Friday, March 23, 2012

HT80 mini ITX HTPC build. Good things come in small packages!

Yesterday I received my carton of sample mini-ITX HTPC cases from China. These are the HT80 I mentioned in a previous post. The pictures I saw did not do them justice. They are very nice looking, all brushed black aluminum with nice feet on the bottom like you'd find on A/V equipment. Inside, there is a 120W DC power supply board that takes a 12V AC adapter with a 2.5mm barrel plug, a 40mm fan and a tray for a slot load ODD with a place to mount a 2.5" HDD or SSD underneath. There are vents on the top, sides and underneath.

Things are definitely tight inside as you would expect from a case this small. It is only 9.4"W x 8"D x 3.1"H. With the Silverstone NT07-1156 cooler on a H55 mini-itx motherboard, it's a perfect fit. With these components, there would be no way to mount a 2.5" HDD/SSD under the ODD tray. However, there is room on the side next to the power board for an SSD although nothing to mount it to. That's not a real issue for an SSD but it would not be ideal for a HDD.

Building with this case is very quick. Once it's flipped over there are four small screws to undo to take the one piece top/sides off. Inside, four screws need to be loosened to slide out the ODD tray. Nothing else needs to be removed to fit in the motherboard. The front has USB, audio, HDD LED, power LED and power switch connections to be made. The power supply has a 20+4 pin connection so it'll fit either a 20-pin or 24-pin board. It also has a P4 connector if the CPU needs its own power. There's one SATA, one molex and one Berg connector. Since this case can only hold one ODD and one SSD/HDD I'd rather see no Berg connector. Who has a floppy and where would you put it anyway? The SATA goes to the SSD/HDD and the molex can be used for a slim SATA data/power adapter for the ODD.

Despite the size, there really is room to move all the connector wires out of the way. Having a single 4GB stick of RAM helps with routing the 24-pin power connector or having low profile RAM. With higher profile RAM it's not clear the power cable would have a place to fit once the ODD tray was put back in place. With the top back on and everything running, temperatures aren't bad despite the majority of the HSF being covered by the ODD tray. With an ambient room temperature around 72F, idles temps hovered around 100F and temps under Prime95 got as high as 136F (58C). For such a small case that's not bad at all especially since the installed processor is a 73W TDP i3-540.

I am thoroughly impressed by this little case. It's ideal for a small media PC where all that is needed is an ODD (or even not as long as you don't mind an empty slot) and a SSD. To have an ODD and 2.5" HDD, you'd really need something even lower profile than the NT07-1156 or maybe a board with an HSF like an AMD Fusion or one of the new Cedar Trail Atom boards. I'll be trying the new Intel D2700DC board next so I will add another blog entry once I build that out and test the clearances.

1 comment:

  1. Great case, I found it in UK on website!