I wanted it in the loungeroom of course - in our TV cabinet, which is one of those white lowline ones with our 47 inch LCD Sony bolted to the wall (by the way, if you're in Australia, don't pay two or three hundred dollars for a TV bracket... Harvey Norman and Goodguys are being bad - hoping you wont notice a mere couple of hundred bucks that they are adding onto the price of that bracket. Buy one from Selbys Accoustics - they are very sturdy and ours cost about $80 - including delivery!)
Unfortunately, the shelves in this are very close together - in fact, 10 cm is the maximum height of the case. This was actually very limiting, as nearly all of the special HTPC cases around are higher than this.
Also I was quite specific about colours - I didnt want brushed metal and I didnt want it to look like a 1970's amplifier.
But I kept hunting and it came down to a choice of two:
The Foxconn DH-045
The Foxconn was around $100, but the Lian Li was in some places $350 !
Wow - thats something I was learning fast, is that these cases are usually not cheap! In fact, this could be the most expensive component by far.
The other thing is that different sized cases take different sized motherboards - a motherboard is the bit in the computer that the processor and all the other electronic bits plug into. Its affectionatly known as a "MoBo" for short.
Motherboards come in lots of sizes - the most common being called "ATX formfactor". The bigger the motherboard, the more that can go on it
Thanks wikipedia for the pic
I chose the case, based on what will fit in the spot, and then was restricted to the appropriate motherboard size.
In my case, it was a Micro-ATX sized board that I would be working with. At the moment, this will put a ceiling on how powerful the machine can be, but it will still be more than fast enough for a HTPC.
In parrallel I checked what was the exact Mobo, CPU, RAM and Graphics card I needed - along with the Power supply - just to make sure that it would all fit in the box and could be powered.
Which case did I get?
The Lian Li of course! But didn't pay $350 for it - but $200 from DDComputers.com.au. Nice - was delivered the same day I ordered.
These cases are a work of art and I can see how they cost so much. Every screw is completely flush with the case, the buttons are a marvel of engineering and the whole case is aircraft aluminium.
Expensive? Yes - a rip off? Not at $200.
The absolute best site for getting the best deal on any of your computer stuff is http://www.staticice.com.au/ - a special search engine that will hunt the best price from hundreds of little independent computer shops in Australia. This is how I'll get most of my components and will save me hundreds of dollars.
I've heard that http://www.newegg.com/ is a great place to get stuff in the US.
Here are some photos
If the embedded object doesnt work, then just click here for Youtube: