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 Post subject: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:23 am 
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Location: Austria
Hello everyone!

A few years ago you guys helped me a LOT with a quiet DAW build, which worked beautifully for many years. Now I am trying to put together a HTPC for my living room that should:

* contain the storage HDD for all movies and software (NAS setup not possible)
* but still be as quiet as possible (ideally: noiseless i.e. passive cooled)
* be as small as possible
* also be usable for some gaming at 1080p and decent graphics settings via Steam big picture mode (nothing cutting edge, though)
* have some kind of front USB should I want to conneect my XBOX controller
* be prepared for an IR receiver should I someday want to install one

Obviously those requirements are all diametrally opposite!! :( A small noiseless system is possible, but won't be able to pull off games (Super meat boy, Trine, Skyrim) because only integrated graphics could be utilized (I don't know of any decent passive GPU or fitting case and I saw enough youtube videos to conclude that even intel HD4600 sucks big time...). When using a GPU the case size increases and a PSU as well as air cooling is needed, which means noise.... I am getting desperate, please, please help me!

This thread is similar to this one by mystvearn, but I think it got it narrowed down to components for 2 builds that I need to be looked at.

Build 1 - Fanless but no gaming:
Case: HD-Plex H5.S / H3.S, Streacom FC5 EVO / FC9 / FC10 or a similarly small FANLESS case.
Mainboard (Mini-ITX): ASUS H87I-Plus (90MB0F30-M0EAY0) or maybe Gigabyte GA-H87N-WIFI
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670S, 4x 3.10GHz, tray (CM8064601465703)
RAM: Kingston HyperX Plug n Play DIMM Kit 8GB PC3-12800U CL9 (DDR3-1600) (KHX1600C9D3P1K2/8G)
HDD1: ADATA Premier Pro SP900 64GB, 2.5", SATA 6Gb/s (ASP900S3-64GM-C)
HDD 2: Western Digital Red 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD30EFRX)
PSU: Mini-Box PicoPSU-160-XT + 192W Adapter Power Kit, 160W external (passive)

Build 2 - Gaming possible but too large and noisy?
Case: Silverstone SG07 / SG08 / SG10, Streacom FC7 EVO or a similarily small case (Not bigger than a Silverstoen LC20)
Mainboard (Micro-ATX): ASUS H87M-Pro (90MB0F00-M0EAY0) / ASUS H87M-E (90MB0F50-M0EAY0) / ASUS H87M-Plus (90MB0F10-M0EAY0) or Gigabyte GA-H87M-D3H / Gigabyte GA-H87M-HD3
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670S, 4x 3.10GHz, tray (CM8064601465703)
RAM: Kingston HyperX Plug n Play DIMM Kit 8GB PC3-12800U CL9 (DDR3-1600) (KHX1600C9D3P1K2/8G)
HDD1: ADATA Premier Pro SP900 64GB, 2.5", SATA 6Gb/s (ASP900S3-64GM-C)
HDD 2: Western Digital Red 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD30EFRX)
PSU: Sea Sonic Platinum Series Fanless 520W ATX 2.3 (SS-520FL2) or Sea Sonic X-Series X-650 KM3 650W ATX 2.3 (SS-650KM3)
GPU: MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC Twin Frozr Gaming

I am still being totally unsure about

* Which case to choose
* What noise levels to expect even after switching out all the included fans in build #2 for decent ones
* Maybe I am going about this in a wrong way? Is there a possibility for my dream HTPC?

Please help me, I am getting really desperate!

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Peter


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:01 pm 
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First figure out if you want to do 1080p gaming or not :) You can certainly build a very quiet gaming box, but perhaps some of your self-imposed constraints will make it harder to do.

Are you forcing yourself into a horizontal case form factor for a reason? The Silverstone Grandia cases are pretty good - but the airflow is still inferior to a vertical form factor...and putting a 170W GPU in there might lead to high temps.

SSD: I'd spend a few more bucks and go with a 120GB class drive. 64GB drives are hampered in speed by the lack of read/write channels. Plus, it gives you room for games on the SSD rather than the HDD.

wifi on the mobo: If you absolutely NEED wifi on your PC rather than a LAN connection, take a hard look at the wifi provided. For example, the Gigabyte GA-H87N-WIFI is just a crappy single band 2.4GHz 802.11n device.

CPU: In general, you might want to wait until ~September for your Haswell build. The currently released chipset has a bug in the USB3 controller, where devices sometimes aren't recognized when the PC returns from Sleep. The user fix is to dismount/remount the device for it to be recognized. Intel is releasing the fixed chipset to mobo mfgrs in end July...so it might be September when the new versions are available. Plus, BIOS and firmware revisions should be slowing down by then. If, that doesn't bother you, then disregard this paragraph. :)

In specific, get the non-S part. If you find you have thermal issues, you can always underclock and undervolt the processor to meet the S part specs. If you don't have thermal issues, then you get the added performance for the same price.

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:55 am 
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Location: Austria
Thank you very much for your helpful reply! I will try to answer point by point and try to be concise.

* Yes, I most definitely want to do some gaming at 1080p with some decent details. So I guess a completely passive and small system is impossible. This is also why I am currently considering the MSI NV760 which is supposed to be powerful AND fairly quiet (it was suggested in a nother recent thread). [edited to add:] The 'ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II' as tested by SPCR also seems a good choice?

* The horizontal design idea is because of the "wife factor". Initially I wanted all the stuff from post #1 in a form factor of 44cmx12cmx35cm - unrealistic, I know.... Personally I would have no problem with a more vertical design if it looks decent in our living room (e.g. Silverstone Sugo series SG07, SG10 or any decent looking TINY tower).

* SSD: I read that one should not put games and programs that frequently read/write on a SSD because of limited write cycles. I will think about this!

* WIFI: Today I put fixed LAN wiring into the living room. No more WIFI needed over here! Yay! (You are right of course!)

* CPU: I will read about the bug. Hasn't intel claimed that firmware fix would be possible? Anyways, I chose the "S" cpu because of the low TDP but I will think hard about your suggestions.

Thanks again for your reply! I am looking forward to hearing again from you!

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Peter


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:57 pm 
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gpu: The GTX 760 is basically a re-spin of the GTX 670 for a lot less $'s and is the most performance you'll need at 1080p. I like the MSI GTX 760 Gamer.

case: oops - I re-read your post - Sugo's not Grandias. Sorry. I know there are folks that like the SFF form factor...I think they are a pain to assemble and would rather have a larger case. YMMV. What about the Silverstone Temjin TJ-08E? Or, if you can handle a little larger - the Fractal Define Mini.

