|Thermaltake DH101 HTPC ATX Case VF7001BNS|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 05 November 2007|
Page 6 of 7
VF7001BNS HTPC Installation
Because the Thermaltake DH101 HTPC ATX case VF7001BNS is practically a mid-tower chassis on it's side, there's really no reason not to treat it the same way when shopping for compatible hardware. To begin with, the DH101 can accept both a standard-sized ATX motherboard and power supply unit. While the longer power supply units such as the Toughpower W0133RU 1200W Modular PSU, Hiper HPU-4M730-SS Type M, or ePower Technology EP-1200P10 xScale 1200W PSU can fit, these power supplies are 7.8" or more and can come into contact with the optical drives in certain cable configurations.
Backtracking to the tool-less features for a moment, Thermaltake has included a fairly simple design for the drive retaining clips. While my favorite is still those used in the Cooler Master Cosmos RC-1000, the ones used in the DH101 work just as well and probably kept production costs on the VF7001BNS much lower. To open, you push the tab downward and lift the clip away. Because of the clear acrylic plastic used, you should be careful not to be too rough with these delicate parts.
The image below depicts the flow of forced air. While I am a little disappointed that the hard disk drive cage is practically ignored, the path travels from the lower portion of the motherboard up across the video card(s), and then the two exhaust fans draw the heated air out of the DH101 through the back.
Here is the removable hard drive cage, turned onto the side to shoe the tool-less retaining clips. Thermaltake designed the drive cage to allow vertical mounting of the hard disks, but without any active cooling in front of or behind the cage, this could be the only hot-spot inside the DH101 HTPC ATX case.
If you're crafty (I'm okay with a Dremel, but far from a modder), you might consider modifying the Thermaltake VF7001BNS to allow a thin (low profile) fan attached to the motherboard side of the cage. If you aren't running into any IDE cables (or an extended video card like the GeForce 8800 GTX or Ultra) then you could probably get away with using a standard 120mm cooling fan. It will add a degree of noise, but some of the higher performance units (namely Noctua) will not only perform very well but will remain silent.
Of the many features I have seen thus far in the Thermaltake DH101, nothing surprised me more than when I found a chassis intrusion switch in this HTPC case. Now, I think that officially speaking the VF7001BNS would be the very first time in my professional career to see an aftermarket manufacturer offer this sort of feature without making it into a separate kit. While the home theater may not necessarily benefit from this (I don't have children, but I can see it being helpful for those who do), the added security may work out well for system builders who rent these units to clientele or to special facilities which use them.
Last but not least the expansion slot blanks are all vented, adding to the repeated effort to improve thermal management inside the DH101 HTPC. Before I move on to the the conclusion, it shoudl be noted that the tool-less expansion card lever system in the VF7001BNS works well with most add-in hardware, but certain video cards (mainly XFX) have a rail that made it difficult to install without using a screw.
All in all, the Thermaltake DH101 has proven itself to be a very full-featured HTPC case, and the fact that I can use standard ATX components has made it very easy for me to collect hardware I already own to build the system.