So, who might want to have a HTPC system case from Thermaltake, why, and how much does it cost? As for the last question, the price of such system cases is about $210-230. If you want to buy only the above-described kit (iMEDIAN software, a remote control and a 5.25” faceplate with an IR sensor and a VFD display), it comes at about $100 cheaper under the name of Thermaltake Media Lab. The price is not high at all, but if you are going to buy such a kit to use it with an ordinary home PC with a small 17” display, you are absolutely wrong. There are three times cheaper kits for controlling the media player or the mouse pointer with a remote control.
System cases like Thermaltake’s Mozart and Bach and the accompanying software are not meant for use in ordinary PCs. HTPCs are to be connected to a monitor or an LCD or plasma panel with a diagonal of 32” and higher. That would be enough for a starter, even though you’ll soon realize that a larger screen might be more appropriate. And the system will only be busy reproducing various types of multimedia content – that’s its purpose exactly. Otherwise the remote control and the specialized shell are not only useless, but even cumbersome. Just try to do some simple operations in Windows with the remote control (drag and drop a file from one folder into another in the Explorer, for example), and you will soon get mad and hurl the control smack into your (expensive) monitor.
So, text typing, active Internet surfing, archiving your media files on writable discs and other tasks are not to be performed on a HTPC. You can of course have a radio keyboard and mouse at hand for such particular tasks, yet if you seriously intend to use such a PC for anything more than just pressing Play with comfort, you will have to face some serious requirements to the peripherals. The visualization device (PC monitor, plasma panel, projector, etc) will cost much more, not to mention smaller necessities. If you clearly understand the HTPC concept and want to have a HTPC system, then you have surely made your own conclusion and need no more explanations.
But if you just want to have a remote control and a pretty display on your PC case, learn more about such devices and their purpose. 90% of such users are perfectly satisfied with a wireless keyboard with an integrated touchpad or trackball; a specialized graphical display controlled via USB makes them absolutely happy.
Besides everything else, this series of system cases from Thermaltake has one more indisputable advantage. They allow installing almost any hardware components and they are large enough to accommodate any configuration. It means you can really transform such a case into a full-fledged media center not only for reproducing media content, but also for playing today’s games. We think you’ll agree that a UT2004 match is going to be more enjoyable on a 40” LCD panel. :) If you take this approach, you will probably have to improve the system case in some minor ways, but that’s not a big problem and is a subject of some other article that will hopefully be published soon. That’s all for now, and good luck to you in building the perfect multimedia PC of your very own.