Package, Exterior Design and Features
The system case is shipped in a plain white box with a manufacturer’s logo and the name of the model printed on it. The box lacks colorful pictures and handles but that’s normal considering the retail price of the product, about $100. This is a very affordable price for a full-format HTPC case, so you can’t expect additional bonuses. The manufacturer cut the costs wisely, though. He included foam-plastic inserts to ensure the safety of the case during transportation.
The HTPC 288SA is an example of the classic approach to designing full-format cases of this class:
The black-and-silver color scheme helps this device fit well into a rack with ordinary hi-fi equipment. The main functional elements are grouped in the central part of the front panel: a decorative faceplate of the optical drive, an informational display (optional in this model and its seat is plugged with a glossy faceplate) and a group of front connectors.
The latter group includes a couple of USB ports, a FireWire port, a microphone input, and a headphones output.
This is a classic design I just can’t have any complaints about but I do have gripes about the fastening of the card these connectors are soldered to as I’ll explain shortly. The Power and Reset buttons are placed on the right of the front panel:
The developers of this case must have been very skeptical about the existing OSes and multimedia software. Otherwise they wouldn’t have made the Reset button that large. It looks as if you are supposed to use it frequently. Well, you don’t have to understand the designer’s way of thought but you are going to confuse these two buttons at first, especially in darkness. In the left part of the front panel there is a manufacturer logo and the infrared receiver’s port.
For the case to be ventilated well, there are two blocks of vent holes in the top panel: