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Chieftec HM-01B HTPC Case
Author: Jason Kohrs
Manufacturer: Chieftec
Source: Chieftec
Purchase: Newegg.com
Comment or Question: Post Here
Page: 7 of 8 [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ]
Chieftec HM-01B HTPC Case
March 11, 2009

Installation (continued):

There are only a few notes to make regarding the installation. The most troublesome is that there is a 24-pin ATX power adapter used to get power to the VFD. This piece plugs into the motherboard, and then the 24-pin cable from the PSU plugs into the back of it. The connector intended to connect the adapter to the motherboard just didn't fit well, and it will not seat fully onto the socket. The small clip that is supposed to lock it in place doesn't quite reach, and it took a good deal of effort to get it on as far as I did. It doesn't seem to be any easier to get it back off, so I doubt it will come loose, but it just doesn't seem right.

The other issue didn't really impact the test build since I didn't use a stand alone video card at all, but the space available is restricted. The hard drive cage is located directly in the path of some larger video cards, and many may not fit. From what I have on hand, I can tell that a Radeon 4850X2, Radeon 4870 X2, or a GeForce GTX 260 will not fit. Anyone planning to use similarly sized cards should measure first.


In Use:

The first thing that impressed me when I turned the system on, is that you can not tell that it has been turned on. Except for when the DVD drive was spinning up, there was about zero noise. With the cover removed, I leaned in to take a closer listen to the PSU and case fans. All are extremely quiet, but do move some air. The CPU fan (stock Intel unit) was the noisiest fan inside, and that isn't saying much.

I did some brief checks of the power to see how efficiently this nearly silent HTPC could run. The power factor at idle was observed at 0.95, and under load it was 0.98. At idle, the system drew 54W AC (0.46A). Under a load it drew 83W AC (0.71A). These values are next to nothing. It might not be a gaming powerhouse, but it can keep the digital entertainment flowing without draining much electricity.

Physically the system doesn't draw much attention to itself, either. The only LED visible is a dull red hard drive activity light, and the VFD has a black background with thin greenish text. The screenshots below show just a few of the basics that the display can be used for. In addition to system information, it can be used to display multimedia data, weather, stocks, news, and so much more.

The below left image shows the confirmation for it entering graphical equalizer mode, and the below right image shows some hard drive status information.

Click Image For Larger View Click Image For Larger View

The below left image shows information on the current processor speed, while the below right image shows information regarding the system memory.

Click Image For Larger View Click Image For Larger View

Like most other features of this case, the VFD is simple and understated. It can provide some useful information, but it should't distract from enjoying the computer. The one issue with the display may be that it is not easily viewable from a distance. You may be able to see what it says from across the room, but you will have to concentrate.

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