Zalman HD160XT PC Enclosure £390

6th Apr 2007 | 23:00

Zalman HD160XT PC Enclosure

A stylish home for your Media Center Edition bits

TechRadar rating:

3.5 stars

An interesting concept but it needs more than just the gimmick of an LCD screen to make it stand out

Like:

<p>7-inch integrated LCD screen</p><p>Touch-sensitive interface</p><p>Five-fan integrated controller</p><p>ATX compatible</p>

Dislike:

<p>Bulky size</p><p>Sub-standard remote control</p>

The concept of using Windows on your TV is still waiting to hit the mainstream. Zalman's HD160XT won't bring new users into the Media Center Edition fold, but it might appeal to MCE users who wish to upgrade their kit in style.

In essence, the HD160XT is a metal box that's waiting to be filled with everything that comprises a PC. You can expect to spend at least the same again before you've got a working PC - more if you buy a high-end graphics card and multiple hard drives.

So what do you get for your money? In a word, quality. From its rubber-soled feet to the slow-action front flap that hides the ports and card reader, the HD160XT sends out a message of superiority. Yes, you can buy cheaper from the likes of Lian Li and Antec, but none can match Zalman's high-calibre product.

The HD160XT will accommodate a range of motherboards, from micro-ATX to full-sized models, along with most CPU coolers and expansion cards. The placement of four fans and grill vents on the sides, rear, top and bottom of the case ensures effective cooling, but it certainly isn't quiet.

Indeed, the noise levels may prove so intrusive that you may need to invest in better-quality fans or Yesico's fanless PSU (£149, www.quietpc.com ).

We should mention the touch-sensitive LCD screen. This enables you to control the various media-related functions and even access the Windows desktop. It's an unusual, almost gimmicky alternative to using the remote. The latter is a no-frills number that doesn't deserve to sit within 10 feet of its companion unit.

If you've got a decent budget, a quality flat-panel TV and a lounge worthy of such an eye-catching box, then the HD160XT should be on your wish list. Yet we suspect that for most people - as with MCE as a whole - there'll be nothing to see here. Move along.

ZalmanMedia CenterDigital home
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