HDPLEX H10.ODD Fanless Chassis

Jan 05 2011

HDPLEX H10.ODD Fanless ChassisThe H10.ODD is a microATX fanless HTPC-centric chassis brought to use by HDPLEX Inc. If the name HDPLEX (no relation to OSX Media Center Plex) sounds familiar, it should. We helped spread the word a little over a year ago HD Plex Announces Fanless, Heatpipe-cooled All-Aluminum HTPC Enclosures. I was curious then and jumped at the opportunity to review one of the first H10.ODD made available.

In the words of HDPLEX CEO Larry Liu, “We [HDPLEX] set out to create a family of products that look good when combined with high-end A/V equipment, are silent and affordable”. High end and affordable are not words this editor has commonly seen used together and I was intrigued to see whether they succeeded.

The Unboxing

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The unboxing was a little scary. The box arrived in very poor condition and very little padding inside.  The second photo shows that the packaging was double boxed with some foam.  No real damage to the chassis, however several of the screws were loosened. The chassis is manufactured overseas so a little wear and vibration on the heavy box is expected during international travel but I raised my concern with HDPLEX and was pleased with the response. The review unit I received was part of a limited first batch that was shipped back and forth during testing. The retail packaging will have foam on both sides of the chassis to protect it from potentially damaging vibration.

Silver

The H10.ODD comes in two color variations: 1- silver faceplate with a black body; 2- black faceplate with a box body. The review unit was a black faceplate model that went well with my rack equipment.

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Included with the H10.ODD Chassis

  • HDPLEX Heat Sink System with 6 Heat Pipes For LGA775/LGA1156/AM2/AM3 (Long or Short).  You will need to pick either the short or long kit depending on your build.Image

  • Arctic Silver Céramique Thermal Paste 22g

  • Power Cord x 1 (US/UK/EU version depends on shipping destination)

  • M3*12mm Installation Screws x 12 (for HDD)

  • Internal Mount Kit (including screws) for 150W Adapter x 1

  • Optical Driver Install Kit (ODD rack x4 and M3*6mm Screws x8)

  • M3*6mm Installation Screws x 8 (for Motherboard)

  • Hexagon Screwdriver x 1

Accessories

Optional components available from HDPLEX

* Included with the review unit

  • 150W AC\DC Fanless Adapter *

  • 150W DC-ATX Converter *

  • PicoPSU-160-XT DC-ATX Converter from mini-box.com

  • 80W Fanless Open Frame PSU

  • Internal IR receiver with MCE Remote Control *

  • PCI Flexible Riser (Left Angle) *

  • PCIEX16 2U Riser (Left Angle)

  • PCIEX16 Flexible Riser (Left Angle) *

Overview

The H10.ODD is a heat sink style case, the entire chassis acts as an extended heat sink dissipating heat from the CPU. The increased surface area from the aluminum fins on the chassis allows the CPU to stay cool without the use of a traditional CPU fan.

Specifications
Material 6063T Aluminum
Total Dimensions
(W x H x L)
460mm x 68mm x 506 mm
This includes the faceplate, enclosure and feet
Weight 12 lbs
Max CPU TDP The chassis is designed for CPU with TDP below 75W
Motherboard mini-ITX, microATX
Front Panel IR receiver hole, center mounted optical drive tray with aluminum faceplate and eject button
Rear Panel Standard ATX size reserved, vents, PCI\PCI-E slot
Internal 5.25" Drive Bay Traying loading 5.25" optical drive
Hard Drive Bays 2.5” HHD x 1 (possibly two with an adapter)
3.5” HHD x1
Interior Available Space Optical Drive, 2.5" HHD,3.5" HHD, AC/DC converter, IR Kit and PCI-E card via optional riser card
Warranty 1 year limited

When purchasing a passive chassis it is very important to research motherboard and CPU compatibility. Not all motherboards are compatible based on the CPU layout and additional components blocking the heat pipe path. You will also need to determine what length heat sink pipes are compatible. HDPLEX has tested various microATX and mini-ITX boards and is maintaining a list of compatible and incompatible models via their compatibility page. At the time of this review a total of 9 motherboards were listed as compatible:

Intel LGA775 socket
  1. Zotac mini-ITX 9300 motherboard
  2. Intel G41 mini-ITX motherboard
  3. ASUS P5N7A microATX motherboard
  4. Gigabyte E7AUM microATX motherboard
Intel LGA1156 socket
  1. MSI H55M-E33 microATX motherboard
  2. Zotac H55 mini-ITX motherboard
  3. Gigabyte GA-H55-USB3 microATX motherboard
  4. ASUS ASUS P7H55-M Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
AM2/AM3 socket
  1. Gigabyte MA-785GM-US2H microATX motherboard

Unless you are planning on moving an existing HTPC into the H10.ODD, I highly recommend waiting to see what Intel LGA1155 socket (aka Sandy Bridge) motherboards are compatible.

