Zalman HD160 HTPC Enclosure. Is it time to embrace the Home Theatre PC revolution?
A few years ago having a PC sat next to your TV recording programs, playing back movies or music was both uncommon and difficult to achieve. There never really was a specific software application for the job, so getting all your hardware to work properly together often was a nightmare. Microsoft helped Media PCs become mainstream with Windows Media Center Edition 2005, but with most computer cases looking completely out of place in your home entertainment system, companies started to design ones that would look as slick as the Home Cinema equipment they will reside next to.
We have looked at a few HTPC cases recently, the Silverstone LC16M and the Ahanix D.Vine D5 were other early examples and both had their strengths and weaknesses. A system designed to fit under your television, or incorporated in your Home Cinema, has the prerequisite for silent operation. There would be nothing worse than the whirring of a fan while you are trying to listen to the subtleties of Mozart or a rattling side panel during the few seconds of silence before Russell Crowe leads the Roman army into battle against the Germanics. Detracting from the Multimedia experience is probably the last thing you will want when you have invested a small fortune in your equipment, so when Zalman, the Korean kings of silence, offered us the Zalman HD160 HTPC Enclosure to look at we had great expectations.
At £220 from QuietPC it has a lot to live up to, and over the next few pages we will try to tell you if this really could be the solution to all your noise generated problems. We will deck it out with the Zalman recommended cooling accessories as per the included manual, some top end hardware and pair it with good quality Home Cinema equipment, play a few movies, listen to some music and maybe make some popcorn or nachos with crazy cheese.
So charge your coffee cup, set your Messenger to Busy and join us as we take a closer look at the Zalman HD160 HTPC Enclosure...