Building a High End HTPC featuring the Thermaltake Mozart Enclosure

Admin - 2007-09-19 15:37:42 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: November 30, 2007
Thermaltake
Thermaltake
Price: $219.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I admit it, I’m guilty, but just as guilty as the next enthusiast for using parts that I have laying around the house to built an HTPC. Lets face it, it’s not a gaming rig or a main workstation, it’s just an HTPC. Or is it? What does HTPC stand for? No, not Honey the Pies Cooking.  It’s Home Theater Personal Computer.  Ok, how many of you have a Home Theater? Putting together a Home Theater can get rather expensive by the time you purchase that thousand dollar speaker system, receiver, DVD player, and CD changer, and wiring it can cost upwards of five thousand dollars. The worst part of it all is in order to play games you’ll have to add another component, whether it’s an X-Box, PS3 or Wii, it’s an added expense.

Most enthusiasts game, so we have PC games, we also love music, so our hard drives are probably full of MP3s.   Oops, I forgot movies, we probably have tons of those, also. So, my question is, "why should we spend so much money on separate components?  Music CDs, DVD movies and games for that five hundred dollar console that has a hard drive in it anyway?"  With all those components you will need room and lots of it, stack them here wire that there, cut holes in your walls to hide the octopus you’ve developed behind that three thousand dollar entertainment center (furniture) that will have to be dusted three times a week.

About three or four months ago myself and a couple other staff members were talking, and the what if instead of building a Plain Jane HTPC system, someone built a high end one to rival a conventional Home Theater? Well, I felt up to the challenge and have devised the plan:  Super HTPC! The components that I will be using are, in my own opinion, what should be used.  Some things I might already have, and some I might have to purchase.  So, the first thing that will be needed is a case. I just can’t leave all those exposed electronics lying on the floor, can I?

For about a month I surfed the net looked at different HTPC cases for looks, quality, expandability and functionality.  What I finally decided on is the Thermaltake Mozart TX. Why? It’s different.  It doesn’t look like a computer case what so ever, it’s square, tall and appears to be able to keep my components cool. I had four choices to choose from.  First, black, with or without windows. I chose against that because it was constructed of steel, and a case that size would probably become very heavy when I installed everything. So it was silver that I chose, because it is mostly constructed of aluminum, and I tend to lean towards silver anyway. Which one, the one with or without the windows?

One day I received a PM from a member and found out that that member lives about ten miles north of me.  This happens to be a member that has done a lot of modding and even has one of his cases showcased in Maximum PC. That member would be Fueler, so I began thinking and decided to get the case without the windows, so if the possibility arises, just maybe Fueler could help me mod the doors on my case.

I’m not quite sure how long it will take to write this series of articles, or how long it might take to totally tweak the system until I’m totally happy with it. I will say that it is going to be an adventure and I hope that everyone will stay for the ride.

Rica Raka, Fire Cracker, Sis Boom Bah, Godzilla, Godzilla, Rah Rah Rah. That’s all that I could think of while looking at and opening the box that my new HTPC case came in. Now, I could store all my Godzilla movies in one place on my hard drive, and anytime, and any day I feel like watching, I won’t even have to leave my couch to get the DVD out and place it in the DVD player.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I was pulling the case out of the box I guess my dog passed some gas, so I thought maybe there was a dead rat in there or something. Bad Baccino! See he even looks guilty. LOL

 

When I was finally able to get back into the room and pull the case out of the box, I was shocked to feel how light it was. This should keep me out of trouble when it comes time for my girlfriend to dust and move it. Ok, what's wrong with the house?  I can't seem to get this case to stand up straight; Florida sinkholes, sheesh!

 

 

 

Look, it even comes with wings for that extra protection!

 

The Mozart TX case can house two motherboards, a full ATX and a Mini ITX. Sold as optional components, you can add a 7” LCD monitor, and a mini ITX PSU to power the unit. The case does have a 7” drive bay to accommodate. Under the stabilization bar is where the standoffs for the mini ITX board are pre installed. Above the bar is where you systems PSU will mount.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The case comes standard with five 120mm fans and if you want you can add seven more.

 

 

 

The case also comes standard with a lot of wires. I just hope I could hide them all. Modded window and exposed wires just don't work.

 

 

Now let’s take a look at the side that will hold the system motherboard. There is a lot of space to play with, you can also see that there are holes in the motherboard tray so you can bring the wires from the PSU around and even route the component wires so their hidden.

 

After spending all this type of dough on an HTPC you should be concerned about being able to expand. Are you going to run SLI or CrossFire? How many hard drives are you going to utilize, a DVD/CD-ROM or three? Hey, that optional LCD looked good too. There are five 5.25" drive bays, one floppy bay, seven rear expansion slots, and room for six hard drives. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARGH, I'm naked, cover me back up!

 

The front bezel comes off very easily.  There are three metal clips on each side which release it, and no screws to worry about taking out.

 

 

The back of the front bezel has even more wires. The Mozart TX has four external USB ports, one Firewire, microphone inputs, eSATA with a power connector, and a funky looking glass window. Hmm?

 

Specifications:

Model
VE1000SNA
Case Type

Cube Tower

Dimension (H*W*D)
330 x 360 x 720mm (W x D x H)
Window Side Panel
N/A
Case Front Panel
Aluminum
Case Body Material
Aluminum
Color
Silver
Cooling System

Front: 12cm fan x 2 (up to five 12cm fan)

Rear: 12cm fan x 3 (up to five 12cm, one 8cm fan)

Motherboard

Primary: ATX,Micro ATX, BTX, Micro BTX, Nano BTX, Pico BTX

Secondary: Mini ITX

Drive Bay
7" drive bay x 1
5.25" drive bay x 5
3.5" drive bay x 7 (Exposed x1; Hidden x6)
Front I/O

e-SATA connetor; USB 2.0 x 4; IEEE 1394 Firewire; HD-Audio

Expansion Slots
7 slots

Weight ( Net/Gross )

9.0 kg / 9.5 kg

 

Features:

So far I’m very happy with choosing the Thermaltake Mozart TX as an HTPC case. Doing your homework pays off, the case has plenty of room to work in, and I don’t feel that clutter is something that I’ll have to worry about. The case is made of lightweight aluminum, so weight is not a factor either. There is a ton of optional equipment to choose from, and I just might even delve into some of it. A water cooled HTPC -  now that is just what a member of OCC might do!

I just can’t help thinking of what to do with this system.  What CPU am I going to use, how many hard drives, do I even have a motherboard and a PSU? I have a ton of video cards lying around, are any of them worth using? I better go buy some more DDR2 RAM. This is perplexing, I have a lot of work ahead of me and Fueler why won’t you answer your phone?