As the Home Theatre Personal Computer (HTPC) bug spreads mercilessly across the home user base, manufacturers are tweaking and expanding their product ranges to fit the varied requirements of the customers looking to buy.
Some will be happy with a simple two drive setup, with no LCD or front connectivity. Others will want plenty of space to accommodate the RAID setups they dream of, forward connectivity to die for and design that Andrea Pininfarina would be proud of on the latest Ferrari. In an attempt to satisfy the latter, Zalman have added the HD135 to their range, and if the HD160 we took a look at a while ago is anything to go by we may be in for a treat.
Over the next few pages we will put the HD135 under our virtual microscope and see if is worthy of your hard earned cash, so bear with us as we give you the low-down.
There are two aluminium finishes available, brushed silver and brushed black. We will be talking a look at the former, which on initial scrutiny looks like it would fit into any modern look home cinema setup, as the appearance of the outer surface is excellent.
As you can see, this is definitely a retail product, with a box designed not only to withstand the rigours of transport but also to sit comfortably on the shelf of any high street retailer. The basic design gives it a look similar to many other HTPC cases.
The DIGN Lab badge on the side confirms that this is designed and possibly manufactured for Zalman by DIGN (who recently rebranded to ORIGENæ), a Korean HTPC case manufacturer with a 6 year pedigree in the industry. Up until recently Zalman hadn't touched the HTPC market, so using DIGN's experience the firm will have possibly eliminated most teething problems. In the last review we carried out the accessory box that included the instructions on how to open the enclosure were inside the case, usefully this time they were outside in the main packaging, so there's one lesson learnt already.
Inside the box there is a pack of screws to fit your system into the HD135, instructions and CD for the M-Play VFD software (more about this later), the system remote control with batteries, a cable tidy and a replacement fascia for the optical media drive. The remote control is solidly build but isn't backlit or glow in the dark as the clear look buttons suggest, which is a shame.