Zalman HD160XT Plus HTPC Chassis review -
As you can see, we have received the black version for this review, and I like the looks a lot; though taste differs and thus can be very different for you. There's a pure Silver colored Aluminum version available as well.
The finish is matte with a brushed appearance, no shiny reflective stuff. An assortment of labels and logos are not painted on, but rather laser-etched into the anodized finish. Notice that the chassis is made out of a anodized black finish which picks up fingerprints which will be hard to remove, if you have some cotton gloves .. use them. The brushed finish and beveled openings are just a small example of the attention to detail I will mention throughout this review.
Mind you that the 7 LCD display also is protected with a little plastic sheet. First impressions cooooool. The chassis gives a sturdy impression, looks fantastic though feels a bit big. This is due to the built in LCD screen. underneath the LCD screen (which is a touch-screen btw) you can find several buttons.
The front panel has a great looking layout and is machined from a solid aluminum plate. When finished, the HD160XT Plus will look just right at home in your entertainment center.
Though I would have preferred these buttons to be hidden behind a door as well, as it would (in my opinion) make this chassis a little nicer. And I do say as well, as to your right there's a door with a plethora of connectors and even card reader. We'll show you that in a tidbit.
On the far left side, the power button resides in a nicely beveled recess beneath the IR remote receiver window and pinhole for the power LED (blue).
To the right the huge volume button. Though it gives the look and feel of an amplifier .. it's isn't one. The speakers can be muted by pressing in on the volume knob. Was a volume wheel really needed for that matter? The consumers who spend so much money on a HTPC chassis certainly will connect it to an AV receiver.
The gaping hole on top is the DVD opening and again is is nicely beveled. A stealth cover is included which you apply to your optical drive will make for a nice front presentation.
Underneath the volume wheel we find a hidden door .. and once opened up you can see front panel connectivity.
You'll find USB, IEEE 1394 (Firewire), and audio I/O ports, headphones and a microphone connector. Also a Memory Card Reader is incorporated which I like very much. Extremely handy if you need to playback media files quickly, or simply use the LCD screen as a photo viewer. The door is held in place by magnets and incorporates a dampening mechanism for quiet operation.
A PC in your living room however has to look nice, be silent and functional; and that's quite a challenge as today's computer parts are often noisy and create lot's of heat. Building a HTPC surely isn't an easy task as you need to carefully handpick all components used. For optimal cooling and nice looks today we land at the premises of Zalman. They recently released their Zalman HD160XT Plus HTPC chassis. A seriously gorgeous looking HTPC chassis, made out of aluminum and with a small 7" Zero Defect LCD touch screen (no dead pixels).