All Quiet On the PC Noise Front

Summary And Evaluation

The total impression that the HFX PC C30 makes is nothing less than outstanding - except for its weight. Minor issues with appearance occur only inside the case and thus don’t affect our overall evaluation. The outfitting and workmanship of this system could hardly be improved. With a front-panel VFD and a multi-function remote control, it’s easy to manage all digital video recorder features from the comfort of your couch. The rear panel of this 48-plus pound HTPC heavyweight also offers a plethora of ports and connectors for its users.

Overall rating87%

Hush Technologies is a well-known German purveyor of completely quiet PCs. In the past three years the company has ventured beyond its typical silent high-end desktop PCs into the Media Center PC market. Hush M-Series MCE PCs are built around an ITX Pentium M motherboard, in a small compact case that lacks the big cooling fins depicted for the HFX PC C30. The Hush E-Series MCE PCs are built around older (hence cooler) P4 socket 478 motherboards for E1 models, with AMD Socket 939 ATX motherboards for the more expensive mid-range E2 and high-end E3 models (memory and disk size also increase as you climb up the series ladder). All of the E-Series MCE PCs also feature heavy aluminum cases with giant cooling fins (a previous generation Hush Media Center PC model is covered in our Windows in the Living Room : Part 1 story ).

The Hush Media Center offerings vary somewhat between European and U.S. models, primarily because the latter are assembled in the U.S. by Hush partner Logic Supply. Based on the reviews and photos taken of European Hush models versus their U.S. counterparts, it looks like Logic Supply does a better job with internal wiring. While the European model has issues with spaghetti wiring and a lack of organization inside the case, the U.S. version features nylon cable that wraps around all wire bundles and uses custom built cables made to fit inside case dimensions perfectly.

Alas, we couldn’t include reviews of the Hush units in this story because Logic Supply doesn’t yet offer the Hush M-Series PCs for sale in the U.S. (though it does sell Hush systems built around VIA mini-ITX motherboards, processors, and chipsets, and plans to offer the M-Series at some point in the future). Logic Supply has also discontinued sales of Hush models built with ATX motherboards, including the E-Series MCE PCs. U.S.-based Niveus Media is ready to take over with its fanless Ranier HTPC, a version of the Hush E-Series MCE PC. U.S. prices for the Niveus Ranier (E-Series equivalent) start at about $3,000 and European prices for the M-Series Hush machines start at about US$1,800 (1,500€) and go up quickly as faster Pentium M CPUs, a DVD burner, more memory, bigger hard disks, and so forth, are added ($2,300 is a typical price to pay for a well-equipped machine).

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