Zalman HD160 Home Theater PC Enclosure

Want to talk about one of the articles in SPCR? Here's the forum for you.
Post Reply
MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Zalman HD160 Home Theater PC Enclosure

Post by MikeC » Wed May 17, 2006 10:17 am


kojak71
Posts: 70
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 6:29 am

Post by kojak71 » Wed May 17, 2006 2:29 pm

Thanks for the review, especially concerning the order of component installation during the system build process. Although I have been happy with my Ahanix ht400 case, I was contemplating this case as it had a couple of features which I would have thought would have improved airflow

PSU vent. How restrictive would you say that the vent covering is for the PSU. It looks highly restrictive, so I was wondering if this translated into any noise.

CPU vent. I'm interested in this because in my setup I have a XP-120 with a Nexus fan in the pull up configuration. With this case I would be tempted to duct it out of this vent, further reducing the case temperatures.

Vertical hard-drive cage. Granted in a 1 hard-drive system this makes no difference, but typically in an MCE HTPC it's recommended that you have at least 2 drives (OS on one, TV recordings on another). In fact depending on the number of tuners you have, the TV recordings might have to be saved to a RAID0 array, otherwise programs will become jerky. Now this obviously isn't ideal (from a SPCR perspective), but it is more functional. So having the hard-drive mounted vertically ensures that some air goes over each of the drives.

Hard-drive noise. Once again you've proved the weakness of aluminium, but SPCR are likely candidates to use sound deadening foam (such as the stuff that AcoustiProducts make). They had a specific kit for my case at the time I bought it, and it does a great job of deadening the panels.

I'm glad that you put your noise observations into some context. It's clear that no HTPC will ever compete with SPCR recommended desktop cases, but then as you pointed out, you tend to sit further away from an HTPC, and you also have the fact that audio will have the effect on drowning out some noise.

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Wed May 17, 2006 4:29 pm

The PSU intake grill seems fine, at least for the S12 in this setup -- it never ramped up, which is the main point.

As menioned in the review, the CPU vent is probably worth playing with.

There's no problem with vertical HDD mounting per se; it's the ineffectiveness of damping for the drives or room to suspend that's the problem. Adding damping to panels is a much less efficient way ot dealing with HDD vibration-induced noise than dtopping it at the source. And as mentioned, damping just the top panel is not enough; you probably have to add mass damping to almost all the panels.

Mike_P
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 6:40 am
Location: Toronto, ONT

hard drive location

Post by Mike_P » Thu May 18, 2006 6:22 am

Does the HDD make the same subjective noise when mounted above the DVD drive?

I know you said you do not recommend the HDD be placed here for heat reasons, but how about some actual figures of the temps?

Im thinking because the bottom of the hard drive just sits on those pegs rather then being firmly attached might be adding to the vibrations?

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Re: hard drive location

Post by MikeC » Thu May 18, 2006 6:38 am

Mike_P wrote:Does the HDD make the same subjective noise when mounted above the DVD drive?

I know you said you do not recommend the HDD be placed here for heat reasons, but how about some actual figures of the temps?

Im thinking because the bottom of the hard drive just sits on those pegs rather then being firmly attached might be adding to the vibrations?
It sits on the foam around the pegs; the pegs are supposed to basically keep the drive in place.

The other position wasn't tried, I have to admit, because it looks so unpromising. The HDD gets jammed right up against the optical drive, and those grommets do virtually nothing for noise anyway. I really can't see that the HDD noise would be better -- there's no reason for it to be better.

kojak71
Posts: 70
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 6:29 am

Post by kojak71 » Thu May 18, 2006 7:06 am

MikeC wrote:And as mentioned, damping just the top panel is not enough; you probably have to add mass damping to almost all the panels.
Absolutely, the acoustipack kit (which seems to have been discontinued) covers all the panels including underneath the motherboard. But yes, ultimately aluminium is not a good starting point.

