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The included remote and software are basically the same as that which shipped
with the MonCaso 301. Overall the remote is very capable with superb range.
It's powered by 2 x AAA batteries and the receiver is built into the circuit
board behind the front display. For more details, read our MonCaso
These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording
system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to
LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no
audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent
a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.
Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product
at various states. For the most realistic results,
set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then
don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.
The Luxa2 LM100 Mini is a great looking case that's built like a tank its
aesthetics and construction quality are beyond reproach. However, when it comes
to practicality, the case fails in several aspects. The case's size and the 200W
power supply suggests it is suitable to house a fairly powerful mini-ITX system,
but its design is not optimized for proper cooling. The case's only intake vents
are at the bottom of the case, much of which is covered by the motherboard tray
and its short stubby feet do not lift the the chassis enough off the ground.
Planting the Flex ATX power supply inside the case with no direct intake or
exhaust is one of the most foolish things we've seen. Not only does it increase
the heat and noise of the system, it complicates cable management. This type
of placement is only suitable for a picoPSU or other DC/DC power supplies with an external AC/DC adapter.
Enthusiasts with deep pockets will no doubt wish to pair the case with a powerful
mini-ITX motherboard like the Zotac
GeForce 9300 board we used in our testing. However, if the GPU is highly stressed,
maintaining a low noise level without letting the components
cook is a real challenge. The lack of ventilation and the small, inefficient
case fans makes creating a quiet system with such a configuration next to impossible.
A good aftermarket heatsink in this case is an absolute must. If the system
has a less powerful GPU or is intended to playback media only, then cooling it
quietly becomes easier.
Swapping out the 50mm fans for quieter ones is also a major challenge. There are very few small fans marketed as being quiet, and none have been tested by a reliable third party. It's tough enough to find any online retailers for such fans, About the only vaguely hopefully possibility is offered by Scythe, but the Mini Kaze 50mm may only be available in the EU and in Japan, and it has an SPL rating of 26 dBA, only marginally lower than the 28 dBA of the stock fans.
Though the case height allows for CPU coolers that are 10 cm tall, anything
above 8.4 cm or so will likely interfere with the power cable or the optical
drive. The case's footprint is also larger than the Sugo
SG05/06, presumably to accommodate a side-mounted 3.5" drive and
the power supply. It seems most of the design decisions were made to keep the
body solid, and that is ultimately its undoing. If the designers were adamant about keeping
the unibody appearance, heatpipes connected
to the sides of the case for thermal dissipation would have been far more suitable after all, its
thick aluminum sides remind us of the fanless Coolermaster
TC-100 or mCubed HFX Micro S13. It would also have been far more practical to punch a large ventilation
grill on the right side, and possibly equip it with a 80 or 92 mm fan.
As pure home theater machine, the LM100 Mini is a good, but pricey option.
It comes with a versatile remote and software, and it looks fantastic a finer
looking HTPC you will not find. The only flaw in its appearance is the poor quality
display its almost monocromatic and the viewing angles leave a lot to
be desired. In a typical home theater setting, 6-8 feet away from the user,
the noise level of the system should be fairly low, especially if the fans only
have to combat the heat generated from 2D usage. As a small general purpose desktop, it can
probably be tweaked to be suitably quiet, depending on what it will be used
for and the components inside. In the end, despite the undeniably good looks of the LM100, it's diffcult to muster up much enthusiasm given its US$270~$300 price and its thermal and acoustic challenges.
Luxa2 LM100 Mini
* Exquisitely desirable
* Solid construction
* Versatile remote
* 200W power supply
* Poor ventilation, can become very hot
* Small, loud case fans
* Terrible PSU location
* ODD power cable may interfere w/ heatsink
* Subpar LCD screen
* Can't fit full-sized expansion card
Our thanks to Luxa2
for the LM100 Mini system sample.
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Articles of Related Interest
Cases: Basics & Recommendations
Sugo SG05 and SG06: Gaming mini-ITX cases?
Antec ISK 300-65 mini-ITX case
Moneual MonCaso 301 Desktop HTPC Case
Fanless TC-100 mini-ITX case
Apex MI-008: A Cheap Quiet mini-ITX Case?
Zotac GeForce 9300-ITX WiFi
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