|Thermaltake DH101 HTPC ATX Case VF7001BNS|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 05 November 2007|
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Closer Look: DH101 Exterior
Very recently one of the staff writers here at Benchmark Reviews received an HTPC case from a different manufacturer around the same time as I received this one. Unfortunately, that case was half the height of the Thermaltake DH101 HTPC ATX Case, and required integrated audio and video, as well as riser cards for any additional hardware. Needless to say, that project was scrapped and my project with the VF7001BNS proved successful in more ways than one.
To begin with, Thermaltake has designed the DH101 to utilize common computer hardware to build an ATX-based HTPC. This means that the VF7001BNS case does not require you to use a low-performance integrated solution motherboard. It also means that you can use standard AGP or PCI-E video cards instead of a PCI-based video card mounted horizontally through an aftermarket riser kit. In fact, if you have the resources, this could easily be the SLi/CrossFire gaming solution with a backbone for home theater programming and storage.
Many of the physical attributes Thermaltake has designed into the DH101 HTPC Case make it appear, or rather fit right in, with surrounding equipment. Some may even mistake the sleek VF7001BNS for an A/V receiver because of the close resemblance and Piano mirror coating with aluminum front panel design. Additionally, the built-in Media LAB module with 10 Hot-Key buttons makes this just as versatile as any receiver has ever been.
Thermaltake's LCD can display several languages, such as English, German, Russian, Chinese. Since the DH101 HTPC ATX case offers compatible with Windows XP MCE 2005 and Windows Vista, remotes and multimedia keyboards (such as the nMedia MCESKB 2.4GHz Wireless Slim Trackball Keyboard) can be programmed with additional functionality.
The piano black finish of the Aluminum bezel make it easy to match the VF7001BNS with most optical drives available on the current hardware market. Although there are plenty of DVD+/-RW drives available, there weren't any HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Disc combo drives making it to market at the time of the writing.
Thermaltake has equipped the DH101 HTPC case with active cooling in the front and at the back, but you can never have enough ventilation. Located on each side of the VF7001BNS is a large array of punched-mesh grill to allow air circulation.
From the image above you can see that there is very little un-vented surface area on the DH101. This will offer above-average cooling conditions, especially when compared against other HTPC cases which try to adhere to a slimline profile with very little room for additional ventilation or fans.
At the rear of the Thermaltake VF7001BNS there are two 60mm exhaust fans which are positioned perfectly in-line with the CPU location for ATX standard motherboards. From this view you can see the close resemblance to a 4U rack mount server chassis, or a desktop ATX case. Likewise, if you remove the 3 thumb-screws located at the top and sides, you have access to the interior components just the same.
Please continue on as the detailed exterior features are revealed in the next section.