, just linking to the last HTPC build I could find. Like I said, I'm going to try to make this happen.
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