A while back i decided to retire my Shuttle SB-61 MCE machine to my desk. This was due to me needing a desktop PC, the shuttle really not being a good MCE machine (more on that in a tick) and lastly my need for some new hardware 🙂
Originally i thought the Shuttle was a great MCE machine, in fact it was for about 2 years. However, with 2 SATA drives, a Radeon 9600 video card, and a 250 MCE tuner card in it ... the unit was literally FULL. No more slots ... anywhere. This lead to it being crazy hot and thus noisy. I pulled the memory out of it the other day after it had been running ... i could barely hold it.
So... my mission ... to build an MCE machine on a budget that met all my needs: more room, quiet, expandable, cool, quiet, did i mention quiet?
I already had a Hauppage 250 MCE tuner card and a spare 80Gb SATA disk. I reused the 200Gb SATA disk from the shuttle for recordings etc...
Ended up going with a Silverstone LC-17 case. These are not at all the smallest cases in the world ... but they have room for 6 * 3.5" drives internally + space for 2 * 5.12" external drives if you feel the need. However, the best thing about this particular case ... is the fan space. 2 fans spaces up front to cool the drives, a CPU fan slot to mount a water cooled radiator if you like, side grill for the power supply to suck air in from outside, 2 back fans (that come with the case) ... more than anyone would need. I only have the 2 back fans installed currently (nice and quiet too).
All up came to NZD $1057 (USD ~$700).
And it is SO much quieter and cooler than the Shuttle. I would say 1/4 the noise.
PS: oh .. and unlike my Shuttle ... it will standby and resume properly using the Power button on the MCE remote!
PPS: good tips and tricks on www.ehomedia.com