| Same as the orignal Antec Fusion, but adds MCE IR to VFD
To control the VFD, try using LCD Smartie
Strengths: Layout - Venilation - VFD - Volume knob - Stylish - Sturdy - Highly efficient PSU
Weaknesses: Max of three internal HDDs (by design) - No dust control - Front panel is very heavy without proper support; easily damaged during shipping
Summary: If you do not NEED a full ATX motherboard or more than THREE hard drives, this is the case for you. I love it, my wife loves it, and the kids can't destroy it! :)
I have mine loaded with three hard drives (used some 5.25" -> 3.5" brackets to mount a hard drive behind the VFD), a SATA DVD-ROM and two SATA HDDs running off an ASUS N4L-VM DH motherboard with a 2.0GHz Core Duo (Yonah) CPU and 2GB of DDR2-667. The dual 120mm cooling fans set on low draw so much air through the case that heat is not an issue, and the side venting makes a lot of sense for people who jam things like this into an A/V rack without giving though to exhaust air flow.
Wire management is a breeze due to the built-in clips and slots for ties. I found by rotating one of the 120mm fans 90 degrees, the cables from those were better routed.
The VFD software is super-easy to set up and fairly customizable when displaying info from the Windows desktop. If you run MCE, it will display all kinds of additinal useful information For anyone who complains, let me just say that after trying all kinds of HTPC software, I went back to MCE because IT WORKS, and works well. The Fusion V2 (now renamed the Fusion 430) adds a built-in IR receiver to the VFD for use with an MCE remote and/or wireless keyboard. This eliminates the need for the external IR receiver that normally comes with an MCE remote and makes for a much more eye (and wife) pleasing setup.
The volume knob controls the analog (Windows) volume output only, not digital (which is normal). I don't find this to be a problem when coupled with Logitech Z-680 of Z-5500 speakers since I like to set them up for Stereox2 when listening to music and then use a digital input for movies/DD5.1/DTS.
All said, you CANNOT go wrong with this case if you understand its limitations up front.
It has been reported (by those who take the time to figure these things out) that the included PSU is a highly efficient (around 85%) unit that is actually built by Seasonic.
Finally, I've been building HTPCs for 4 years or more now, and this case wraps up all of the technology we've seen develop in that time (except a touchscreen LCD). Yes, you can get a different case with more room, and your own VFD, etc., but this is a total no-brainer. I highly recommend it for both the novice and the experienced HTPCer. ;)
1) Mounting a hard drive behind the VFD traps a lot of hot air; if you do this, make sure to use some kind of hard drive cooler (there are some silent ones out there);
2) The PSU wiring works better if you take the PSU out and flip it over (holes are there);
3) Use all SATA devices to reduce clutter -- an IDE cable is unnecessarily large in this case.