Thermaltake’s SD100 small home theater chassis stands out as a case that blends in extremely well. Think about that for a moment. The glossy black finish, the small footprint, and the silver buttons make for a computer case that would make any home theater setup look better without drawing much attention. For installation, Thermaltake did an excellent job designing the interior to maximize cooling while giving users enough room to fit components easily. With solid construction, a great air filter, and quiet fans, the SD100 serves as a great entry level HTPC case.
However, beyond its finish and quiet cooling, the case offers no additional advantages to users looking to build a dream HTPC. While it would certainly have been a tight fit to attempt to include an LCD, there was no built-in support for volume control, no external media buttons, or the convenient IR sensor for a remote control. While the exterior looks very clean and shiny, there was nothing to cover up the glaring USB and sound ports that broke up the otherwise smooth front aesthetic. The power and reset buttons were very tasteful, and I wholly appreciated the power LED’s ring of light, but I felt the hard drive light’s blinking unfortunately detracted from the case’s midnight appeal while adding no practical benefit.
At the original suggested price of $199, I admit I would not recommend this case unless the rest of your home theater setup included glossy black components with silver buttons. However, now that the case can be purchased for $84.99, the case moves back into a reasonable position capable of competing with similarly designed chassis. With the excellent ventilation, this case would be highly recommended for Mini-ITX motherboards that run hot or are meant to run without a CPU fan at all. Lastly, a slot-loading optical drive may go a long way to adding a bit of that wow factor we all so desperately want in our technology.
Legit Bottom Line: As an entry-level HTPC case, Thermaltake’s SD100 is well constructed and fashionable despite the visible ports and hard drive light. It would be a great addition to any home theater setup, especially if you can buy it on sale.