Antec Fusion Remote Max HTPC case

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THE INTERIOR

Here is what greets the eyes when the top cover is removed. The top of the photo below is the front of the case. Again, the overall impression is high quality materials and nice detailing, with few edges where you can cut your fingers. (Admittedly, this proves unavoidable in virtually every case I've ever worked on.)


Three separate compartments divide the case into distinct thermal zones.


With the optical drive cage removed.

In the front center there is a compartment for two hard drives, vented from the bottom. Directly behind that is the main chamber for the motherboard, which contains the two exhaust fans. A small partition wall divides the center HDD and motherboard compartments, but this wall does not come all the way up to the top; there is a gap of about 2" at the top. This allows the front drives to take advantage of the airflow generated by the two fans in the main chamber; the half-wall that divides the two chambers forces the air to be drawn up between the drives rather than simply pulling it straight underneath them.

The single-bay optical drive cage, another component from the NSK2400/Fusion, slots in on the right side of the case (confusingly, this is on the left side in the photo above). The cage is double-height to accommodate the front display, but only a single optical drive can be installed. It covers the mess of cables coming out of the front I/O panel and the display. Having is single drive bay is unlikely to be a problem for most people, but it does prevent the installation of other accessories that use external drive bays, such as card readers. This is a minor point — external card readers are readily available — but it is still something to consider.

The left side of the case (right in the photo above) is compartmentalized with a full height wall that runs the full length of the case. Two further hard drives can be mounted in the front of this space, and the PSU slots in vertically at the back. If a 120mm/140mm fan PSU is used, the large right panel vent becomes its intake. If an 80mm in-line fan PSU is used, then the long, dust-filtered bottom vent in this chamber becomes the intake. A power supply with in-line airflow is preferred if the drive rack in this compartment is to be used, as a 120mm/140mm configuration will mean that the drives will receive only the minimal airflow that can be drawn through the cable slots between the two drive compartments.


Closeup of HDD bays with Antec's usual soft rubber grommets;
both HDD areas have vents on the bottom.
Note the cable slot in center dividing panel.

One of the unique features of this case is the ability to accommodate large video cards over 10" long, like nVidia's GX280/260 and ATI's HD-4870X2. This is done by removing the divider section of the central HDD chamber (by removing a few screws), which opens up enough extra room for the long cards. There is also room for a 120mm fan directly over the bottom vent in a plastic frame which mounts with just two screws. This increases the airflow around the video card(s) and also reduces the intake airflow impedance. Two full length video cards can be accommodated.


This photo shows much of what's discussed in the previous paragraph.
Note there's no vent under the optical drive bay.

OTHER FEATURES


LCD, iMon remote and software CD.

The Fusion Remote Max has a built-in, MCE-compatible IR receiver, and a large volume knob that controls the master volume. The remote control is compatible with Windows Media Center Edition and iMEDIAN HD. A full review of this software is outside the scope of this review, but both are capable of remotely accessing and controlling all media files on your computer or network. They also support internet radio, as well as TV/TIVO functions if a tuner card is installed.

There is also a front display, which can be set up to show RSS news feeds, world city time and weather, and much more. Did we explore all of these features? No, but the iMEDIAN HD software that runs it is common to most HTPC cases that we've seen. Suffice it to say that a cursory run through these features resulted in no surprises, pleasant or otherwise.



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