A long time ago in a galaxy...well...here, I specified and built an HTPC (see post here from back in 2008
). I've been running with my current MePo (Media Portal) machine for a number of years now and it's beginning to show its age so it's time to build a new box.
My MePo setup is pretty basic. I don't run the live TV stuff as I have a dedicated HUMAX box running some custom firmware to cover that side of things. I run a fileserver in the loft and share files over Gigabit ethernet to the MePo box in the living room. I have kids and any optical media tends to die a quick death when they're about so I rip everything and store it on the fileserver, keeping nothing in the living room. This has the added bonus that there's no slot or tray to post toast/coins/miscellaneous crap into...
I was very happy with my previous build...once I'd put a discrete GFX card in there. Almost completely inaudible, capable of 1080p, full digital audio. Loved it. This time around I'm hoping to take things a step further:
- low power, completely fanless.
- S4/5 suspend/resume.
- ability to deal with the newer UI functions (image cross-fades, etc. are currently a bit jerky).
- faster boot time.
With these goals in mind, I've arrived at the following spec (this spec adapted from a post on the XBMC forums
CPU: Intel i3-3225
Key points are the TDP (55W) and the integrated HD4000 graphics. My understanding is that this integrated gfx will easily handle everything I throw at it, up to and including 1080p/i content. I've no intention at this point of doing 4K or 3D. I have also read that the all pervailing 24P issue is, if not completely gone, handled well and mostly un-noticeable. Looking at this link on CPU-World, I should see triple the performance (~+180%) of my old CPU (AMD 64 X2 BE-2400).
MoBo: Gigabyte Z77N-Wifi
Mostly chosen for the form-factor, lack of active cooling, high-temp protection and the presence of SATA3, USB3 and S4/5 capability. I'm also a fan of Gigabyte kit. I've run with their motherboards on various machines over the years and they've always been dependable.
RAM: Corsair XMS3 2x4GB DDR3 1600MHz
Reasonably priced, compatible RAM. Not much more to say.
Case: Hdplex H3.S + 80W PSU + Hdplex internal IR receiver
Like the case. Was reviewed well on Silent PC Review (optical drive version). The clever way they handle S5 resume makes this case particularly attractive to me. Having a dedicated internal IR receiver
hooked into the ATX connector makes a lot of sense where standard S5 resume is not triggering from USB (and, frankly, given past experience with this I don't trust resume to work as advertised).
SSD: Intel 520, 120Gb SSD
I run one of these on my main machine. Fast, but more importantly, reliable.
So, does this look like a reasonable build? Anyone forsee any problems with it? My biggest concern is that I've not really got the option to fix any audio/video issues I experience post-build by purchasing dedicated cards. I need to keep the TDP down and the PSU won't cope with much more anyway. Got to get this right...