nMedia HTPC 7000B SFF Case Review
With the advent of highly capable set top boxes, the home theater PCís place within many peopleís homes has been replaced with a less expensive and easier to use alternative. There is still a small niche market that actually uses their PC for high definition content viewing over their HDTVs but for many, the very definition of an HTPC has evolved into something more.
Instead of being used for a narrow range of activities, small form factor PCs are now expected to provide a wide range of uses; from gaming to media encoding to more typical movie streaming and Blu Ray decoding. This change is evident in the current state of mATX motherboards: where there used to be generic designs, we now have highly overclockable, feature rich products. Naturally, this sudden interest in performance-oriented HTPC systems has sparked a drastic rethinking of small form factor case design.
The incorporation of better quality components into smaller enclosures has led nMedia to create the HTPC 7000B. As with most sub-ATX cases, it looks like it would be right at home sitting next to your amp or HDTV but in a move that bucks several trends from years past, it also focuses upon cooling those hot-running, high end GPUs and CPUs. Thatís a tall order, especially when this mission critical task has to be done in near silence.
One of the most interesting aspects of the 7000B is its price. At just $80, some might think that nMedia skimped on the quality in some places but for the most part this case passes muster and actually includes a few additional features like expanded video card compatibility and space for some additional storage devices. The 7000B it isnít perfect since there are still some areas that need improvement but for under $100, youíd be hard pressed to find a similar product.
Alongside the 7000B we also take a look at the HTPCKB-100 which - as its name suggests - is a mini-me keyboard / remote combo thatís designed to be as compact as possible for HTPC use. Unfortunately, it misses the mark on a number of points.
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