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nMEIDAPC HTPC 300: A fine HTPC case for under $100
George Ross, February 1, 2007

Are you trying to build a HTPC on a shoe string budget? Do you want a good looking case that isn't big ugly beige computer in your living room? Do you want a case that will take a full sized ATX motherboard and a standard power supply? Do you want a case that has room for standard size expansion cards without the hassle of riser cards? Would you like to spend less than a hundred dollars to get it? Then the nMEDIAPC HTPC 300 is worth taking a look at. However good this may sound this case is not without its faults in my opinion.

First off when I received the case I was very impressed with the packaging of the HTPC 300. The box contained the case with it completely surrounded in styrofoam. Inside the case were the sparse contents of a little manual, a few screws, rubber feet, sticker for the temp sensor, and ty-wraps (Thank God for the ty-wraps with all the standard size components that go in a case this small; space for air to move is at a premium). A rather sparse assortment of accessories, but it did come with the essentials.

This case is very light. Witch is a good thing however the case is not all that sturdy. The drive cage did do some warping when I installed the drives. The mechanisms on the drive cages all worked properly. There was enough room for two hard drives. This is very important to me because my current 250GB model is filling up fast. Overall the build quality is adequate.

I like how the power supply was positioned in the case. Moving the power cables away from the CPU and chipset lets more air move in that area. While I'm on the subject of cooling there is a fan for the hard drive. I haven't seen that done in even more expensive HTPC cases. When the temperature in the room is 65 degrees the temperature in the case is 85 degrees. Also the noise from the two 60mm and one 80mm fan is not all that bad.

This case is not designed for horizontal positioning. The LCD cannot be adjusted to accommodate laying flat. The front USB, firewire, and audio ports are on the side when you lay it down they are on the bottom rendering them useless. However I can cry about this all I want, but it doesn't change the fact the case was designed as a slim tower. I guess these are the trade offs for the low price.

My overall opinion of this case is a positive one. If you are in the market for a reasonably attractive case for the living room, and don't want to spend the high prices that manufacturers are charging for HTPC cases these days. Then the nMEDIAPC HTPC 300 is worth a look. Remember you get what you pay for there are some trade offs you will have to make for a lower price.

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