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 Post subject: seeking fanless HTPC suggestions
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:50 am
Posts: 26
Would appreciate suggestions for building or buying a fanless non-gaming HTPC.

I've read many posts on this and other forums, but most builds are for systems that can do gaming and/or seem to be more powerful than what I need -- which is:

<$500, if possible (including $80 120GB SSD, $50 8GB RAM, $90 Win8)
low power (e.g., <20 watts, as the system will always be on)
fanless (no fans anywhere)
Windows Media Center (for recording and playing video, only)
IR (or via USB)
wired Ethernet (Wi-fi not needed, but okay if present)
any size case (no need for a super small case)
room for an SSD drive (any SATA form factor)
the usual HTPC ports
no optical drive, no hard drive, no external drive
no video editing (just recording using WMC)
no graphics card
no TV tuner (will connect to a SiliconDust HDHomeRun via LAN)

Other than WMC, the system will be used for light browsing (via the TV), playing .iso movies with VLC, and watching streaming video (e.g., YouTube).

The Intel NUC and Gigabyte Brix offerings look close, but both appear to have fans (except the Gigabyte Brix Fanless, which is not available yet). Instead of removing the fan and transferring the system board to a fanless case, I'd rather build or buy a system that has no fans.

I'm unclear which CPU and integrated graphics combo is up to the job. It appears that most of the recent CPUs with integrated graphics are more than sufficient for playing HD video -- but is something more needed for recording video (e.g., using WMC)?

And are there other considerations?

Thanks in advance.

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 Post subject: Re: seeking fanless HTPC suggestions
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 2060
Location: Guatemala
Check Vicotnik's HDPLEX H1-S and ASRock mini-ITX, i think either of his builds might be worth persuing, on the CPU, there are different options you can go with, depending on the software you need.

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Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: seeking fanless HTPC suggestions
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:50 am
Posts: 26
Abula wrote:
Check Vicotnik's HDPLEX H1-S and ASRock mini-ITX, i think either of his builds ...

Thanks, Abula, for that info.

As I don't need a small form factor, and taking some ideas from Vicotnik's post, I'm wondering if this build makes sense:

standard mini-tower case that can accept a mini-ITX MB (~$50)
ASRock M81 or M85 ($70) (as reviews says ASRock MBs use less power)
i3-4130T (TDP 35W) ($135)
picoPSU 90-XLP power supply (~$50)
large fanless heatsink ($40) (which, I think, can handle TDP 35W?)
no graphics card
120GB SSD, 4GB RAM, Windows 8.1 (~$220)
Total: ~$565

If this makes sense, then two questions:

1. Some posts say that even if the CPU can be cooled passively, airflow is still needed to cool other components on the MB. If so, I'm okay with a slow turning fan on the heatsink. (My current i7 build has CoolerMaster 212 Evo with a Nexus D12SL-12 120mm fan, and the system is inaudible for my ears. My main interest in fanless is to eliminate moving parts -- but one slow moving large fan is an okay compromise.)

2. Minor: I haven't yet found a mini-tower case with a hole drilled for the picoPSU DC-in jack. Of course, I can drill a hole in the case, or in a rear slot plate, but I'd prefer not to. Are there slot plates available with a pre-drilled hole for this purpose?

Update: Found a slot plate here: http://www.mini-box.com/s.nl/it.A/id.438/.f

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