HDPLEX Fanless PC Case

Monthly Archives: November 2012

HD-Plex Fanless Computer Case H5.S for Music Server builds

This review has been posted by a customer.

Here is the review:

“This is a double review of sorts. Before I get into the review, a little back story. I previously owned a Logitech Transporter. I had upgraded within the Slim Devices family from the Squeezebox 3 to the Logitech Touch after the Logitech buyout. Then, I made the move to the Transporter. The Transporter still is a great network computer audio device. Unfortunately, Logitech decided to effectively kill the brand so I unloaded the Transporter for fear of having a $1000+ paperweight.

It was at that point, I decided to stop trying to look for an off the shelf solution and just build a computer which could stream audio from my networked server. I’m using J River Media Center for playback and use the iPhone app, J Remote, for control. I figure this setup will should future proof me (ie….5-6 years of use).

So, the hunt was on! I wanted a computer case that would be 100% silent and fit in somewhat with all my other components. You know. Not look like I have a loud, cheesy computer sitting next to my multi-thousand dollar stereo.

I knew of A-Tech Fabrication (http://www.atechfabrication.com/) and had heard good things about the quality of their cases but DAYUM at the price! Then, I read an article on Computeraudiophile.com which mentioned the HD-Plex cases. I looked up the site and decided that this was the case for me. Attractive and affordable!

I decided that I really wanted an black H5.S case for my build, but it was out of stock. Being the impatient person I am, on September 12, 2012, I ordered a black H3.S case with fanless 80 watt power supply, internal IR receiver, and MCE remote. The case arrived promptly and well packaged. The instructions were relatively clear and I had no problem with the build.

This was also my first experience with mini ITX motherboards. I built the computer from a Biostar TH61 motherboard with an Intel G630T processor. The G630T is a dual core 2.3 GHz CPU with only 35 watt of TDP. Plenty low for a completely fanless, passive system. I installed 8GB of Kingston DDR3 RAM and installed Windows 7 Ultimate on a 64GB Crucial M4 SSD.

The system was almost exactly what I wanted. Silent, stable, and fast. Then, I got the email that the H5.S was back in stock. DAMMIT!! I ended up selling the H3.S build and purchased a black H5.S case with fanless 80 watt power supply, internal IR receiver, and MCE remote. Just like the previous H3.S, the H5.S arrived arrived promptly and well packaged.

I already had an Intel DH67BL motherboard lying around for another computer build so I just pulled it into duty for my new build. I purchased an Intel G640T processor which I found for the same price as the previous G630T. The G640T is a dual core 2.4 GHz CPU with the same 35 watt TDP. I followed the same recipe for success with 8GB of Kingston DDR3 RAM and Windows 7 Ultimate on a 64GB Crucial M4 SSD.

Comparing the H3.S to the H5.S, they both had a few faults and areas where I felt improvements could be made. Most of these should be considered nit-picky and I feel they do not detract from the overall quality of the cases.

The H3.S grooves were powder-coated which likely minimizes heat transfer from the heat pipes to the case/external heat sinks.The H5.S grooves were raw aluminum. I found on both the H3.S and H5.S that the front USB cable has to be cut down for the screws to fit into the case. Providing longer screws would prevent the need for having to cut the cable down. The H3.S case came with only a front USB 3.0 cable while the H5.S came with both front USB 2.0 & 3.0 cables.”