OrigenAE X15e HTPC ATX Case Page: 1
Introduction

A short while ago I reviewed OrigenAE's X10 case. Being highly impressed with its overall build quality and attention to detail the case managed to obtain our 'Editors Choice' award, and a total score of 8/10.

After seeing our review, OrigenAE asked if we'd like to take a look at their flagship model, the X15e. Intrigued as to how OrigenAE could make what was almost a perfect case any better I just had to take a look.


Packaging

The X15e arrived in perfect condition all the way from OrigenAE's Marketing / Sales offices in France. Using very similar packaging to the X10, the X15e is contained within a double walled cardboard box, and is protected by two oversized polystyrene inserts. Even the roughest of couriers would have problems causing any damage to the X15e in this packaging.

OrigenAE X15e Packaging OrigenAE X15e Packaging

OrigenAE X15e Packaging OrigenAE X15e Packaging

Keeping it nice and simple, OrigenAE have printed their logo on the top and sides of the box. To let you know what's contained inside OrigenAE have placed a sticker on the top of the box. From the images above we can see that I've been sent the black version of the X15e.

Also included on the side of the box is a specification sticker, which gives you some of the basic information about the case. Here we can see that the X15e has a 7" Touchscreen display, Full ATX motherboard and PSU support and an all Aluminium construction amongst other things.

Something that's not shown in the pictures above is the protective polystyrene layer that covers the front of the case. This prevents any harm from coming to the LCD display during transit.

OrigenAE X15e Packaging OrigenAE X15e Packaging

Typical English summer time weather was clearly in effect during the photo shoot, with half of the images looking under-exposed as the sun hid behind the clouds.

OrigenAE have placed the X15e inside a plastic bag, and have also gone to the extra trouble of protecting the LCD screen with a plastic cover. Hopefully this should ensure that no nasty scratches find their way on to your purchase.


OrigenAE X15e HTPC ATX Case Page: 2
Specification

"The Origen AE X15 home theatre pc chassis sets new standards in HTPC aesthetics and functionality.

Exquisite contemporary design coupled with an all aluminium construction, and the introduction for the first time in a HTPC chassis of an integrated 7" TFT touch screen Origen AE brings you, what has already become, a design classic and one of the most sort after pc chassis in the marketplace today."


- 7" TFT touch screen display
- 8mm aluminium front face plate
- 2x 80mm exhaust fans
- Front usb, audio and firewire ports
- Matched cd/dvd drive bezel
- Blue illuminated power button
- Vibration isolation grommets
- MCE compatible IR module
- Support for 3 hard drives


X15e X15e X15e

X15e X15e X15e

- Enclosure dimensions: 435mm X 155mm X 420mm
- Construction materials: All aluminium chassis
- Mainboard support: ATX, Micro ATX
- PSU support: ATX
- PCI / AGP card support: Full size
- Drive bays:
-- 3 X 3.5" internal drive bays
-- 1 X 3.5" external drive bay
-- 1 X 5.25" external drive bay
- Cooling system:
-- 2x 80mm rear exhaust fans
-- 1x 80mm PSU cage fan
- Expansion slots: 7
- Front I/O ports:
-- 2 X usb ports
-- 1 X firewire (1394) port
-- 1 X line in
-- 1 X line out
-- 1 X microphone
- Net weight: 4.54kg
- Available colours: Black, Silver
- TFT specification:
-- 7" screen size
-- 15:9 ratio
-- 1024 x 768 max resolution
-- 1 x svga input
-- 12v dc input
-- 9w power consumption

In many respects the specifications of the X15e are similar to that of the X10. However, it's good to see that OrigenAE have upgraded the cooling on the X15e by adding an 80mm fan to the hard disk cage.

At this point, the largest difference between the X10 and X15e enclosure appears to be the inclusion of the 7" LCD display, however when we take a look at the layout over the next few pages, we'll see some even greater changes emerging.


OrigenAE X15e HTPC ATX Case Page: 3
Appearance

Being significantly taller than its sibling the X10, some of us may have problems fitting the X15e under our TV stands along with other equipment such as Amplifiers or Satellite receivers. I'd strongly recommend that anybody considering the X15e should measure the available space in their TV units/stands to avoid disappointment.

X15e Case X15e Case

X15e Case X15e Case

The first thing I noticed about the X15e (apart from the huge 7" LCD) was the quality of 'brushing' on the aluminium. In comparison with other brushed aluminium cases (including the X10), the X15e has much deeper and defined brushing. This gives the case a very high quality feel, but also tends to pick up (and retain) dust and other marks very easily.

