Home Theater PCs are something ahead of the average computing curve because of their advanced media handling and management capabilities. Now by media, they might not always be the ideal choice for gaming but the improvisation here is with the numerous other plus points that you can get with an HTPC. HTPCs are quite convenient to place and are designed to house a noticeable number of storage and optical drives for the top-notch media experience that you would come to expect from it. A major advantage that HTPCs can have is in terms of the multi-dimensional approach that is the inclusion of multiple drive bays and other ports which can multiply the output.
Since you have an insight on how an HTPC can benefit you, a crucial step of the way to getting yourself one would be to start planning for a decent HTPC case like you would for any other PC build so here is our take on the best HTPC cases that you can get your hands on these days.
1. SilverStone Technology Mini-ITX Slim Small Form Factor Computer Case RVZ02B
Our Rating: 8.5/10
- Support graphics card up to 13 inches
- Tool-less drive cage
- Fits with horizontal or vertical orientation
- Separated heat dissipation
- Plastic outer shell
Form Factor: Mini ITX | Ports: 2 x USB 3.0 / Audio Front Ports | Drive Bays: 2 x 2.5” | Cooling: Passive vents | Weight: 10 Pounds
SilverStone RVZ02B has set the bar quite high in terms of its functionality and elegant design that features a super slim profile and boasts a black plastic chassis but this does not prevent it from looking premium. It houses a Mini ITX motherboard compatible form factor. Another significant element of this case would be the 13-inch space to accommodate a graphics card along with the convenience of easy assembly.
The tool-less drive is another sophisticated yet the most convenient feature to come across, this actually diminishes the need for any specific tool to swap out the drives from the dedicated bays. This was introduced to reduce the hassle that you can experience while handling the PC.
The case also includes another well thought out design element which is the separated compartments for the different elements that can generate a very consequential amount of heat which might reduce the life expectancy of the components. This not only reduces any sort of damage that the accumulated heat can cause but also paves the way for smarter heat dissipation.
The outer shell comprises of passive vents for efficient cooling along with a set of 2 x USB 3.0 ports. It also contains the ability to house two 2.5″ drives and weighs at only 10 pounds which makes it quite lighter as compared to it’s competitors.
SilverStone RVZ02B is essentially a complete package that includes all the bells and whistles that you would want in it which makes it worth the price and hype.
2. Cooler Master HAF XB EVO
Our Rating: 8/10
- Powerful airflow due to two included Xtraflo fans
- 240mm radiator support
- Can house high-end VGA up to 334mm long
- Carry handles on the sides for convenient portability
- Significantly heavy with a boxy design
Form Factor: Mini-ITX, microATX, ATX | Ports: 2x USB 3.0 with X-Dock slots upfront | Drive Bays: 4 HDD or SSD bays | Cooling: 120mm XtraFlo fan and liquid cooled radiator compatible | Weight: 18.1 Pounds
If you are on the lookout for a heavy duty case that would never disappoint then you are in luck because the Cooler Master HAF XB EVO does not disappoint either in terms of durability or performance. This easily gives it the second spot in the line up because of its vigorous and elite build quality and the limitless things that you can do with this case.
In technical terms, it features a Mini-ITX, Micro ATX and ATX motherboard mounting capability along with the support of 2x USB 3.0 docks at the front accompanied by X-Dock slots which are ideal for a remarkable plug and play experience. The outer body of the case is very basic and nothing special as it is the usual minimal boxiness of the exterior as you would come to expect from a normal tower case but this is much smaller in terms of size. It also includes carrying handles on the sides for the added convenience of transporting the PC.
The cooling system includes two included Xtraflo fans along with a 240mm radiator support. Not only this, it can also withstand a high-end VGA up to 334mm long. Moving on to the drive department, it can hold up to 4 drives in its bays designed to provide room for HDDs or SSDs.
A slight and only drawback of this case would be the size and weight which stands at a high of 18.1 pounds which would increase exponentially when equipped to its full capacity. Despite this minor setback, this definitely proves its capabilities in the long run by its functional and reliable nature.
Cooler Master HAF XB EVO is the power-packed option to consider if you like tweaking and modifying your build frequently so that you never run out of options to explore when it comes to hardware support.
3. Antec Slim Desktop Micro ATX Case (VSK2000-U3)
Our Rating: 7.5/10
- 3 year warranty
- features a tool-less release ODD/HDD housing system
- Included base for convenient vertical installation
- Budget friendly
- Very minimal design and not recommended for gaming
Form Factor: Micro ATX | Ports: 2 x USB 3.0 / Audio Front Ports | Drive Bays: 1 External 5.25inch and 1 Internal 3.5inch | Cooling: 92mm temperature controlled fan | Weight: 7.7 Pounds
Antec VSK2000-U3 can be considered as a long term investment in terms of its aftersales support and the 3-year warranty that it comes with Antec’s assurance that you can rely on this case. Not only is it futureproof but also very lightweight when it comes to handling. Aesthetically, it encompasses a very sleek outlook while boasting a Micro ATX motherboard mount.
