After the days of 386 and 486 the standard computer chassis has been a beige mid tower. Few years ago manufacuters started to sell what we call "premod" cases including windows and different color options. Now the cases have come to where it started - desktop cases are back. This time they just look sleek and are 43,5 cm wide, so called HTPC cases. HTPC cases are meant to be used with other AV-devices in the living room to for example record digi-tv-shows and bring the internet to the sofa.
In the Computex 06 Zalman had two new HTPC cases at show, HD135 and a new HD160XT beefed up with a seven inch LCD screen. Now the totally new model, HD135, has arrived to our tests. According to the specifications the HD135 is pretty much like its bigger brother we tested the last time, full aluminum case which houses standard ATX hardware. Read on and see if this also earns itself our EC award!
|Dimensions||435 X 455 X 135 mm (W X L X H)|
|Motherboard Compability||ATX / microATX|
|PCI/AGP Card Support||Full Size|
5 X 3.5" Internal Drive Bays|
1 X 3.5" External Drive Bay
1 X 5.25" External Drive Bay
1 X 80 mm Exhaust Fan|
1 X 80 mm Inflow Fan and Air Duct
|Expansion Slots||7 Slots|
|Front I/O Ports||
2 X USB Ports|
1 X IEEE1394 Port
1 X Mic
1 X Headphone
|Available Colors||Black and Aluminum|
As seen in the specifications, the case is as low as it can be with full size PCI cards and power supply. The width is standard 43.5 cm but being over 45 cm in depth the case is even deeper than its big brother. Six 3.5" drive bays are good news for storaging geeks. Yet there is a 3.5" external bay, the case unfortunately has no card reader.
The front panel is very simple and sleek with a hatch hiding the connectors and an external 3.5" bay located in the bottom part of the front panel. There's no reset button or HDD led in this case, only a power button and led.
Bundle contains no surprises, pretty much what you could expect to come with a HTPC case. Driver/software-CD, two manuals, a bag of screws, remote and an aluminum front bezel for the optical drive. Zalman has also packed in a handy clip to help managing the cables. I was especially delighted by the fact that this time Zalman has packed in the M.Play software which, according to the manual, should be 100 % Windows XP compatible and so make using the VFD and remote much easier than with the HD160. We'll come back to that later in the article.
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