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-- nMedia HTPC 288BA case
-- Category: Review
-- Posted by: dave303
-- Posted on: 2007-03-03
-- Price: ~ $99.99 USD
-- Pages: 1 [ 2 ]
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Now that we have looked at the case inside and out, let’s take a quick look at what we are putting in the case:

  • Gigabyte micro ATX motherboard (GA-8I945GZME-RH
  • MSI 6600GT video card (using the S-video out for the TV display)
  • 250 GB Western Digital hard drive (SATA)
  • NEC DVD burner
  • linksys wireless network card
  • 2 Gigs of Kingston DDR2 Ram (pc2 800)
  • Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1600
  • Antec Neo 480 modular PSU
  • Cheap wireless keyboard and mouse.
  • Microsoft Media Center 2005 OS

Here's the first test fit of the motherboard before adding the processor and heat sink. There is a little bit more room for a wider motherboard (back to front).

Everything fits well in the case, the space under the DVD drive is a great place to hide wires. I also ran the SATA cable under the motherboard to hide them as well. Once I did add the video card it created a wall so the two 60mm fans were not able to move air on the right hand side of the case.

Let's move this off the test bed and into the living room. Time to see this case in action.

As you power down the system the VFD says good-bye.

I recorded last week’s version of Battlestar Gallatica to see how well Windows Media Center works. It's a great way to test it since I knew I would not be home when it was on.

Yes, a TV upgrade is coming this year. I also need to replace the video cable.

I replaced the cable the next day and was able to get a much better picture watching GITS2 (Ghost In the Shell 2).

The HTPC 288BA case has holes all over the case to let air flow through, but some areas had issues due to the blockage by some parts. With no fans on the right side of the case and the video card creating a wall, it keeps the air trapped there.

The top of the case got a little hot as the movie played, until I added a slot cooler. The video card would over-heat as it's small fan was not strong enough to move all of the heat off the card due to the compact space. I would recommend not having this in a closed entertainment center or have anything resting on top of it.

The case fits in perfectly with the rest of the devices I have (Pioneer elite receiver and DVD player). The VL system VFD is nice to be able to provide information from Windows Media Center and the DVD. I have tested with Beyond TV and Sage TV with less signal lost errors than Windows MCE but no VFD support. With the HDD cage non-removable, it makes it hard to add more hard drives. I suppose we can always just pop in one of the new terabyte drives if needed later on.

Thanks to nMedia PC for sending us this sample! 



Pros:

  • Good looking case
  • Expandable (VL system & MCE remote)
  • VFD integrated with Windows Media Center
  • Quieter than my Xbox 360
  • Small case


Cons:

  • Bad air flow near expansion slots
  • Non-removable HDD cage
  • VL system limited to Microsoft MCE.

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