HTPC Case options

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ndabunka
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HTPC Case options

Postby ndabunka » Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:52 am

I am seeking information on which cases Cinemar users are now using for their HTPC setups as well as the logic behind those decisions.

There are a LOT of HTPC case choices and while I have a number of criteria (internal capacity to hold four 1.5TB drives, IR capabilities, etc), I am not familiar with what cases IR functions can be accommodated in ML. I own both a GC-100 as well as the USB based blaster so that I could control any HTPC IR device but without ML-supported drivers, it may be hard to do this on ML. I don't plan on using vista or any of that stuff as my legacy Server 2000 seems to be fine for running ML Server as well as the few other applications I need. My one concern is the BD player I intend to use (and thus the need for the new case with both a DVD burner and a separate BD player).

I've got it narrowed down to three options (The 2-optical drive SilverStone LC20M or B depending on if VFD and IR capabilities are required or not or the single optical drive Antec Fusion Veris series - One has a remote with it while the other comes with the 430watt power supply or the Silverstone LC14 again with two optional choices and about $100 difference between the two). I'm not that cheap but don't see a point in paying the extra $100 or so for the ones with the IR receiver, remotes, VFD if there is no need for them in ML. Please note that this decision is for the ML server itself that sits in the A/V rack. I am replacing the older "standard PC" that looks like crap for a "component-styled" unit to sit in there. In the past, I would typically only turn the server on when I want to run the HT and the IR interfaces provided with some of these units would do that from a cold start as well as control things non-ML (like a quick and dirty MCE for the kids).

So, what kinds of cases are Cinemar users using now-a-days and why. Please include any links to threads that may have addressed these questions previously. Thanks in advance for your contributions.
Last edited by ndabunka on Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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DavidL
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Postby DavidL » Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:17 pm

AVSForum has lots of info and opinions on HTPC cases.

Narrow in what your requirements are:

Is this for Rack or desktop or "hidden away somewhere" look?

Will this be in the movie watching area?

How much money?

What motherboard type?

What kind of cooling?

BluRay?

On panel touchscreen?

Color?

How many "U" sized?

ndabunka
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Postby ndabunka » Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:22 pm

Thanks for the guidance. I have already been very active on AVSforums (under the same moniker) for the past two weeks and due to the issues you listed as well as those in my post I narrowed it down to three alternatives that meet my requirements and address these basic objectives: space consumption/U-size unimportant, looks VERY important, AC VERY important, Quietness not important as the rack is isolated from the HT room, miniATX board, BluRay, under $200, touchscreen on case not practical IMHO, etc.

The visit here was almost an "after thought" in that I wanted to make certain that I didn't finally decide on one of those and then (only later) realize that none of the IR drivers on those were viable with ML. But then again, I do know that there are generic drivers so maybe the issue is mute as I can probably "make" any case work.

Epilogue - I know this may look VERY quick to those on this forum but I had already been doing the majority of this research prior to coming on here with my ML questions so here goes the findings (Perhaps others in a similar situation can leverage these details and thereby reduce their analysis time). I decided that I wanted to just go ahead and get all the "bells and whistles" (other than the built in LCDs) and wanted the cost to stay "as close to $200 as possible".

Antec Fusion Series - The pricing for a Fusion Remote Black and the required separate Power Supply would have come in around $175 ($151 + $30PS). However, I learned (just today) that Antec had discontinued all of the Fusion Black series units (both the Remote and the non-remote-enabled 430-models). I also discovered in a quick visit to their website that they had already removed the links to ANY support whatsoever thereby eliminating the Fusion Black as a viable option (for me). One down.

SilverStone - I had a $200 price point I was trying to hit and had difficult in doing this with the higher-end SilverStone units. However, by searching and using rebates I came out with the following (out the door) prices for the following units:
* LC10B w/430w PS - $171 (less $30 in rebates = $141 total)
Issues: Only a single 5.25" external, no IR, No VFD, No Card Reader
* LC17B w/500w PS - $184 (less $10 rebate = $174 total)
Issues: No IR, No VFD, Card reader possible but additional $'s
* LC20B w/530w PS - $201 (less $10 rebate = $191 total)
Issues: IR, VFD & Card Reader not included. More $$$'s later
* LC20B-M w/430w PS - $235 (less $15 rebates = $220 TOTAL)
Issues: No Card Reader but has remote, IR & VFD & Mgmt software

Notes: The LC20 is the only one of these that do not come with the exhaust fans already built in so that could run costs up another $20 or so so don't forget about that aspect when ordering it). Most of the "usual suspect" retailers (Amazon, New Egg, etc) all wanted $280 or so for this fully built out LC20B-M. Many of these started out around $199 without the PS but then nearly every one hiked up their profits with exorbitant shipping charges (some as high as $50 for a 15lb package shipped via snail-mail!). Even the typical search engines only offered these types of sites. However, I was able to locate a low-cost retailer online for this when I was searching for another product and just "took a chance" and also searched on the LC20B-M. Not only did they offer it for $177 but they also only charged $20 in shipping charges and also had a $15 rebate on the Thermaltake Power Supply. All these things added together to save me over $50 and brought the price close enough to my target that I went ahead and ordered the case. Once I get it, I will also provide a review of my success and/or issues with the integration of this into my Cinemar solution.


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