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nMedia PC HTPC 8000

Stealthy HTPC: Two Cases To Hide Your Inner-Geek

nMedia is the first company to deliver a mass-produced wooden case to our labs. A mechanically-distressed finish adds to the HTPC 8000's nostalgic radio look, with reduced production costs allowing for a mass-market-friendly $120 Web price.

A short 14.4” depth allows the unit to sit on narrower shelves and tables compared to a standard hi-fi-style case and its dimensions accurately replicate the scale of the old radios it resembles. Likewise, its 19.7” width and 11.0” height make it completely unsuitable for hi-fi-style component racks.

Simulated speaker holes at the front offer intake ventilation, while a simulated radio-tuning indicator hides a mount for a digital-display panel, such as the nMedia part sold here. The simulated knob is nothing more than a power button.

Casual glances may not reveal the DVD cover or button, but there’s nothing retro about the case’s memory card reader or front panel USB, eSATA, and FireWire ports. Front-panel microphone and headphone mini-jacks are also of the handy, non-retro variety.

Anyone who does not get close enough to the front panel to notice the modern conveniences probably won’t notice the decidedly non-retro Phillips #3 top screws, which detract slightly from an otherwise stylish panel.

A 140mm low-speed fan draws warm air out the back. Reportedly manufactured by Dong Guan Hengli Hongsheng Electronics Factory (UL E225507), this 0.20A 140mm fan is unlisted at the manufacturer’s site and its A14025L12S part number isn’t carried by other suppliers.

A rack six inches above the motherboard supports four 3.5” hard drives and one 5.25” optical drive. There’s enough room beneath it for most CPU coolers, except for 120mm tower-design coolers.

A card reader and front port connectors reside under the drive rack.

The HTPC 8000 supports full ATX and micro-ATX motherboards, with barely enough room in front to support long graphics cards (such as the GeForce GTX 285) in six of its seven expansion slots.

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