Help me Build New HTPC (Post here to discuss plans for new HTPC) - Page 68 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1006 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-11-29, 06:13 PM
 
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That is a complete system with Win7 OS. Not sure if it includes keyboard and mouse but it's on board video is only VGA so a vid card would be needed. Mabye need sound card too.
The specs are whats middle of range though, more than adequate.

I feel good that I bought my two 2TB WD drives before they added $100 to the price.

Srvr:ASUSF1A75-VPro,RadHD6000,A6-3670K,WD2TB,W7Ult
NPVR,5.1,2xHaup2250MC,ATI650,CM7777,WGHD8800,5clts
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post #1007 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-12-04, 01:07 PM
 
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Just got the last piece of my new HTPC and thought I'd throw my build into this awesome thread. A lot of the advice from this thread actually helped with my decisions, so I thought I'd give back.

I'm replacing my Boxee Box, which I love, but I want to be able to do a little more with my HTPC. Where my build differs a little is that all my content lives on a WHS, and I won't be including a tuner (yet). I also tried to keep the cost down on this build.

ASRock E350M1 - Combines the motherboard, processor and video processing - $109.99

LG GGC-H20L Combo BD/HD-DVD player - Why not play those discs I got cheap a couple years ago? - $59.99

8GB G.Skill Sniper DDR3-1600 Memory - Lots of memory for smooth streaming as well as running MAME and Karaoke software - $45.33

Apex MI-100 Piano Black case w/ 250W Supply - Small case that will fit well in my media console with USB and Mic jacks up front - $47.30

I've got an existing 1TB SATA drive I'm throwing in, so that shaved off some of the cost.

I also have a Win7 - Home licence I'm going to be transferring off one machine on to this one.

On Friday, I picked up the Logitech diNovo keyboard/mouse to round out the unit. Got it price protected at FS for $116.

So, all in, I'm looking at about $380 for a system that plays any physical media, will stream from online and local sources, play Karaoke and combine all of my old gaming consoles.
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post #1008 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-12-04, 01:36 PM
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Looks good to me.
If noise is an issue you may want to swap that PSU for a Pico down the road.

I didn't know you could still get the H20L.. love mine.
Only thing is I can't upgrade the software to play new BD's or I lose HD-DVD playback
If you get a solution.. please share
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post #1009 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-12-18, 07:04 PM
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Totally silent HTPC part 1 of 2

HTPC Component List
HDPlex H3.S case with IR receiver /remote and internal 80W power supply $280 + shipping
Zotac H67-ITX motherboard $130
Intel i3-2100 CPU $130
OCZ 120 GB Vertex Plus SSD $100
4GB RAM $40
Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit - I had an unused license
Total $680 w/o a Windows license

Here are all of the goods laid out before assembly:


My objective was to build a new HTPC that would act as a client for SageTV. This has become more important since SageTV stopped selling their extenders - they have also stopped selling client licenses but I have a spare client license and there is a hope that they will make client licenses free at some time in the future. I also wanted the PC to be able to play Netflix and other online services and I may use it for other media player UIs like Plex or XBMC.

As a proof of concept I wanted to try to make a totally silent HTPC. SSDs have started to become more prevalent so that way easy - the harder sound sources to eliminate are the fans in the case, power supply and CPU cooler.

HDPlex has a very interesting concept where they use the case as a large heat sink. A copper block is mounted as a CPU heat sink and you connect heat pipes to this copper block and then connect them to the Aluminum case. The heat pipes go right over the PCI slot (which is orange in the photo) so you couldn't use a discrete video card - but the Sandy Bridge video performance is fine for an HTPC. Here is a closeup of the heat pipes:


The build of this PC encountered a problem right of the bat. The motherboard had some surface mount components (see photo below) that interefered with a plastic screw holder that goes on the underside of the mobo that holds the CPU copper block in place - these screwholders have a diameter larger than the white circles on the mobo. I had to take a dremel and trim this piece of plastic so that it no longer sat on the component. It seems that this problem is not unique to this mobo as others have had the same problem with other mobos.


The rest of the build was very straightforward although it is rather tight in the case to screw in pieces like the power plug holder.

