The Zalman HD160XT enclosure is assembled from heavy gauge aluminum panels and extruded aluminum pieces. All of the parts are bolted together with machine screws — no stamped parts or pop rivets here. This type of construction results in a rigid, high-quality chassis. The HD160XT is large and relatively heavy for an all aluminum enclosure. The overall fit-and-finish and attention to details is excellent. I really like the new front panel layout, which is intended to blend right in with other high-end AV components. From the front, the dimensions and style of the HD160XT match my Denon receiver perfectly.
The brushed aluminum front panel is a solid aluminum extrusion and is a full 8mm (.315′) thick. Zalman has a well earned reputation for doing things right and the HD160XT is no exception. The styling is simple, but elegant, with clean lines and subtle features. The front panel openings for the LCD display, ODD and control buttons are machine beveled and all of the lettering is clearly laser-etched.
1. IR Remote Control Receiver
2. System Power Indicator
3. Power On-Off Button
4. LCD Settings: On/Off, Menu, Select/Auto, Up, Down
5. Front I/O Ports: Mic, Headphones, 1394, USB 2.0 x2
6. Card Reader: MS/Pro/Duo, CF/Micro drive,
7. Keyboard Arrow Keys: Up, Down, Left, Right
8. Multimedia Player Launcher/Enter
10. Volume Control Knob/Mute (push)
11. ODD Tray Open/Close
The card reader slots and I/O ports are concealed behind a sleek, hinged door that swings down for access. The door moves with a smooth fluid motion and is held closed by magnetic catches. All of the controls have a nice solid feel to them, including the volume control knob, which is a subtle but noticeable improvement over the original HD160 HTPC.
The buttons underneath the LCD display provide access to the LCD setup menu, which offers quite a few adjustments. The buttons to the left of the volume control knob provide direct access to some MCE multimedia features and limited navigation capabilities when a keyboard isn’t connected to the HTPC.
The HD160XT includes an aluminum trim piece that is designed to replace the standard plastic drawer front on an optical drive for a professional, uniform look. It attaches with double-sided tape and fit the Sony DVD drive I used perfectly.
A quick look at the bottom of the HD160XT chassis reveals four large audio equipment style feet and one of the four exhaust fan openings, located in front of the power supply area.