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Written by Nate Swetland - Edited by Olin Coles   
Monday, 16 August 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
nMedia HTPC 1080p Media Center Chassis
Closer Look: Exterior
Detailed Exterior Features
Closer Look: Interior
Detailed Interior Features
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

HTPC Case Final Thoughts

nMedia has made plenty of media center cases in the past, so they have had a lot of practice to get things right. I think that the HTPC 1080p case fits in very nicely with their line of products. It has cosmetic appeal for those that want their entertainment center to look as good as it performs. It has the form factor to allow for a small footprint, but still allow for a full size power supply, as well as an optical drive and three hard drives. I enjoyed such features as the flip down front panel that gives it a very discreet look, and the removable drive cage to allow easy access if you like to tinker or plan to upgrade your storage capabilities in the future. The optional Programmable LCD module can come in handy for those that like to listen to music, but not keep a display on, or for those of you that simply like to have easy access to information such as temperatures, bitrates, and the like. All in all, nMedia has put together another fine product with the HTPC 1080p, and if you are in the market for a HTPC case, this is worth a look.

nMedia HTPC 1080p Conclusion

Performance is perfectly acceptable. The two included 80mm silent fans provide good air flow to both the drive cage and the CPU. The addition of the vents near key components allow for worry-free performance of your components.

Appearance is always an important factor for something that is potentially going to be out in plan sight. nMedia does not disappoint with the HTPC 1080p. The sleek black case is paired with a shiny front panel that will look good in any entertainment center. The flip-down front access panel allows you to hide the optical drive and I/O panel, and gives a very discreet look to the case.

Construction seems of sturdy stuff. Some of the edges are a bit rough, and I highly dislike having to break out PCI slot covers. The drive cage is plenty sturdy to withstand a lot of use. The front flip-down panel seems a bit flimsy, but unless used heavily, it should last well enough.

Functionality is found several places in the HTPC 1080p. The front I/O panel provides plenty of access for USB devices, sound I/O, and easy access to your digital multimedia. The hard drive cage is a very welcome functional addition that I wish more manufacturers would take note of.

The Value of this case is very appealing. The nMedia HTPC 1080p case costs $59.99 from NewEgg as tested, which is very affordable for any type of media center case. The additional cost of the Programmable LCD Module may scare a few people away from that option, but omitting that from the case will have little to no effect at all on the overall value.

I can say that I would recommend this case for someone in the market to either build a HTPC system or move to a smaller (or even bigger) case. It is well priced, and has many high points.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award

+ Micro ATX form factor for good "middle of the road" options
+ Holds a full size PSU
+ Holds up to three hard drives
+ Can hold up to 4 expansion cards
+ Drive cage allows easy access to internal components
+ Looks very good, cosmetically
+ Plenty of front panel connections
+ Great price point
+ Good care in providing noise and vibration reduction
+ Good airflow provided by two included fans, and two optional more, as well as passive vents

Cons:

- Sharp edges on the inside
- Break-away PCI bracket covers
- PCI brackets are low-profile only
- Programmable LCD module has to be purchased separately

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.50
  • Appearance: 9.50
  • Construction: 8.50
  • Functionality: 9.00
  • Value: 9.50

Final Score: 9.2 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

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Comments 

 
# It's okTesty01 2010-08-16 18:07
But the front flip down fascia is a negative to me, if it must have one it should be split so the optical drive can be accessed more readily with its fascia attached to the front of the drive. Those push to open releases break or wear too easily for my liking and special mounts for the front I/O's and LCD display make it harder but not impossible to mount your own components. With new standards being brought about all the time it would be nice if standard drivebay mounts where used so you could utilise your own LCD or front I/O's. And while front mount to card readers or Usb ports make for ease of access, a side mount for these would allow for neater usage while still allowing access. Also almost as an afterthought, the glossy fascia and the break out Pci slot covers are a no no for me as well, I would rather continue the brushed aluminium look across the entire front to maintain a classy appearance.
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# RE: It's okNate 2010-08-17 06:36
Thanks for your comments!
I also thought that the front fascia would be a negative, but it can be a very subjective feature. If you don't use disks or the card reader that often, you never really put much wear and tear on the front flip-down panel.
I do agree that sometimes it can be a bit frustrating when manufacturers use some kind of proprietary mount, or a kind of system where mounting standard components is not very practical, so you do have a good point there.
I am unsure what you mean by a "side mount" for the USB and card reader. Do you mean having it literally on the side of the case, or put to one side and still on the front? If you were to have those ports on the side of the case, putting it in an entertainment cabinet would make for a very cramped space to try and use the ports.
I assume the reasoning behind the glossy front is to keep in line with other home entertainment systems as many have a very similar appearances.
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# nicemomo 2010-08-25 18:30
I have had many htpc already. and im with Nate. the full front cover is nice because I rarely use the ODD or card reader. So for that 88% of the time this goes well with giving that "it's a PC?" stealth look. I just wish nmedia pc would source the lcd from someone else or have vlsystem update that 2 year old software... i used it in a nmedia 6000 build and it took a lot of tweaking to get it have way decent. Thanks for the review. Looks like i will give this one a try also.
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