I was disappointed to see the Intel DH57JG listed as NOT compatible since it is currently my mini-ITX board of choice. If time permits I would like to see if a pipe bender will allow me to use the DH57JG.

Install

Here are the specifications for the system assembled in the case:

Motherboard: MSI H55M-E33 microATX \ Gigabyte 785GM-US2H microATX *
CPU: Intel Core i3-530 \ AMD Phenom II X3 705e Heka 2.5GHz *
RAM: G.SKILL DDR3-1333 2GB \CORSAIR DDR2-800 2GB *
Optical Drive: LG GGC-H20L
OS/Data Storage: G.SKILL PHOENIX PRO 60GB
Media Storage: Samsung HD502HI 500GB
PCI-E: Ceton InfiniTV4 \ EVGA NVIDIA GT 430 *

* Items swapped during testing

The install was fairly simple but took almost an hour and a half start to finish. This is considerably longer than my typical builds due to the number of items that needed mounting. Between the heat pipes, heat pipe brackets, IR kit, power supply brackets and power switch there were a lot of screws, time consuming yet simple.

HDPLEX provides a very detailed installation manual online via HDPLEX Fanless Computer Case Installation Guide. Make sure to read the Full Guide PDF as well as it includes more detailed instructions. Due to the detail provided in the install guide and the length I do not feel it is beneficial to reproduce the steps here. There are a few areas I would like to mention though.

The Heatsink

The heat sink has a mirror polish finish to ensure maximum thermal conductivity, when handling take extra care to keep it clean and scratch free.

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When installing the heat sink you may need to bend the mounting bracket slightly to accommodate for variations in motherboard layout.

Installing PCI-E Cards

The gallery above shows the Ceton InfiniTV4 installed in the PCI-E slot. A couple items worth mentioning:

  1. A riser card is required in order to use an optional PCI\PCI-E card. The 2U riser card offers the best support for the card but if in doubt purchase a flex riser card.

  2. All full height PCI\PCI-E cards should have a notch near the screw hole; this is required to properly secure the card in the H10.ODD. I've seen some retail cards without it.

  3. I initially perceived the gap above the PCI-E bracket as a design flaw. It is not; the gap ensures potentially large HDMI and Display Port connectors will fit properly.

  4. The Ceton InfiniTV4 and the EVGA NVIDIA GT 430 have a PCI-E adapter bracket with a rounded side, presumably for stability. This caused the custom mounting bracket to not sit flush with the PCI-E bracket tip. This is not an issue but something to be aware of since it makes it more difficult to install without completely unscrewing the mounting bracket.

Hard Drives

There are anti vibration cushions provided with the chassis for both potential hard drives. It is a pet peeve of mine when chassis over ~$150 do not include anti vibration cushions or screws.

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Optical Drive

Slot loading and slim optical disk drives are not currently supported. While I do prefer the look of a slim slot loading drive I don't consider this a major factor. Like hard drives above, the optical drive utilizes anti vibration cushions to help isolation drive noise and vibrations. When watching a Blu-ray movie the optical drive was faintly audible when paused but otherwise inaudible.

Thermal Performance

Intel Core i3-530 w/ Intel HD Graphics
  CPU Ambient Heat Sink * Exterior Chassis * Energy Consumption (W)
Idle 31 °C 33 °C 32 °C 30 °C 29.5 W
Full Load
Prime 95 running for an hour
61 °C 68 °C 57 °C 52 °C 78.5 W
During Blu-ray Playback 38 °C 37 °C 39 °C 35 °C 48 W

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The temperatures show the H10.ODD is more than adequate for typical HTPC usage. Even at full load under Prime 95 I would feel comfortable with 70 °C - 60 °C temperatures. With older LGA775 CPUs I expect the ambient temperatures to increase but remain well within normal operating conditions.

