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HTPC ZALMAN HTPC Enclosure

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by coolmiester, 1 Apr 2006.

  1. coolmiester

    coolmiester Coolermaster Legend

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    Choosing a media PC enclosure was not an easy choice at all especially as i've only ever seen 2 HTPC's in real life (well that i've taken any notice of anyway) - this Zalman HD160 and a Silverstone LC17 so not really qualified to say what makes a great media PC but what i can say is this has got to be one of the best quality cases i've come across.

    Soon as i opened the box i could see it was something special and the only thing i can see being a problem is how to squeeze watercooling in there :eek:

    Having said that there is a removable HD cage which takes up to 3 HD's and there is also room for one on top of the CD-ROM drive (all rubber mounted) so maybe that could be removed and the pump/res could fit there but the radiator will definitely have to be mounted externally which i'm not too bothered about though it would have been nice to get it all inside.

    It has a full aluminium chassis which is anodised inside and out making it nice and light but not flimsy in any way and on the front panel has a VFD with remote control and also a drop down door which houses USB, Firewire, Mic and Headphone sockets as well as various card readers.

    Anyway a few pictures to be going on with while i get a better look at where all things are going to fit and maybe fit it up air cooled first.

    Full spec >>here<<

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    Oh i should of mentioned it came from Graeme at KustomPC and retails at £222 which is a whole chunk to fork out for a case but given the build quality i would say it was definitely worth it.

    Having said that it doesn't lend itself well to watercooling as i soon found doing the dry run on air. Had to drop the idea of 6800 Sli cards as the Asus board only has 3 PCI slots to start with and with Sli cards it would have only been 2 so ended up going for a single 7800GTX which leaves plenty space for network and TV card

    For sound im using the onboard sound through a Yamaha Pro Logic Surround amp which is nice and it doesn't look out of place below the HTPC and sounds crystal clear so not really thinking of adding a sound card tbh

    Anyway its all up and running on air and everything seems to be working well apart from the quality of the TV picture which is currently a 32" Panasonic and is perfect for watching films, media player or playing games like HL2 but just doesn't cut it when using the internet as the text is just that little bit too fuzzy so it looks like its bite the bullet time and upgrade to HDTV :S

    Its all tucked away under the TV so its not obtrusive at all and has to be said is really quiet on air but it will be getting filled with water soon which should bring temps down as well as the noise.

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  2. ozstrike

    ozstrike yip yip yip yip

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    Should submit the review to Wil, it might get on the front page, pretty thorough review :)
    Looks like a nice case, pretty clean looking.
     
  3. Fly

    Fly inter arma silent leges

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    The Bit-tech team have a full review of this due within the next couple of weeks.

    :)
     
  4. ozstrike

    ozstrike yip yip yip yip

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    Pfft, you lot are behind the times :p
     
  5. Fly

    Fly inter arma silent leges

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    Ours will be a wee bit more in depth though. ;)
     
  6. coolmiester

    coolmiester Coolermaster Legend

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    Was going to say, i'm no reviewer by any means - just more my personal experience.

    Cheers though oz :thumb:
     
  7. trifin

    trifin What's a Dremel?

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    VFD/IR

    i should hope so!!! ;)

    i have one of these cases and something I feel that no reviewer has covered is the VFD/IR setup issues. Many reviews note there are issues but don't really cover them well. I now have the system setup perfect but not due to the instructions on the Zalman site!

    A negative of the zalman is that they have no forum.... i guess they havent needed one before but the sure do now!
     
  8. coolmiester

    coolmiester Coolermaster Legend

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    Well don't keep us in suspense trifin, what are the VFD/IR issues and how did you get it to run perfect??

    I've not really looked at it yet so its something that would be handy to know.
     
  9. trifin

    trifin What's a Dremel?

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    this is what i found..

    the instructions on the zalman site do not exactly match the options you are given by the IR software. what i did was go to the IRTrans website and download the latest version. then you can follow the instructions from the zalman site - they still are not exactly right but least with the software from the IRtrans site you do get the correct options to set up power on and off.

    i found the irtrans software quite basic but hugely powerful which can mean that if you dont have perfect instructions then its rather daunting.

    actually this is just an issue and not issues - i guess the other problem people are having is that their motherboards & components do not like waking and sleeping. I worked through getting my setup to sleep and wake and then started with the IR software.

    i would now like some software to control what the VFD displays...

    for me the HD160 is the best case ive owned. i dont just mean HPTC case - i mean case. its really well thought out and would only be bettered but a competent modder with a decent budget.
     
  10. coolmiester

    coolmiester Coolermaster Legend

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    Cheers trifin - i'll keep that in mind when setting up though i got my hands on a Fusion Dual TV card which comes with a hand set so will try both time permitting.

    Tried every way to fit a dual rad and this was the only way i could do it without loosing something else important like the optical drive which wouldn't be much good for watching DVD's - as it was i had to sacrifice the hard drive caddy which held 3 HD's to fit the pump/res in so i'm down to using only one HD and the 36GB Raptor will get changed for something big to hold plenty of d/load TV.

    Anyway - swapped out the Asus Deluxe in favour of the Asus Premium which has the fanless chipset thing so one less source of noise to worry about and basically just added a simple 1/2" loop consisting of Double XSPC X-Flow Rad >>> NV-78 >>> TDX >>> Laing DDC / Alphacool Plexi Res

    I modded the outlet on the NV-78 to the other side to make plumbing a lot easier but apart from that it was a pretty easy install given the limited space to work with.

    Best by far though is the silence...............oh and the GFX temp is down to 35 from 52 degrees and the CPU is down to around 30

    All i need now is a big quiet hard drive and to work out this Fusion TV card hand set.

    A few pictures of the finished thing.......

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  11. hitman012

    hitman012 Minimodder

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    Nice case, nice hardware, nice cooling - looks great :thumb:
     
  12. Rocket733

    Rocket733 Austerity - It's the only way

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    Pretty. Nice loop, very neat and tidy. I'm assuming you've got all the air bubbles removed now.
     
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