SSD and write cycle limitations - mostly bullshit.

CPU: If there were a firmware fix possible, Intel wouldn't be revising the silicon. :)

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:19 pm 
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Location: Austria
OK, so it seems that a few specs can be definitely decided on, but I am still unsure about the rest.... :(

* I am still unsure if the USB3 bug bothers me. I do not plan on using any USB3 hardware in the near future.....

* case: The Temjin 08-E is the largest I would be tolerating.... I updated the list of possible cases below.

* Mainboard: I am unsure about this now. Aren't the H87 series unable to overclock/underclock?

* Which of these cases could work with a passive PSU and how to silence it all properly (I read a lot of articles on the main page but am still not sure about the application in this individual case).


Updated Build 2 - Gaming possible but too large and noisy? (15.7.2013)
? Case: SilverStone Temjin Evolution TJ08-E, Lian Li PC-V354B (+dampening?), Lian Li PC-Q08B (+dampening?), Silverstone Sugo SG07/SG08/SG09/SG10? [edited to add after reading SPCR Review:] Silverstone Grandia 08?
? Mainboard (Micro-ATX): ASUS H87M-Pro (90MB0F00-M0EAY0) / ASUS H87M-E (90MB0F50-M0EAY0) / ASUS H87M-Plus (90MB0F10-M0EAY0) or Gigabyte GA-H87M-D3H / Gigabyte GA-H87M-HD3
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K, 4x 3.40GHz, boxed (BX80646I54670K)
RAM: Kingston HyperX Plug n Play DIMM Kit 8GB PC3-12800U CL9 (DDR3-1600) (KHX1600C9D3P1K2/8G)
HDD1: ADATA Premier Pro SP900 128GB, 2.5", SATA 6Gb/s (ASP900S3-128GM-C)
? HDD 2: Western Digital Red 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD30EFRX)
? PSU: Sea Sonic Platinum Series Fanless 520W ATX 2.3 (SS-520FL2) or Sea Sonic X-Series X-650 KM3 650W ATX 2.3 (SS-650KM3)
GPU: MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC Twin Frozr Gaming

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Peter


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:09 am 
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PeteM wrote:
* Mainboard: I am unsure about this now. Aren't the H87 series unable to overclock/underclock?

Originally, no, but lately some manufacurers (ECS, ASrock, ASUS) came out with new BIOS versions that allow overclocking of -k CPUs on H87 Mainboards.
PeteM wrote:
* Which of these cases could work with a passive PSU and how to silence it all properly (I read a lot of articles on the main page but am still not sure about the application in this individual case).
None. A passive PSU has to be at the bottom of the case with the open grille or heatsink facing up so the hot air can rise away from the PSU.

Suggestion: Case: Either Silverstone TJ08-E with a replacement 180mm fan or the SilverStone Precision PS07 with two 120mm PWM (together with an Asus Mainboards) or 120mm non-PWM replacement fans.
Mainboard: ASUS H87M-Pro or ASUS Z87M-Plus, depending on how much you want to spend.
PeteM wrote:
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K, 4x 3.40GHz, boxed (BX80646I54670K)
RAM: Kingston HyperX Plug n Play DIMM Kit 8GB PC3-12800U CL9 (DDR3-1600) (KHX1600C9D3P1K2/8G)

Good choices, the CPU is very fast and the RAM doesn't have a large heatspreader.
You do need a good CPU cooler for a quiet system: Thermalright HR-02 Macho quiet single fan haetsink or Noctua NH-D14 larger dual fan, slightly better more expensive and patriotic.
PeteM wrote:
HDD1: ADATA Premier Pro SP900 128GB, 2.5", SATA 6Gb/s (ASP900S3-128GM-C)

Get a Samsung 830, 840 or 840 Pro or an Intel SSD.
PeteM wrote:
? HDD 2: Western Digital Red 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD30EFRX)

If you must use a mechanical 3.5" drive use a hard drive decoupler like the Sharkoon Vibe Fixer or the NoVibes this will make a big difference.
PSU: Don't use a fanless model with these cases. Get a Sea Sonic Platinum Series 660W or an Enermax Platimax 500W. The Seasonic is fanless until >20% load (=gaming, etc), the Enermax' fan spins so slowly you wan't hear it.
PeteM wrote:
GPU: MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC Twin Frozr Gaming

I'll probably get flamed (again) for this, but if you play a lot of Skyrim with a lot of mods (I do) you want a card with 4GB of Vram.
The MSI GTX 760 is a good choice for lower noise level. There is a very easy way to reduce the noise of this card even further: The heatsink on the card is good, but the fans are lacking somewhat. Remove the plastic shroud and the fans (4 screws benethe the fans) and get a good large PWM fan and a Gelid VGA PWM Adapter. Attach the fan with zip ties, plug it in, silence. I use the Thermalright TY-150 with this adapter and I don't hear the fan even in games.

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Evga GTX 670 FTW+ 4GB with Thermalright Spitfire and Thermalright TY-150 500-800RPM, Seasonic 460W Platinum Fanless


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:00 am 
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+1 for Boost's comments. Some additional comments:

Start with quiet components, but don't expect it to be perfect out of the box - or even try to make it perfect before you build. Put the system together and then make adjustments for noise. It may be the case fan(s) are good enough or you might want to replace them. The HDD might be quiet enough as is, or you might need to add NoVibes. The gfx card might be quiet enough as-is...or not.

Mobo: Asus has the best fan control s/w, although Gigabyte is catching up with their Haswell mobo's. You really need to drill down into the feature sets to see what you want/need is covered. Then, look for reviews! The parts are too new to have a lot of consumer feedback, so no way to just if a board is built well or is generating high return rates or not.
Features:
- Audio:
- Do you plan to connect the PC to a A/V Receiver/does the mobo provide Optical audio out?
- Do you plan to drive powered speakers directly from the PC? The Realtek ALC892 codec is better than the ALC887 on the cheaper boards. Some of the high end boards use ALC1150...which has better SNR..but oddly not so much better THD/IMD on many reviews.
- PCI needed? Or just PCIe?
- LAN: Most use the Realtek LAN. Only the higher end use an Intel LAN.
- eSATA needed/wanted?

CPU and cooler: Haswell runs hot. Cooler selection will depend on the case...but you'll need a lot of cooler if you want to overclock. On the other side, undervolting at stock speed (an even small OC) can reduce load temps by 10C.

RAM: Also take a look at the 1.35V versions @ DDR1600.

