Finding the perfect HTPC case

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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Corren
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2006 11:53 am

Finding the perfect HTPC case

Post by Corren » Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:29 am

I'm planning my new HTPC for W7 MCE, and I can't find a case that meets a baseline of criteria I've come up with.
  • Integrated IR Slot (for MCE Remote)
  • Integrated Card Reader (or exposed 3.5 drive bay)
  • Room for at least 2 HD drives (3 preferred)
  • Quiet! Able to be cooled nearly passively (good airflow/layout)
CPU will be an i5/661 with IGP so I don't have to worry about fitting a discreet GPU, but I will be installing the Ceton 4-tuner Cable Card tuner. I don't really have a preference for mATX vs ATX.

Additionally, something that is nice looking is required, although that's very subjective. Ideally, the case would hide the Card Reader and any front ports behind some panel. VFD, Volume Knob, etc, are nice to have but not required. Size isn't really an issue, I've got a ton of space (height, depth) under my TV.

Further, I've looked at a bazillion cases, and it seems they *all* have issues. The Antec cases (Fusion, MAX, NSK2480) are all really nice, but zero option for a card reader. Silverstone cases have tons of front panel option, but no IR port, and crappy layout. The Lian-Li PC-C34F has the features, but that front panel is pretty ugly with the locking door. Others have crappy cooling. Etc Etc.

Please help! I can't figure out why not a single manufacture *get's it*.

I'd go so far as to say money really isn't a problem; I want the right case for our living area, and if it costs more, so be it.

xan_user
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Location: Northern California.

Re: Finding the perfect HTPC case

Post by xan_user » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:13 am

Corren wrote:
Please help! I can't figure out why not a single manufacture *get's it*.
That, my friend, is why we mod.
:D

get an RF remote, way more useful than IR any day.

Corren
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2006 11:53 am

Post by Corren » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:17 am

Ah, the Harmony 900 RF gets panned over the non-RF Harmony One. I'd prefer non-RF so I can use one remote for all of my gear and not have to IR blast.

Yes, case mods may be my only recourse.

Given that I just installed 750 Square feet of hardwood flooring, adding an IR port to a case may be a cakewalk.

croddie
Posts: 541
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 8:52 pm

Re: Finding the perfect HTPC case

Post by croddie » Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:15 pm

Corren wrote:I'd go so far as to say money really isn't a problem; I want the right case for our living area, and if it costs more, so be it.
Have you considered storing things on a network device (e.g. WHS)? That would allow a minimal HTPC while giving additional functionality. You could use a small SSD for the HTPC for example. That would help you get closer to a passive system.

Magilla
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 9:16 am
Location: UK

Re: Finding the perfect HTPC case

Post by Magilla » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:54 am

Corren wrote:The Antec cases (Fusion, MAX, NSK2480) are all really nice, but zero option for a card reader.
Beware any Fusion case that incorporates a Soundgraph LCD.

Check out the Antec forum at Hexus.net, many people are having issues with this range of cases.

Yoshimitsu
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:38 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by Yoshimitsu » Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:15 am

How about the cases from OrigenAE? Like the S14V and S10V. Those are the most beautiful cases I've come across. And I think it meets your demands. Not 100% sure though.
But they are quite expensive...

Link: http://www.origenae.co.kr/en/index.htm

murtoz
Posts: 122
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:24 pm
Location: Wiltshire, UK

Post by murtoz » Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am

How about the Lian Li PC-C32B? I agree the C34 is ugly, the C32 is pretty minimalist. The only thing it doesn't do from your list is stealth the card reader...
I just bought one and am running a QX9650, HD4350 passive and 2x HDD's. Fans are fairly silent on low speed with my mobo fan control, but will probably replace them. Will also suspend the hdd as the rubber grommet things supplied do not quite make the grade to my mind, but apart from that i absolutely love it!
Oh and btw, the perfect case simply does not exist unless you mod it!

whispercat
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Location: Calgary, AB, Canada

Post by whispercat » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:17 pm

Corren, check your messages.

Fallen Kell
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 7:50 pm

Re: Finding the perfect HTPC case

Post by Fallen Kell » Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:38 am

Magilla wrote:
Corren wrote:The Antec cases (Fusion, MAX, NSK2480) are all really nice, but zero option for a card reader.
Beware any Fusion case that incorporates a Soundgraph LCD.

Check out the Antec forum at Hexus.net, many people are having issues with this range of cases.
Unfortunately I did not see these warnings before I purchased. The main problem is that Antec didn't install the proper filter on the LCD screen. SoundGraph is getting pretty pissed off at Antec over this issue since so many people are flooding their forums about it. Unfortunately SoundGraph has other priorities than to fix what an OEM/ODM does, and are currently focused on getting their new product line out next month (which make sense from their stand-point since it is Antec that screwed up not them). However, they may be offering a solution once the new product line is out.

cordis
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Location: San Jose

hardwood?

Post by cordis » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:49 pm

Well, if you just installed wood floors, you might want a case to go with that:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... -_-Product

I have this case, it gets pretty decent airflow, I have a gpu in mine so it isn't all that quiet, but you could definitely make it quiet. It has a card reader right up front, and you could take out the lcd display spot and put in an ir port. Or you could put one behind the cloth on one of those side panels, that would be a tricky want to install it. Or drill a hole someplace. And it's not even all that expensive. Could work out for you.

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