Mini-ITX

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.

Jul 09 2012

Review - Wesena ITX5

Wesena ITX5Boasting clean lines, the right look, and solid construction for Mini-ITX based systems the Wesena ITX5 all-aluminum enclosure offers capabilities very similar to the ITX7; by removing optical drive support in a slightly lower cost ($80) package. Building a name for quality takes time and attention to feedback, so it was fantastic to examine the generational differences between the two small form-factor (SFF) home theater PC (HTPC) chassis from Wesena. As a refinement on the previous iteration we hope to see the niggles around fit-and-finish addressed.

Jun 04 2012

Review - LIAN LI PC-Q05 Thin Mini-ITX Chassis

When Intel introduced the Thin Mini-ITX form factor with the DH61AG board, we were impressed with the performance and potential of the platform; however, the innovative form factor lacked any accompanying chassis to take advantage of the extra thin profile. Fortunately, that situation is changing with the introduction of LIAN LI’s PC-Q05 which supports the new Thin Mini-ITX form factor.

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 27 2012

Review - Lian Li PC-Q25 Chassis

The Fractal Design Array R2 chassis instantly recalled for us the decidedly niche, but incredibly functional, cube-style cases popular a few years ago. which were incredibly niche but very functional. The R2 was flexible, silent and sleek in a very limited amount of space. The Lian Li PC-Q25 chassis shares many of the same appealing traits, but goes for a taller design in a similar footprint. This allows it some interesting arrangements inside and allows for even more internal storage options. As a small form factor case there are always trade-offs to be made, and the omission of an optical drive space is just one of them. With some very attractive features in a small form factor cube-like chassis, the Lian Li PC-Q25 has a lot to offer a variety of consumers, which we will examine closer.

Lian Li PC-Q25

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.

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.

Aug 01 2011

Review - Wesena ITX2 Mini-ITX SFF Chassis

The quest for the perfect and smallest home theater PC (HTPC) is one that has gained momentum over the last few years. We have seen the proliferation of these small form factor (SFF) Mini-ITX cases first hand in our reviews of the Habey EMC-600B and another offering from Wesena, the ITX7 chassis. The Wesena ITX2 is essentially the little brother of the ITX7, sharing many similarities to it but in an even smaller enclosure. As with any device there are compromises made when making something small even smaller, but do the benefits along with the lower cost make the ITX2 the best option?

Wesena ITX2

SPECIFICATIONS

As we usually do when starting reviews let’s take a look at the specifications and requirements for the Wesena ITX2, since there are quite a few important aspects.

Jul 12 2011

Review - Intel DH61AG Media Series Mini-ITX Motherboard and Core i5-2390T

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Not that long ago it was a significant challenge to build a small and quiet home theater PC (HTPC).  Mini-ITX was an option, but case selection was limited and more importantly the form factor was held back by the lack of decent integrated video performance and the power/heat dissipation requirements of the processor (CPU) and graphics (GPU).  With both of those concerns addressed with Intel’s Sandy Bridge (SNB) architecture the next, natural evolution turned toward the mainboard.  Intel responded again with a thin PC standard and today we have a chance to look at the first full featured implementation – the Intel DH61AG Media Series motherboard.  In our first look several features were outlined besides the slim physique that make it especially interesting to the HTPC crowd; including a built in 19V DC power connector, mSATA support, eight channel analog line level audio and the brand new “HTPC” header which, with the right hardware can enable affordable HDMI CEC on the PC; today we couple it with a 2.7GHz 35 watt Core i5-2390T to find out if DH61AG makes good on the initial promise.

Jun 22 2011

Review - Habey EMC-600B SFF Chassis

The quest for the perfect home theater PC (HTPC) case is always a challenge even in today’s world where there is a healthy amount of chassis to choose from in all shapes and sizes. While some people prefer an HTPC chassis which stands out in their A/V stack there are plenty of people that want something quiet, subtle and most importantly--tiny. Fortunately for those fans there have been a number of small form factor (SFF) chassis which we have looked at recently which make the choice that much easier.

The Wesena ITX7, HDPlex H10.ODD and Vidabox vCase3 are all great cases with a direct focus on HTPC aesthetics and each has their pros and cons. The one con almost always present when discussing HTPC chassis is PRICE--SFF chassis with home theater A/V focused designs are frequently over the $100 price range, not including the power supply. What Habey is offering in their EMC-600B enclosure is a stylish aluminum SFF chassis for mini-ITX only that occupies a tiny footprint with a nice appearance to fit just as appropriately in your A/V stack as in your bedroom--and it includes a power supply, all for under $70.

Inside the Box

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