GPU - 2GB vs 4GB @ 1080p for Skyrim texture packs: Yeah, it's on the edge. Seems like you can add a lot of textures and still stay below 2GB. If you want to max it out, then it'll take up 2.5-3GB. However, the availability of 4GB cards is sadly lacking. I think you are better off with a quiet card that plays the game well than a loud card you'd need to put an aftermarket cooler on to make Skyrim max out on textures.

PSU: your stressed load power (assuming no overvolting) is ~300W, and probably in the 250-270W while gaming. So, you could drop to a fanned 550W or so PSU and still be in the low rpm side (quiet/silent) of the fan profile. There are hybrid fanned PSUs that only turn on at higher loads/temps. Super Flower Golden King 550W (also branded as Kingwin LZP-550) is a good supply as is the Seasonic Platinum. Or, there are very quiet fan always on PSUs. I'm suprised Boost didn't wave the flag at mention the be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10? Also, the Seasonic G 550.

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:37 am 
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CA_Steve wrote:
I'm suprised Boost didn't wave the flag at mention the be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10? Also, the Seasonic G 550.
BeQuiet had a problem with one series a few years back. Persoanlly I used Seasonic and Enermax and I wasn't disappointed. With rising energy cost i would only recommend 80+ Platinum units. I upgraded from Seasonic S12-II 500W (Bronze) to Seasonic 460W Fanless (Platinum) two weeks ago.

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Lian Li V600, Asus P77Z-M Pro, i5-3570K 4.4GHz with Scythe Orochi, 140mm Slipstream 500RPM and Mugen2 115X Bolt through kit,
Evga GTX 670 FTW+ 4GB with Thermalright Spitfire and Thermalright TY-150 500-800RPM, Seasonic 460W Platinum Fanless


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:23 am 
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AS usual, the forum stars provide great advise. 8)

One general comment I would make is that at idle or low power load (which of course includes HD video play), a HTPC does not have to be as quiet as a typical desktop. There are several reasons (discussed in more detail in the SPCR Case Basics article):
1. The audio of what you are watching will easily drown out even a moderately quiet PC
2. The PC sits much farther from the viewers, and that distance means less perceived noise; with a 50" screen, easily 6' away (assuming the PC is near/under the TV).

If you want silence when the thing is idle, sleep mode is the simplest thing to implement, and as others have mentioned, damping the vibration of the WD Green/Red will make it inaudible (important if you don't want to to use sleep because of torrent or other long term downloads).

Finally, avoid placing the PC in a mostly closed shelf (of a cabinet), for both heat buildup and air resonance reasons, and consider placing very soft resilient feet under it. Mechanical coupling between any noise makers in the PC (particular the HDD) and the cabinet can exacerbate low frequency hmmmmmm in a very annoying way.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:36 am 
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Thanks again for your replies!

Wow, you all really gave me a LOT to ponder and I took my time to think this through even more. Also kept reading many, many articles from the main SPCR page which is a great resource. So here are my answers and clarifications to your questions:

Case: This is giving me the most headaches... After spending many hours on reading reviews of your invaluable suggestions I narrowed the list down to these cases (in order of preference from top to bottom):
* Fractal Define Mini
* Silverstone Sugo SG10
* Silverstone Grandia GD07B
* Silverstone Temjin TJ08-E
* Bitfenix Prodigy
* Lian Li PC-V354B black

Except for the GD07B and PC-V354B they all support CPU coolers >160mm. Since all of those cases are big and really, really, really horribly ugly I am favoring the Fractal Define mini and the Temjin TJ08-E. Those at least have a *somewhat* understated look and get great reviews at SPCR. So most probably it will be one of those 2 cases.

PSU: I am now a bit smarter about the passive PSUs... Will check out the semi-passive ones, the Sea Sonic Platinum Series 660W ATX 2.3 (SS-660XP2), the Enermax Platimax 500W ATX 2.3 (EPM500AWT) and the Enermax Platimax 600W ATX 2.3 (EPM600AWT) look especially attractive to me.

GPU and gaming: I agree that you need a lot of VRAM for hardcore modding and maxing out Skyrim with texture packs etc. But that is what I have my main PC for. On the big screen I want to do *some* not *so* serious gaming. That is why I am considering the MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC Twin Frozr Gaming: It is supposed to be fairly competent and quiet.

Audio codecs: My plan for now is to transfer audio via HDMI and play it back through the TV. At a much later time I will own a proper AV receiver and speakers - those will be connected via SPDIF. I was under the impression that in this case the onboard codec would not matter that much.... Am I wrong?

[edited: messed this section up]Mainboard: In the past years I had Gigabyte boards and because of minor pet peeves want to try something else. I do NOT need PCI not eSATA - will only connect the components listed in this thread + 2 wired Xbox controllers + Logitech wireless keyboard dongle. So I am favoring an ASUS board because of the fan controls. Unsure wether a full size ATX board would be preferable to a Micro-ATX one (just need enough space to plug in the GPU and cooler onto it)? So here is my current list:
* MATX - ASUS Z87M-Plus (90MB0EF0-M0EAY0) [Audio: 7.1 (Realtek ALC887) ] or ASUS Gryphon Z87 (90MB0EH0-M0EAY0) [Audio: 7.1 (Realtek ALC892)] or ASUS Z87 Maximus VI Gene (90MB0E10-M0EAY0) [Audio: 7.1 (ASUS ROG SupremeFX)]
* ATX: ASUS Z87-Pro (90MB0DT0-M0EAY0) or ASUS Z87-Plus (90MB0E00-M0EAY0)

SSD: I took your advice and am currently speccing the Samsung SSD 840 Pro Series 128GB, 2.5", SATA 6Gb/s (MZ-7PD128BW)

HDD: Yes, I want a mechanical drive in there because I do not want to stream movies over my network from a NAS. So it is a tie between the Western Digital Caviar Green 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD30EZRX), the Western Digital Red 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD30EFRX) and the Seagate Desktop HDD.15 4000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (ST4000DM000). Unfortunately I have not read any meaningful reviews of these harddisks which also consider noise levels and compare them. Will also look into decoupling!

CPU + cooler: I do not wish to overclock at all! That way I fried my trusty old Athlon XP 2500, may it rest in peace! :lol: Undercloking may be a possibility but my first concern is being as noiseless as possible. That means the cpu cooler must be quiet and fit into the small case together with the gpu. Will try to find a reliable comparison of the HR02 and the NH-D14.

RAM: Pardon my ignorance but would be the advantage of using 1.35V DDR3-1600 Ram? Also: I only found a set of Mushkin 8GB (2x4GB) - dunno how reliable those are.

