The Search For a Case
The first step in building the media centre was, for me, to find a suitable case. And by suitable, I meant that it satisfied the following criteria:
- Be pleasant to look at
- Fit into my existing TV unit
- Have room for expansion
- Provide sufficient cooling
Let’s face it – most of the time, computers are not the most attractive of objects – especially PCs. The average desktop PC is an ugly, functional slab of plastic. I know the Mac evangelists will point towards the iMac, which, for sure, is a nice looking piece of kit, but it’s way above my budget. The result was that I felt like I had a challenge on my hands to find a case that met all of my requirements.
After doing quite a bit of research online, I was drawn towards the Antec enclosures. They’re not bad to look at, and seem to tick all the boxes. The main problem I’d encountered with Antec in the past was that their non-standard power supplies were notoriously unreliable, and then impossible to source a replacement for. This meant that I had a new requirement to add to my list: the power supply must be more dependable than a paper hat in a thunderstorm – or a standard, replaceable part.
Eventually the search turned up the Antec NSK2480. Strange, perhaps, when you consider what I just wrote above; however, it’s a nice box, and looks more like a piece of high-end stereo equipment than a computer. Even better, the power supply is standard and so when (not “if”) this PSU becomes kaput, I can replace it with a standard ATX supply.
Other nice features – it has dual, controllable, ultra-silent fans. These can be controlled with the integrated switch, or attached to a fan controller. The hard disks sit on little silicone grommets to reduce vibration, and the 5.25″ expansion bays lift out easily. The finish on the case is very good too, it doesn’t have any nasty sharp edges, so I shouldn’t have to count my fingers after fitting the motherboard. Access is via a single screw on the upper rear of the case, and the screw has a thumb-grip for easy removal. Inside, it has a triple-chamber design, which helps with noise and vibration reduction and also aids airflow.
Antec front of case
Antec case profile
So far, so good. Now all I need is something to put in it, but it is October now, so I can start shopping for a motherboard!