The case has enough room for a 3.5" hard drive - which I don't requrire so this case has lots of empty space for my purposes. In an ideal world HD Plex would make a similar case that is quite a bit smaller - big enough to fit an ITX mobo and not much else. You can use an external power brick and a mSATA hard drive.

continued in part 2 below
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post #1010 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-12-18, 07:05 PM
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Totally silent HTPC part 2 of 2

Here is a photo of the completed assembly (note the Wifi card in the mini PCIe slot in the lower left corner of the mobo):


How is the performance?
It is a pretty fast system - it feels very zippy but it is a new install and they tend to be better performing. Playing back 1080p video files only get the CPU up to about 8%. The system is usable in about 32 seconds from a power off state. The Windows Experience Index is 4.7 - the weakest link is the Desktop Graphics for Windows Aero. The CPU gets a score of 7.1.

Is the 80W power suuply enough?
After ordering the system I started to get a wee bit worried about power consumption as the CPU is supposed to draw a max of 65W so I was worried that the mobo+ SSD might put me over the 80W rating but that doesn't seem to be an issue?

How is the cooling?
Under no load the temperature reported is about 31 degrees. To really stress the system I ran Prime95 for several hours. The temperature started rising quickly and eventually got up to about 80 degrees. I don't know that I would want to run the PC this hot all the time but even at this temp it seemed to be oeprating OK. I think I should be ok unless I use this PC to do lots of video reencoding that would really stress the PC.

What would I like to change?
As you can see in the photos this mobo has built in Wifi via a mini PCIe card. I don't need Wifi as I will have wired ethernet - therefore it might be fun to use this slot for an SSD instead. The only issue is that mSATA is becoming the standard for small form factor SSDs and it is not compatible with mini PCIe. You can buy specific mini PCIe hard drives as replacements for netbook drives so I may try that if I am feeling adventurous. Note that Zotac now has a mini ITX mobo with a Z68 chipset that can use an mSATA device in the miniPCIe slot.

Here is the look of the final assembly. The case gives a very clean look with only a small hole in the centre for the IR sensor. The switch is on the top left of the case and is very discreet. There are no annoying blue LEDs visible. I have included the remote control that came with the case in the photo but in its final place I will use a Harmony remote.
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post #1011 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-12-19, 12:37 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Hawkesbury Ontario
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Hello Digital friends.

I been acumulating parts for a few weeks now
I will list parts I have and parts I still need to buy
for my HTPC.

I want to build a HTPC that will work with Satellite FTA and OTA
Digital and Analog.

Here is the build.

Case = Linkwold 43715 Matx 430Watts PSU /35$
Biostar Motherboard/CPU = MCP6PB M2+ - AMD Sempron X2 2300 /75$
O/S = Win XP SP3 but will but Win7 if you tell me it's that
much better
Memmory = Gskills PI Black 4gb 2X2GB /75$
HD = Western Digital Caviar 500gb Sata2 / 35$
Dedicated PSU = Epower 450Watts GPU / 25$
GPU ATI Radeon HD 4890 - I got from upgrade from main pc

Now I'm shopping for a PCIe Tv Tuner card that will do OTA & FTA
and since I'm a bit noobie I can't be real sure of what I find will
work. so could you guide me in the right direction.

and not sure on O/S to use Win7 or WinXP ????


I have a ton and 1/2 of programs like dvd plus and all that from video cards I bought.

FRANK The Mechanic
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post #1012 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-12-19, 07:32 AM
 
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@Frank
Look into the Hauppauge 2250 MCE-KIT (comes with remote) for dual tuner. If you stay back on XP(or not)you can check out NextPVR media center its free.

