Zalman HD160 HTPC Enclosure Review

Cases & PSU/Cases by piotke @ 2006-03-16

With the HD160 Zalman is expanding their product range, this HTPC enclosure is of high quality and aims to deliver a good balance between cooling and noise generation; it has support for full size ATX motherboards, and comes with a VFD display and Windows Media Center remote control.

  • next



Today we got the opportunity to meet the latest member of the Zalman. Until now their enclosures focused on passive cooling, large cases with plenty of heat pipes which cost quite a bit and take up quite a bit of space. With the HD160 Zalman is shifting the focus in a new direction: the living room. The HTPC market is growing rapidly, with easy to use software like Microsoft’s own Windows Media Center (MCE) even the novice user can set up and configure a system in a short period of time.

Zalman wants a piece of this HTPC pie and their HD160 is aimed to fit right into your multimedia center; with sleek looks and expanded functionality.

Madshrimps (c)

About a month ago I tested a small HTPC case from Global Win, it’s diminished size makes choosing the right hardware a bit harder and the it’s not always easy to make everything you want fit inside. The HD160 from Zalman is a larger beast, with support for full size ATX motherboards.

So what makes this case different from any old desktop case? The front panel has received lots of attention, with a VFD display, infrared eye, a large volume control button and stealth panels for your optical drive. A multi format memory card reader is also build in the front and with the case you get a relabeled MCE remote control.

In the box ...

  • One HD160 Case
  • One Remote Control
  • One Install CD
  • One Optical Disk Cover
  • Two Batteries
  • One ATX Power Cable
  • Other cables and screws
  • User’s Manual

    Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

    This heavy case comes shipped in a sturdy box; the case survived its long trip overseas well.


    Let’s look at the specifications:

    Madshrimps (c)

    Four hard drives inside a HTPC is quite luxurious; the front I/O ports have Firewire and USB support, you can also hook up a microphone and/or headphones. The case comes in 2 colors; we are reviewing the “black” version. Despite its larger size the net weight is very acceptable thanks to aluminum panels. Cooling wise the case has 2x80mm fans installed in the rear over the CPU cooling area – a small voltage choosing connector (12v/5v) is included and can be used to slow down the rear fans.

    More information can be found on Zalman's website.

    While having silent case fans is important for building a quiet system, the power supply and CPU/video card cooling is equally important. For the purpose of the review Zalman included 3 products to help keep noise levels down.

    Madshrimps (c)

  • Power supply: ZM460-APS
  • Video Card cooling: VF700-Cu
  • CPU Cooling: CPNS9500 LED

    To give you an idea of how easy or difficult the HD160 is to work with I will talk you to through the entire installation on the next pages ->
    • next