Cooler Master has been manufacturing high quality computer components for 15 years now, and over that span they have introduced many award winning and innovative hardware designs.
One of Cooler Master's latest products, the CM Media 280 Convertible HTPC Case, is being marketed as a "Power HTPC" due to its ability to support full size video cards (up to the new nVidia G80 series), multiple hard drives (so you can run a RAID configuration), and its high quality aluminum appearance. In addition to these features, one of the most innovative items is the ability to change the orientation of the case from a tower to a desktop.
This case is actually available in two models. The CM Media 280, has a few optional items, such as the integrated VFD (Vacuum Fluorescent Display), a remote control, and front panel "Media Center" multimedia hot keys. The other model, the CM Media 281, does not have these optional items, but it can be upgraded to the 280 if you decide you want these features. Cooler Master has sent the CM Media 281 with the upgrade kit to the CM Media 280.
Before taking a look at the case provided for review, let's look at some published data taken from the Cooler Master website...
» Multimedia Hot Key
» VFD Display
» Remote Control
» Support HD
» Unique mechanical design (Pedestal / Desktop convertible)
» Spacious Dimensions to support NVIDIA SLI / ATI Crossfire Configuration
» Elegant and Sturdy Aluminum finishing front panel design to blend in seamlessly into your working or living space
» Vacuum Fluorescent Display (VFD) and Hot Keys facilitate the use of Microsoft Media Center Edition (Optional for CM Media 281)
» Eight air ventilation areas for optimal airflow and cooling while providing silent solution
» Microsoft Window Vista Ready!
» Available Color: Black
» Dimensions: 16.93in(W) x 7in(H) x 18.78in(D)
» Material Chassis: SECC, Bezel: AL+ABS
» Motherboards: ATX, Micro-ATX
» 5.25" Drive Bay: 3 (Exposed)
» 3.5" Drive Bay: 5 (Hidden) , 1 (Exposed)
» Cooling System: One 120x120x25 mm Rear Silent Fan(1200 rpm, 17dBA), One 120x120x25 mm Front Fan (Optional), One 120x120x25 mm Top Fan(Optional), One 120x120x25 mm Side Fan(Optional)
» Front I/O Panel: USB 2.0x2, IEEE 1394 x1, MIC x1, SPK x1
» Expansion Slots: 7
» VFD Display: Optional - Multi-Media Kit (RC-281-OSB1-GP) Available for this unit.
» Weight: 20 lbs
» Power Supply: Standard ATX PS2/ EPS 12V (Optional)