The Altair A380 is GlacialTech's first home theater case, and in my opinion it needs a bit of refinement. I could be very happy with it if even just a few of the issues I encountered could be resolved. The inclusion of the 52-in-1 card reader, IR Blaster, and Microsoft Media Center Remote are all nice touches which are not always found with other home theater cases.
There are a few major issues with this case. First, let's discuss the power supply. The specification says it includes a 270W unit, but the sample I received says it is rated for 220W. I can get past this as it still provided plenty of power for a small home theater system. However, the cables are a major concern. The two motherboard power cables were too short for my installation, and there are no SATA power cables provided.
The other major issue I encountered was with the drive cages interfering with features on the motherboard use in the review. I want to have an optical drive in my home theater system, however I am unable to use the optical drive cage since the motherboard has capacitors at the edge. And while the hard drive cage did not create an issue in the review, it was close since it does block connections on the motherboard. Depending on the layout of your board, you could lose important connections.
Finally, I would like to see all low profile chassis include a riser card if the expansion slots are not vertical as in a standard case. This would allow the user to implement a wireless NIC, TV tuner, a sound card, or a PCI Express video card. Without a riser, you are relegated to using onboard video.
If these issues were resolved, this could be quite an interesting case. Taking into consideration that this is GlacialTech's first HTPC offering, I look forward to seeing what they do for their next case.
A search of PriceGrabber did not return any results. Despite the issues, you might expect to pay between $150 and $200 for a case like this. Take into account that a Microsoft Media Center remote can range from $40 to $75, and that an IR Blaster could be another $25 to $50. Even with these extras, be sure to take into account the issues I encountered to ensure your build goes smoothly.
» Attractive styling
» Low profile
» 52-in-1 card reader
» Quiet fans
» Media Center remote included
» IR Blaster included
» No SATA power connectors
» No installation manual
» Power cables are too short
» Optical drive cage interfered with capacitor on the motherboard
» Hard drive cage covers critical ports
» No expansion slot riser card included - can only use onboard video without one
» 220W power supply not 270W
Special thanks to GlacialTech for providing the GlacialTech Altair A380 Media Center PC Case to Bigbruin.com for review!
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