OrigenAE X10 HTPC Case Page: 1
Introduction

So you're in the market for a HTPC case. You've seen the offerings from most of the large companies, but none of them have the quality and the finishing touches for you to consider them setting next to your high end Amplifier and Widescreen TV.

Enter OrigenAE. Established as Uneed International in 2000, and later renaming themselves to OrigenAE in mid 2005, OrigenAE have rapidly grown into the worlds leading HTPC enclosure producer.

Today I'll be taking a look at their mid-range X10 model that has a lot to live up to for its £210 price tag.


Packaging

The X10 arrived in mint condition from the guys at Specialtech. No extra packaging was required, as OrigenAE had already placed the case securely inside a double walled cardboard box with large polystyrene inserts.


OrigenAE Box OrigenAE Box

OrigenAE Box OrigenAE Box

The box its self has the OrigenAE logo's displayed on the front and sides, along with a sticker informing the user exactly what model is inside. Here we can see that I have received the silver version of the X10.

Also displayed on the box are some of the basic specs of the case, including: Full ATX PSU and Motherboard support, all Aluminium construction and firewire/usb/audio front ports.

OrigenAE Plastic OrigenAE Remote

The case and remote control are kept in pristine condition by large plastic bags. It is worth noting that the remote control is supplied with 2xAA batteries. Not your usual cheap batteries either, but Philips, which should give you a good few months usage.


OrigenAE X10 HTPC Case Page: 2
Specification

"The X10 is in essence the X11's little sister. Given its pedigree, it has all of the style and the presence of its big brother but boasts a profile 20mm lower than that of its counterpart. However, this feisty temptress also has a full aluminium construct for efficient heat dispersion and sound damping, plus excellent hardware capabilities. The X10 enclosure is definitely for the discerning user who wants quality and power all contained within one aesthetically pleasing unit."

- 8mm aluminium front face plate
- 2 x 60mm exhaust fan
- Front usb, audio and firewire ports
- Matched cd/dvd drive bezel
- Blue illuminated power button
- Vibration isolation grommets
- MCE compatible IR module
- Support for 1 hard drives
- Supports full sized components




- Enclosure dimensions: 435mm X 135mm X 452mm
- Construction materials: All aluminium chassis
- Mainboard support: ATX, Micro ATX
- PSU support: ATX PSU
- PCI / AGP card support: Full size
- Drive bays:
-- 1 X 3.5" internal drive bays
-- 1 X 3.5" external drive bay
-- 1 X 5.25" external drive bay
- Cooling system: 2 X 60mm rear exhaust fans
- Expansion slots: 7
- Front I/O ports:
-- 1 X 3.5" internal drive bays
-- 1 X 3.5" external drive bay
-- 1 X 5.25" external drive bay
- Net weight: 4.54kg
- Available colours: Black, Silver

I was surprised to see that the only cooling on the X10 was in the form of 2x60mm fans. This could possibly cause some heat issues on systems that run very hot (P4 for example). Many HTPC cases I've seen have 1x120mm fans in addition to 2x60mm fans - it would have been nice if OrigenAE could have incorporated this.


OrigenAE X10 HTPC Case Page: 3
Appearance

Probably one of the most important factors when purchasing a HTPC case is the appearance. People want a case that will seamlessly match any existing audio equipment, and will not look out of place in their living room.

OrigenAE OrigenAE

OrigenAE OrigenAE

The X10 has a very simplistic design, which should not clash with any other audio/video components in your HTPC setup. The entire case is constructed entirely out of brushed aluminium and has a very high quality feel and finish.

OrigenAE OrigenAE

OrigenAE OrigenAE

OrigenAE have made every effort to make sure the lid on the X10 does not vibrate and also blocks out as much noise as possible. The underside of the lid is sealed with a thin layer of sponge, which also makes the removal of the lid smoother.

The quality of craftsmanship that has gone into the X10 is clear just by taking a look at the join between the lid and base, it's simply flawless.

OrigenAE OrigenAE

Hidden behind an aluminium plate at the front of the case are 2x USB Ports, 1x Firewire, Line In/Out ports and space for a floppy disk drive. It's surprising how many HTPC case manufacturers neglect to provide a space for a floppy disk drive, which despite its fading uses, is still often used for SATA/RAID drivers and BIOS flashing.

A feature seen on almost all HTPC cases is an LCD display, which I am please to say OrigenAE have not neglected to include. However, OrigenAE have actually gone one step further, and rather than using LCD technology, have used VFD (Vacuum fluorescent display). VFD is known for being brighter, and clearer than its LCD counterpart.


OrigenAE X10 HTPC Case Page: 4
Cooling & Accessories

One of the most prominent issues with HTPC cases is heat. Removing the heat caused by modern day components especially when crammed into a small space can be quite challenge. In addition to this many HTPC users demand that their HTPC systems be quiet - after all, you don't hear many noisy DVD players!

OrigenAE OrigenAE

OrigenAE OrigenAE

OrigenAE have attempted to solve this issue by including 2x60mm 3-pin fans to extract the hot air out of the back of the case. These fans are manufactured by JAA Technology, and rather than being your average ball/brush style fan, are in fact "Nano Ceramic". Unfortunately I was unable to find any information on these fans, but I must say that they operate very quietly.

Also included is a 80mm 4-pin fan situated in the power supply duct along the left side of the case. I would imagine that this has been included, not only to remove hot air from components such as the motherboard, but also to help the flow of hot air from the power supply exit the case.

OrigenAE

Also included on the bottom case are two vents. The larger of the two (on the left) allows for a fresh supply of air to be sucked in by the power supply. The smaller vents on the right are directly below the hard disk cage and should aid in keeping your hard disks cool during heavy usage.

OrigenAE Remote OrigenAE Accessories

OrigenAE Accessories OrigenAE Accessories

The X10 comes with almost everything needed to get you started. As expected with any case, you received the necessary screws and motherboard mounts. Also included is a 24-pin to 24-pin ATX lead, which is required in order to power the VFD display.

In order for your installed CD/DVD drive not to stick out like a sore thumb, OrigenAE have included a brushed aluminium DVD face plate which can be affixed to the front of your drive using the included sticky pad. While we are on the subject of CD's it is worth noting that OrigenAE do not provide a driver disk in with the case (for installing VFD and remote control), however, all software is available on their website.

The most exciting part of the accessories package by far is the remote control. Styled in a way that will easily fit in with the rest of the controllers in your household, the controller has buttons for every task that you'd normally use your DVD/TV controller for, plus more. It would have been nice to see the controller in some kind of brushed aluminium casing, but i'd imagine that the manufacture costs of such a unit would be quite high.


OrigenAE X10 HTPC Case Page: 5
Conclusion

Up until today I'd never heard of OrigenAE and would have been wary of purchasing one with the lack of reviews available on the net. However, it always seems to be the little known companies that come out with some really amazing products.

I'm pleased to say that OrigenAE is one of those companies. Never before have I had the pleasure of reviewing (or even owning) such a well built PC chassis. Everything fits together perfectly, and the quality of the case is impeccable.

Available at Specialtech for £207, this is no cheap case and certainly wont appeal to the budget HTPC builders among us. However, if you are looking for a HTPC case that will look perfectly at home against the highest end LCD TV's and Amplifiers, then look no further than the X10 from OrigenAE.


Pro's
- Extremely well built.
- Will compliment any home entertainment setup.
- Bright and clear VFD display.
- Functional remote control.
- Quiet cooling system.

Con's
- No CD included for VFD/Remote.
- Too expensive for some.

Editors Choice

A big thankyou to Specialtech for providing this case for review.

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