This also features a tool-less HDD release system which makes it almost effort-free to swap out the drives as per your convenience like the SilverStone RVZ02B. All of this is comfortably placed inside a very intriguing design concept which also includes a vertical installation base.
A common trait for this case to entail because of its minimalistic cost-cutting design would be that it is quite budget friendly and can prove to be the ideal purchase if you are on the lookout for a minimal yet efficient case on a budget. The front as usual hosts two USB 3.0 ports along with audio ports and two drive bays 5.25″ and 3.5″ respectively.
The cooling solution to this economical beast is provided by the 92mm temperature controlled fan which ensures that your PC’s temperature never gets out of hand. As mentioned above, the weight of the case stands at a bare minimum of 7.7 pounds which makes it the lightest case as compared to it’s other contenders from the line-up.
Antec has not ceased to impress with the VSK2000-U3 with its optimum performance and economical standing so this can clearly be a considerable option if you are either on a budget or do not wish to invest so much in a case.
4. Silverstone Grandia Series HTPC Case
Our Rating: 7.5/10
- Positive air pressure design with 3 fans included
- Impressive 340mm depth to fit inside case
- Excessive number of drive bays
- Kensington Security slot on the rear for added protection
- A bit cramped when all the available slots are occupied
Form Factor: Micro-ATX-DTX-Mini-ITX | Ports: 2x USB 3.0 Audio In/Out Front Ports | Drive Bays: 7 (2 hot-swappable with 2.5inch) | Cooling: 3x 120mm fans included| Weight: 12.3 Pounds
SilverStone Grandia Series HTPC case can be acknowledged as SilverStone’s variable spec-ed option that they have placed out in the market for consumers with varying needs. It features diversified Micro ATX, DTX, Mini ITX motherboard mounting support. This diversity is not only reserved to the motherboard support but also extends to the impressive 340mm depth inside the case that can conveniently house a high-end graphics card.
The exterior of this case is a cubicle black outlook with the conventional two USB 3.0 ports and audio in/out. The body weighs at 12.3 pounds which make it a mid-weighted option as compared to the Cooler Master HAF XB EVO. The interior of the case is quite spacious in terms of accommodating all of the components that it has the ability to host.
A prominent feature which sets it apart from its competition here would be the inclusion of 7 drive bays with two hot-swappable and 1 compatible with 2.5″ drive. Despite its well-reputed space management, there is still a minor downside to this as the internals can experience excessive heat or cable clutter when all of the bays and inputs are being utilized simultaneously.
An efficient cooling system can be observed as it boards 3x 120mm fans included which can drastically reduce the temperatures even when mounted to the core with hardware. The heat distribution and dissipation on this are impressive in terms of performance.
SilverStone Grandia Series Case is for enthusiasts and for the consumers who never wish to settle for anything less than the most customizable of them all.
5. Fractal Design Case FD-CA-NODE-202-BK
Our Rating: 7/10
- Strategically placed dust filters
- Quiet performance
- Separate housing of motherboard and GPU
- Smart thermal management requires less fans to cool off
- Complex cable management
- Dust filters not easily accessible
Form Factor: Mini-ITX | Ports: 2x USB 3.0 Audio In/Out Front Ports | Drive Bays: 2x 2.5inch SSD | Cooling: Optional 2x 120mm fan slots with dust filters| Weight: 9.7 Pounds
Fractal is a very renowned manufacturer with respect to its other components that you can come across whether it be cases to cooling solutions for cases such as case fans. Now they have ventured onto developing more complex pieces of tech which definitely include this refined product that is the Node 202. Node 202 works its way among the top 5 as a very reliable HTPC case.
The conventional Mini ITX form factor is there of course and from an aesthetic aspect, it resembles a gaming console but with a darker contrast. This build quality and dimensions make it easy to place and very proactively portable. The performance fares prominently well in comparison with its other counterparts and much more quieter as well.
The housing of the motherboard and GPU are separated to prevent any sort of heat build-up which might cause any unforeseen damages to the internal components of the PC. Because of the smart thermal intake and management, the fan noise is reduced as well as fewer fans are required to cool the setup off.
The front includes two USB 3.0 and audio in/out ports along with two 2.5″ bays. The cooling segment includes optional 2x 120mm fan slots with dust filters. The fascinating part about the dust filters would be the intelligent placement which not only minimizes the entry of any dust but also contributes to overall quieter performance. The dust filters can be tricky to reach sometimes when the internals of the case are occupied.
Fractal Design Node 202 can surely be accounted for as one of the best HTPC cases when it comes to performance with elegance.
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Prices taken/valid at the time of review.