Help me build my HTPC (Case and parts advice needed) please?

stu_69

Standard Member
Hello all

I am looking to build my own HTPC over the coming weeks and months (the plan being to have it up and running in time for Christmas). And as I recently won an MCE remote and a copy of MCE2005 I figured I would go down this route.

I have no problem building my own system as I have built many over the years but I have never dipped into the MCE waters before. Anyway I have done a little research and come up with the following parts (I will not be using this for games so I am not bothered about that part). I am looking to build a machine that will be future proof, fast and the main thing is I want it to be as quite as possible. So here are the parts I have come up with:


Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-K8N ULTRA-SLI
Processor - 1 x AMD Athlon 64 3500+
Gigabyte GV NX66256DP Nvidia Geforce 6600 PCI Express Graphics Card
Zalman CNPS9500
Memory - Kingston 1gb Ddr 400mhz Pc3200 (already have)
Gryation Keyboard and Mouse (already have)
MCE Remote (already have)
MCE 2005 (already have)

So what do you reckon? Am I on the right track? I am also looking for some advice on the case, I have been thinking of either the Accent HT-400 Series or one of the Silvertone cases. I am not really bothered about a VFD but if there is one it would be great. So which would you recommend? Also what PSU would you recommend?

I will not be putting a digital receiver card in the PC during the initial build (already have 2x Sky+ boxes) but I will want to add one of the dual tuner cards in the future do you think there will be any problems with the motherboard I have chosen?

I wanted to get a really quiet HD as I have ample network storage and I will map drives to the storage so I presume a spinpoint HD would be the best option for me?


Thanks for your time

Stu
 

Dan L

Active Member
All I will say is be very mindful of noise when choosing components - it will be the focus of the HTPC I promise you that :)

Be prepared to maybe underclock & undervolt the CPU; although the '64s run cooler so this may not be a big problem for you.

If you go the SilverStone route, it would be worth considering this http://www.silverstonetek.com/products-nt01v2.0.htm with one of there compatible cases, plus a manual fan controller - this way the CPU fans will draw the warm air from both the CPU and the system out the back of the machine. I'd also heartily recommend budgeting for a fanless power supply as this makes a big difference.

Apart from that your initial spec seems fine to me!
 

deksawyer

Active Member
Good spec mobo/gfx card as they're fanless.

As for the case, you won't go far wrong with a Silverstone LC17. I built one recently (moved everything from an LC13 case and the difference in noise/temps is amazing.

Around £65 from http://www.u-sm.com/

The motherboard will be OK to use the dual PCIe DVB-tuner, also it doesn't have Gigabyte's DPS (Dual Power System) so would work with the above case for the CPU inlet/outlet vent.

D.
 
S

Skunkpipe

Guest
Yup looks good.
The Silverstone LC16m and LC17 and Accent are all pretty decent cases. The LC16m and LC17 have better fan provisions (bigger exhaust fans, + 3 x 92mm fan mounts + PSU cooled by cool external air) and can be quietly cooled easier. PSU wise if you can stretch to it the Elan Vital Greenerger is just about as good a PSU as you will find.
The CNPS9500 is a decent quiet cooler - I find the thermalright XP120 with *good quality* and propoerly managed (Panaflo, Acoustifan, SilenX) 120mm fan just edges it in the noise stakes; but there really isn't that much in it.

SLI is unnecessary if just going the HTPC route; if you want to do a bit of hi-end gaming in the future, then the SLI is a good route; if not then the non-SLI version of the board will give you one more useable slot.
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
Like Skunkpipe I would go for the version without SLI unless you are a hardcore gamer and this setup is used for it as well...You can then use that extra PCI-E slot for one of those dual dvb-t cards and stope giving money to Sky...

Man..two Sky+ boxes, that must cost you a fortune per month to run! With so much crap on TV is it worth it?
 

stu_69

Standard Member
dejongj said:
Like Skunkpipe I would go for the version without SLI unless you are a hardcore gamer and this setup is used for it as well...You can then use that extra PCI-E slot for one of those dual dvb-t cards and stope giving money to Sky...

