A case of Less really is Less.
Inside the Ahanix D.Vine D5 there is room for a full size ATX main board and 7 full height expansion boards. Micro ATX boards are also accepted. This has the advantage that a HTPC built into this can be made from the leftovers of PC upgrades helping to keep costs down - not to mention having more choice of components and room to fit fancy stuff!
Apart from the two 60 mm case fans the only other aid to cooling is a grill on the underside of the case below the disk drives. If, like me you have a media server running 24/7 then this case might find itself running a little on the hot side, especially if you mod extra drives into it.
Despite its gargantuan proportions, officially the Ahanix D.Vine D5 has bays for only one 5.25” optical drive and one hard drive. Even given the ever-increasing capacities of modern hard drives, having only one is a severe limitation for a HTPC. It is possible to fit a second hard drive underneath the optical drive although cabling may be problematic. There is space inside the Ahanix D.Vine D5 to fit more drives should you get the modding urge - but you should not really have to at this price level and with this amount of free space.
The included PSU, (ATX 2.03 compliant), has three drive connectors and a single SATA adapter. One for each drive and one for the power LED! Not exactly great considering you might need extra for the motherboard and graphics card - and no PCI Express connector. The PSU falls well short of what we'd expect at this price.
There are only six main board-mounting pillars which leaves the front edge of the board unsupported, (usually where the drive connectors and Ram sit). The left hand picture below shows a Micro ATX board, which only uses four of the mounts leaving the PCI slots unsupported. This is hardly ideal given the amount of stress that area of the board is subject to when inserting cables etc.
The right hand picture shows how much space is left either side of the central drive bay for fitting extra bays if required. Another point worth mentioning is the close proximity the CPU cooler has to the PSU. Ideally a HTPC should be silent but "silent" coolers tend to be somewhat large and will not fit in this case. Maybe all that extra space could accommodate a water-cooling set-up?
In use, the “ultra quiet” fans did turn out to be virtually silent, which surprised us. Unfortunately the PSU fan, whilst not exactly loud, could hardly be described as silent and may be a distraction when using this case. Since regular ATX sized supplies will not fit, swapping for a quieter model may be a problem. Again, at this price point noise should not be an issue, and there's no reason that we shouldn't be able to put a standard ATX supply in this case - especially given the lack of connectors on the existing one!
All in all, this is a nice looking case, no doubt about it. On one side, it is large enough to take full sized components, is stylish and of a very high build quality. However, the pretty awful PSU and the lack of front panel connectors, as well as shortcomings internally, really let it down.
- Size – Can take a full size mainboard and expansion cards.
- Might blend in with the rest of your AV kit.
- Build quality.
- Quiet case fans.
- Size – May be too big to fit in/on Hi-fi rack or cabinet.
- No front connectors.
- Only one hard drive bay. (Two at a push).
- Will not take full size PSU.
- PSU fan noise.
- Poor internal design.
In short, the Ahanix D.Vine D5 is a nice case that misses its intended target.