Intel Core i3-530 w/ EVGA GT 430
  CPU Ambient Heat Sink * Exterior Chassis * GT 430 Energy Consumption (W)
Idle 31 °C 32 °C 32 °C 30 °C 35 °C 29.5 W
Full Load
Prime 95 running for an hour
61 °C 68 °C 57 °C 52 °C 38 °C 78.5 W
During Blu-ray Playback 38 °C 38 °C 39 °C 35 °C 37 °C 48 W

As you can see, there was little to no temperature change when using the GT 430. There was a slight increase in the fan speed, most likely to accommodate for the horizontal position over the microATX board when used with the riser card.

Intel Core i3-530 w/ Ceton InfiniTV4
  CPU Ambient Heat Sink * Exterior Chassis * InfiniTV4 Energy Consumption (W)
Idle 31 °C 35 °C 32 °C 30 °C 64 °C 29.5 W
Full Load
Prime 95 running for an hour
61 °C 68 °C 57 °C 52 °C 68 °C 78.5 W
During Blu-ray Playback 38 °C 37 °C 39 °C 35 °C 64 °C 48 W

Note: All temperatures taken while recording four channels simultaneously.

The temperatures on the InfiniTV4 are 8 - 10 °C higher than in my Moneual MonCaso 320B but still within operating conditions and almost identical to when I had the InfiniTV4 in an Atom 1U server. This is where I would have liked to add a 40mm or 92mm fan to have some air circulating within the case. To really test the reliability of the InfiniTV4 when in the H10.ODD, I substituted the H10.ODD as my primary family HTPC for two weeks. We had a single failed recording in that time period.

Aesthetics

Everyone has a different opinion on what is visually appealing and what goes well with their existing components so I will be blunt, I found the H10.ODD very appealing. It has the highest aesthetic value of any HTPC chassis I have seen in person. I put a high value on aesthetics when it comes to HTPCs, a good case will easily outlast the internal components. The minimalist faceplate is my ideal front. There are no USB ports, no oversized pointless volume knob and no VFD\LCD. Even the Power On\Off Switch and Power LED are removed from their traditional location on the faceplate and are instead located on the top of the chassis. The Power LED is a simple blue light barely visible through a small hole. The anti-reflective powder coating against the 6063T aluminum has a nice even finish, is attractive and hides finger prints very well. The downside to the powder coating is that it shows scratches—be careful when screwing in the lid to ensure you do not scratch the lid.

Top Vents

The vents located on the top lid (shown above), below the PCI-E slot (show below) on the rear panel and on the bottom of the chassis are the only vents on the chassis. Typically I would expect more vents on a passive case.

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I would have liked to see optional mounting holes on the top lid for 40mm and 92mm fans. While it does take away some of the fun and beauty of a fanless chassis I can see myself adding a quiet 40mm fan above the voltage regulator on a more powerful Sandy Bridge board if needed.

For the rack obsessed such as myself, the H10.ODD is the standard rack width and goes very well with high-end A\V rack equipment but due to its weight and fins is not rack mountable. It does however look very good on a rack shelf. Combined with a rack shelf the H10.ODD utilizes 2U of rack space.

Accessories

Microsoft\Philips Compatible IR Receiver

IR Receiver

Fairly standard. No drivers required and you are able to utilize triple tap on the remote within Windows Media Center. A nice feature not available on all IR Receivers is the ability to turn the computer on from complete power off (S5). I don't turn my HTPC off and do know many HTPC enthusiasts that do but if you happen to lose power for an extended amount of time, it is nice being able to turn it on via the remote control. Well worth the extra cost to complete the CE experience.

Remote Control

Remote Control

Again, fairly standard. It has all the buttons you would expect from a Windows Media Center centric remote. A little light so feels cheap but I like the form factor and simplicity. The big negative is that it does NOT have any IR learning features for controlling your TV or AVR. An interesting feature is the ability to reprogram any button on the remote on four separate profiles. I would personally rather have IR learning but combined with a HDMI-CEC USB device it could offer a simple way to map buttons to HDMI-CEC commands. For the price it is a great backup remote or bedroom remote.

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Flex Riser Card

The flex riser card is only needed if you plan to utilize the PCI\PCI-E slot. Not much to say about it other than they work and are very well priced.

Availability

The H10.ODD will be available in approximately 10-14 days directly from HDPLEX’s website, www.hd-plex.com, for $258.00. The price is in the upper end for a HTPC chassis but considerably lower than many comparable fanless chassis I’ve used before.

For those that attended #HoustonWinMeet, the H10.ODD and H5.S were both on display.

Conclusion

Pros:

  • Fanless, near silent.

  • Cools well for a passive system, high quality heat sink.

