Another Budget 3D HTPC Build

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by Tboggie, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    Hi All,

    I have previously owned pre-built systems & Apple TV with XMBC installed but i did not enjoy the experience. Recently, i was checking out some of the features from the latest XBMC 12.0 Frodo release and i would like to give XBMC another try

    Before i go ahead and start the build, i will like to confirm all the requirements below can be met:

    1 - Full Web Browser for live video streaming - only to watch live football
    2 - Support DTS-HD MA / Dolby TrueHD files
    3 - Streaming Video from unRAID server. Smooth video playback via HDMI.
    - 1080p MKVs with DTS and HD Audio
    - Full BD - ISO & BDMV Folder Structure
    - 3D ISO & 3D SBS
    4 - Watch Netflix
    5 - Full BD Menu Support -- In regards to this, will i need an external bluray drive connected to the HTPC?
    6 - Streaming Music from server - Mp3 & Flac
    7 - Controlled by Harmony One Remote


    Here are the list of parts:

    Motherboard AsRock A75M-ITX Motherboard - £68
    CPU AMD Llano A6-3500 Tri-Core Processor with Integrated AMD Radeon HD, 6530D Graphics and Socket FM1 - £50
    SSD SanDisk 64GB 2.5 inch Solid State Drive - £48
    Memory Kingston hyperX 1600MHz DDR3 Non ECC CL9 BLU 4GB DIMM Memory Module - £22
    Cooler Akasa Viper High Performance S-Flow 12cm Fan - £12
    Case CiT Mini ITX Case with 300W PSU - Shiny Piano Black - £30

    Total £230

    Any suggestions on the parts? Lastly, which OS would work best?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  2. philjwb

    philjwb
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    I think that case will be noisy. Can you find one with an external power brick?

    I have a similar build to what you are suggesting but in a streacom FC8 case and its awesome!
     
  3. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    How noisy? The case will probably be hidden in the tv stand
     
  4. spacemanc

    spacemanc
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    Why FM1 board and CPU, when you can have FM2 for the same money?
     
  5. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    Thanks spacemanc, have you got link to where i can find it at the same price?
     
  6. spacemanc

    spacemanc
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  7. rojgelf

    rojgelf
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    Before you buy a cooler try the stock one, I use a llano with stock fan, its small and quiet. Id also look at other cases, I used an akasa crypto for mine, one with 80w brick would be enough for this setup. very quiet with stock fan - which fits, although you may need to take out ssd holder depending on position of CPU, ssd fits in fine without it. Also i silenced case fan with a fan mate, it was a bit noisy at 4000 revs, reduced to 2000 its silent.
     
  8. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    Thanks rojgelf, all parts ordered on saturday

    AsRock FM2A75M-ITX Motherboard - £66.23
    AMD A6 5400K Black Edition CPU - £51.15
    SanDisk 64GB 2.5 inch Solid State Drive - £47.06
    Kingston 1600MHz DDR3 Non ECC CL9 4GB Kit (2x 2GB) HyperX BLU DIMM Memory Module - £25.13
    Zalman 80mm Silent Case Fan -£4.75
    CiT Mini ITX Case with 300W PSU - Shiny Piano Black - £31.99
    GMYLE® Windows 7 IR MCE PC Remote Control - £13

    Total £239.31

    I was just checking quietpc.com this morning for quiet coolers just incase the cpu fan is loud. My original plan is to hide the htpc in the tvstand underneath the TV and see how loud the cooler fan will sound. The case fan might even be louder than the cpu cooler so i also checking other mini itx cases but nothing fancy because it will probably be hidden. Thanks for the fan mate tip, this might be the best solution to reduce the case fan noise
     
  9. rojgelf

    rojgelf
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    I looked at that case, based on reviews I think stock cooler and your new case fan will be fine, but power supply one might be noisy. I did see one picture of someone who had removed psu fan and replaced with 80mm case fan plugged into mobo to control it.

    Btw selecting silent running in bios reduced noise of CPU fan considerably, and case still not too hot.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  10. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    So after the long wait, all parts arrived yesterday. I started the build last night which lasted about two hours, actually it was complete in half an hour but the motherboard screws did not fit properly, so had to spend time messing around with that. Also, the motherboard I/O shield did not fit properly. I will try to fix this again tonight, if not it's going back to amazon 1st thing tomorrow.

    Everything else went well, inside of the case was spacious which made it easier to maneuver, i am sure it can hold four 3.5 hard drives, one sdd and one optical drive. To complete the installation and updates, i had to connect it to the pc monitor. Windows, motherboard drivers, BIOS updates and some random tweaks all in less than 40 minutes.

