Sorry if this is not the place to be posting this but I wanted to share my experience of building a small quiet pc as I wish I had been able to find more user articles before I started.
What I was tring to achieve :
I wanted a really small, very quiet system for watching dvd and divx on. I could have bought the KISS DVD player as this does both but I decided I would have something more versatile if I built my own player. Plus I would be able to do more with it like internet browsing, mp3, etc.
The equipment :
Jetway BN860T motherboard
Pentium III Celeron 1200 Tualatin
256Mb PC133 memory
80Gb Barracuda IV HD
Cubid 2688R mini-itx case
Toshiba SD-C2402 slimline dvd drive
NO FANS !!!
First of all, I would like people to know that if at all possible avoid Jetway motherboards (in my opinion). This is my first experience of them and I am less than impressed. The box stated that the FSB could be set to 66mhz but it cant. The box also stated that the voltage could be changed in the bios but it cant. The manual is average and some the features likewise.
Also, if you pop over to www.mini-itx.com
and read the review of the BN860T, you will believe that the board easily fits into the Cubid 2688R case. Unfortunately this is not quite true - there is a small board screwed into the front of the case which has to be unscrewed and pushed forward to make space for the BN860T. And then it cant be screwed back in as the motherboard is in the way. However, it seems happy just sitting there.
One great feature of this case is that it uses an external, silent power supply like those you get with laptops. This provides about 54W of power so you are not going to be running a lot of devices on this system. Then again, this case is too small to pack much in anyway.
Once the board is in, everything else is easy and soon I was ready to install the OS. The CPU was installed with a simple HS, no fan.
On powering up the machine for the first time, I was greeted by a constant high pitch beep and nothing on screen. I decided to remove everything and start again. This time it started up - I think this board is very fussy about the memory and that was where the problem lied.
The first thing I noticed was that the screen was creating a wave effect down the screen. Nonetheless I proceeded into the bios where I first noticed the 66mhz FSB and voltage settings were not present. I needed these as I intended on running the Celeron at 66mhz and reduced voltage to try and avoid needing a fan on the CPU.
The CPU was getting really hot so at this point I realised that this was not going to be an option (at least until a bios update is released). I had a VIA C3 933 chip and so went with this instead. This was only going to be a multimedia player at the endof the day and this _should_ be sufficient.
I then installed Windows XP on the system. It took very slightly longer than it did on my Athlon XP 1800 system but nothing much in it. On first boot after install, all devices were detected and drivers installed. I installed the latest VIA 4in1 driver and the VGA driver (for TV out support). Once in Windows the wave effect had disappeared - due to the refresh rate changing I guess and everyhting seemed fine.
Testing DVD video, the dvd drive was very quiet but the picture wasnt quite stable. I tried a Divx I had and found that this played fairly well. MP3s sounded good considering I'm just using the onboard sound.
TV Output was abysmal. The picture doesnt go to the edge of the TV and is no where near straight (wave edges). Its unusable. This machine really needs a video card. Fortunately I always planned on doing this anyway and have ordered a PCI ATI All In Wonder card as I plan on using this system to record TV too. That will come on Monday so hopefully that will solve these problems and take a lot of the burden of DVD playback off the CPU.
However, this system is really quiet. Not quite totally silent - but it can only be heard in a VERY quiet room. The only noise comes from the DVD drive when it is reading data dvds. When reading dvd video or CDs it is fine. The only other slight noise is the HD but this is only slight. If I can find a way of decoupling the drive in the small space available then it will be totally silent. The fact there is not a single fan in this system makes it really easy to keep the noise down.
But my advice to you is - only buy the Jetway BN860T if you want a mini-itx sized system but wont something more powerful than a VIA C3. If I had known that I would end up putting a C3 in it anyway, I would not have bought it.
But I do recommend everything else if you require a similar system. But a top end gaming machine it most certainly isnt.