Friday, April 27, 2012

E-I7 build

Last week, the E-I5 and E-I7 arrived. For the E-I7 build I had to wait on some new parts including a new motherboard (ASRock H67M-ITX), new CPU (G530) and a slot-load DVD burner. I hijacked some RAM from my office PC just for testing and to see how regular profile RAM would fare in the E-I7. I had the Titan low-profile CPU cooler (30mm) from a previous build so I cleaned that up to see how this inexpensive cooler would fare in the E-I7.

My first impressions of the E-I7 are that it's a beautiful case. I love the brushed aluminum in either the silver or the black. I am usually not a fan of silver but it's sharp. Black though is my favorite. There is plenty of room inside to work with, spots for four 80mm fans and a low-profile expansion card. The slot cover is unfortunately the break-away kind but low-profile slot covers are easy to find and cheap if someone were to change their mind. There are vents everywhere to keep any mini build cool. The E-I7 comes with an interesting feature: an external SATA cable and molex power connector. I chose to remove these since I was not using this function.

Building with this case, like the E-I5, is very simple. The top comes off with four screws. The front panel wiring is all labeled. The only thing difficult here was that the ASRock H67M-ITX motherboard has the front panel headers at the back of the board so it was a bit of a stretch. Why front panel connectors on the back of the board? Beyond me. The position of the 24-pin ATX power connector was good. The USB and audio/microphone ports are on the side of the case which is nice because you still get front connection but with the minimalist/clean look on the front. Screw the motherboard in and hooking everything up takes less than five minutes. Mounting the slim ODD was easy -- just a matter of sliding it into the cradle and moving it forward enough that it lines up with the front. The E-I7 comes with the tiny screws needed to mount the ODD. I chose to mount the SSD vertically using a single screw even though there was room under the ODD tray for a 2.5" SSD/HDD. I just figured there'd be better airflow this way. A 2.5" HDD could go under the tray while the SSD is mounted vertically so with the ODD in place there is room for 2 x 2.5" HDD/SDD. Without the ODD in place, the cradle can be removed and it looks like (I did not try this) there'd be room for 2 x 3.5" HDDs with a lot of clearance above the cooler. A stock cooler might even fit in here. There really is a ton of room.

Overall, I found this case very easy to work with. There isn't a lot to mini builds like these -- they go very fast. There's a ton of room, relatively speaking, in this case and lots of venting and places to mount drives and fans. The look is minimalist and sleek. The materials are very high quality. This is a great little HTPC or desktop case.

Here are the customary pictures of the build:

Friday, April 20, 2012

E-I5 build

I did a build with the new E-I5 case to check sizes, etc. This is a really nice looking small case. If you're at all familiar with the Habey EMC-800/600 cases this is from the same manufacturer with the same quality. Building with the case is pretty easy. It starts with taking four screws off the top. To make things easier to get the motherboard in, I also took out the power board which was two screws for the board and a nut at the back of the case for the power jack. There are no sharp edges anywhere and fit is perfect. The front panel cables are long enough to reach anywhere on the motherboard and then there is plenty of room on the sides to tuck cables away. The HDD bay comes off with four screws and holds any combination of 2 x 2.5" SSD/HDD or 3.5" HDD. With a 28mm CPU cooler, the 3.5" HDD was tight against the cooler but possible if needed. The best fit was with 2 x 2.5" devices, in my case a SSD and 250GB HDD. Everything looks roomy and well ventilated. I will do some thermal and power testing later.  Meanwhile, here are some pictures of the build.

Component list:
ASUS P8H61-I motherboard
Intel G620 CPU
Kingston 4GB DDR3 low profile RAM
Gelid Slim Silence i-Plus CPU cooler
Kingston 64GB V100 SSD
Samsung 250GB 2.5" HDD

The E-I5 comes with a 120W DC power board and 60W AC adapter, all the screws needed to mount everything and some small clear silicone case feet.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The E-I7 and E-I5 have arrived

Another shipment has arrived, this time from Realan, the manufacturer that makes the Habey EMC-800 and EMC-600. The cases, while also mini-ITX, are a bit larger that the Habey cases and most importantly, they have more ventilation, including on the top. Inside, they share the same power supply as the Habey cases and the same ODD/HDD mounting system. First impressions are that these are beautiful cases. They are available now on our site:


I will be doing evaluations builds of these cases over the next week and I will be posting pictures and observations here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

HT80 remote control

I received some new HT80s last week, this time with the IR receiver installed. When configured with the IR receiver they come with a remote control that works with Windows Media Center and that also has mouse controls. The remote has the ability to power on the PC because the power switch cable is routed through the IR receiver which has power at all times. During standby this feature consumes 0.1W.

Here is a picture of the remote controller.
The configuration with the remote controller is available at

Sunday, April 15, 2012

HT100 with 3.5" HDD

One of the challenges with small form-factor cases is space for hard drives. One of my hopes for the HT100 was that it could fit a 3.5" HDD and in my initial testing of the HT100 it appeared it could not. Mounting the 3.5" HDD as it was supposed to be under the ODD tray completely blocked the Gelid Slim Silence i-Plus HSF on the Sandy Bridge CPU I was testing with. For some reason today it dawned on me: what about turning it 90 degrees? Well, it turns out this works even though it's secured with only one screw. The one screw is sufficient and it's very secure. This means the HT100 can support a 3.5" HDD as long as the CPU HSF is 28mm or less. That is a game changer.

All this is in this little case now: G620 CPU, H61 mini-ITX motherboard, Gelid Slim Silence i-Plus HSF, Kingston 4GB RAM (low-profile), 64GB Kingston SSD, 750GB Western Digital HDD, Powercolor HD5450 GPU. I'll get it hooked back up to a monitor and keyboard and to some stress/thermal testing tomorrow.

Here are pictures of the HDD installed under the ODD tray turned 90 degrees.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The HT100 has arrived

Here are some quick pictures I took of the HT100. It just came in yesterday. It comes with a 120W DC / 84W AC power supply, has a window for an LCD/VFD, a half-height expansion slot and is made from brushed aluminum. It is nearly identical to the Origenae m10 but much less expensive.

There's room for two 60mm fans, a side mount for a 2.5" HDD/SDD and under the ODD tray there's a mount for a 3.5" or 2.5" HDD/SDD. If using a board with the HSF, there does not appear to be room for a 3.5" HDD but a 2.5" HDD or SDD will fit with a low-profile HSF. In the LCD/VFD window, there's room for an LCD/VFD module and a small round window for an IR receiver. There a screw holes to mount an LCD/VFD module but it's not clear what off-the-shelf module would fit. I am going to try the nMediaPC OEM LCD which is readily available.

First impressions are that it's a beautiful case. I can see why everyone raves about the m10. There's enough room in here to build a substantial HTPC while at the same time the footprint of the case is very small. It always surprises me how small these cases are when you see them in person.

Here are some pictures with a ASUS P8H61-I, G620 and 64GB SSD installed. The HT100 has a purpose-built side mount for a 2.5" HDD or SSD giving an extra space for a drive without creative use of velcro.

With the half-height slot available, a video card like this PowerColor HD5450 fits perfectly into the HT100.




Monday, April 2, 2012

I am excited to announce our new site has launched:

Right now we have the HT80 for sale on the product page. There's also a "coming soon" page with a preview of the other cases we'll be offering in the next few weeks. Eventually too we'll have the mounting plates for sale through

Please come visit our new website!