    Fired up Firefox, went straight to XMBC website to install Frodo 12 but i noticed XBMC 13 - Gotham was available for download, not sure how stable the release was so i downloaded Frodo 12. Installation complete, updated skin to aeon skin and was impressed at how smoothly it ran. I then set up my movies/tv shows paths and left it to scan overnight. Did a quick test this morning and looks like it scrapped it all, the best part was it sorted out the movie boxsets. I tested some random movies, all played straight away and the PQ was good.

    So, i am about 40% done, still have lots in my to do list, Add-ons, games(emulator and pc games), tweaking and customization etc. Overall, I would say it's a huge improvement over the media players and the major factor for me is that I can customize it

    Apologies for the picture quality, phone camera

    Case
    [​IMG]

    SanDisk 64GB SSD
    Corsair CMV4GX3M2A1333C9 2 x 2GB DDR3
    [​IMG]

    AsRock FM2A75M-ITX Motherboard - Thanks to spacemanc who suggested the FM2
    [​IMG]

    AMD A6 5400K CPU
    [​IMG]

    Zalman 80mm Silent Case Fan - I have not installed this yet
    [​IMG]

    Case - Front
    [​IMG]

    Case - Back
    [​IMG]

    Case with SSD
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  11. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    All parts
    [​IMG]
    Motherboard inside the case
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    All parts connected
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Yeah i know, need to do some cable management :D

    [​IMG]

    Space for sata or optical drive
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  12. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    Case Front
    [​IMG]

    Keyboard and MCE PC Remote - need to pick up a USB header adapter for the remote
    [​IMG]

    Next to the Monitor
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Aeon Nox Skin
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    That's all for now folks :thumbsup:
     
  13. rojgelf

    rojgelf
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    Nice, thanks for the pics (its corsair RAM BTW you labeled it kingston), I like to look of XMBC too, if I ever get time I might try it. Good to know to APU is up to the hype.

    So how noisy is the case, what is psu like? Have you a meter to read how many watts you are pulling?
     
  14. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    RAM info updated :)

    I'm still setting it up another room so I've not really played it in a quiet room. For now, the noise is not so bad and i a guess i won't really hear much noise if i hide it. The extra fan i bought have not been installed and i did some bios settings to control the fan speed. No meter reading yet, i'll check it when the setup is complete
     
  15. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    Update

    Logitech K400 Wireless Touch Keyboard with Built-in multi-touch touchpad

    It is smaller than the average pc keyboard which was exactly what i was looking for and it simply works.
    Installation was easy as expected, plug in the USB dongle and you're good to go. I picked this up at PC World as it was the same price on Amazon

    [​IMG]


    Logitech C270 HD Webcam

    For the price, this was a bargain. You get 720p HD video quality with in-built microphone which works straight out of the box with skype. Perfect HD video and crystal clear audio. I got this for my wife as i thought it would be nice to connect a webcam to the TV instead of using her ipad when video chatting with her parents and family. We tested it over the weekend and i was impressed at how crystal clear the audio and video was, even in low light.

    Some more features using the logitech software - adjustments to brightness, zoom, face tracking, motion detection, colour etc

    Same as the Keyboard, pick up from PC World

    [​IMG]

    Pioneer BDR-206DBK

    To complete the build and give the case a finished look, i got a bluray drive
    [​IMG]

    Few pictures
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    SportsDevil Addon - Live Sports and Highlights
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  16. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    Just started setting up games using Rom collection browser

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Still remaining on my to-do list:

    : When i finish playing a game and close it, XBMC does not resume to fullscreen
    : Resolve two issues with Harmony Remote
    - Not setting receiver to correct channel, i have to go to devices and select HDMI 2
    - Not shuting all the way down. When i press off, i want the htpc to shut down and when i start an activity, i want to start the HTPC from a cold boot

    : Add netflix to home screen and launch Netflix in full-screen mode - Still not sure how to do this
    : Control Sky Box from XBMC - Again, no idea how to do this
     
  17. spacemanc

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    You can also adjust the Harmony remote settings to make it much more responsive. It's the delay setting that you need change and it's quite hidden away in the PC software. iirc it's set to 300 as default, but you can change it to zero.

    You won't be able to control your Sky box via XBMC, but why can't you programme the Harmony remote with your Sky box settings? If it's in another room you could get a remote blaster.
     
  18. richardb70

    richardb70
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    Very nice, thanks for posting pics up. Presume you went with Windows?
     
  19. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    Thanks spacemanc

    As you suggested, the issue was with the delay settings. I also found this thread which has all the information i need with harmony/xbmc settings.

    In regards to Sky control in xbmc, i already have a SKY activity which works well for but i wanted to control sky within xbmc. There is a workaround which is to install the SkyGo addon. I tested it and it worked
     
  20. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    Thanks Richard. Yes, i went with win7
     

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