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 Post subject: Building quiet uATX/ITX HTPC. Which case?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:09 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:30 am
Posts: 64
Location: Madrid (Spain)
Hi and Merry Christmas!

I would like to build a silent HTPC but I have some doubts

I've thought of:
mother board Intel® DG45FC +
Intel e5xxx (200/300/400) +
Scythe Shuriken Rev. B +
my Western Digital 3,5" WD10EACS 1Tb with elastic suspension +
DVD-RW with Nero Tools to reduce spining rpms (I'm not planning to use Blu Ray at all) +
2 or 4 GB RAM DDR2 +
micro or pico PSU around 90W-120W, if PSU is not included on the case +
substitute original fans' case to Nexus/Schyte/Noctua @1200 rpm more or less in order to reduce them to 600-700 working rpm


but I don't know which case will fit well to these components and for a quiet HTPC

Furthermore, I've been searching through the forum and I haven't found any quiet HTPC thread, so I wasn't very sure if this post will fit on this sub-forum. If it is the case, my apologizes.

Do you have any actual quiet uATX/ITX HTPC cases on mind?
Is this configuration fine? Could it be improved?
Is it enough 2gb or it would be better 4gb or RAM?
I'm open to any suggestion of AMD configurations =)
I've also read of Intel Atom 330 on motherboards, but would it be able to move with the integrated graphics chipset, HD content? Also, VIA Nano motherboards is a good but very expensive choice

Thanks for your replies =)

Javier

_________________
My computer: Thermaltake Armor Jr +2S-Flex 1200rpm, Corsair VX450W, Asus P5Q-E, Intel e8500 + Noctua NH-C12P (actually without fan due to tests), RAM GeIL 4 GB DDR2-800, Asus EAH4850/HTDI (actually at warranty :() Future HTPC upcoming!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 4:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 4:14 pm
Posts: 517
Location: Toronto, Canada
Just a few notes:

I am running the DG45FC with the Big Shiruken.

I found it easier to mount the HSF with 8-32 machine Screws, nuts, and non-conductive washers than the system Scythe provided. Unless you have tentacles for fingers, I suggest you plan on doing the same, although the RevB may be small enough to allow you to get normal fingers in there. Also note, you cannot mount a HSF with a backplate on the DG45FC, as there is a chip on the bottom that interferes.

I had some spare Corsair with heatspreaders, and they would not fit in the RAM slots side by side. I substituted heatspreader-less Micron/Crucial.

I am looking at running mine in a Moneuel 312B, but that is primarily so it matches with my audio equipment. I could probably fit what I have in a case 1/2 the size.

I have a 150W PicoPSU coming after the first one arrived broken. Since I only use it to run squeezeserver and download, I don't see much of a problem.


Last edited by Riffer on Sun Dec 27, 2009 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:30 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:30 am
Posts: 64
Location: Madrid (Spain)
Thanks for your reply Riffer

Regarding to CPU cooler BIG Shuriken, I've created this topic, because I've come across with many ITX cases and probably the height of the BIG Shuriken would not be enough in order to have a good airflow

About the cases, I've found these ones:

Apex MI-100
Aopen S150 with a mini review, and another review

I think Aopen in the USA is iStarUSA

BM639 Mini-ITX

Do you know anyone better that can hold a 3,5 HD inside? I don't matter buying a SLIM DVD-RW

Anyway, could you put me your HTPC detailed specs with some photos and your case, please? Because I haven't found the case you have suggested (Monuel 312B)

Finally,about micro/pico PSUs, I've been surfing another little bit and came across that they haven't any power SATA conectors (at least the few I've seen), just molex 4 pin conector (the power conector of an IDE Hard Disk). Do you know any micro/pico PSU about 90 to 150W that come with al least 2 SATA power connectors (one for the HD, the second for the slim DVD-RW)?

