Brushed aluminum, an engraved manufacturer's logo, hex key screws on the cover, a VFD (vacuum fluorescent display) and remote included: there can be no doubt that the Luxa2 LM100 Mini is a Mini-ITX case aimed towards the HTPC crowd. The Thermaltake-based chassis vendor markets the LM100 Mini as an elegant entertainment system, and it comes with a matching price tag, of course. At around $270 it is by far the most expensive Mini-ITX enclosure being tested.
Small and Flexible
The LM100 Mini lives up to its name. With dimensions of 24.2 x 12.5 x 30.6 cm, it is the smallest case we have on-hand that allows for the installation of a 3.5” hard drive. There is no room for a regular 5.25” optical drive, so you have to use a slim-line version. The adapter for connecting it to the SATA connector on the motherboard is included. Hidden beneath a panel on the front we find two USB 2.0 ports, FireWire, and HD audio.
The motherboard installation was smooth and hassle-free thanks to the easily accessible connections. The LM100 Mini offers the possibility of a low-profile graphics card upgrade, and the 200 W PSU should be able to handle it without any problems (as long as you don’t go for high-end graphics). Two 50 mm fans are used for ventilation. They are very quiet, but air circulation isn’t substantial either.
HTPC for Beginners
The Luxa2 LM100 Mini's biggest selling point is its 7” display, along with the iMon remote control and iMedian HD software. This makes the test candidate an interesting media center platform. The display’s small font and single line keeps the information it relays within narrow limits, though.
While the remote control looks good, the software is not completely satisfying, especially since it offers nothing that cannot already be found in Windows Media Center. If you are going to install Windows 7 on this Mini-ITX system, we recommend leaving the iMedian HD software in the box and just manage the LM100 Mini with Windows Media Center instead.
Conclusion: Living Room PC Suitable For Multimedia
With its infrared receiver and remote control, the Luxa2 LM100 Mini is a good candidate for building an HTPC. The small and somewhat limiting display is somewhat inconsequential given its compact size. But taken as a complete package, the LM100 Mini is a good choice for a small living room PC with multimedia capabilities. Be prepared to shell out serious cash for the handsome case; at $270, most enthusiasts will probably look to something a bit less expensive.
|Luxa2 LM100 Mini|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||242 x 125 x 306 mm|
|Color||Silver colored case, black front panel|
|Connections||2 x USB 2.0, 1 x IEEE 1394 (Firewire), 1 x HD-Audio|
|Support for expansion cards||Yes (Low-Profile)|
|Drives||1 x 3.5” hard drive, 1 x 5.25” optical drive (Slim-line)|
|Ventilation||2 x 50 mm (back)|