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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