You’ve decided it’s no brainer to build an HTPC. You’re right. It makes a lot of sense because you can utilize it from just organizing your music, to nearly controlling every aspect of your home theater. That being said, the first thing you need is something to pack all those components into. \r\n\r\nWhen it comes to HTPC cases, there are several important things to consider: budget, capability (i.e., will it do\/fit what you want it to), location of the case, and of course… looks.\r\n\r\nYou can spend anywhere from $59 to over $1,000 for some of the highest end offerings from some companies. I’m going to start this thread with a summary and links to some of the more well known case manufacturers. I’m going to include links to online reviews that I think may be worthwhile reading. The truth is, some cons noted on a particular case may not be a con to you. For instance, if the case is somewhat loud, you may not care since yours is housed in a cabinet. What matters to you will be very much dependent on your specific setup. So looking at some of the important aspects of cases, here are some of my initial observations as someone who’s been hemming, hawing, and research for some time about my first build.\r\n\r\nBudget\r\nAs noted above, you can spend $50, $500, or more a lot more. To some degree, you get what you pay for, but mostly the much higher priced cases have built in touchscreens that usually add a significant amount to the cost of the case. With the better cases, you usually have better cooling, better wire routing, easier installation of components, but make no mistake, you can certainly build a very find HTPC with a $55 case.\r\n\r\nCapability\r\nThe nicest, most expensive, or best value case is worthless if it can’t do what you need it to. Many of the new high end graphics cards are full length cards, they’re tall, and they generate a ton of heat all on their own. If you plan on using one of these higher end variety graphic solutions, you’ll need to pay careful attention to your case choice. It’ll need to have the room for the card itself… without compromising the installation of your other components and your case must have excellent cooling characteristics.\r\nHow many drives do you plan on installing? Some cases, for example, say you can install 5 drives. Well maybe. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Again, cooling will play a big part in that, and often times a full length card may actually limit one or more drive locations. When you start loading the case with multiple drives, multiple tuner cards, high end graphics, the case design becomes crucial.\r\n\r\nLocation\r\nMore than anything, this speaks to case noise. The more hardware you have packed in the case, the more heat you’ll have, the more cooling you’ll need, and the greater potential for fan noise you’ll end up with. There are many “silent case” solutions to address this issue, but if your case is located in a cabinet, the noise level may be a mute point (pun intended). \r\n\r\nLooks\r\nDo you want this to look like a computer, an a\/v component, or just an indiscriminant box. There are choices for all of these looks. There are a lot of slick looking cases that have 7”, even larger touchscreens on them. Some look very industrial, some look as slick as the latest receivers. Like anything, however, some create immediate excitement, but you may end up paying for fluff or unneeded or impractical options. Spend some time thinking about how important looks really are since it can add significantly to the cost… for appearance sake alone.\r\nNext… I’ll be adding links to the some of the most popular case solutions.