nMediaPC 1080P HTPC Case Review

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The nMediaPC 1080P is yet another black HTPC case with some subtle design queues to match just about any home theater. It is minimal and understated, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call is boring. It is large enough to fit mATX boards and a regular ATX power supply, but thin enough to hide nicely with other home theater equipment.

Matches most home audio equipment

Matches most home audio equipment

Opening the Package

The case arrives in a rather plain brown box with only a few words written on the outside to let you know the contents. Other than the case itself, there isn’t much more included in the box.  There are a couple of zip ties, some screws, and a faceplate in case you want to put an LCD screen in the 3.5″ floppy drive location. Oh, and there is a piece of paper that I suppose could be considered a manual. Who needs directions anyway, right?  Not this guy.  Everyone can rest easily, though, knowing that the case is nestled safely in Styrofoam so there is very little chance of damage during transport.

The back side

The back side

Exterior Impressions

The first thing I always look for in a case is ventilation holes. I absolutely love to see them everywhere as well as a plethora of fans.  Luckily, the 1080P has plenty of ventilation holes on the top and bottom and pre-drilled locations for four 80 mm fans.  I was also surprised to see that the two included fans are not the tiny 40 mm jet engine fans that come with most HTPCs. I don’t want the sound coming from my speakers to have to compete with anything else, so I like my HTPCs to be as quiet as possible.

Plastic front bezel

Plastic front bezel

Card reader, headphone plug, and Optical drives behind the door

Card reader, headphone plug, and Optical drives behind the door

The front is made of shiny black plastic and the rest of the case is steel.  The only side that isn’t covered with black paint is the rear of the case, which doesn’t matter too much for obvious reasons.  These surfaces also show fingerprints pretty readily, especially the plastic front panel.  The bottom is complete with four large padded feet to protect your nice furniture. Overall, the case is very pleasing to the eye and I appreciate the subtly of its design so it doesn’t compete with my television for attention.

Spacious Interior

Spacious Interior

Interior Look

With the top and drive cage removed, it is very easy to see all the ventilation this case has. There is space for two fans on the left and two on the right sides of the case.  Only two fans are included so you will have to buy two more if you want to utilize all of the locations. Where the PSU will sit is a large ventilated area on the base of the case which includes a screen to help filter dust. At the front of the case, there is another large area of ventilation holes to allow cool air in near the hard drives.

The rear will most likely be entirely used up with parts installed

The rear will most likely be entirely used up with parts installed

Vents on the side of the drive holder

Vents on the side of the drive holder

The drive holder

The drive holder

One drive installed with rubber grommets to isolate vibration

One drive installed with rubber grommets to isolate vibration

Installing Parts

Getting everything into the case was a breeze.  The removable drive rack frees up a lot of space for your hands to move around.  Once everything is in, though, almost all of the free space is used up. You can see that things are very tight even with a mini-ITX motherboard. If you use a micro-ATX board with a TV tuner and graphics card then you might run into some trouble, but it should all fit. The only trouble I had was with my heatsink.  I used the Cooler Master Vortex Plus heatsink which would only fit without the fan on top. It may have been possible to fit a thinner fan and still be able to close the lid but I did not have one on hand to try.  Eventually, I was able to underclock my Phenom II 560 BE to allow me to run fanless, which was great because I like to eliminate as many fans as possible in my builds.

PSUs with a lot of cables can eat up empty space quickly

PSUs with a lot of cables can eat up empty space quickly

Space is tight even with a mini-ITX board installed

Space is tight even with a mini-ITX board installed

Luckily, it all fits

Luckily, it all fits

Conclusion

The nMediaPC 1080P case was a pleasure to work with. It looks nice and is very sturdy. I didn’t have any odd problems fitting parts into the case, and I didn’t get any cuts or scrapes while doing so.  I’m extremely pleased with this case in every way. Accepting regular ATX sized PSUs and mATX motherboards makes this a very versatile HTPC case and the abundance of ventilation slots means you can keep the parts inside quiet and cool.  Perhaps best of all, at $65, it is relatively inexpensive as far as HTPC cases go. All things considered, I’m very happy to mark this case “Overclockers Approved.”

– splat

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Discussion
  1. jivetrky
    I don't have any pics. I switched remotes and decided to just stick the new receiver on the top of the case. It's inside a cabinet so it's never seen anyway. But I've made up some pictures, from various ones I found around the net, to hopefully show you how to do it (it's fairly easy, not much modding involved):

    First you have to remove the front of the case. The 6000b has a window where you can add an LCD display to the front of the case. On either side of this window are screw holes (Marked in red on either side of the window) where you can mount the IR receiver. There is a black film which covers the window if you aren't using it. I just removed enough of it to allow the IR receiver to get light through it. If you do too much, you can see into the case; a paper hole punch does a perfect job. *See EDIT at the bottom for a picture

    You have to remove the shell from the IR receiver, should be as simple as removing a couple of screws from the bottom. You will end up with something similar to this:

    Arrow #1 points to the hole which you will put the screw through, then into the screw hole from the previous picture, and secure it to the case.

    Arrow #2 points to the receiver eye. You have to very gently bend this so that it becomes parallel to the PCB, basically you bend it down.

    Now you mount it in the case so that the little bubble of the reciever eye is pointing toward the little window of the case.

    Before you affix it, you want to dry fit it so that you know where to make a hole in the black film.