Man..two Sky+ boxes, that must cost you a fortune per month to run! With so much crap on TV is it worth it?
I got the second box during their latest special offer. The reason I went for it was because my original was out of warranty and they wanted £65 to renew it for a year. I also can't get freeview where I am at the moment and I wanted Sky in the bedroom so I can watch football in peace and the wife can watch whatever she wants. So I am only actually paying £10 a month more and I recently dropped the movie channels (there is never anything on when you actually want to watch a movie) so I am only now paying £3 a month more than I was before I had 2 boxes.

Thanks for the advice guys, I will have a look for the MB without SLI as I said I never will use it for games so there is no point anyway.
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
That's a good deal for Sky+ second box!

I think the MB you would be after will be the GA-K8N Ultra-9. If I didn't go the Intel route that would have been my choice for MB...They seem to be difficult to find for stock, so be prepared to search...
 
S

Skunkpipe

Guest
stu_69 said:
I got the second box during their latest special offer. The reason I went for it was because my original was out of warranty and they wanted £65 to renew it for a year. I also can't get freeview where I am at the moment and I wanted Sky in the bedroom so I can watch football in peace and the wife can watch whatever she wants. So I am only actually paying £10 a month more and I recently dropped the movie channels (there is never anything on when you actually want to watch a movie) so I am only now paying £3 a month more than I was before I had 2 boxes.

Thanks for the advice guys, I will have a look for the MB without SLI as I said I never will use it for games so there is no point anyway.
THe K8N Ultra9 is the non SLI version. It's also passivly cooled
 
S

Skunkpipe

Guest
For HTPC the Gigabyte 6600(GT) 128MB Passivley cooled card (NX66128DP or NX66T128VP (GT Version)) is a better bet
 

stu_69

Standard Member
Would anyone recommend putting a 2.5" inch drive in a HTPC? I have a spare 60GB 5400rpm laptop HD. I could just get a Ide To 2.5" Drive Adaptor Cable and hook it up in the case. This would be considerabley quieter and cooler than a normal HD.

As I said I will have most (if not all) my media on networked storage so I have no real need for a big HD in the unit.

So is this a good option? Or should I just got with the Spinpoints?
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
I took one out of my laptop as it was just too slow....It was noticeably slow...So I wouldn't consider using one in an HTPC...
 

stu_69

Standard Member
OK I have sourced a K8N Ultra9 and an NX66T128VP so they should be with me in a couple of weeks.
 

BryanKitts

Active Member
Skunkpipe said:
...if you want to do a bit of hi-end gaming in the future, then the SLI is a good route; if not then the non-SLI version of the board will give you one more useable slot.
So is the second SLI slot definitely not useable for non-graphics PCI-E cards when in non-SLI mode? I got the impression from another thread that you could put PCI-E x1 cards in PCI-E xN slots, but wasn't sure whether or not it applied to unused SLI slots too.
 

stu_69

Standard Member
in the process of building my HTPC but I have a small problem. I have a Gigabyte GV N66T128VP graphics card and a Gigabyte GA-K8N ULTRA-9 MB. The problem is the fittings are quite tight and the graphics card protrudes into the northbrige heatsink. Will this be a problem? It's only the end of the card that clips into the MB that is in the heatsink.

Stu
 
P

phaines

Guest
Make sure that the DVD drive you buy runs quietly; the drive I got for my HTPC is very noisy (it's a NEC drive, despite the earlier version I have in my main PC being very quiet). I'm thinking of swapping them the next time I have to top of the case off.

I'm using an AMD3200+ with the Zelman CNPS7000B-CU cooler works very well once the top of the case is on. For a case I went for a Silverstone LC03B-V; it has a nice VFD screen for displaying track title and can be had for a good price. It could look a little better. :)

Good luck
 

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