Many thanks Riffer! =)

As said on my previous post, any suggestion will be well recieved =)

Javier

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My computer: Thermaltake Armor Jr +2S-Flex 1200rpm, Corsair VX450W, Asus P5Q-E, Intel e8500 + Noctua NH-C12P (actually without fan due to tests), RAM GeIL 4 GB DDR2-800, Asus EAH4850/HTDI (actually at warranty :() Future HTPC upcoming!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 11:44 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 4:14 pm
Posts: 517
Location: Toronto, Canada
javitxi wrote:
Anyway, could you put me your HTPC detailed specs with some photos and your case, please? Because I haven't found the case you have suggested (Monuel 312B)Javier


That's because I spelt it wrong :oops: It's Moneual 312B. See the build thread at AVSForums, including one with the Nexus LOW, which is bigger than the Big Shuriken:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1111361

I hope to be able to order mine later this week, but I am waiting for some other stuff to come on sale (this is the biggest sale week in Canada).

I was also looking at the MI-100, but I believe you will have to use a PICOPSU, as I doubt the included PSU would clear the Shiruken. I also wonder if a 5.25" optical drive would clear as well.

Also under consideration is the Silverstone LC-02. I don't know if the Slim Optical drive would clear the Big Shuriken. It should clear the Shuriken. Some cutting of the inside mounting plate might be required. See how this fellow selling customized versions on ebay has done it:

http://cgi.ebay.ca/HTPC-Computer-Case-S ... 35a5ace409


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:14 pm 
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javitxi wrote:

Finally,about micro/pico PSUs, I've been surfing another little bit and came across that they haven't any power SATA conectors (at least the few I've seen), just molex 4 pin conector (the power conector of an IDE Hard Disk). Do you know any micro/pico PSU about 90 to 150W that come with al least 2 SATA power connectors (one for the HD, the second for the slim DVD-RW)?


Javier


The 90W, 120W and 150W versions of the PicoPSU all come with 2x power connectors, but one is SATA and one is Molex. It's not too difficult to add-in a Molex-SATA 2x splitter. This is what I have done.

See this very good UK based internet store : http://linitx.com/search.php?keywords=p ... mit=Search

My 90W version runs a SATA SSD and a SATA DVD drive with a Zotac ION m-itx mobo.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:30 am
Posts: 64
Location: Madrid (Spain)
Thanks Victor and Riffer =)

Well, after reading, searching through forums and articles of MikeC, I've decided these componentes for my first try building a quiet HTPC:

Case: Apex MI-008, reviewed by MikeC

Why this case? Well, after a depth research on price/quality of ITX cases in which you can place in a 3,5" hard disk, I think this case could probably be a good one (dimensions, holders for componentes, etc). Furthermore, I can place a DVD-RW 5 1/2" and x2 HDD 3,5", although the airflow will be a diffult task to become succesfull with the second HDD.

I'm planning on make exactly the same holes on the right panel of the case to the left panel in order to increase the airflow. Then, if needed, x2 fans to make an in/out airflow through the case (left to right i.e.). I don't know if doing these holes on the opposite panel of the case would damage the case integrity or acoustic and structure things (would them increase the vibrations transmitted through the hard disk?)

Also, I'm planning on doing a little more work on the case by replacing the frontal USBs for this Silverstone Card Reader FP34 that I've already got on my Pc. This means making a little dremel work to transform the bottom part to a 3 1/2" bay.

Motherboard Intel® DG45FC

CPU it seems like e5200 actually is difficult to find, so I'll go for e5300

Heatsink the Intel one of the CPU at first. Depending on how the project goes, probably I'll replace it for on of these.

RAM probably i'll go for some 2x2GB of GeIL @800, but I have to do a little more research finding similar ones (CL5) in Corsair, Kingston, OCZ, etc that are not OC and works really at 800 withot OC

Hard Disk mainly a Western Digital 3,5" WD10EACS 1Tb that I have. I can also add another WD 500gb designed to work 24/7 that I've got on my actual Pc, depending on the airflow thing I've commented before

Blu Ray/DVD the DVD-RW of my actual Pc with Nero Tools to reduce spining rpms (I'm not planning to use Blu Ray at all). I don't think actually would be a silent DVD-RW for the little research I've done.

