Zalman HD160XT - Ultimate Home Theater Case

Article Index
Zalman HD160XT - Ultimate Home Theater Case
Case Specifications and Test Setup
HTPC System Installation and Features
Software Installation and Usage
The Remote - Up Close
Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Product: Zalman HD160XT HTPC Case
Provided By: Zalman USA
Price: ~$550.00 USD (~620.00 CDN)



Home theater PC's are becoming more and more popular these days, everyone wants an all-in-one PC that can play music, movies, games and whatever else you can imagine. One of the biggest tasks when building a HTPC is finding the perfect case that will fit nicely with all your other stereo and TV components, the last thing you want it a ugly old beige case sitting beside your TV.

A while back we took a look at the Zalman HD135 HTPC Case, and today we are going to look at the big brother of that case, the HD160XT case. There are definite similarities between the two cases, but the HD160XT takes things to a new level with the touchscreen.

This case is one of the most feature-rich HTPC cases on the market, and even includes a 7" touchscreen on the front of the case. Zalman is famous for producing some very high quality cases, let's see if this is yet another in a long line of winners.


First Impressions:

The HD160XT comes in a pretty standard box, and easily withstood the beating that the mail system threw at it. Inside you'll find everything you need to get started. The box is nice and sturdy, and when I needed to haul this case to a LAN party, I was able to easily reuse the box with no problems.

This case is entirely made of aluminum, it's not the lightest case I've ever seen, but it's not as heavy as many others that are made of steel.


Zalman Box
Box (Open)


The HD160XT is designed to fit a full ATX system board, as well as a ATX power supply, which is always nice since some of the small form factor gear can be more expensive and sometimes not perform as well.


Front of Case

Case Controls and CD-Rom Opening


As you can tell from the pictures below, the HD160XT comes with a card reader built-in, which is always a great feature for a media PC. The card reader is hidden by a flip-down panel on the front of the case so when you're not using the reader it's out of sight. The flip-down panel also hides a speaker and microphone jack, as well as 2 USB ports and one Firewire port.


Front of Case (Panel Open)
Card Reader


Also you can also tell, this case has A LOT of vents for cooling, two vents on the side, one on the bottom, an adjustable vent on the top, as well as two fans on the back, with all that airflow it's not too tough to keep everything running nice and cool.


Bottom Vent
Left Side Vents


Rear Vents
Adjustable Top Vent


As you might be able to see on the above pictures, the top of the case is removable, however, you're going to have to take out 6 screws to get it off. It's sort of a pain to have to take that many screws out, and very shortly after removing the cover a couple times I began to leave out the 2 screws on both sides, and just put in the 2 screws on the back of the case. It would have been nice to have not so many screws holding down the cover, but on a positive note, your top cover isn't going anywhere.


The accessories that are included with the HD160XT are pretty standard, you've got your remote, setup guides, software, screws, and misc. cables. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but definitely everything you need to get you all up and running.