Its great to see that the same high level of workmanship has gone into ensuring that the case lid fits perfectly with the rest of the case as previously seen on the X10.

X15e Inside X15e Inside

X15e Inside X15e Inside

Looking inside the X15e, we can see that the same level of craftsmanship has been continued throughout. The internals of the X15e, including items such as the hard disk cage are all in brushed aluminium, which shows OrigenAE's dedication to the finer details.

The layout of the X15e is very similar to that of a standard PC tower case (just laid flat). This is a great bonus, as just about every component you can fit inside an ordinary PC case should also fit inside the X15e.

Improving on the noise dampening features of the X10, the X15e provides rubber grommets for all Hard Disk / DVD drive mounting bays and foam pads to further dampen the vibration of the hard disks.

X15e LCD X15e LCD

Possibly the greatest feature of the X15e is its drool-worthy 7" touch screen LCD. Powered by 12v using a molex connector directly from your power supply, the LCD is very easy to get up and running with little effort.

In order to send the picture from your graphics card to the display, you need to use the included loop-back VGA cable, which connects directly between your graphics card VGA (D-Style) output and the input on the lower PCI bracket at the back of the case.

The quality of the display is excellent, running at a maximum resolution of 1024x768. All aspects of the display can be changed using the OCD (on screen display), accessible by simply pressing the relevant button on the front of the case.

Unfortunately, I was unable to test some of the more advanced features of the display (such as the touch screen and remote control) as these required for a working PC system to be installed inside the of the case.


OrigenAE X15e HTPC ATX Case Page: 4
Cooling & Accessories

Cooling, especially in HTPC cases is a double-edged sword. On one hand you need the best cooling possible to prevent any failures due to overheating components, yet on the other hand you don't want a HTPC in your living room that sounds like a vacuum cleaner!

X15e Cooling X15e Cooling

The main cooling capabilities of the X15e come from the two 80mm JAA Technology "Nano Ceramic" fans installed at the back of the case. These fans are very similar in specification to those installed on the X10 case, but rather than having 3-pin motherboard connectors, have 4-pin molex connectors. This is rather a puzzling change made by OrigenAE, as 3-pin fans have the advantage of being speed controlled by most motherboards.

Unfortunately I was unable to find the exact specifications of these fans, but I must say that they operate very quietly.

X15e Cooling X15e Case

Taking a look underneath the X15e we can see two large ventilated areas. The vents on the left side of the case are responsible for cooling the hard disk cage, which is also actively cooled by an 80mm JAA Technology fan. The vents located on the right side of the case are responsible for providing fresh air to the power supply, which is installed nearby.

X15e Accessories X15e Accessories

Moving on to the accessories included with the X15e, we can see that it comes with two remote controls. The smaller of the two remotes is bundled as part of the LCD screen and is capable of performing all of the functions present on the LCD display. Also included is a small plastic pen for use on the touchscreen so that you don't get any mucky fingerprints on it.

The larger remote is exactly the same model included with the X10, and is capable of controlling all aspects of TV/DVD functionality on your HTPC. You will however need to download the drivers from OrigenAE's website, as no driver disk is included.

X15e Accessories X15e Accessories

X15e Accessories X15e Accessories

OrigenAE have included the necessary cables to get the LCD display up and running. The installation is very simple, only requiring the VGA cable above to be connected between the VGA output on your graphics card, and the VGA input bracket at the back of the case.

To prevent your beige DVD drive from sticking 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 provided sticky pad.

As you'd expect, a large bag of screws along with some cable tidies has also been provided.


OrigenAE X15e HTPC ATX Case Page: 5
Conclusion

With a price tag of around £499.95 at SpecialTech I was expecting something special from OrigenAE, and I'm pleased to say that is exactly what I got. The X15e is the Bentley of the HTPC enclosure world, and no other case I've ever seen or reviewed comes close to its attention to detail and craftsmanship.

OrigenAE have produced a case that fits in perfectly with even the most high-end of AV equipment, and wouldn't look out of place in a superstar's living room.

Functionality wise, the touchscreen display is amazing, making navigating around WindowsMCE a breeze. This coupled with the included remote controls, means that watching your favourite Video's or TV shows requires no extra effort than your pre-HTPC days.

Pro's
+ Amazing brushed Aluminium finish
+ Impeccable build quality
+ Noise dampening features
+ High quality 7" LCD touchscreen display
+ Functional remote controls.
+ Quiet cooling system
+ Spacious
+ Full ATX compatibility

Con's
- Extremely high price tag
- No software included

Editors Choice

Thanks to Emmanuelle at OrigenAE for making this review possible.

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