PSU pico PSU 90W with a brick of ~80W. I don't think the system would require more power (I'm not planning on playing HD while bruning a DvD, mainly for security on data burned)

With the replacement of the case's PSU to this pico one, I've got a new opening to airflow, so depending if I put an aftermarket heatsink and its height, I can do a little work building a 3 1/2" place for the 2nd hard disk

So, I'm planning on making a little review of the building and also stress the system with Prime95 monitoring temps with Everest to see where the airflow is not enough, hot spots, etc

So, any suggestion would be very helpfull =)

Javier

_________________
My computer: Thermaltake Armor Jr +2S-Flex 1200rpm, Corsair VX450W, Asus P5Q-E, Intel e8500 + Noctua NH-C12P (actually without fan due to tests), RAM GeIL 4 GB DDR2-800, Asus EAH4850/HTDI (actually at warranty :() Future HTPC upcoming!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 4:14 pm
Posts: 517
Location: Toronto, Canada
Sounds like a good build. Post some pics when you are finished.

FYI, from the top of the PCB to the top of the Big Shuriken fan is 64mm, just like their site says. When you get everything set up, I can make some more measurements for you, if you need them.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:03 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 7:48 am
Posts: 15
Location: Virginia
Hey Javier, I just came across your thread and I wanted to drop you a line. I have worked with a lot of the components you listed and I thought that I would provide my input for you. I think that you might need a slightly beefier power supply. I built a system with a DG45FC and an E5200 with a Chenbro ES30068 case. I cut out some holes in the side panels of the case and mounted two Scythe 92mm fans at 1000RPM. I had originally built it for Windows Home Server duty, but so that it could handle HD content as well.

Also, I built a friend of mine a simple Windows Home Server system with an Atom mini-itx board and the Apex MI-100 case. I pulled the little 40mm fan off of the northbridge, attached a bigger heat sink, and relied on the psu fan to cool the case. It would get a little warm, but she ended up installing Windows XP on it, and using it as a nettop. Had she decided to use the pc for 24/7 use, I would have seen fit to add a low RPM fan to draw cool air into the case.

I don't know what your plans are for fans, but from experience I would make sure you have adequate airflow. Drop me a PM if you have any questions about your build, or my experience with the gear you are using. I am on instant messenger pretty often, and I would be happy to share my experiences with you. Right now, I am trying to piece together an upgrade for my HTPC to a core i5 system, so I also have quite a few of the items you listed in your build that I am hoping to sell. I just thought I would let you know if you haven't ordered everything yet, and you were interested in saving some money on some used gear. Just PM me if you are interested and I will let you know what I have.

-Drew


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:29 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:30 am
Posts: 64
Location: Madrid (Spain)
First of all, happy new year guys! :D

Thanks for your reply and feedback Drew (and also for your offering). I'll send you a PM as soon as possible

Well, after reading a little bit more and adding some users experience with the MI-008 case (like these projects here, in silentpcreview forum: cman00 thread and kieran45 one, both of them very helpfull & awesome =)), read a bunch of reviews, articles and so on, finally, I've changed my mind and I'm willing to give a first try on Zotac GeForce 9300-ITX Wifi rev4 or higher (reviewed also in this site 1st version of board, with a very good review as always :) )

