bit-tech.net

Mini-ITX Hi-Fi case anyone?

Posted on 31st May 2010 at 02:49 by Richard Swinburne with 18 comments

While we've had our concerns about the Mini-ITX bandwagon, it's still a trend that we're broadly in favour of. After all, small, potent PCs can be great.

One of the nicest - and smallest mini-ITX cases we've seen comes from Taiwanese company Lutec's retail brand, SEED.

SEED is a shoehorned acronym of "Saving Energy Efficiency Directly" - the brand promotes mini-ITX and low power chassis, as well as a few 80Plus ATX PSUs and some laptop accessories too.

Mini-ITX Hi-Fi case anyone? Checking out SEED's latest mini-ITX chassis
Click to enlarge

Our interest was perked with the MU-380: a gently rounded and elegant aluminium mini-ITX case. It measures a very tiny 315 x 215 x 63mm, which also limits its compatibility to Atom-esq products under 6cm tall.

Mini-ITX Hi-Fi case anyone? Checking out SEED's latest mini-ITX chassis
Click to enlarge

There's an SD card reader and USB port on the side, and it'll handle a slimline optical drive and 2.5in hard drive too.

It can sit on some HTPC style feet, or comes with a pair stands so it can be sat on its side and is available in both black and silver, but the silver is the one you want.

Mini-ITX Hi-Fi case anyone? Checking out SEED's latest mini-ITX chassis
Click to enlarge

If you want something more 80s tape-deck (and who wouldn't?!) then the smaller MA-280 is it. The "B" model has space for three 2.5in hard drives, or two and one optical, and the "S" model has space for an inverted PCI/PCI-E card as well. Again, due to the small capacity, there's a limitation of what motherboards can be used, but SEED does at least throw in a 100W DC-DC PSU.

Mini-ITX Hi-Fi case anyone? Checking out SEED's latest mini-ITX chassis
Click to enlarge

We've saved the best 'til last though; SEED's awesome concept case is the TWINSYS, a stackable, modular mini-ITX case set that looks like a combination of its MU-380 and a modern Hi-Fi rack.

The main case is 4.8L and is tall enough to house a full height PCI card and it has space for two hard drives, or one drive and one optical. It also includes a 90W DC-DC PSU, but the modular options include a 250-350W PSU option as well. There's a "Blu-ray" case which is basically a box with a "Blu-ray" sticker and a 5.25in space to add your own, and finally a "NAS" case with space for two 3.5in hard drives.

Mini-ITX Hi-Fi case anyone? Checking out SEED's latest mini-ITX chassis
Click to enlarge

We love the concept - the idea of complete customisation which is so rare in small form factor cases - however the cabling worried us. It's not that it would be too long, it's that it'll be untidy. The connectivity is external only so you'll have to use USB, eSATA or an external ATX power cable. On being told about the case we envisioned discrete and clever cable routing between foot and roof, but it doesn't seem to be the case. Or cases.

We finished our visit to SEED think it was a brand with potential, but that needed to be bolder with its designs. Still, we'll be looking out for them at Computex to see what else they have on offer.

18 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Naberius 31st May 2010, 04:01 Quote
Its always good to see new companies entering into the market. The current line-up is a bit limited for what I need, but maybe future cases will offer the extra space I need for hdd's.
Taffy 31st May 2010, 09:51 Quote
I need to build a video capture & record unit, these cases look interesting, all I need in it is a mobo with integrated graphics, minimum memory and a large HDD, the optical can be external
13eightyfour 31st May 2010, 10:14 Quote
What exactly do they have patent for? The idea of stackable cases? or is there some kind of proprietary connector system between the units?
eldiablo 31st May 2010, 10:21 Quote
Nice little bunch of cases, but how about cooling on the MU-380. I know you wont be putting much in these cases but the only holes i see are those miniscule holes towards the back.
PQuiff 31st May 2010, 11:44 Quote
Hell yes! MOAR!!!!!
jrs77 31st May 2010, 12:10 Quote
I stumbled over this case a year ago.... different manufacturer tho, but exactly the same...

http://www.nesteq.net/gb/products/cases/ms550/

Asians copying stuff again I guess... LOL
Grimloon 31st May 2010, 12:35 Quote
I definitely like the idea of the modular mini ITX case. Shame about the cabling situation but it should be possible to modify them slightly to make matters a touch more tidy.
Groovedude 31st May 2010, 14:03 Quote
pricing?
bradders2125 31st May 2010, 17:03 Quote
I was playing around with an idea like this in sketchup last year.
stonedsurd 31st May 2010, 17:04 Quote
Bollocks to the modular nonsense. I just like the way it looks.
Bindibadgi 31st May 2010, 18:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
I stumbled over this case a year ago.... different manufacturer tho, but exactly the same...

http://www.nesteq.net/gb/products/cases/ms550/

Asians copying stuff again I guess... LOL

I emailed them to clarify the position. That's more than just similar.
FelixTech 31st May 2010, 21:30 Quote
jrs77, case detective.

I suppose any sort of foot to roof cabling system would require messy circular blankers for the top unit. Unless they sold the lids separately...
jrs77 31st May 2010, 21:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Groovedude
pricing?

The one from NesteQ sets you back some 80-90 bucks. Link for Germany -> http://www.alternate.de/html/product/Gehaeuse_Desktop/NesteQ/MS550_mini.ITX.case_60_Watt/341828/?tn=HARDWARE&l1=Geh%C3%A4use&l2=Desktop+%26+HTPC, but they deliver to all over Europe.

Oh, and the NesteQ MS550 was mentioned here on BitTech in a comment on the Zotac H55-ITX review aswell I found out...

http://forums.bit-tech.net/showpost.php?p=2244970&postcount=62
VipersGratitude 31st May 2010, 21:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
I stumbled over this case a year ago.... different manufacturer tho, but exactly the same...

http://www.nesteq.net/gb/products/cases/ms550/

Asians copying stuff again I guess... LOL

Again, haven't m-Cubed/HFX been doing a stackable m-ITX range for about 2 years?
FelixTech 1st June 2010, 00:22 Quote
Having the top section rather than the base as the compulsory bit as in the HFX range would mean you know that everyone has one filled in top and the rest will have something on them, allowing for an interesting cabling solution. Not sure if they actually do any cabling through the feet though...
rickysio 1st June 2010, 11:03 Quote
BLC 1st June 2010, 17:48 Quote
Looks like a very nice case. I would imagine that you'd need some pretty good hardware in there for it to function well as an HTPC and that would imply some possible cooling issues... Looks very nice though.

As with all things, price would be the killer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
I emailed them to clarify the position. That's more than just similar.

Having seen that link, I concur!


PS, just a minor grammar point...
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article
One of the nicest - and smallest mini-ITX cases we've seen comes from Taiwanese company Lutec's retail brand, SEED

Should that not read:
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article
One of the nicest - and smallest - mini-ITX cases we've seen comes from Taiwanese company Lutec's retail brand, SEED
blackworx 28th September 2010, 09:16 Quote
The MA-280B was reviewed over at silentpcreview about a year ago and they didn't think it was much cop. These new ones look a bit more promising though.
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums
Corsair Gaming H1500 Review

Corsair Gaming H1500 Review

23rd October 2014

CM Storm Resonar Review

CM Storm Resonar Review

22nd October 2014

Asus Z97i-Plus Review

Asus Z97i-Plus Review

20th October 2014