Review: Hush ATX PC

Complete|Mobile Systems
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As with the Hush M-ITX PC, some friction with the thumb was enough to unloosen the custom flat bolts on top. The chassis has the same basic design as the M-ITX version, but is bigger all around: 3 machined extrusions (sides and front), and 3 pieces of sheet metal ( the top, bottom and back panel). They interlock together securely with a minimal number of screws. Everything fits together nicely, except for a very small gap between the top cover and the top edge of the front panel: A small gap of aluminum shows here in my sample.

It's tidy under the hood. The short rounded blue data cable connects the optical drive in center; the standard 80-conductor flat ribbon cable connects the Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 drive in the squarish aluminum box on the top right of the above photo. A riser card allows horizontal insertion of a PCI card in the space over the AGP card on bottom right.

Three heatpipe cooling system are in place, one for the CPU, one for the motherboard northbridge chip, and one for GPU on the video card.

A heatpipe runs the heat from the CPU to the closest heatsink; the heatpipe for the northbridge chip runs the heat to the other heatsink.

The green arrow shows where the NB chip heatpipe clamps to the heatsink; the yellow arrow shows the GPU cooling heatpipe.

The internal fanless PSU is long and narrow, and hidden beneath both the HDD and the optical drives, just behind the front panel. Presumably, hot components within the PSU are clamped (directly or via heatpipes) to the side heatsinks and/or the bottom chassis plate. As mentioned in the specs, this fanless PSU is rated for 240W output and accepts any AC voltage from 100V to 240V. No attempt was made to access the PSU.

The hard drive is positioned on the left front of the case, behind the power switch. It's in an aluminum chamber that fits on one side into a groove in the left heatsink. It's seen here with the cover removed.

There are pieces of what appear to be sorbothane pads between the top cover and the drive, presumably meant to help dampen the drive and minimize the transmission of vibrations into the case. The stuff is soft, mushy and very sticky, especially when warm. One expects there would be a similar layer of the sticky stuff on the other side of the drive as well. However, the drive IS mechanically hard-coupled to the bottom part of its special casing with a couple of screws. No attempt was made to remove the drive in the absence of instructions. (It was a loaned sample that needed to be returned!)

In short, the drive mounting system is little changed from that used in the Hush M-ITX PC. For noise, this is not a good thing.

One thing is very clear: The Hush ATX PC does not invite tinkering. Changing the video card or even the hard drive could be quite difficult for anyone who's not handy. There's also no room for storage expansion. If you want or need more HDD space, you'll have to swap the drive or use an external USB or Firewire drive (neither of which are big hardships, but it's good to know). The interlocking of parts, the use of custom heatpipes and the tight spacing of all the components... all of these factors combine to make the Hush ATX PC a product best purchased as per your exact needs and never messed around with again. And that is probably the way Hush prefers it.

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