Skip to main content

HTPC Cases With LCD Screens: Bringing Bling

Thermaltake DH102: Specifications, Bundle, And Unique Features

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.

  • Hamsterabed
    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
    Reply
  • cruiseoveride
    ... 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.
    Reply
  • average joe
    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.
    Reply
  • DiscoDuck
    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.
    Reply
  • JeanLuc
    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.
    Reply
  • cleeve
    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!
    Reply
  • cleeve
    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.
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • neodawg
    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.
    Reply
  • cadder
    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.
    Reply