Placement: Thanks for the tips about placement. I will avoid putting it into a cabinet. Actually it will be standing next to the TV on a cabinet, that is why I am so concerned about "uglyness".

Updated Build 2 - Gaming possible but too large and noisy? (18.7.2013)
? Case: Fractal Define Mini or SilverStone Temjin Evolution TJ08-E
? Mainboard: Micro-ATX: ASUS Z87M-Plus (90MB0EF0-M0EAY0), ASUS Gryphon Z87 (90MB0EH0-M0EAY0), ASUS Z87 Maximus VI Gene (90MB0E10-M0EAY0) or ATX: ASUS Z87-Pro (90MB0DT0-M0EAY0) / ASUS Z87-Plus (90MB0E00-M0EAY0)
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K, 4x 3.40GHz, boxed (BX80646I54670K)
? CPU-cooler: Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev. A (BW) or Noctua NH-D14
RAM: Kingston HyperX Plug n Play DIMM Kit 8GB PC3-12800U CL9 (DDR3-1600) (KHX1600C9D3P1K2/8G)
HDD1: Samsung SSD 840 Pro Series 128GB, 2.5", SATA 6Gb/s (MZ-7PD128BW)
? HDD 2: Western Digital Caviar Green 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD30EZRX) or Western Digital Red 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD30EFRX) or Seagate Desktop HDD.15 4000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (ST4000DM000)
? PSU: Sea Sonic Platinum Series 660W ATX 2.3 (SS-660XP2) or Enermax Platimax 500W ATX 2.3 (EPM500AWT) or Enermax Platimax 600W ATX 2.3 (EPM600AWT)
GPU: MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC Twin Frozr Gaming

Thanks again everyone! You are amazingly helpful!

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:07 am 
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Audio: Yeah - I completely spaced out on HDMI. Just use that. Later, when you get the AV Rx, you can just connect the HDMI to it and pass through to the TV. Codec ignored.

Case: I lean toward the Define Mini over the TJ08-E. Easier to work with, seems more flexible, might be a tad quieter. Try it with the base fan configuration and see how the temps work out. You can always add more case fans and run them off the included controller for fixed, low rpm airflow - anything around 500rpm won't be noticable.

Mobo: Remember, Define Mini and TJ08-E limit you to uATX and mini-ITX. I'm not seeing the Asus m-ITX board as available in the US, yet. Perhaps it is in the EU.

HDD: WD Red

CPU cooler: If you don't plan to OC/overvolt, you don't need a monster cooler. The Noctua NH-U12S would work well as would the Noctua NH-L12. There's also the Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M.

1.35V vs. 1.5V RAM: Same performance, lower power, lower temp. Kingston, Samsung, Crucial, ..and many others sell the stuff.

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:13 am 
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PeteM wrote:
Case: This is giving me the most headaches... After spending many hours on reading reviews of your invaluable suggestions I narrowed the list down to these cases (in order of preference from top to bottom):
* Fractal Define Mini
* Silverstone Sugo SG10
* Silverstone Grandia GD07B
* Silverstone Temjin TJ08-E
* Bitfenix Prodigy
* Lian Li PC-V354B black

Except for the GD07B and PC-V354B they all support CPU coolers >160mm. Since all of those cases are big and really, really, really horribly ugly I am favoring the Fractal Define mini and the Temjin TJ08-E. Those at least have a *somewhat* understated look and get great reviews at SPCR. So most probably it will be one of those 2 cases.
I also like the TJ08-E and Fractal design, although the define mini imo is still the old version they haven't revised it yet, like they did with the ATX version R4 or the ACR MIDI R2, both of them use 140mm fans and can fit 170mm coolers like the monster twin towers, while the Define Mini will use 120mm fans and 160mm clearance for cpu coolers, still great selection, but overall but i would prefer to go with R4 even if its ATX.

If you go with TJ08-E know that the frontal found is loud, specially at 12V (1300rpm) its to me noisy, using the switch on the side, you can drop it to 900rpm where it is still very noticeable, so you will need to undervolt it further, in my experience around 600rpm starts becoming decent, around 400rpm its totally inaudible. So either chose a motherboard with good fan control on 3pin fans, like Asus FanXpert2, or get a Zalman Fanmate 2 for undervolting it.

PeteM wrote:
PSU: I am now a bit smarter about the passive PSUs... Will check out the semi-passive ones, the Sea Sonic Platinum Series 660W ATX 2.3 (SS-660XP2), the Enermax Platimax 500W ATX 2.3 (EPM500AWT) and the Enermax Platimax 600W ATX 2.3 (EPM600AWT) look especially attractive to me.
If your budget allows, i would go with , Kingwin Striker STR500 or Rosewill SilentNight 500 (same psu just rebranding), been reviewed by SPCR on two ocations and came out with editors choice, should be more than enough to power your planned PC, if you are fan of seasonic then consider Seasonic X520 or if you feel they are too expensive, and want something slightly cheaper, Seasonic X650.

PeteM wrote:
GPU and gaming: I agree that you need a lot of VRAM for hardcore modding and maxing out Skyrim with texture packs etc. But that is what I have my main PC for. On the big screen I want to do *some* not *so* serious gaming. That is why I am considering the MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC Twin Frozr Gaming: It is supposed to be fairly competent and quiet.
I think its a great chioce, all the reveiws are placing it as very quiet GPU.

PeteM wrote:
Audio codecs: My plan for now is to transfer audio via HDMI and play it back through the TV. At a much later time I will own a proper AV receiver and speakers - those will be connected via SPDIF. I was under the impression that in this case the onboard codec would not matter that much.... Am I wrong?
To what i used to know, you do needed a soundcard to live encode a game signal to be send via spdif, like Dolby Live or DTS Connect, all capable on the new on board sound. But recently i have seen users say that via HDMI the PCM signal is understood by a receiver and you do get multichannel output, with that said, i haven't tested my self so idk for sure if this is real or under what condition, but i would try first the HDMI if doesnt work then i would go with live encode.

