4 years ago, I posted a thread about my Tri-Monitor Rackmount PC
. Somehow it managed find its way onto the front page of Digg and ended up with 340,000 page views!
I decided recently to upgrade both my desktop PC and my Home Theatre PC to Sandy Bridge, so thought I'd post some photos and stuff here for your amusement.
- Fast desktop PC for web browsing, photo editing and general use (don't really play games)
- Quiet HTPC for live TV, movies and music
- Low power consumption
- Reuse some of the old components
Here's what I chose:
For my Desktop PC:
- Core i5-2500K
- MSI P67A-G45 motherboard
- 2x2Gb Corsair Vengence DDR3 1600Mhz 1.50V
- 2xAMD Radeon HD6450 DDR3 512Mb
- 120Gb OCZ Vertex 3 SSD
- TBS8290 DVB-S2 PCI satellite card
For my HTPC:
- Core i3-2100T
- MSI H61MU-E35 motherboard
- 1x4Gb Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333Mhz 1.50V
- TBS6981 dual DVB-S2 PCI-E satellite card
Let's start with my desktop PC.
I've moved house since my last build and decided to bring along my 19" 12U rackmount cabinet, even though I have fewer rooms now. It's great for squeezing in lots of electronics into a small(ish) space. It's now sporting a Playstation 3 too.
It has a 24 port patch panel and 16 port managed Gigabit switch (Dell PowerConnect 2716). My apartment is cabled up with cat-6, so this also connects up to another switch in my living room as well as my wireless router and VOIP box.
The new motherboard has no IDE ports so I junked the DVD writer as it never got used. This frees up space for better cable management. My old 250Gb hard drive is still in place in a Scythe Quiet Drive enclosure and I'm reusing my Xilence Office Edition 460W Semi Fanless PSU. Both the Vertex 3 SSD and the hard drive are connected to SATA 6Gb/s ports.
I also reused the Noctua NH-9U heatsink from my old PC. Massive thumbs-up to Noctua - they sent me a conversion kit (NM-I3) free-of-charge all the way from Austria to allow me to use my 4 year old heatsink on the LGA1155. Seriously impressive and I will definitely buy a Noctua heatsink next time!
The Noctua is easy to fit, but does require removal of the motherboard in order to fit a backplate.
Gratuitous picture of my OCZ Vertex 3. Droooool. Benchmarks later...
My room is quite small so I found a glass corner desk that is just big enough for my three Dell 2007FP monitors. These give me a desktop resolution of 4800x1200.
But three monitors is never enough! I bought an Optoma HD67 DLP projector for movies and TV. I fitted it on a floating shelf and ran the power and HDMI cable inside the wall. The projector is absolutely the best component I've bought!
This rocks! It casts a 75" image next to the three monitors.
Toggle bolts just to make sure it doesn't rip itself off the wall and result in my untimely death.
Just a quick mention of my VIA EPIA EN12000E. I built this 4 years ago mainly for Network Attached Storage. It's still running perfectly (now with a vLited Windows 7 instead of Debian) with the main OS on an industrial 8Gb Compact Flash card. Current uptime is over 400 days!
Next up is my Home Theatre PC with Core-i3 2100T.
Bottom box is the PC. It's a Claritas 390A from Stands Unique
. It's has a gorgeous 10mm thick anodized aluminium front and room for a full size motherboard and microATX PSU.
I bought the case in 2006 and this will be its third set of components.
Again, I sacrificed the DVD writer as I never used it. All my music and movies are on the hard disk anyway. I replaced the PSU yesterday with a PicoPSU-90 and FSP 75W AC/DC adapter, but it intermittently failed to boot, so I've reverted back to the Seasonic PSU. This PC makes very little noise. Windows 7 and recorded TV are on a 2.5" HD and it has a 2Tb 3.5" HD for movies. I'll probably get a cheap SSD just for the OS. I've added Acoustipack foam to part of the case and lid for some more noise reduction.
I'm going to replace the TV stand with something a lot nicer, but haven't worked out quite what yet.
My china blue leather Chesterfield sofa. Most important part of the HTPC :p
So, where does my TV signal come from?
Here is the Sqish
satellite dish on my balcony. This is a quad-LNB dish that is only 8cm thick. As I live in an apartment, there is nowhere to fit a regular dish. I wanted satellite TV with multiple inputs and was lucky that my balcony has a clear view of the sky. I get a good signal even though the Sqish is behind the glass railings.
After a bit of drilling through walls, I have two inputs into my HTPC (using a TBS6981 DVB-S2 PCI-E card) and two inputs to my desktop PC (although only using one input with a TBS8920 PCI)
Using Windows Media Centre in Win7, I have the Freesat HD service (I'm in the UK). This gives me all the main free channels and also five High Definition channels (BBC One HD, ITV 1 HD, Channel 4 HD, BBC HD and NHK World).
Here's the ATTO scores for my Vertex 3. It takes about 10 seconds to boot into Windows and I think it took about 10 minutes to install Windows 7!
That's all for now. Hope you enjoyed it.