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 Post subject: Building HTPC - Would appreciate feedback on parts
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:01 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:41 am
Posts: 3
Hi all,

Long time reader, first time poster :)

While I've built all my gaming rigs for the past 12 years, I've never built an HTPC. At the moment, I have my gaming rig HDMI'd to our TV. That works well, but it also means I can't play if my better half is watching TV. So, as you can see, I NEED an HTPC! 8)

Expected usage:
  1. Watching series and films in 1080p;
  2. Photo/Video storage;
  3. Playing light games (i.e. World of Goo, Botanicula, emulator games, ...you get the idea);
  4. Potentially, light browsing, but as we have a tablet, it's far from being a critical requirement.

Current component selection:
  • Case: I don't know anymore... I was looking at the Silverstone FT03, but I've read bad noise level reviews.
  • PSU: be quiet! Straight Power E9 CM 580W (100eur)
  • Mobo: Asus P8Z77-M Pro (125eur)
  • CPU: Intel i3-3225 (120eur)
  • RAM: Crucial Ballistix Tactical 8Go Kit DDR3 PC3-12800 CL8 (60eur)
  • HD1: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB (105eur)
  • HD2-n: Western Digital WD20EARX (90eur, x3 for RAID5)

Finally, I need this system to run QUIET!

I would really appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Building HTPC - Would appreciate feedback on parts
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:53 am
Posts: 1310
Location: CT
Welcome to SPCR !

I have no experience with the PSU you're suggesting, but it's overly powerful for your system (I'm guessing you'll be using below 80 watts under artificial load), and is not on the editor's choice list (for 100 euros, I would pick something else).

Get a non stock cpu cooler, any one from the recommended list will do with your CPU (55W tdp is easy to cool).

Get a nice 120 mm fan from the recommended list, slow it down with either software (standard Asus software of speedfan) or hardware (9V should be plenty).

Remember that a case is quiet by default (it has no moving parts). What makes it noisy is what you put in it. In your case it's going to be a hard drive, a cpu cooler if you pick one with a fan, and the exhaust fan.

Hope it helps !

_________________
Main/gamming : Antec Solo|X-650|Asus P5Q-E|Intel Q9550@3.4GHz|HR-01 Plus 120mm Nexus @6V|Corsair 2x2Go XMS2 DHX cas 4 @4-4-4-12|Exhaust Nexus 120mm @9V|Intel X25M G2 160Gb|Samsung 1TB in SQD|2xGigabyte GTS450 OC (@900/1900/3800)|GPU fan 120mm Nexus @6V
HTPC/folder/Storage : Silverstone|E5300 with Samurai-Z|2Go RAM|GTX460@800|2x1To WD EARS|Intel X25M G2 80Go

Fold with SPCR


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 Post subject: Re: Building HTPC - Would appreciate feedback on parts
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:38 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:41 am
Posts: 3
Thanks for your reply, frenchie!

I chose this PSU because it has similar ratings as the Seasonic X-series Fanless while making practically no more noise. The extra air circulation of a quiet fan I figure is beneficial (if only to keep dust from building up in the PSU). I can go for their 480w version, but it's only 5euros less, so I figure I might as well go over and put less stress on it while opening me to the option of adding a discrete GPU down the line should I play more demanding games.

Frostytech seems to think the stock Intel CPU heatsink/fan is plenty and quiet+small to boot. I figured it would be enough. Any thoughts on that?

I get your point about a case being quiet on its own, but I'm more interested in its dampening/noise reduction capacity. The FT03 apparently has an issue with it's stock 45degree fan and HDD cages making noise. Not really the parts, but how they interact with the case.

-fragerdaz


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 Post subject: Re: Building HTPC - Would appreciate feedback on parts
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 1154
Location: UK
fragerdaz wrote:
[*]Case: I don't know anymore... I was looking at the Silverstone FT03, but I've read bad noise level reviews.

