Build Your Own Silent HTPC – Blu-ray, HD DVD and HDTV Combined

Case - Silverstone GD01S-MXR

Fundamentals, Snares and Experiences during our Testing Phase

Silent HTPC Blu-ray HD-DVD DVB-S2

Our foremost criterion when we were choosing the case for the HTPC was that the remote control IR sensor should be integrated in the face of the case. We didn’t want an ugly external solution that plugs in to the motherboard’s USB connector and then has to be taped in place to mar the aesthetics of our system. Also, the infrared receiver has to have auxiliary power available even in standby mode or when the PC is off. Otherwise, we won’t be able to wake up the HTPC from standby mode.

The case needs two 5.25” drive bays for the optical drive and the CI module that decrypts Pay TV stations using a smartcard. If we had to install a separate IR-receiver on the front of the unit, the case would need to offer three drive bays.

In most cases, desktop enclosures are the best suited for use in the living room because of their horizontal design. Aesthetically, they also fit in better because of their resemblance to hi-fi components. Towers, on the other hand, tend to stick out like a sore thumb in the living room. While there are specific desktop HTPC enclosures in the market, they are usually limited to only two 5.25“ drive bays.

Tom’s Hardware chose the Silverstone GD01S-MXR. Although it is not one of the cheaper models around at €180, it does come bundled with the iMon remote control. The infrared receiver is integrated into the unit’s front. When the PC is off, the infrared sensor draws its auxiliary power directly from the power supply using a bundled adapter. In short – a very easy setup.