Srvr:ASUSF1A75-VPro,RadHD6000,A6-3670K,WD2TB,W7Ult
NPVR,5.1,2xHaup2250MC,ATI650,CM7777,WGHD8800,5clts
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post #1013 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-12-19, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
...How is the cooling?
Under no load the temperature reported is about 31 degrees. To really stress the system I ran Prime95 for several hours. The temperature started rising quickly and eventually got up to about 80 degrees. I don't know that I would want to run the PC this hot all the time but even at this temp it seemed to be oeprating OK. I think I should be ok unless I use this PC to do lots of video reencoding that would really stress the PC.
That is a really slick unit Wayne! I must say, though, that as interesting a concept as that case is, 80 degrees is just a little too high for my personal tastes. As you mentioned, if you do too much transcoding, the life of your CPU and Motherboard will be shortened considerably at those high temps. As a frontend player I think it should be pretty awesome to have a silent unit like that. Unfortunately for me, I am finding that I am using my HTPC for a bit of transcoding, editing, etc., so it wouldn't work with my current setup.
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post #1014 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-12-19, 12:25 PM
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Frank, I'd not bother trying to find an ATSC/NTSC/DVB-S card. Instead, I'd get the best or most suitable ATSC/NTSC card you can get, and a separate DVB-S/DVB-S2 card or USB tuner.
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post #1015 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-12-19, 12:39 PM
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Wayne,

Nice HTPC! Very classy.

Quote:
The temperature started rising quickly and eventually got up to about 80 degrees. I don't know that I would want to run the PC this hot all the time but even at this temp it seemed to be oeprating OK. I think I should be ok unless I use this PC to do lots of video reencoding that would really stress the PC.
Modern processors thermally protect themselves, and have done so for over a decade. I still remember the old Toms Hardware videos back when the original Socket-A Athlon gave up the "magic smoke" when he pulled the heatsink off the chip while running a Q3 timedemo, but a Pentium 4 just slowed down the chip frequency until to keep the temperatures from damaging the chip. Unless there has been some regression in this department post-Pentium 4, I'm pretty sure that your HTPC will be okay.

In other words, if your cooling isn't good enough, then your processors clock frequency will drop before the temperature becomes dangerous for the chip.
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post #1016 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-12-19, 12:54 PM
 
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I have 1 pcie slot and one pci slot so I would have to make sure thay are compatable.

I have a old tv tunner card tv and if I instal it computer won't boot. it was a pci tv tuner card for AGP video and does not work with pcie.
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post #1017 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-12-19, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by audacity View Post
In other words, if your cooling isn't good enough, then your processors clock frequency will drop before the temperature becomes dangerous for the chip.
Good, that's how I thought that CPUs worked these days. But what about the theory that running at high temps could shorten the lifespan of a CPU or mobo, as mentioned by rsambuca.
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post #1018 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-12-19, 01:24 PM
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Wayne, very intersting build. The main drawback that I see is cost. Mini ITX components seem to be pricey when compared to mATX and dedicated solutions. The only change I would suggest is to use a 2100T processor that has a TDP of only 35w.

FrankTurbo, I would use a Radion 5450 based video card. They are often on sale for about $20-$30.

At 20 I had a good mind. At 40 I had money. At 60 I've lost my mind and my money. Oh, to be 20 again. --Scary
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post #1019 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-12-19, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
But what about the theory that running at high temps could shorten the lifespan of a CPU or mobo, as mentioned by rsambuca.
The evidence doesn't support the idea that it would significantly shorten the life of these solid state components, and even then you're still looking at a component life that is longer than the expected useful life of CPUs in terms of obsolescence. You know, like it would "potentially bring down the life of your CPU" to ~12 years or so.

You could make a better argument that over-volting your processor for the process of overclocking it would have a much greater negative effect than running high temperatures on your CPU (that are still lower than the thermal "safety limit" that I discussed in my previous post). But even then I overclock CPUs all the time, and have done so since the 90s and I have yet to blow up a processor. Running at stock speeds? Your chip will be fine.

I'd be more worried about things like static electricity or a serious power surge shortening the life of your gear.
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post #1020 of 1073 (permalink) Old 2011-12-19, 01:42 PM
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I wouldn't be worried about the CPU so much as the capacitors on the Motherboard. The decent capacitors are rated for 2000 hours life expectancy at 105 degrees Celsius, doubling every 10 degrees below that, giving 15 years expectancy at 45 degrees. The problem is that historically most capacitors have been not performed near their specs, and are the cause of most MB failures. Look up "capacitor plague" of the past.

In any event, if you are just doing the odd transcode, it likely won't be a problem. I have built quite a few rigs and overclocked a lot. I have never had a cpu failure, but I have had 2 motherboards die from capacitor failure.
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