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HDPLEX H5.TODD Fanless HTPC Case

HDPLEX H5.TODD Fanless HTPC Case

February 18, 2013 by Lawrence Lee

Product
HDPLEX H5.TODD

Fanless microATX Chassis
Manufacturer
MSRP
US$275

HDPLEX is one of the few manufacturers filling the niche of the passively cooled
PC chassis. They have currently have three models, all adhering to the low profile
HTPC style. The H10,
H5, and H3
have varying footprints depending on your needs but the one thing they have
in common is they wouldn't look amiss stacked with high end audio/video gear
in a home theater cabinet or stand. This puts them in a different class than
conventional air-cooled HTPC cases which are often too big, and generate an
undesirable level of noise.

Specifications: HDPLEX H5.TODD

(from the
product web page
)
Material & Color Material: 6063T Aluminum Alloy

Body: Black

Faceplate: Silver or Black

Body Finish: Durable Powder Coating

Black Faceplate Finish: Powder Coating

Silver Faceplate Finish: Brushed Aluminum

Weight 16 lbs(7.5kg)
Dimension Internal 325x370x55mm (L x W x H)

External 325x438x60mm (L x W x H)

Faceplate 460x70x15mm(L x W x D)
Power Supply (Optional) All PicoPSU Supported

80W Internal Fanless PSU Supported

DC 5/2.5 Single PIN Connector Supported

DC 4PIN-MINI-DIN Connector Supported

IEC AC Input Supported

Internal Mounting for FSP 150W Adapter
Cooling System Intel LGA775/1155/1156 Socket Supported

AMD AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2 Socket APU Supported

HDPLEX Fanless CPU Heatsink System support 75W TDP CPU on H5/H3 Series
Compatibility Mini-ITX and MicroATX Supported

3.5" HDD and 2.5" SSD/HDD Supported

Full Height Single Slot PCI/E Card Supported

Slim Tray Loading Optical Drive Supported
Front Ports USB 2.0/3.0 Port: One*

IR Port: One (Optional Internal IR Receiver)

*Internal USB 2.0/3.0 Cable Included

Manufacture Warranty Parts 1 year limited

Labor 1 year limited
Packaging Double Packaged

Dimension: 24"x20"x8"

Shipping Weight: 9kg/20 lbs

The H5 is essentially a sleeker, refined version of the H10 we reviewed two
years ago. Both are constructed of an aluminum alloy and support microATX motherboards.
The full-sized optical drive option of the H10 has been removed in in the H5
for one of the slim variety, resulting in a shallower chassis. This reduces
the size of the cooling heatsinks, so the CPU TDP limit is 75W rather than 125W,
which is of little concern given the continuing imporvements in CPU power efficiency.
The change also creates enough space underneath the optical drive for an extra
2.5 inch drive in addition to the already existing two 2.5/3.5 inch mounts.
Finally, the H5 sports a front USB 3.0 port while the H10 lacked front USB altogether.


The HDPLEX H5.TODD (above) and H5.S (below).

The H5 is available in two different flavors, the US$275 H5.TODD and
US$258 H5.S. The main difference is that H5.S lacks an optical drive
option. Main chassis is power coated, but one improvement to improve cooling
efficiency is that the power coating has been removed from the grooves where
the heatpipes contact the side of the case. The powder coated paint was an extra
thermal impedance between the heatsink and the hetapipes; eliminating that layer
should provide at least a few degrees of cooling improvement. Currently, the
H5.S is only available with one faceplate color, black with a powder coat, while
the H5.TODD offers a brushed silver option. The power coated facia of the H5.S
gives it a more industrial look, while the brushed aluminum of the H5.TODD offers
a striking contrast that really pops. The sheer thickness of the nicely brushed
aluminum front panel really gives the H5.TODD a very high end AV look. Given
the functional similarity between the two cases, we're going to focus on the
higher-end H5.TODD.


Accessories.

Our H5.TODD sample was configured with an open frame 80W internal power adapter and shipped with an AC power cord, a PCI-E 1x ribbon cable for the riser card option, and a combined short/long hex screwdriver for opening the top cover. The included accessories vary depending on the power supply and IR/remote options you select.

PHYSICAL DETAILS

The HDPLEX H5.TODD weighs 7.5 kg or 16 lb and the body measures 43.8 x 32.5 x 6.0 cm or 17.2 x 12.8 x 2.3 inches (L x D x H) with the faceplate adding an additional 2.2 x 1.5 x 1.0 cm to the overall dimensions. It's constructed of a heavy duty aluminum alloy with a black powder coat finish except for the optional brush silver faceplate.


An aluminum face is attached with adhesive to the optical drive to make it match the rest of the chassis. The native eject button is covered up, though still usable. Alternatively, you can use the interesting universal eject button which is connected via USB. On the far right is a single USB 3.0 port.


The fins at the sides vary in thickness, measuring 3.6 mm at the tip and 5.6 mm at the base. The average separation between them is 13 mm. The front bezel is also substantial, a solid 15 mm thick.


The top cover is 2.4 mm thick and secured to the frame using four hex screws. Ample ventilation is provided near the rear centered around the CPU and expansion slot area.


A full-sized riser card slot is located between the power outlet and the I/O shield with an air vent below.


A similar set of breathing holes is punched into the bottom. The case feet are quite short which doesn't really help with airflow. This should be taken into consideration if placed in a cabinet.


