Micro-ATX

Dec 11 2013

Review - Fractal Design ARC MINI R2 Micro-ATX Mid Tower Chassis

Fractal Design ARC MINI R2
Over the last few years Fractal Design has cultivated a reputation for delivering intelligent, quiet, and well-built PC cases that do not require breaking the bank. With solid steel construction, ample storage options, and three hydraulic bearing  Silent Series R2 fans (2x 120mm, 1x 140mm) included, we should expect the ARC MINI R2 Micro-ATX case to continue this tradition. However it is natural to wonder if Fractal Design can deliver the innovative features of its larger, more expensive, chassis at the smaller enclosure’s $99 price point. Let’s find out.

Jun 01 2013

Review - Intel Core i7-4770K (Haswell) / Intel DZ87KLT-75K and Intel DH87RL Motherboard - First Look

For home theater PC (HTPC) enthusiasts, the 4th generation Intel Core “Haswell” family of processors has been greatly anticipated. Expectations have been set both for its GPU performance, and that the long-standing issue with refresh rate accuracy will finally be put to rest. Unfortunately time with the new integrated processor graphics (IPG) was limited to just a few hours, but a significant amount of information was gleaned in the available window, with the high-end Intel Core i7-4770K and two Intel motherboards, the DZ87KLT-75K and DH87RL, provided for testing. Of course, because this is a desktop IPG “high-end” speaks only to the CPU half of the chip. Unlike previous generations, Intel’s GPU breakdown is much more complex this time around with the high-end “Iris” graphics not available on the i7-4770K; it provides only Intel HD 4600 graphics. This will limit our ability to truly examine how far 4th generation graphics have come, hopefully something that can be addressed at a later point as the lineup widens. Now let’s get into our first look.

Mar 06 2012

Review - nMEDIAPC HTPC 7000B Micro-ATX / Mini-ITX HTPC Case

nMEDIAPC HTPC 7000nMEDIAPC has made a name for itself in the home theater PC (HTPC) community for consistently delivering well-built, good-looking, and reasonably-priced chassis comfortable in the A/V stack. Offering a brushed aluminum front panel and a street price of $80, at first glance the HTPC 7000B seems to carry on this tradition. Coupled with two 120mm fans, we should expect excellent cooling from this full-height enclosure, but with a depth of just over twelve inches there are sure to be trade-offs where the form factor is both an asset and a liability; keep reading to find out how this case measures up.

Feb 08 2012

Review - Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX HTPC

In our previous looks at Fractal Design (the Define R3 ATX chassis, the Define Mini Micro-ATX Chassis, and just recently the Core 3000) cases they have demonstrated a favor for solid, stylish chassis that consistently deliver without the flashing lights and other "bling" often found on other enclosures that offer the same space and flexibility. As we have seen, there are many different options offered by Fractal Design. The Fractal Design Core 1000 is the flavor of today’s review. The Core series brings together a combination of design, features, cooling performance, and value. Is this going to be your next HTPC case? The Fractal Design Core 1000 uses the micro ATX chassis very effectively with multiple cooling options. You have a case that give you maximum flow of air but keeps the size small to put beside your TV for a sleek and stylish look.

Dec 20 2011

Review - Fractal Designs Arc Midi Mid Tower Case

We are continuing our reviews of Fractal Design cases today with their Arc Midi mid tower desktop case.  We have previously reviewed the Core 3000, Define Mini, Array R2, and Define XL.  Like the other Fractal Design cases, the Arc Midi features a sleek, minimalist design, but it stands out as a versatile case that would work equally well for gaming, HTPC, as a media server, or a combination of all three.  It can work as an HTPC but with more built in storage than the R2 and Define Mini.  It has 2 fewer HDD bays than the XL, but won’t cost near as much (~$50 less) if you are looking for a great server option, and although the Core 3000 is the closest in design and price, the Arc Midi is slightly larger (8 HDD bays as opposed to 6, more fans, etc.) and has a USB 3.0 port that the Core 3000 lacks.


SPECIFICATIONS
Sep 26 2011

Review - Fractal Design Core 3000

So far, we have reviewed three chassis from Fractal Design, the Define R3 ATX, the Define Mini Micro-ATX and the Array R2 Mini-ITX, and have been impressed by their build quality and aesthetics. Today we are reviewing a chassis in their Core line which aims to provide a unique combination of design, features, cooling performance and value. The Fractal Design Core 3000 mid-tower desktop case builds off of the entry level Core 1000 by adding improved cable management, more cooling options and removable hard drive bays to allow for longer graphics cards of up to 420mm in length.

Sep 13 2011

Review - Wesena E5 Ultra Low Profile HTPC Chassis

Wesena Logo

When selecting the perfect chassis for your home theater PC (HTPC) it can be difficult to strike the right balance between looks and capability.  With multiple tuners increasingly becoming available in smaller and varied packages at more competitive prices, the form factor revolution in the client HTPC space made possible by no-compromise integrated processor graphics (IPG) systems is now a tangible reality for the primary HTPC as well.  Wesena has aggressively pushed into this space with chassis like the Micro-ATX/Mini-ITX compatible all-aluminum E5, which with its CE visage offers a near perfect look for the A/V stack.  There is some compromise because of the ultra-low-profile form factor but with two hard drive mounts, space for a slim optical drive and enough expansion to provide a viable enclosure for your main HTPC, it warrants a detailed look.

Sep 08 2011

Review - Fractal Design Define Mini Micro-ATX Chassis

DM

Not too long ago, we took a look at Fractal Design’s Define R3 ATX chassis and came away impressed. Today, we’re going to examine the R3’s younger sibling, the Define Mini Micro-ATX tower chassis. The Define Mini holds a lot of promise with six 2.5”/3.5” internal and two 5.25” external bays, six fan slots, support for expansion cards up to 400mm in length, USB 3.0 port, dampened side panels and cable management features all intriguingly hidden behind a black, brushed steel door.

Aug 29 2011

Review - SilverStone TJ08-E Micro-ATX Chassis

TJ08-E

We learned from our recent chassis poll that a number of you are using tower or desktop style enclosures for your home theater PCs (HTPC); thus, we felt that we should expand our chassis reviews to include more products in these form factors. Today, we take a look at the SilverStone TJ08-E Micro-ATX tower chassis.

The TJ08 Evolution is an update of the original TJ08 chassis from SilverStone’s Temjin series. With the ability to house 13.25" long expansion cards and a 165mm high CPU cooler along with four 3.5" and one 2.5" internal bays, two 5.25" and one 3.5" external bays, two USB 3.0 ports, a positive pressure cooling design with a 180mm fan, the fully-painted aluminum/steel chassis can accommodate most systems. It is perhaps fairly routine sounding until examining the dimensions. At 15.16" x 8.27" x 14.72", the TJ08-E has a lot to offer for such a compact size.

Jan 04 2010

Review - Intel's DH55TC and Core i5-661 - Clarkdale

 

intel core i5

Intel DH55TC & Core i5-661 (Clarkdale) Review

The family of processors code-named "Clarkdale" has sparked a great deal of interest since its existence and some basic performance information spread out across the web in late September.  Teasing home theater PC (HTPC) enthusiasts with incredibly low power usage and built in HD codec bit streaming all packaged together with enough performance to tempt those in need of a full featured HTPC. 

Given Intel’s somewhat troubled history with integrated graphics there has been a lot of skepticism on how well (and if) Intel can deliver a serious contender for space in your A/V stack.

 

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