Unlike desktop cases, the size of an HTPC case (particularly it's width) is limited by it's intended environment (i.e. hi-fi cabinet/stand). Having examined several HTPC cases in person I don't think that there will ever be a perfect case to satisfy the SPCR crowd. Part of the problem is that quiet components are only available in standard sizes and they take up a lot of case space which in turn impedes airflow. We are starting to see 2.5" hard-drives as a viable alternative, but other things such as near silent CPU coolers, optical drive, HD capable graphics card, PSU, etc. take up a lot of space

The good news is that with the imminent release of chips with much lower thermal profiles (Prescott, you shall not be missed), near silent heatsinks can afford to be smaller. Intel have also promised that their next gen integrated graphics part will be HD capable (as well as being HDCP enabled). This in turn should greatly reduce the need for powerful PSU, so maybe manufacturers will take the opportunity to make small PSUs with S12 type acoustics (or maybe picoPSU might come into play).

Of course there is the other alternative, and that is to use VIA cpus and the like, and that's a viable option. However these are not suitable for the full MCE + Extender experience.

kojak71
Posts: 70
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 6:29 am

Re: hard drive location

Post by kojak71 » Thu May 18, 2006 7:31 am

Mike_P wrote:I know you said you do not recommend the HDD be placed here for heat reasons, but how about some actual figures of the temps?
I doubt the temperature would be that higher than what I'm experiencing in my case. I have 2 Samsung P120 drive stacked one on top of the other in a part of the case which has no vents and no airflow. The bottom drive reads 44C, the other reads 48C, both well within the manufacturer's specifications.

When I originally had just the one P120 it was located in a part of the case which had some airflow, and it's temperature would read 36C. And for comparison's sake, the same drive in a Antec 3700BQE registers 30C, and that's with a Nexus 120mm pushing air into the case.

cjs150
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu May 18, 2006 8:06 am
Location: London, UK

HD160 Home Theatre

Post by cjs150 » Thu May 18, 2006 8:27 am

Using a MITX board seems to give a fair bit of room to play around with the HD location. How about ditching the HD cage and siting a water cooling jacket around an HD below the MB (and as a bonus you could water cool the graphic card). Would have to have the HD mounted vertically rather than horizontally but that does not look a problem. To keep it silent you would need a passive radiator.

Does that work or is there not enough room?

edz
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:56 pm
Location: London, UK

Post by edz » Thu May 18, 2006 2:03 pm

Thanks for the review.

Some of the sound files are incorrectly linked - namely the startup one and the shuttle comparitive one. Also the shuttle comparitive one is incorrectly linked in the NSK2400 review.

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Thu May 18, 2006 3:51 pm

edz wrote:Thanks for the review.

Some of the sound files are incorrectly linked - namely the startup one and the shuttle comparitive one. Also the shuttle comparitive one is incorrectly linked in the NSK2400 review.
You were right! It shoud all be fixed now.

Mike_P
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 6:40 am
Location: Toronto, ONT

Post by Mike_P » Fri May 19, 2006 5:52 am

MikeC wrote:
edz wrote:Thanks for the review.

Some of the sound files are incorrectly linked - namely the startup one and the shuttle comparitive one. Also the shuttle comparitive one is incorrectly linked in the NSK2400 review.
You were right! It shoud all be fixed now.

the startup one is still not working. it's linking me to a HTML (page not found).

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Fri May 19, 2006 6:40 am

Mike_P wrote:the startup one is still not working. it's linking me to a HTML (page not found).
Third time lucky, I hope. I just fixed & listened to it, so it works, at least for me. IT's a very telling sound recording, btw. Too bad it hasn't been available for all the readers thus far!

Mike_P
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 6:40 am
Location: Toronto, ONT

Post by Mike_P » Fri May 19, 2006 8:06 am

MikeC wrote:
Mike_P wrote:the startup one is still not working. it's linking me to a HTML (page not found).
Third time lucky, I hope. I just fixed & listened to it, so it works, at least for me. IT's a very telling sound recording, btw. Too bad it hasn't been available for all the readers thus far!
omg! that is horrible!

my friend had a 7200.9 that sounded like that. Found he used the wrong screws to fasten it to the rubber mounts in his Sonata I. Put hte right screws in and its alot quieter.

