PiixL, a newcomer to the PC chassis market and relatively small start-up OEM PC partner in the UK, has debuted a PC chassis design that fits into your living room without you realising that its there.
The Jetpack will be demonstrated at CES 2014 and PiixL says they’re going to be marketing it as both a traditional HTPC chassis and (wait for it) … a Steam Machine.
The Jetpack is a slim HTPC chassis that bolts to the back of your TV using the standard VESA mounts on the rear. The Jetpack accommodates a wide array of hardware, packing in space for a dual-slot discrete graphics card, a mini-ITX motherboard from Intel or AMD, and support for stock and low-profile heatsink designs.
PiixL even sees a use-case where the Jetpack is mounted underneath a table, although I’m not sure why you’d do that unless it’s mated to a giant touch screen.
There’s also space for two 2.5-inch hard drives, a single 3.5-inch hard drive or card reader, and a slim DVD reader using extended SATA cables. The extensions are necessary because the Jetpack actually splits itself in two to properly mount onto some very large TV sets.
A flap on the chassis hides the front panel ports and DVD drive. Although the design at this stage appears to still be a concept (PiixL hasn’t decided on official specifications just yet) it does appear very functional. The chassis uses a set of sliding rails to extend to support TVs up to 170cm wide.
Although it is a very nice idea, I can see a few issues with it. If you mount it behind a TV that produces a lot of heat, the CPU fan will be sucking all of that into the chassis at the top. The way the GPU mounts in, it sucks in air pulled from the other side of the chassis. If it’s mounted to a brick wall, that means some brick dust will inevitably be sucked in through the GPU’s fan and heatsink.
It appears that Valve’s Steam Machines initiative is bringing a lot of companies out showing their support for it and it could spark a new wave of desktop computing devices that have been reimagined to bring the fight to the living room and console market.
With the shift still in its early days, will you be hopping on the wagon for this one? Let us know in the comments below and in our forums.