: mATX and USB3 HTPC

2010-04-09, 01:00 PM
Looking at building a quiet, low power HTPC with mATX case/enclosure and USB3 motherboard with HDMI and Blu Ray Optical Drive.

i3 and i5 processors look promising with onboard GPU rather than dedicated GPU to save on space and power requirements as well as reduce heat generated.

A stylish case that looks good and like it belongs in an A/V system in the living room would be ideal.

Any thoughts, suggestions?

2010-04-09, 01:57 PM
I've got a couple antec fusion cases


2010-04-09, 02:13 PM
I have considered this as well. The Gigabyte H55M-USB3 mATX has USB 3.0 but only 2 ports by using an add-on NEC chip. It will probably be just as good to add a PCIe USB3 card to another board. In addition, this motherboard is kind of pricey compared to comparable AMD based solutions with integrated ATI graphics. Add an Intel processor, and the price difference is even greater. The AMD solution comes in at about $155 (or less) for a basic motherboard and CPU where the Intel I3 solution compares at $270. Go to an I5 and the difference is much greater. I can't speak to how the products exactly compare in power and performance but the AMD solution has low power consumption and is adequate for HD video. Add a Gigabyte USB3 card to the AMD motherboard and you are still $75 ahead.

I have a LIAN-LI PC-C37B and it is an excellent choice for a component cabinet. It's the same size and styling as a high end DVD player. There are lot's of case suggestions in other HTPC threads.

You might want the check the Help me Build New HTPC (Post here to discuss plans for new HTPC) (http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=79116) before starting a new thread. The currently recomended AMD solution is discussed near the end of that thread.

Michael DeAbreu
2010-04-09, 06:14 PM
I was impressed by the reviews (http://www.guru3d.com/article/vidabox-vcase3-review/)on the VidaBox vCase3 (http://www.vidabox.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=5_11&products_id=118).

But I own a Antec Sonata II.

2010-04-09, 09:41 PM
Yeah. I just grabbed that case actually. $200.00 US + $50.00 shipping to Canada but used promo code "vCase3-TPU" for $50.00 so it's a wash.

I ordered the Gigabyte GA-H57M-USB3 for my nephews LAN Box and may do the same for my HTPC unit.


You want to be careful about PCI cards, USB3, and SATA 6Gb and potential bottlenecks though. Toms Hardware has a great article found here...


2 USB3 ports is more than enough for an HTPC box to give you extra storage and backup options.

So I have a case. I think the board I am going to use. Looking at an i5 proc with onboard GPU to utilize the HDMI on the board but can still add a dedicated GPU if needed.

Found a quiet, power efficient power supply...

Seasonic X-650(SS-650KM Active PFC)

Michael DeAbreu
2010-04-12, 12:39 PM
Another recommendation for a product I don't own: OCZ ModXStream Pro 500W (http://www.*********/products/index.php?sku=33040&vpn=OCZ500MXSP&manufacture=OCZ%20Technology)
Anandtech has a good comparison review (http://www.anandtech.com/show/2724/26). They found it quieter than similar Seasonic models (which run cooler at higher fan speeds.) It's modular for cleaner wiring in a small case and I don't think you'll need 650 watts for an HTPC.

Thanks for the promo code!

2010-04-12, 01:52 PM

I was looking at the Seasonic based on the reviews over at silentpcreview.com because of both its noise level and energy efficiency certified 80 Plus Gold even though I will never need that much power. Also because it was modular as well. It also has a semi passive cooling solution and the fan doesn't spin at low loads.


650W - Seasonic SS-650KM 80 Plus Gold


500W - OCZ500MXSP 80 Plus Standard


I will check out the OCZ unit some more though.


Michael DeAbreu
2010-04-15, 01:07 PM
I'm using your posts to vicariously build my dream HTPC!

I'd have bought this:
$139.90 - NCIX Value Bundle Deal AMD Phenom X4 9150E 65W Quad Core & ASUS M4A785-M 785G DDR2 mATX Motherboard

Last week they had these for half price. I'd have gotten two for a nice 2 NTSC/2ATSC rig. I own the PCIe version and it is great.
$99.84 - Vista View Saber DA-1N1-I PCI TV Tuner Combo NTSC ATSC QAM HDTV W/ 3D Comb Filter & MPEG2 Encoding

I am quite happy with the 1TB version:
$94.99 - Western Digital WD15EARS Caviar Green 1.5TB SATA 64MB Cache 3.5IN Hard Drive OEM

$99.99 - Samsung SH-B083L 8X BLU-RAY BD-ROM & DVD Writer Combo Drive SATA 2MB Retail Box

But boy, it adds up quickly!