Mainly my decision was based on these points:

a) Intel Southbridge is a hotspot (80 to 100ºC as stayed on many forums & threads) which can be solved with an heatsink, which means more money to invest on your HTPC. Yeah, the problem is quite well solved but, Intel have not solved it yet actually. Meanwhile at the 1st revision on Zotac board, it has a heatsink included for 9300 chipset (all-in-one chipset solution as you can see on tomshardware article). Yes, 9300 fails on some memory things compared to G45, but with 2Gb of RAM and 500Mb of the HDD destinated for the SO memory issues, I don't think it would be a problem at all -furthermore, when I'm planning on 4Gb of RAM

b) Wifi issue: well, nowadays it is very usefull that your mother board has wifi, but you can obtain it also by adding an USB. As said by LiquidRain here, its more energy efficient the Zotac Wifi solution than many Wifi-USBs

c) BIOS: Intel BIOS isn't as tweakable as Zotac one, although Zotac BIOS doesn't allow you to undervoltage your CPU (to save Watts and also reduce your temps and/or fans rpms). It's true that the 8200 version for AMD is far more tweakable and as far as I've seen on reviews, you can undervoltage on some way, but my first try is building an Intel CPU solution (best TDP, best Wattage consumption => less heat to evacuate => less rpms on fans => a step closer through quiet HTPC. If I'm wrong, please correct me without hesitation :) )

d) Intel, have not yet fixed many problems like strange noises (as sayed on AVS forums) on some boards coming out of the chipset, meanwhile Zotac with the revision 004 of their board as stayed here by the user of this forum ist.martin, have solved wake up-on USB and also add one more SATA connector. So, now there are 3 SATA connectors, which means 1 DVD burner and 2 HDDs i.e. or just 3 HDDs. Yes, one more SATA connector would be great like on Intel board, but if some space upgrade would be needed, with x2 Westerd Digital caviar Green 1,5TB I think they would be more than enough

e) It's true that Intel has a TX and RX for a remote control, but an USB remote control like IMON-Mini costs about ~25€, and I can't see any remote control included on Intel motherboard, so you have to buy one and put the infrared TX and RX sensors on the board. I don't know how much you have to spent on this solution, but USB remote control seems to me actually a far better implementation for an HTPC

f) Power consumption: although Zotac one is higher than Intel on playing HD 1080p, I'm not planning using only this HTPC for viewing HD content, but also surfing on the Internet, e-mail and small electronics applications like Orcad Pspice, etc. If some more power needed, I've already my Gaming-Pc (e8500, ati 4850), so it wouldn't be a problem at all. Less power consumption means less heat to be evacuated and so on to a step closer to quiet HTPC

Last rev of Zotac board here

So, summing up, my first try would be:

Case: Apex MI-008 ~ 41€
Motherboard: Zotac GeForce 9300-ITX Wifi (GF9300-I-E) ~ 160 $ +7 $ shipping on newegg, that would be more or less with this calculator, 1$ = 0,69€, so the price is about ~ 116 € (Intel one is about 105 €)
PSU: picoPSU 150W 24-pin connector like this, with a 80W brick like this. Total: ~48+35 = 83€
CPU: e5300 ~ 61€
Heatsink: the CPU stock at first. Then, with some heat trials, I'll move to some aftermarket as stated on previous post
RAM: 2x2Gb GeIL 5-5-5-15 like this ones ~ 65€

Card reader, HDDs and DVD-RW as sayed, I've got one Silverstone FP34, x1 WDEACS10 (1Tb), x1 WD5002ABYS (500Gb 24/7)

Total cost of componentes I've to buy: 366€, that would be ~527$

If you place HDD Western Digital WEADS15 (1,5 Tb) a DVD-RW and a Heatsink, the HTPC will rise to ~500€, so it's an affordable 1st try- quiet HTPC I think

Note that I haven't decided yet over the remote control or addtitional fans

As always, any suggestions will be appreciated :)

Hope you have enjoyed reading the post,

Javier

_________________
My computer: Thermaltake Armor Jr +2S-Flex 1200rpm, Corsair VX450W, Asus P5Q-E, Intel e8500 + Noctua NH-C12P (actually without fan due to tests), RAM GeIL 4 GB DDR2-800, Asus EAH4850/HTDI (actually at warranty :() Future HTPC upcoming!


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