PeteM wrote:
Mainboard: In the past years I had Gigabyte boards and because of minor pet peeves want to try something else. I do NOT need PCI not eSATA - will only connect the components listed in this thread + 2 wired Xbox controllers + Logitech wireless keyboard dongle. So I am favoring an ASUS board because of the fan controls. Unsure wether a full size ATX board would be preferable to a Micro-ATX one (just need enough space to plug in the GPU and cooler onto it)? So here is my current list:
* MATX - ASUS Z87M-Plus (90MB0EF0-M0EAY0) [Audio: 7.1 (Realtek ALC887) ] or ASUS Gryphon Z87 (90MB0EH0-M0EAY0) [Audio: 7.1 (Realtek ALC892)] or ASUS Z87 Maximus VI Gene (90MB0E10-M0EAY0) [Audio: 7.1 (ASUS ROG SupremeFX)]
* ATX: ASUS Z87-Pro (90MB0DT0-M0EAY0) or ASUS Z87-Plus (90MB0E00-M0EAY0)
If you plan on running FanXpert2 then i would go with ASUS motherboard. If don't want to run extra software, then my suggestion is to go full pwm fans and MSI motherboard, i just did a build and their bios on pure fans was better, it has % and temp, so while its not as complete, i was able to drop the TY140 to 700rpm on pure bios and does ramp up when the temp reaches 55C, so ended up pretty decent. But asus faxpert2 should give you better control at the expense of some cpu resources used to able to run it. But since you are not overclocking, i would look into H87/B85 motherboards, Asus has some options there that should save some $$$, like for example ASUS H87M-E LGA 1150 Intel H87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 uATX Intel Motherboard $99 (if the picture is accurate, it still has FANXPERT2 printed on the motherboard).

PeteM wrote:
SSD: I took your advice and am currently speccing the Samsung SSD 840 Pro Series 128GB, 2.5", SATA 6Gb/s (MZ-7PD128BW)
If 128gb is enough for you go for it. Personally i feel its better 256gb size for overprovisioning and for growing with it, and the speed of the ssd is fully achieved in 256gb while its a little lower on the 128gb size, not perceivable in my experience.

PeteM wrote:
HDD: Yes, I want a mechanical drive in there because I do not want to stream movies over my network from a NAS. So it is a tie between the Western Digital Caviar Green 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD30EZRX), the Western Digital Red 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD30EFRX) and the Seagate Desktop HDD.15 4000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (ST4000DM000). Unfortunately I have not read any meaningful reviews of these harddisks which also consider noise levels and compare them. Will also look into decoupling!
Would be ideal to access it form the server via your local network, as this will make all the hdd noise stay on the server and not on your pc, specially as more movies are stored you can grow your server and not increase the noise on your living room, etc. But if you dont want that then go with WD Reds 3tb, out of what you have on your your list, only one reviewed by SPCR.

PeteM wrote:
CPU + cooler: I do not wish to overclock at all! That way I fried my trusty old Athlon XP 2500, may it rest in peace! :lol: Undercloking may be a possibility but my first concern is being as noiseless as possible. That means the cpu cooler must be quiet and fit into the small case together with the gpu. Will try to find a reliable comparison of the HR02 and the NH-D14.
Both were reviewed by SPCR, and both the editiors choice. The Noctua with 2 fans should be able to cool slightly better, but its more expensive and the fans are not pwm. For CPU its up to you, but you are going for a Z87 motherboard, so if you dont plan to overclock, might aswell look into B85/H87 chipsets, and none K CPU, there are lots of options out there.

PeteM wrote:
RAM: Pardon my ignorance but would be the advantage of using 1.35V DDR3-1600 Ram? Also: I only found a set of Mushkin 8GB (2x4GB) - dunno how reliable those are.
First pick the motherboard, then check the manufacturer for PDF on approved memory, Asus is decent for this, you can see a list of memory they have tested, and just grab whatever brand/price/size you prefer out of that list. The 1.35v memory will have a very small impact on the PC consumption and will operate at lower temps, but with things like CPU, GPU, Monitor, the difference on the memory its also nill.

_________________
GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:16 pm 
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Location: Germany
A side note: SPDIF cannot support most DTS and Surround features because of bandwidth limitations. HDMI would be the way to go, then. For SPDIF details please turn to google.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:48 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 11:55 pm
Posts: 16
Location: Austria
Thanks again for the helpful replies. It seems that this build is finally coming together!

Case: I think I will have to go with a Fractal Define Mini. It is ugly as hell and way too large and clunky, but of all the available cases seems to be suited the best for my intended use. Man, how I would have loved to use a HD-Plex H5 or a Streacom FC10 Evo fanless... But it is not meant to be... :cry:

Mainboard: Micro-ATX availability is no problem for me as I live in Europe. :)

CPU-Cooler: I admit that I am totally puzzled by this.... Have been reading through the recommended lists (those seem terribly out of date??) and heatsink sections but the plethora of options confuses me..... Currently I am considering the heatsinks you guys suggested: Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev. A (BW), Noctua NH-D14, Noctua NH-U12S, Noctua NH-L12, Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M. But I am still very unsure about this. My main concern is noise. Don't care about looks, temps shouldn't also not be a big problem with this build. Could you please point me to a helpful comparison table (or article)?

1.35V RAM: Only Mushkin RAM with 1.35 V seems to be available in Austria? IMHO I'll just go with the Kingston RAM, especially since it is in the approved RAM list from Asus.

PSU: Neither the Kingwin Striker STR500 nor Rosewill SilentNight 500 seem to be available in Austria.... So I need another option! The other users advised me against a passive PSU for this build. Or was that meant for the smaller cases? Bcause I would *love* to go for a passive (or semi-passive) PSU in order to eliminate a sound source! Anyways, I will have to decide between these and still feel lost: Sea Sonic Platinum Series 660W ATX 2.3 (SS-660XP2), Enermax Platimax 500W ATX 2.3 (EPM500AWT), Enermax Platimax 600W ATX 2.3 (EPM600AWT), Sea Sonic Platinum Series Fanless 520W ATX 2.3 (SS-520FL2), Sea Sonic X-Series X-650 KM3 650W ATX 2.3 (SS-650KM3)

SSD: Please enlighten me as I am unaware why a SSD will fully achive its speed potential in 256GB!

Thanks for the help, everyone! Please help me pin down the last few choices and then I will finally be able to build this sucker!

Updated Build 2 - Gaming possible but too large and noisy? (19.7.2013)
Case: Fractal Define Mini
Mainboard:ASUS Z87M-Plus (90MB0EF0-M0EAY0)
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K, 4x 3.40GHz, boxed (BX80646I54670K)
? CPU-cooler: Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev. A (BW), Noctua NH-D14, Noctua NH-U12S, Noctua NH-L12, Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M?
RAM: Kingston HyperX Plug n Play DIMM Kit 8GB PC3-12800U CL9 (DDR3-1600) (KHX1600C9D3P1K2/8G)
HDD1: Samsung SSD 840 Pro Series 128GB, 2.5", SATA 6Gb/s (MZ-7PD128BW)
HDD 2:Western Digital Red 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD30EFRX)
? PSU: Sea Sonic Platinum Series 660W ATX 2.3 (SS-660XP2), Enermax Platimax 500W ATX 2.3 (EPM500AWT), Enermax Platimax 600W ATX 2.3 (EPM600AWT), Sea Sonic Platinum Series Fanless 520W ATX 2.3 (SS-520FL2), Sea Sonic X-Series X-650 KM3 650W ATX 2.3 (SS-650KM3)
GPU: MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC Twin Frozr Gaming

_________________
Greetings from Vienna!
Peter


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:34 pm 
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CPU-Cooler: recommended lists are out of date.. Best to just read the reviews of the coolers listed. The most recentone will show comparision to others in the same class.