BUT, this again makes me think of those pegs holding it in on the lower side. I wonder if proper mounting would help (ie. above the 5.25bay)

what about moving four of the HDD grommets (maybe the above mentioned ones from the spare HDD mount) to isolate the hdd cage from the chassis?

either way, i understand you test the cases as close to their intended configuration out of the box, as it should be.

thanks for doing this review, i've wondered about this case for a long time.
sounds easy enough and might make a diff?

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Fri May 19, 2006 8:15 am

Mike_P wrote:BUT, this again makes me think of those pegs holding it in on the lower side. I wonder if proper mounting would help (ie. above the 5.25bay)
I wonder how many times I have to say this? -- there is nothing "proper" about the HDD bay above the 5.25" bay. I'm sure someone will have this case and try it -- I'll eat that HDD cage if it turns out to sound any different. None of the HDD damping devices in this case can be improved imo. They are all pretty bad.

r33tr33t
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2005 3:52 pm

Post by r33tr33t » Fri May 19, 2006 1:49 pm

"niggly" on P. 7 is not a word.

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Fri May 19, 2006 2:07 pm

r33tr33t wrote:"niggly" on P. 7 is not a word.
Sure it is...
nig·gle Pronunciation (ngl)
intr.v. nig·gled, nig·gling, nig·gles
1. To be preoccupied with trifles or petty details.
2. To find fault constantly and trivially; carp. See Synonyms at quibble.
[Perhaps of Scandinavian origin.]

r33tr33t
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2005 3:52 pm

Post by r33tr33t » Fri May 19, 2006 3:20 pm

MikeC wrote:
r33tr33t wrote:"niggly" on P. 7 is not a word.
Sure it is...
nig·gle Pronunciation (ngl)
intr.v. nig·gled, nig·gling, nig·gles
1. To be preoccupied with trifles or petty details.
2. To find fault constantly and trivially; carp. See Synonyms at quibble.
[Perhaps of Scandinavian origin.]
Case in point: the correct form is "ing" and not "ly."

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Fri May 19, 2006 3:38 pm

Please stop being preoccupied with trifles or petty details. Back on topic with the substance of the HD160...

Ralf Hutter
SPCR Reviewer
Posts: 8636
Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2002 6:33 am
Location: Sunny SoCal

Post by Ralf Hutter » Sat May 20, 2006 5:40 am

MikeC wrote:Please stop being preoccupied with trifles or petty details.
Shouldn't you have said "Please stop being niggly"?

rpsgc
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 1630
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2004 1:59 am
Location: Portugal

Post by rpsgc » Sat May 20, 2006 5:53 am

Ralf Hutter wrote:
MikeC wrote:Please stop being preoccupied with trifles or petty details.
Shouldn't you have said "Please stop being niggly"?
Ni! This be "Please stop being niggle" :lol:
http://www.answers.com/niggle?nafid=3

jaganath
Posts: 5085
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:55 am
Location: UK

Post by jaganath » Sat May 20, 2006 7:59 am

Should we rename this forum "Pedants' Corner"? :roll:

PS. Apostrophe police who berate me for incorrect use of the apostrophe in the above sentence are ipso facto pedants and thus demonstrate my point. QED.

qviri
Posts: 2465
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 8:22 pm
Location: Berlin
Contact:

Post by qviri » Sat May 20, 2006 8:08 am

So taking the time to ensure that SPCR's articles are as presentable as possible, upholding the SPCR image as a professional review site is a bad thing now? Should I stop my typo patrol reports?

jaganath
Posts: 5085
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:55 am
Location: UK

Post by jaganath » Sat May 20, 2006 9:25 am

Not at all. Genuine typographical errors should be amended or deleted, and your efforts to ensure that that happens are to be commended. However, "niggly" is extant in colloquial English, and as such I know exactly what Mike means when he uses that word. However for the many SPCR readers whose mother tongue is not English it would be best to use a more formal register in reviews, so as to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.

Post Reply