Introduction

It’s been a while since we’ve taken a close look at a home theater case, and after looking at one of Ahanix’s latest, we’d like to think that perhaps it was worth our wait. While we were quite pleased with the D-Vine 5 in our December 2004 HTPC roundup, we still encountered enough feature flaws to prevent it from winning our editor’s choice award in that comparison.

In terms of what is good for an HTPC case, it actually fared quite well, but where it was lacking was in areas that apply to all the cases that we review, such as thermal performance and layout/design.

Well, it’s been almost a half a year now, and Ahanix has a newer, greatly improved model in the D-Vine family for us to look at, the MCE601. Ahanix has six different lines of HTPC cases and is still working on even more designs, as well as several related product lines such as Mini ITX, Micro ATX, and silent accessories. With a company that seems to have such a deep interest in small systems, their HTPC cases should be some of the best in the industry. Here’s a quick glance at what the chassis has to offer.

Ahanix MCE601
Included Features
- Great HTPC styling
- Support for several hard drives
- Vacuum fluorescent display
- 350W SilentX power supply
Possible Improvement
- USB for display connector
- Ability to use standard PSUs
- Ability to use non-ATX motherboards
- Larger fans for improved cooling

Let’s see how this model compares to the D-Vine 4 and 5, and also how it performs as an HTPC case in general.

More information on the MCE601 is available at Ahanix’s website.

External Design
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  • ImJacksAmygdala - Friday, May 06, 2005 - link

    Show me a single HTPC case that has two 120mm fans and a ATX power supply and I'll buy it. The first company that takes the Antec Sonata or SLK3700BQE design and flips it on its side with a horizontal DVD drive, HT component damper feet, and a clean HTPC face plate gets my money. Currently no such case exists on the market. Antec tried and failed with the Overture design due to the heat enthusiast systems now create, and for some reason they haven't thought about using the popular design of the Sonata and SLK3700BQE. If you go to the silentpcreview forums you can find tons of threads on these cases, and I am surprised no one has tried to mod one horizontal yet. Reply
  • araczynski - Friday, May 06, 2005 - link

    cheap, retro wannabe, thin aluminum crap. probably made in vietnam for $0.50.

    but all the more power to them if they can sell this pile of sh*t to idiots.
    Reply
  • Tamale - Friday, May 06, 2005 - link

    It was a tad akward perhaps, but that is what I meant to say.. the hard drive's local air isn't really getting pushed or pulled anywhere thus keeping that area warmer than it should be..

    as far as the power supply, yes it offers the 20 or 24 pin connections, but no i didn't notice any 6-pin VGA connectors.
    Reply
  • Spacecomber - Friday, May 06, 2005 - link

    While these cases (Ahanix) are nice to look at, I have to agree with the consensus that there just doesn't seem to be enough good about them to justify a $300 price tag.

    I thought that the review was well done. I'll add just one small suggestion: more information on the vpower supply would be helpful. Maybe a shot of the label, so the power capacity on the different rails would be available. Also, perhaps add a mention of whether it is a 20 or a 24 pin ATX power connector and whether it provides the new 6 pin PCI video card connectors.

    Finally, I think this sentence is mis-written, "It is a bit discouraging to see that the hard drive itself is not really any hotter than what we are used to seeing, but the warm air created from that component must not be moving much, as that area of the case is still quite warm. "

    Still, a good start and I look forward to other reviews.

    Space
    Reply
  • Tamale - Friday, May 06, 2005 - link

    Sorry about the broken images when the review first went up.. they should all be fixed now. This is my first review so things didn't all go quite as smoothly as I had hoped. I'm still trying to find the best ways to illuminate the cases before I shoot, but I feel the only real problem I had with most of these shots was a failure to manually set my white balance. Your feed back is highly valued though everyone.. thanks!

    -Joshua Buss
    Reply
  • Tamale - Friday, May 06, 2005 - link

    Reply
  • Zirconium - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    I don't care how good this case is - for the almost $300 that it costs, I can get a Shuttle cube. Reply
  • ncage - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    Cool looking case. Would definitly look like a piece for your home theater and wouldn't stick out like a normal case would but the cost is WAY WAY WAY WAY to high. If it was in the $100 range i would think about it but at this price no way. Im just going to get a super mini case from antec. Reply
  • Houdani - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    Ditto the troubles with the thermal images. Win2K, IE6.

    The missing images are the ones which display the temperature readings -- the ones we really care about. The mouse-over images will disply fine when you put your mouse on the placeholders, but those are just the pictures of the case innards less the thermal scores. Zoinks.
    Reply
  • piasabird - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    I think a slot loading notebook drive would be better for a case like this. Might help with the air flow. I think possibly the intel chipset for the mobile desktop motherboard might be better. A centrino setup might be nice. I cant see many designs that can cool off multiple hard drives in a case this size in an efficient manner. If you have a vent on the bottom where the hard drive rack goes a low rpm fan might help. If the hard drives sat verticle they might cool better. Sitting horizontal they block the air flow. Reply

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