RAM: sounds good.

PSU: You could go with a fanless PSU in the Define Mini. Just stick with platinum efficiency for the least waste heat. If you go with a semi-passive design, then you get the best of both worlds. No fan for normal loads, no fan or possibly low rpm fan for high gaming loads. All of your choices are good. If you go with Enermax, opt for the 600W. You don't need the power, but the fan profile is better than the 500W for your gaming load.

SSD- The basic answer: These drives are made up of memory chips. Each memory chip has a certain limitation on read/write speed. To overcome the limitation, you read and write to a bunch of them at the same time. Lower capacity drives use less memory chips and end up having less parallelism which leads to slower read/write speeds. This is implemented a bit differently depending on the mfgr and the generation of SSD (as memory lithography shrinks, memory size per chip goes up, leading to less parallelism for the SAME capacity SSD).

That said, you really don't need 256GB class SSD. The current 64GB are pretty anemic, the 128GB class are good enough for most uses and you won't notice the incremental gain of the 256GB class for your apps. Especially if you go with the 840 Pro. For fun and amusement, take a look at Anandtech's SSD Bench.

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:00 pm 
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Posts: 1825
Location: Guatemala
PeteM wrote:
Man, how I would have loved to use a HD-Plex H5 or a Streacom FC10 Evo fanless... But it is not meant to be... :cry:
Well you could wait for Haswell dual cores, and see if there any version that comes with the GT3 5200 iGPU, but its going to be very laggy compared to the N760 you are buying.

PeteM wrote:
Case: I think I will have to go with a Fractal Define Mini. It is ugly as hell and way too large and clunky, but of all the available cases seems to be suited the best for my intended use.
TJ08-E is a fine choice also, i would prefer it over the mini on gaming build, its smaller and more compact. 180mm fan is very capable fan, just its very loud stock, just gotta undervolt it, and its a good choice, even got Editor choice on SPCR. SilverStone Temjin TJ08-E: MicroATX Evolved, just read page 5 where they talk about the fan, where you see they use it at low settings and undervolt it at 9V for a very quiet setup, my guess is you could do that with fanXpert2 also, but i havent tested.

PeteM wrote:
CPU-Cooler: I admit that I am totally puzzled by this.... Have been reading through the recommended lists (those seem terribly out of date??) and heatsink sections but the plethora of options confuses me..... Currently I am considering the heatsinks you guys suggested: Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev. A (BW), Noctua NH-D14, Noctua NH-U12S, Noctua NH-L12, Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M. But I am still very unsure about this. My main concern is noise. Don't care about looks, temps shouldn't also not be a big problem with this build. Could you please point me to a helpful comparison table (or article)?
I prefer the Macho out of having widder spacing on the fins so its more design to work better with low airflow, the included TY141/7 is a decent fan, that can be undervolted around 600/700 rpm (depends on your luck), to me its very quiet at 700rpm on closed case, test it, see how it is for you, then if you want quieter, get a Scythe Slipstream PWM SY1225SL12LM-P or the new Scythe Glidestream PWM SY1225HB12M-P, both should able to drop down to 250rpm via 4pin pwm.

PeteM wrote:
1.35V RAM: Only Mushkin RAM with 1.35 V seems to be available in Austria? IMHO I'll just go with the Kingston RAM, especially since it is in the approved RAM list from Asus.
the 1.35 will barely make a difference, its neglible. Go with whats approved on the list to garantee that it will be compatible.

PeteM wrote:
PSU: Neither the Kingwin Striker STR500 nor Rosewill SilentNight 500 seem to be available in Austria.... So I need another option! The other users advised me against a passive PSU for this build. Or was that meant for the smaller cases? Bcause I would *love* to go for a passive (or semi-passive) PSU in order to eliminate a sound source! Anyways, I will have to decide between these and still feel lost: Sea Sonic Platinum Series 660W ATX 2.3 (SS-660XP2), Enermax Platimax 500W ATX 2.3 (EPM500AWT), Enermax Platimax 600W ATX 2.3 (EPM600AWT), Sea Sonic Platinum Series Fanless 520W ATX 2.3 (SS-520FL2), Sea Sonic X-Series X-650 KM3 650W ATX 2.3 (SS-650KM3)
In Europe, you might find the Super Flower Golden Silent 500W Fanless, which is the same as the Rosewill and Kingwin. Checking [H]ardOCP MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC GTX 760 Overclocking Review, he doesnt even break 350W and thats overclocked, so you system probably will consume less than 300W. Either of the PSU you posted will work fine.

Image

_________________
GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:29 am
Posts: 567
Location: de_DE
PeteM wrote:
Updated Build 2 - Gaming possible but too large and noisy? (19.7.2013)
Case: Fractal Define Mini
Mainboard:ASUS Z87M-Plus (90MB0EF0-M0EAY0)
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K, 4x 3.40GHz, boxed (BX80646I54670K)
? CPU-cooler: Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev. A (BW), Noctua NH-D14, Noctua NH-U12S, Noctua NH-L12, Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M?
RAM: Kingston HyperX Plug n Play DIMM Kit 8GB PC3-12800U CL9 (DDR3-1600) (KHX1600C9D3P1K2/8G)
HDD1: Samsung SSD 840 Pro Series 128GB, 2.5", SATA 6Gb/s (MZ-7PD128BW)
HDD 2:Western Digital Red 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD30EFRX)
? PSU: Sea Sonic Platinum Series 660W ATX 2.3 (SS-660XP2), Enermax Platimax 500W ATX 2.3 (EPM500AWT), Enermax Platimax 600W ATX 2.3 (EPM600AWT), Sea Sonic Platinum Series Fanless 520W ATX 2.3 (SS-520FL2), Sea Sonic X-Series X-650 KM3 650W ATX 2.3 (SS-650KM3)
GPU: MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC Twin Frozr Gaming

Get the Thermalright Macho, only the D14 can outperform it (only really interessting for overclocking) but costs twice as much.