  • Minimalist aesthetics and faceplate design. As I mentioned, some will consider the lack of VFD\ LCD a con but I love the simple design.

  • Well designed with noise cancellation in mind to reduce vibration from hard drives and optical drive.

  • Mirror polish finish on the heatsink helps ensure maximum thermal conductivity

  • Compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge LGA1155 architecture.

  • Powder finish reduces finger prints visibility.

  • Enough room to fit a full length PCI-E card.

  • Optional internal Microsoft compatible IR receiver, cheap and works well.

  • IR Receiver can turn the computer on from power off (S5).

  • Great price for quality and fanless design.

Cons:

  • Completely fanless, certain motherboards require active cooling for the voltage regulator. This may be a concern after prolonged usage.

  • Only a single PCI-E bracket available

  • Not a standard rack height, slightly taller than 1U, closer to 1.5U. Not really a con but for those of us who are rack-mount obsessed (OCD) a slight annoyance but quickly forgotten.

  • Powder finish while aesthetically pleasing is prone to showing scratches

  • Currently unknown whether new AMD Fusion APUs will be compatible

  • Wasn’t available a year ago when I had a good tax return

Overall, I believe HDPLEX has accomplished their goals and can highly recommend the H10.ODD. For what it is worth, after reviewing the H10.ODD I plan to purchase one myself to replace my Moneual MonCaso 320B as my primary HTPC in the near future.

Special thanks to HDPLEX Inc. for the H10.ODD sample.

A long overdue photo of the H10.ODD in a rack.  It fits in there very nicely.

HD10.ODD on a rack shelf

Comments

We'll have to agree to disagree on VFDs Smile

This chassis is a nice option to have in the market. Do you attribute the recording to failure you experienced to heat build-up due to chassis design? It seems like the temps shown are reasonable so I tend to think it was due to some other factor.

Do you have any idea about the power supply heat? It seems a bit unusual to place a power supply with a plastic chassis inside of the case which will be warm when operational. I fear that it may either become non-functional due to this (depending on the load and heat) and /or have a shortened life span.

swoon wrote:

This chassis is a nice option to have in the market. Do you attribute the recording to failure you experienced to heat build-up due to chassis design? It seems like the temps shown are reasonable so I tend to think it was due to some other factor.

I do NOT attribute it to the heat build-up though I would recommend using a mini-ITX board if you are planning to add the Ceton versus a microATX board. That should reduce the InfiniTV4 temperatures by reducing the components below it.

swoon wrote:

Do you have any idea about the power supply heat? It seems a bit unusual to place a power supply with a plastic chassis inside of the case which will be warm when operational. I fear that it may either become non-functional due to this (depending on the load and heat) and /or have a shortened life span.

I do not, I apologize. I'll measure the temperature tonight after running on load and update the thread. Since the PSU is not bundled with the chassis, it is an optional accessory, the choice to use it internally or externally is totally up to the consumer. If (well hopefully when) I purchase a H10.ODD I will remove the enclosure after the heat is high, otherwise I'd rather keep the warranty.

Thanks. No need to apologize, awesome review!

Personally, I think I would customize the chassis with some stand-offs to attach the power supply PCB to. Power supplies typically derate based on temperature so the extra head room offered by removing the plastic housing might be worthwhile, though I would caution anyone attempting to do this to be careful working in the chassis and to remove power when doing so.

Hi, remove the plastic housing would not be recommended since this 150W adapter is not designed as an open frame PSU.

 

hdplex wrote:

Hi, remove the plastic housing would not be recommended since this 150W adapter is not designed as an open frame PSU.

This means, if you do it, u void warranty.

But really, having a plastic-encased PSU (really intended for external use) now built inside the case doesn't make sense. After the warranty expires (I personally would do it before then because as an engineer I MUST do what makes engineering sense) the PSU needs to vent its heat efficiently. Lots of these heat sink cases, one half of the heat sink is not really doing anything and wasted.  I would attempt to mate the PSU to the unused heat sink, and if I electrocute myself I won't blame anybody.

Did you take the pictures in Dexter's kill room? Laughing

ohpleaseno wrote:

Did you take the pictures in Dexter's kill room? Laughing

lol, my light box wasn't big enough for the full length case. I'll post pictures in my rack hopefully tonight otherwise it will have to be when I get back from CES.

I current have an Intel Sandy Bridge combo in there, those will go up first.

Just a quick update that the H5.S is now in stock at http://www.hd-plex.com/  The H5.S is the smaller brother of the H10 w/o an optical drive

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