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Stealthy HTPC: Two Cases To Hide Your Inner-Geek

HTPC 8000 Component Installation

The HTPC 8000 supports large components in most locations, including high-capacity power supplies that are up to 10" long. But we chose our components based on what would also fit into the other case for this review.

The HTPC 8000 installation kit includes fine- and coarse-thread case screws, cable ties, replacement rubber dampeners for the upper hard drive mounts, and shoulder screws for use with the rubber dampeners.

nMedia suggests installing the first two hard drives in the lower 3.5” bays, without the benefit of rubber dampeners. The optical drive is also screwed directly to the rack, but the combination is solid enough to reduce vibrations.

Our oversized power supply and a GeForce GTX 285 slipped into the system without issue, with excess cable length stuffed between the motherboard and front panel. Extra space at the motherboard's bottom edge would have allowed us to substitute a full ATX motherboard for the micro-ATX part we chose, while extra space beneath the drives would have allowed a much larger and quieter CPU cooler to be used.

Unfortunately, the front panel optical drive eject button did not reach that of any of our drives, even when fully depressed. A 1/8” spacer was required regardless of drive model.

We found our 1/8” spacer in the form of the yellowish-clear self-adhesive button seen above. Available online as cabinet door bumpers, these buttons should also be available at some home-supply stores. nMedia, unfortunately, did not supply this part, and we’re certain that the button spacing issue will cause some grief for most builders.

  • siliconchampion
    Definitely a good article reviewing these cases. I particularly like the retro radio, but nothing tops the badass factor of my Xbox pc media pc.

    (C2D E7400, 4GB DDR2-800, 7200RPM 2.5 inch 320GB Hitachi, Wireless N, Earthwatts 380 watt psu, low profile 9800GT, all with a wireless adapter for 360 controllers inside it. Looks totally stock (except from the back) and is the sickest thing for streaming movies and TV from my i7 build upstairs.
    Reply
  • falchard
    I really like that nMedia HTCP, it makes me want to make one like the Thermaltake Mozart Cube did.
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    I love that wood thing! Add a tv tuner and a logitech keyboard/remote thing and it's perfect!
    Suppose you'd just have to ask them which dvd drives are compatible when shopping for the internals!
    Reply
  • amnotanoobie
    The nMedia is nice, but it'd be good if you already had the wooden tv rack so it'd blend in. The Lian Li's side opening ODD tray might be a deal-breaker for some, but it is still sleek.
    Reply
  • r0x0r
    Old, unused amplifier + dremel = WIN!
    Reply
  • Crashman
    neiroatopelccI love that wood thing! Add a tv tuner and a logitech keyboard/remote thing and it's perfect! Suppose you'd just have to ask them which dvd drives are compatible when shopping for the internals!
    The button spacing is a fairly universal problem, since the case's button only has a little over 1/8" travel and the space is around 1/8" to the button of most drives. You can put something else between the two to fill the space, it doesn't have to be a cabinet door bumper.
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    CrashmanThe button spacing is a fairly universal problem, since the case's button only has a little over 1/8" travel and the space is around 1/8" to the button of most drives. You can put something else between the two to fill the space, it doesn't have to be a cabinet door bumper.Yeah, but well. I've got my htpc running in a cylinder of what translate.google.com calls corrugated sheet metal. Looks like a metal bass tube on feet, and I don't expect to replace it. But I still love that wood chassis. The lian li doesn't look very attractive. Think the old aerocool m40 I gave my parents looks a lot better, and I don't consider lian li quality anyway. The lian li that hosts the 920 already has a broken lid that used to cover the top usb, and the power button appears to 'just be hanging there' instead of being fixed properly. Can't beat silverstone in anything really. It's merely expensive like thermaltake, but without distinguishing qualities.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    r0x0rOld, unused amplifier + dremel = WIN!
    Don't forget the 5x7 car stereo speakers.
    Reply
  • r0x0r
    CrashmanDon't forget the 5x7 car stereo speakers.
    Are you thinking of home theatre amps or car stereo amps?

    I'm thinking of a home theatre amp.
    Reply
  • Forgive my ignorance but aren't those components overkill for an HTPC? What else would you be using it for beside playing movies?
    Reply