250GB SSDs outperform 120GB SSDs for the reasons listed above and some others but you shouldn't notice the difference.

For my system i5-3570K + GTX670 (very similar power draw) I bought a Seasonic Fanless 460W Platinum, but my case has a different layout from the Define Mini (like the Lian Li-A05). The Enermax 500W's fan spins all the time very slowly and that helps evacuate the heat from the PSU, where as the heat from the fanless PSU would have to be evacuate through other fans. The graphics cards also dumps a far more signifcant amount of heat in the case when gaming. For these reasons I would recommend the Platimax 500 over the Seasonic Fanless 460W. But realistically the noise difference will be minimal so choose whichever you like.

_________________
Lian Li V600, Asus P77Z-M Pro, i5-3570K 4.4GHz with Scythe Orochi, 140mm Slipstream 500RPM and Mugen2 115X Bolt through kit,
Evga GTX 670 FTW+ 4GB with Thermalright Spitfire and Thermalright TY-150 500-800RPM, Seasonic 460W Platinum Fanless


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:55 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 11:55 pm
Posts: 16
Location: Austria
Hi again!

You are all awesome! This is really coming together!

Case: Feel free to mock me as much as youo want, but I changed my decision to the Temjin 08-E. I will try undervolting and modding it if needed. The reason I choose this one over the Define Mini is the supposedly cooler Temps. It is even uglier, but I will be able to hide it, better too. :roll:

SSD: I am in the very lucky position of being able to consider money not as an absolutely limiting factor (otherwise I would not be building this crazy box... hehe), I think I will go for the 256GB version. Future-proofing and such.....

CPU heatsink: I've been using HR02 Machos as coolers in my last 2 big ATX tower build and was always happy with them. Always modded them with SPCR recommended fans, though. Will go for that one. I checked the specs on Thermalrights website and Silverstonetechs TJ08E manual - it seems they should be compatible even when the vertical clearance will only be about 3mm...

PSU: For all my past builds in th recent years I have been using SPCR recommended Enermax PSUs, alway have been extremely satisfied. I think I'll go with the Platimax 600W, in the hope that I'll never reach those loads where the fan will have to spin a lot.

CPU+MB: Even though I do not wish to overclock *now, I want to leave myself open the opportunity to do so at a later date. Hence the 'K' and Z87 chipsets.

Thank you all soooooo much for your invaluable input and patient explanations! I think That I am finally able to start building this! In case you are interested in pictures, don't hesitate to tell me. Have a wonderful weekend!

Updated Build 2 - Gaming possible! (21.7.2013)
Case: SilverStone Temjin Evolution TJ08-E
Mainboard:ASUS Z87M-Plus (90MB0EF0-M0EAY0)
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K, 4x 3.40GHz, boxed (BX80646I54670K)
CPU-cooler: Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev. A (BW)
RAM: Kingston HyperX Plug n Play DIMM Kit 8GB PC3-12800U CL9 (DDR3-1600) (KHX1600C9D3P1K2/8G)
HDD1: Samsung SSD 840 Pro Series 256GB, 2.5", SATA 6Gb/s, retail (MZ-7PD256BW)
HDD 2:Western Digital Red 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD30EFRX)
PSU:Enermax Platimax 600W ATX 2.3 (EPM600AWT)
GPU: MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC Twin Frozr Gaming

_________________
Greetings from Vienna!
Peter


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:14 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 1825
Location: Guatemala
PeteM wrote:
Updated Build 2 - Gaming possible! (21.7.2013)
Case: SilverStone Temjin Evolution TJ08-E
Mainboard:ASUS Z87M-Plus (90MB0EF0-M0EAY0)
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K, 4x 3.40GHz, boxed (BX80646I54670K)
CPU-cooler: Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev. A (BW)
RAM: Kingston HyperX Plug n Play DIMM Kit 8GB PC3-12800U CL9 (DDR3-1600) (KHX1600C9D3P1K2/8G)
HDD1: Samsung SSD 840 Pro Series 256GB, 2.5", SATA 6Gb/s, retail (MZ-7PD256BW)
HDD 2:Western Digital Red 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (WD30EFRX)
PSU:Enermax Platimax 600W ATX 2.3 (EPM600AWT)
GPU: MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC Twin Frozr Gaming
Very solid choices, have fun building it.

PeteM wrote:
Thank you all soooooo much for your invaluable input and patient explanations! I think That I am finally able to start building this! In case you are interested in pictures, don't hesitate to tell me. Have a wonderful weekend!
Defently post some screenshots, its a really nice build. If you can also post your experiences, specially im interested into how it goes with FanXpert2 and 180mm frontal fan, the HR02 and Haswell 4670K, the enermax PSU, WD RED and the N760 has gotten great reviews but always good to get feedback from someone that appreciates quiet hardware.

Take care,

_________________
GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:38 am 
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Have fun with your build. Be sure to post idle and load temps.

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:27 am 
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Posts: 16
Location: Austria
Hello again!

The first shipment of parts arrived, and I am nearly ready to start building this beast. I will make sure to post plenty of pictures as requested and will also tidy up the first posting in this thread to make navigation a bit more easy.

There are also a few new questions, this time more or less software related. I hope you can still help me get through this... :oops:

* Installation order: I've been building PC systems starting about 20 years ago but have been out of the loop for a few years. Is it still advisable to install windows with the bare minimum (MB+CPU+RAM+SSD) and only after successfully installing, gradually adding other components (2nd HDD then GPU, etc...)? Or will that result in problems with the damned Windows registration system? Had those problems back with WinXP and Windows 7 - the stupid system kept insisting I had a new PC even though I just changed a few HDDs.

* GPU: It turns out that the MSI N760 TF is currently unavailable in Austria and nobody is able to tell me *when* it will become available at last. Will there be a problem if I install the OS and keep using the integraded graphics chipset until my GPU arrives? Or will those drivers later interfere with the Nvidia drivers?

* Pictures: Is there a preferred picture host for this forum?

* Temperatures: I'd love to post some results. Could you direct me to a posting with a list of preferred utilities? I only know 'Open Hardware Monitor' and 'CPU Temp'.

Thanks for your help so far, I will keep you updated about my progress!

