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Origenae AE S21 HTPC Case Review

Featuring an impressive 12.1 inch motorized TFT touch screen, removable motherboard tray, support for ten hard drives, no visible screws on the outside of a 5mm thick one-piece aluminium chassis panel, unrivalled hardware compatibility and a footprint depth of only 390mm, the S21T is possibly the craziest idea we have ever let go beyond the back-of-an-envelope concept stage, but after a year of literally blood, sweat, tears, sleepless weeks, Chinese delicacies (if you only knew) and the odd moment of divine inspiration, here it is… Combining style, innovation, and un-surpassed attention to detail, the S21T offers users the ultimate home theatre PC experience.

Features
– 12.1″ motorized TFT touch screen display
– 1920×1080 TFT resolution support
– one piece 5mm aluminium front & sides
– 1 x 120mm exhaust fan (pre-installed)
– 2 x 90mm intake fan (pre-installed)
– 1 x 120mm optional extractor module
– front media bay, usb hub, audio & firewire
– matched optical drive bezel
– removable motherboard tray
– rubber isolation hard drive screws
– supplied with IR310 Module
– supplied with IMON PAD
– support for up to 10 hard drives
– matching aluminium stylus

 

Specifications

Model Origen AE S21T
Case Type Premium HTPC chassis
Material 100% Aluminum
Drive Bays 1 – External 5.25″
10 – Internal 3.5″
Form Factor ATX, mATX
Expansion Slots 7 standard slots
Cooling System 1 x 120mm rear exhaust fan, 2 x 92mm intake fans, optional 120mm extractor module
TFT Specification
  • 12.1 ” screen size
  • 16:10 ratio
  • 1920 x 1080 max resolution
  • 1280 x 800 native resolution
  • 1 x SVGA input
  • 12V DC input
  • 9W power consumption
  • Auto power on feature
Front Access 2 x usb ports (+2 internal), 1 x firewire (1394) port, 1 x headphone (HD & AC97), 1 x microphone (HD & AC97), 1 x multi format media bay
Dimensions 435 x 220 x 390 mm (*incl. feet)
Weight ~9.8kg

 

 

Origenae AE S21 Review

  • The Origen AE S21T will set you back around $990 US Dollars or 999€s. This is by far the most expensive HTPC available in retail.
Pros

  • Incredibly well built
  • Great motorized display
  • Will run 1920 x 1080
  • 12.1 inch touch screen – holy smokes!
  • Incredibly efficient PCB layout and design
  • Quiet, even with all the fans on
  • Can take up to 10 hard drives
  • Most large CPU coolers should be fine
  • Card reader included
  • All fans are rubber mounted and come with mainboard power headers
  • Removable mainboard tray
  • Everything you will need is included
  • Great standby power button
  • White gloves for cleaning and handling
Cons

  • Price – certainly not for everyone
  • Incompatible with angled mainboard IDE or SATA headers.
  • The use of a large graphics card will reduce hard drive bays to five.
  • Large PSUs and some CPU coolers will not fit.
  • No application CD included
  • Is a fingerprint magnet
  • No wireless keyboard included
ConclusionThe Origen AE S21T is the most expensive and exclusive HTPC money can buy. It ships with features not found on any other such enclosure. Because of the price you should only expect the best in each area and the case delivers in most cases. The S21T manages to swallow a whooping 10 hard drives, which is already a feat in itself, considering the overall dimensions. This on the other hand limits graphics card and power supply choices, for a case which only deserves the best parts. This is the S21T biggest drawback. Odds are you want to place a modern high-end VGA card inside the system alongside a speedy multi core CPU and loads memory, all topped off by a next generation optical drive. All of these things take a lot of juice, which you may find youself short on, especially if you decide to place two Radeon HD2900 XT in CrossFire with 5 hard drives and a Quad-Core CPU.
All of these shortcomings are easily overlooked when you first turn on the HTPC and drop the motorized display down – your jaw will drop seconds later. It is like looking into a puppy’s eyes – you just cannot be anything but smile from ear to ear. The touch screen is responsive, incredibly accurate and can handle 1920 x 1080 – somewhat. Origen has placed the bar for innovation, design and price very high and I doubt anyone will manage to raise it any higher for a long time.

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