The holes on the case floor gives users the option of mounting a fan if a mini-ITX board is used; Our H5.S sample had such a configuration set up, a Noctua 120 mm fan attached with zip-ties to help cool a Ceton TV tuner. It's an interesting option but one that defeats the entire purpose of a passively cooled case.

INTERIOR

The pre-assembled H5.TODD provided to us by HDPLEX appears overly spacious
due to the large gap between the edge of the motherboard and the power supply
on the left side. This extra width exists to allow a third drive to be installed
on the bottom panel (in this case, an OCZ Vertex 4 SSD) and to accommodate a
full-sized PCI-E expansion card (our pre-installed card is only half-height).
If you require neither of these features, the H5 is wider than it needs to be,
though 17" matches classic high end audio gear.


All the work was done for us, but in general, assembly isn't difficult
for a passive chassis. The hardest part is keeping the heatpipes in
place while securing the cooling assembly. The grooves at the side help
steady them unlike cases like the Streacom FC5/FC8 which have flat sides.


The heatpipe cooling system makes passive operation possible: A
copper base and six copper heatpipes clamped onto the CPU at one end,
and at the other, secured with aluminum plates to the side of the case.
The side is a giant 94 mm thick heatsink with 18 substantial fins.


Our sample was configured with an open frame 80W internal power
adapter but if you prefer, HDPLEX also offers a 150W picoPSU option.
They also included a PCI-E to USB audio card (SOtM tX-USBexp) to our
build, a high-end peripheral for audiophiles showcasing one of the H5's
potential uses.


The optical drive is secured with a metal frame that attaches using
a bayonet mount. One 2.5 inch drive can be installed underneath and
2.5/3.5 inch drives can be placed on either side as well.


Despite the premium nature of the chassis, HDPLEX still hasn't figured
out a good way to keep the power button in place. Caution must be observed
when laying down the top cover so that the holes line up and the button
doesn't fall off. We recommend adhering it to the cover with some tape
while putting the cover on.

TESTING

System Configuration:


Test platform device listing.

Measurement and Analysis Tools

Testing Procedures

Our testing procedure involves placing the test system in various states until
temperatures remain stable for 5~10 minutes. The test states are idle, playing
H.264 video, encoding video with TMPGEnc, full CPU load using Prime95 (small
FFT setting), and full GPU loading using FurMark, an OpenGL benchmarking and
stability testing utility.

Temperatures were recording using various software tools and an infrared thermometer on the hottest point of the exterior as well as the AC power draw from the wall.

TEST RESULTS


CPU-Z screenshot during CPU load test.

According to HDPLEX, the H5.TODD can handle CPUs up to 75W but they played
it safe with our sample system, equipping it with the modest Core i3-3225, a
dual core Ivy Bridge chip with a clock speed of 3.3 GHz and a TDP of only 55W.
It's no powerhouse but should be snappy enough for a wide spectrum of users.

System Measurements
System State
Temperatures
System Power (AC)
CPU*
VRM
External
Idle
30°C
38°C
27°C
23W
H.264 Playback
32°C
39°C
29°C
24W
TMPGEnc
51°C
40°C
35°C
42W
CPU Load
55°C
39°C
37°C
48W
CPU + GPU Load
66°C
41°C
43°C
62W
Ambient temperature: 21°C.

*An average of Core 0 & 1.

The i3-3225 proved little challenge for the H5.TODD, running very cool when
idle or playing H.264 video. It only heated up by an appreciable amount when
both the CPU and integrated GPU were stressed synthetically using Prime95 and
FurMark, a load which generates much more heat than any normal use. Even then,
the CPU temperature did not exceed 70°C while the exterior heatsink remained
comfortably warm. Our real world load test, video encoding with TMPGEnc, was
not nearly as stressful, and the CPU temperature barely topped 50°C. Like
previous sub-65W Ivy Bridge chips we've encountered, the i3-3225 is incredibly
energy efficient, more so than the TDP rating might imply.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The HDPLEX H5.TODD is a solid fanless chassis offering that delivers exactly
what it promises without any apparent faults. The case is well built with a
thick faceplate, top cover, and sides, and the brushed aluminum front bezel
option is striking. Its look and form factor would fit well in a high end AV
cabinet or rack though it would be best to place it at the top of the stack
for ventilation. The cooling system handled a 55W dual core Ivy Bridge chip
with ease so it should also comfortably cool the more common 65W processors
on the market. Although we did not undertake assembly of the cooling system,
a close examination suggests quality machined parts with good fit and finish.
The extra step of removing the powder finish paint from the grooves in the heatsink
contact surface suggests care and attention to detail beyond cosmetics.

As depth is often an issue for home theater users, the size reduction compared
to the H10 is a significant improvement. Its footprint is still big, but it
affords users a degree of versatility for components pertinent to home theater
operation. The extra storage of a third HDD or SSD can come in handy if you
don't have a separate centralized file/media server, and a full-sized expansion
card option opens up the possibility of a TV tuner, a high-end sound card, or
even a discrete passively cooled graphics card for some gaming.

The H5.TODD is currently available on HDPLEX's website for US$275 without
a power supply, pretty reasonable for a passively-cooled case of its size and
qualiy. Its closest competitor is the similarly priced Streacom
F5 OD
which shares a strong resemblance both inside and out. However,
the H5.TODD has a hefty weight advantage of 2.3 kg (about +44%) which suggests
it may be better constructed. At the very least, it has a more impressive facia,
and for many users, this is a real factor.

Our thanks to HDPLEX for the H5.TODD case sample.



HDPLEX H5.TODD is Recommended by SPCR

* * *

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* * *

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