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Greetings from Vienna!
Peter


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:04 pm 
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Posts: 1825
Location: Guatemala
PeteM wrote:
* Installation order: I've been building PC systems starting about 20 years ago but have been out of the loop for a few years. Is it still advisable to install windows with the bare minimum (MB+CPU+RAM+SSD) and only after successfully installing, gradually adding other components (2nd HDD then GPU, etc...)? Or will that result in problems with the damned Windows registration system? Had those problems back with WinXP and Windows 7 - the stupid system kept insisting I had a new PC even though I just changed a few HDDs.
This is up to you, its still recommended to boot with the minimum, but personally i just plug all stuff. The only thing that i did do on my build this time, is i booted with only 2 sticks of memory entered the bios to see if all were recognized and setup the bios with all my preferences, and the turn it off, and then installed the other 2x 8gb of memory for 32gb, and booted fine into bios, so went ahead with windows 7 install, all went well, no issues atm, just some ACPI driver i cant seem to find anywhere, that i believe i have to turn off on bios... but its fine the PC booted fine with all stuff inside, but still recommend to boot for the first time with the lest to deal with less issues at the same time, specially troubleshooting an issue.

PeteM wrote:
* GPU: It turns out that the MSI N760 TF is currently unavailable in Austria and nobody is able to tell me *when* it will become available at last. Will there be a problem if I install the OS and keep using the integraded graphics chipset until my GPU arrives? Or will those drivers later interfere with the Nvidia drivers?
IMO it shouldnt have any issues, when you plug the dedicated GPU the motherboard will disable the iGPU, windows will still have the drivers installed, but that shoudlnt give you any problems. Atm on laptop, MSI GT70, has optimus which automatic gpu switching between Nvidia GTX680m + Intel HD4000, so both gpus are on and with drivers installed on the OS, and no conflicts at all, i dont even notice the switching, something that i wished was available on desktops... but maybe some day. For this reason i dont think you will have any problems having both drivers, specially since the motherboard will turn off the iGPU when you installed the dedicated GPU.

PeteM wrote:
* Pictures: Is there a preferred picture host for this forum?
I use imageshack but there are lots of others what work fine.

PeteM wrote:
* Temperatures: I'd love to post some results. Could you direct me to a posting with a list of preferred utilities? I only know 'Open Hardware Monitor' and 'CPU Temp'.
Here im not sure what to recommend you, i just finished my Haswell build yesterday, Coretemp that i usually use, still on the preversion of haswell, no updates, when you turn it on it doesnt recognize the CPU, but does read the temps and %, but idk if it reading it right. I moved to my second favorite, HWIFNO, and didnt recognize some sensor.... gave me an error... there is a beta but i didnt try it, ill wait some more time to see. Went with HWmonitor that i used to love in my laptops, and seems to work well, here is a pic of mine,

Image

Asus has weird way of measureing temps though, its not the same as HWmonitor nor Coretemp, from what i seen in the videos they use not the core sensor but something else that for them its more accurate with the real temperature, but i ran prime95 and even though the cores were reading 50-54C, the asus AI suiteIII was displaying like 35C, so it didnt ramp up the fans yet, until 40C according to what Asus determine on my setup as ideal, i still have to play more with it, but really loving Asus FanXpert2, if you can see in the picture above, the TJ08-E front fan (AP181) is undervolted to 450prm or around there, and i cant hear it at all, at least on the day that i have tested, have to wait for those 3am sesions where there is no sound around to see, but very pleased atm.

PeteM wrote:
Thanks for your help so far, I will keep you updated about my progress!
Good luck wiht the build, looking forward to the pics and how you like the TJ08-E build.

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:32 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 6:21 am
Posts: 484
Location: Czech republic
Less powerfull, yet completely noiseless (fanless) setup can be achieved by using the Akase Euler case:

Image

http://www.extrahardware.com/article/ak ... strana/0/2

I would probably tweak it a lot, but that is just me. It can, however, passively cool a Core i3-3220 with TDP 55 W at high load :mrgreen:

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...just keep folding, just keep folding... :) my config - my caps


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:29 am
Posts: 567
Location: de_DE
PeteM wrote:
* Installation order: I've been building PC systems starting about 20 years ago but have been out of the loop for a few years. Is it still advisable to install windows with the bare minimum (MB+CPU+RAM+SSD) and only after successfully installing, gradually adding other components (2nd HDD then GPU, etc...)? Or will that result in problems with the damned Windows registration system? Had those problems back with WinXP and Windows 7 - the stupid system kept insisting I had a new PC even though I just changed a few HDDs.

I put it all together and just enable everything on the mainboard in the BIOS (now UEFI, really) let Windows find drivers and then disable what I don't need.
PeteM wrote:
* GPU: It turns out that the MSI N760 TF is currently unavailable in Austria and nobody is able to tell me *when* it will become available at last. Will there be a problem if I install the OS and keep using the integraded graphics chipset until my GPU arrives? Or will those drivers later interfere with the Nvidia drivers?

Really? I installed Intel drivers for Lucid Virtu to test Handbrake's Quicksync mode (it's really more alpha than beta stage) and never bothered to uninstall. I had no problems with my GTX 670.
CA_Steve wrote:
* Temperatures: I'd love to post some results. Could you direct me to a posting with a list of preferred utilities? I only know 'Open Hardware Monitor' and 'CPU Temp'.

Asus mainboards come with their own tool. I use Coretemp for CPU and MSI Afterburner for GPU, mainly because Afterburner monitors more than just temps: fan speed, VRAM usage, etc.

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Lian Li V600, Asus P77Z-M Pro, i5-3570K 4.4GHz with Scythe Orochi, 140mm Slipstream 500RPM and Mugen2 115X Bolt through kit,
Evga GTX 670 FTW+ 4GB with Thermalright Spitfire and Thermalright TY-150 500-800RPM, Seasonic 460W Platinum Fanless


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 11:55 pm
Posts: 16
Location: Austria
Hello everyone, I am pulling my hair out right now..... MY HTPC build is stuck in an endless reboot loop every few seconds. I have done quite a few builds in the past but NEVER had problems like this. Please, please take a look at the separate thread I made and for pities sake try to help me! Thanks a bunch!

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Greetings from Vienna!
Peter


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet & small & powerful HTPC/Steambox - Please advise
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:41 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:07 am
Posts: 100
Location: Vienna - Austria
PeteM wrote:
I will make sure to post plenty of pictures as requested and will also tidy up the first posting in this thread to make navigation a bit more easy.

Hi Pete,
Did you manage to take some pictures of the internals of your build?
I would be interested to see.

Greetings from Vienna :wink:
Thierry

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(sold in Dec. 2013) Temjin TJ08-E / Be Quiet Straight Power E9 400W / GA-B75M-D3H / i3-3225 / 8GB / SSD 120GB / HDD 1TB / running Mac OS - Hackintosh


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