    Now you can either just slip the cord somewhere through the back of the case, then plug it in one of the back USB I/O ports of the motherboard. Or you can use one of these and just plug it internally (a little cleaner):

    I hope you can gather what I'm saying through these pics, I never took pics of what I made so I just had to find some random pics on the internet. Hope this helps! :)

    EDIT: This is a paper hole punch, it makes a nice sized hole in the black film and keeps it looking decent. If you have one, it's a great option:



    Thank you much, I really appreciate it.... I should be able to handle it from here.
    mgftp
    I know this is an old post but I have been searching everywhere to find someone with an nmedia case who built in IR. The thought of a USB dongle hanging around really bothers me.

    Do you have any other info or pics of the mod?


    I don't have any pics. I switched remotes and decided to just stick the new receiver on the top of the case. It's inside a cabinet so it's never seen anyway. But I've made up some pictures, from various ones I found around the net, to hopefully show you how to do it (it's fairly easy, not much modding involved):

    First you have to remove the front of the case. The 6000b has a window where you can add an LCD display to the front of the case. On either side of this window are screw holes (Marked in red on either side of the window) where you can mount the IR receiver. There is a black film which covers the window if you aren't using it. I just removed enough of it to allow the IR receiver to get light through it. If you do too much, you can see into the case; a paper hole punch does a perfect job. *See EDIT at the bottom for a picture

    You have to remove the shell from the IR receiver, should be as simple as removing a couple of screws from the bottom. You will end up with something similar to this:

    Arrow #1 points to the hole which you will put the screw through, then into the screw hole from the previous picture, and secure it to the case.

    Arrow #2 points to the receiver eye. You have to very gently bend this so that it becomes parallel to the PCB, basically you bend it down.

    Now you mount it in the case so that the little bubble of the reciever eye is pointing toward the little window of the case.

    Before you affix it, you want to dry fit it so that you know where to make a hole in the black film.

    Now you can either just slip the cord somewhere through the back of the case, then plug it in one of the back USB I/O ports of the motherboard. Or you can use one of these and just plug it internally (a little cleaner):

    I hope you can gather what I'm saying through these pics, I never took pics of what I made so I just had to find some random pics on the internet. Hope this helps! :)

    EDIT: This is a paper hole punch, it makes a nice sized hole in the black film and keeps it looking decent. If you have one, it's a great option:
    jivetrky
    And nd4 said, for Harmony remotes, etc. It is SO much better to browse your movie collection without having to pickup another remote or a keyboard. My wireless keyboard just sits on the endtable unless I feel like browsing the internet from the couch or something. In most cases, the Harmony is all I use.

    But as far as it being built in, I think it's better to keep the costs down and not include stuff that some people might not want or need.

    As I said before, I have a larger nMediaPC case (The 6000b). Both that and this one have a little window where you can install their little LCD screen. I personally think that screen would be pointless, I can't really imagine any info on there that I could really find necessary. But I took my IR receiver, removed it's casing and put the receiving eye behind a small hole in that little window. It comes blacked out and you would peel that black out plastic off if you were going to install the LCD module. So I just put a small hole in it, and mounted the reciever to the surrounding screwmounts. I then modified an internal USB header cable with an external USB port so that I didn't have to run the wire out the back of the case.


    I know this is an old post but I have been searching everywhere to find someone with an nmedia case who built in IR. The thought of a USB dongle hanging around really bothers me.

    Do you have any other info or pics of the mod?
    ratbuddy
    IR? What could you possibly need that for? An old VCR remote?


    And nd4 said, for Harmony remotes, etc. It is SO much better to browse your movie collection without having to pickup another remote or a keyboard. My wireless keyboard just sits on the endtable unless I feel like browsing the internet from the couch or something. In most cases, the Harmony is all I use.

    But as far as it being built in, I think it's better to keep the costs down and not include stuff that some people might not want or need.

    As I said before, I have a larger nMediaPC case (The 6000b). Both that and this one have a little window where you can install their little LCD screen. I personally think that screen would be pointless, I can't really imagine any info on there that I could really find necessary. But I took my IR receiver, removed it's casing and put the receiving eye behind a small hole in that little window. It comes blacked out and you would peel that black out plastic off if you were going to install the LCD module. So I just put a small hole in it, and mounted the reciever to the surrounding screwmounts. I then modified an internal USB header cable with an external USB port so that I didn't have to run the wire out the back of the case.
    ratbuddy
    IR? What could you possibly need that for? An old VCR remote?


    logitech harmony etc etc.

    either way i have a buddy who has a very similar nMedia case... build quality is, meh... its alright but not the best... for just a lil more you can grab a silverstone gd05b and have a TOP notch htpc case... altho it is matx... but you shouldnt need more than that in a htpc.

    btw... personally i hate IR... LOS sucks.... i like beign in the other room and being able to change music with my ati wonder remote (RF)
    I dont understand the lack of IR receivers in so many HTPC cases.

    Its makes them fairly useless as far as i am concerned.

    I do not like to have to resort to using an external receiver, its looks awful.

    IMHO its not a HTPC case if the IR receiver is not built in.

    Its just yet another "desktop" style case
    Hmmm, this looks like a nice little, inexpensive HTPC case. I currently have a larger, full ATX nMediaPC case (The 6000b) and I think it's a pretty decent case, especially for the price.

    I have been thinking about changing around my main HTPC to a mATX or ITX setup, I think this could be a good choice for cases.

    It's just what a case needs to be, a box to hold the important stuff but still look decent on the outside. :)

    But I will say that their naming for the case is quite gimmicky. :) "Hey my HTPC case even has 1080p!"