Hi all. I'm a long-time reader, first-time poster. I've been running an HTPC for some 7 years now. The system has served me well over the years but just isn't up to dealing with modern 1080p content. I'm planning on getting an nice shiny HD TV in the January sales and will need to bring my HTPC up to date in order to play HD content.
For me, near-silent running is paramount for an HTPC. Yes, you can't hear the PC running when a film is on or music is playing however the TV is not always on and I like the lounge to be quiet when it's not on. The PC will be dedicated to media playing and I will be doing nothing else with it at all. I'd like the kit to fit in with my existing HiFi gear and consequently am looking at an Antec NSK2480 or a Fusion v2
This brings me to my first question. Primarily, I'm going to be controlling this by IR. The Fusion v2 comes with an integral MCE-compatible IR receiver but I've read here on SPCR that there are some issues with the VFD/Volume control drivers on the Fusion. The review was over a year ago now and I note that the original review case did not include an IR receiver, so I can only assume that the case has been updated since the review. Anyone know if the issues reported on this review page
are still a problem for the Fusion v2? Also, can anyone confirm that the Fusion v2 uses IR and not IRDA (ie. it uses the same wavelengths as standard HiFi equipment remote controls and should work with most universal remotes)?
I'm going to load the HTPC case with an Asus M2A-VM HDMI
motherboard running an AMD 64 X2 BE-2400+
processor. These seem like the better option at the moment for my application. The onboard graphics and sound provide everything I need without my having to buy additional heat-generating hardware. Certainly video playback will be fine as tested in this review
and it's got integrated HDMI output to go straight to the TV. I've some concerns about the audio as I've yet to encounter a single integrated audio solution that did not suffer from interference noise from other motherboard components. Guess, I'll have to test it out but I'm expecting to have to buy an after-market sound-card as well.
I've not yet decided what CPU cooler to put on the processor as yet. From what I've read in these forums, I've got around 110mm clearance. The Scythe Ninja Mini should fit but I've not seen a review of these on SPCR and that makes me a little nervous. Add in the fact that this only fits an 80mm fan and I get really antsy. I could run it passive and fit two 120mm exhaust fans on the case (probably Nexus or Noctua) but I'm not sure this will work. Any advice on CPU coolers?
HDD isn't a problem. I run a big ol' noisy fileserver in the loft. It's got plenty of storage and I'll be streaming all media content from this machine. A small notebook drive will suffice. I'll pick something nearer the time. I've considered network booting but I think that's probably taking things a little too far.
Finally, there's the PSU. The case comes with it's own PSU which I'm considering keeping. I've had some experience of Antec PSUs in the past, most die within a couple of years and I'm not sure they're passing enough airflow through to keep the componentry cool. I've had to swap out for Seasonic PSUs a couple of times (I've used Antec Sonata cases fairly extensively in the past) and am considering jus taking out the PSU straight away. At peak the system should use a little under 90W. This means I might be able to fit in a Pico PSU. They do a 90W PSU kit
but the numbers don't seem to add up. The kit features a AC-DC 12V, 5A Switching Power Adapter (110/220V)...doesn't this mean it will output 60W (12v * 5A) as a maximum? The other option is the 120W kit and that features a nasty 36dbA fan as reported in this review
. This seems to only kick in at 90W load, so I *should* be OK...but again, this makes me a little nervous. Are my calculations on the 90W supply wrong? I'm thinking I should probably take the safe route and go with the Antec supply and upgrade to the smallest Seasonic I can find once that dies. Any advice guys?
Anyway, that's about all the questions I have for now. Any guidance would be much appreciated.