Not much of an HTPC case really and big for MicroATX. Silverstone do have a lot of HTPC specific cases which might be more interesting to you. If you really want silence then Streacom do passive cases which would make sense for this application when combined with the right components. Alternatively for something a bit planer there is the Antec NSK 2480:
http://www.antec.com/product.php?id=1147&fid=86

fragerdaz wrote:
[*]PSU: be quiet! Straight Power E9 CM 580W (100eur)

Do you need 580W? This system in the real world will be around 100W. A PicoPSU might be worth looking at as 150W will be plenty. Alternatively if you want to spend more money get a passive ATX PSU.

fragerdaz wrote:
[*]HD2-n: Western Digital WD20EARX (90eur, x3 for RAID5)

This is likely to be a major source of noise for such a system. Whatever case you go for you might well end up modding to be able to suspend the drives, thus isolating vibrations.

_________________
Silverstone SG03B: E8200, Asus P5E-VM HDMI, 2Gb RAM, Leadtek 9600GT+S1 rev. 2, Samsung 500Gb, Seasonic X-400, 2x Akasa 120mm, Scythe Zipang 2 fanless


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 Post subject: Re: Building HTPC - Would appreciate feedback on parts
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:15 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:41 am
Posts: 3
I'm surprised (somewhat disappointed) no one has replied with the suggestion of moving to a mini-ITX mobo in this scenario.
Something like the Asus P8Z77-I DELUXE...

Considering the other components and the use cases, wouldn't it be a better board with its additional case options?


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 Post subject: Re: Building HTPC - Would appreciate feedback on parts
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:28 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:53 am
Posts: 1310
Location: CT
Stock cooler might work. Try it out and see if you're happy with it. Boot with just the psu, cpu, ram and one ssd connected to the mobo (to keep other noises to a minimum), and see what the noise is like (use the computer like you would in real life, playing videos, some basic games...). If it's already too loud, replace the cpu cooler (if I were you, I'd get a nice tower cooler and run it passive = no noise)
As for mini itx, why not. It's more of an expansion slot question really... Will you ever need the extra slots ?
As for the case, there are endless options... you could make one :) Or you can pick the box you like first, and then see what fits in it. It can be tricky because some mini itx cases have clearance issues for cpu coolers, video card length, psu size, fan size.... If a box is just a container, pick the quietest components first, and then the case.

Did you check out the sample builds that SPCR put out some time ago ? It can give you an idea as to what fits in what case with noise measurements.

_________________
Main/gamming : Antec Solo|X-650|Asus P5Q-E|Intel Q9550@3.4GHz|HR-01 Plus 120mm Nexus @6V|Corsair 2x2Go XMS2 DHX cas 4 @4-4-4-12|Exhaust Nexus 120mm @9V|Intel X25M G2 160Gb|Samsung 1TB in SQD|2xGigabyte GTS450 OC (@900/1900/3800)|GPU fan 120mm Nexus @6V
HTPC/folder/Storage : Silverstone|E5300 with Samurai-Z|2Go RAM|GTX460@800|2x1To WD EARS|Intel X25M G2 80Go

Fold with SPCR


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 Post subject: Re: Building HTPC - Would appreciate feedback on parts
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:50 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 581
Location: Germany
e
fragerdaz wrote:
I'm surprised (somewhat disappointed) no one has replied with the suggestion of moving to a mini-ITX mobo in this scenario.
Something like the Asus P8Z77-I DELUXE...

Considering the other components and the use cases, wouldn't it be a better board with its additional case options?


Because you'll be charged another 30 Euro for the board alone. For HTPC usage any z77 chipset board is mere overkill. Only "excuse" to go with a Z77 board would be a superior audio part integrated, but if you need a decent audio signal a soundcard would be first choice.

And Mini-ITX cases which will run silent enough are also not really cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: Building HTPC - Would appreciate feedback on parts
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:23 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:52 am
Posts: 114
Not sure if this is something you might consider.

I found most HTPC, including the 12inch deep silverstone ones too deep, and went with an ASRock Vision HT barebone. The price seems to be within your range. It has a fan, but due to using a mobile chip couple with a rather deep blower fan, the system was quiet enough for me.


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