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nMedia HTPC 288-BA Enclosure with L.I.S. VFE Digital Display (Page 3)

By Mike Wright | Mar 16, 2007 11:00 pm CDT
Rating: 85%Manufacturer: nMedia


Moving to the interior gives us an idea as to the layout of the system we will be installing in just a bit. From this angle you will note that the smaller form factor required for the motherboard. The three strips allow for the installation of the mATX mainboard and already has the brass standoffs in place. Fair warning, the working area is going to be a bit cramped, but you will be able to get everything installed with few issues.

Starting off with the hard drive tray, we have space for a total of three drives. This can be a huge advantage for recording all those TV shows and such. With retail drives hitting 500GB and more you can easily have 1.5TB of disk space at your immediate disposal. The green tabs you see at the bottom are plastic grommets that help keep the drives stationary since you can only insert retention screws on the top side of the tower. Even so, I had no problems with vibration or drive integrity when securing them with only two screws on top.

A quick look through the drive tower shows a slim-line fan that provides a constant flow of air over the hard drives installed in the system. The thin design doesn't put out as much air as other fans available, but it does manage to keep the noise level down to a near silent level. To allow for airflow, there is a venting directly under the fan. Because of this, I recommend keeping this enclosure on a smooth, flat surface and not on a carpeted surface.

Moving to the right brings us to the optical drive bay. While there is only space for a single drive, this isn't much an issue with an HTPC system. Toss in a nice DVD burner and you'll be set to handle all your playing and recording needs.

Directly below it is the L.I.S. VFE digital display. This device hooks into one of your motherboard's USB pinout ports and communicates directly with the operating system. It has many functions to include CD burning progress, DVD movie information, system information and even customized displays once the driver pack has been installed. One word of warning, however... the drivers are not currently optimized for Windows Vista. nMedia personnel have told me that they are already working on a Vista driver, but you will have limited functionality if you have already migrated to the Windows Vista OS.

Since we are working with a smaller form factor enclosure here, I was not surprised to see smaller fans loaded into the back end of the case. To help keep the airflow moving properly you have a pair of 60mm x 25mm fans that exhaust out next to the power supply. With all the venting built into the top and side panels, there will not be a lack of air available to blow out the back.

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