How is this for a gaming HTPC?

Dharm

Member
I've decided to jump into attempting to make a gaming HTPC. I've never reinstalled Windows before let alone deal with any hardware so this should be an interesting project.

I basically want to use this build to play Games (on the PS3 I play COD, MW, Uncharted, Batman, PES etc so want to play games of that nature on here) surf the web and watch MKV's. I already have a BluRay player so I dont need this machine to perform that. I want to use this HTPC on a Philips Cinema 21:9 56PFL9954H via Yamaha Rx-V667.

The specs I've come up with are:

The following 3 items are pending as I've offered to purchase them from the classifieds section

CPU: Intel i5-2500k 3.3GHz, 3.7GHz Turboboost Quad Core, 6M cache. Unlocked.

MOBO: Gigabyte "Ultradurable" series GA-Z68X-UD4-B3

RAM: 2x4GB GSkill RipjawsX PC3-12800 1600MHz


The following 4 items I already have and want to use

GPU: Asus 1GB GeForce GTX 560TI DirectCUII PCI-E Graphics Card

PSU: OCZ 600W ModXStream PSU

HDD: Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB SATAII 7200RPM 16MB Cache

DVD: Whatever one I have in my PC, no idea what it is though.

Need to Buy

HSF: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 Socket 775, 1156,1155, AM2+, 1366, AM3 aluminium with copper base Processor Cooler

2 x 80mm noctua fans

1 x 92mm noctua fan

Case: Either a Black Silverstone LC13b-e or a LC17b. (I like the look of the plain HTPC case without the led display... am open to other suggestions if there is something cheaper out there)

So thats it, if anyone has any advice, suggestions, opinions or recommendations I'd much appreciate it.

Thanks.
 
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spacemanc

Active Member
Looks good, but I would certainly consider some of the factory overclocked ATI HD 6870's rather than the GTX 560 Ti. They have similar performance so whichever has the best deal.

You can save a few quid with this RAM as well:

http://www.kikatek.com/product_info.php?products_id=196339&source=froogle

Same spec as the ripjaws, and less likely to cause issues with fan clearance.
 

Dharm

Member
Looks good, but I would certainly consider some of the factory overclocked ATI HD 6870's rather than the GTX 560 Ti. They have similar performance so whichever has the best deal.

Thanks for the suggestion but the reason Im using this GPU is because its one that I already own. With it being my first attempt I wanted to keep the cost down as much a possible by using hardware I currently have in my tower.

You can save a few quid with this RAM as well:

http://www.kikatek.com/product_info.php?products_id=196339&source=froogle

Same spec as the ripjaws, and less likely to cause issues with fan clearance.

Im only using ripjaws as it comes in the package with the i5 and the mobo from the classifieds section. Hopefully there wont be any issues, but if there is I'll order what you've suggested and use the ripjaws somewhere else.

Yep that setup sounds spot on :)

Excellent, I guess its just left to deciding on a case and then getting started.
 
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Dharm

Member
UPDATE:

A minor update with parts, I swapped the RipjawsX for 8GB (2x4GB) Corsair Vengeance Low Profile.

Anyway received all the items yesterday and got started this morning.

This is where I am at currently


30uycn9.jpg


I've taken out the CD drive and haven't installed the GPU yet. Will get both of those sorted at the end.

CPU cooler built and mounted...

2ui8wlv.jpg


I originally installed the CPU cooler the wrong way round but unscrewed it all and did it as above. I didn't reapply the thermal paste so hopefully that wont be an issue.

Also with the fans I wasn't quite sure if its been installed correctly, according to the instructions I had to install the front fan so as to to pull air towards the cooler and the bottom fan so as to push the air out. With the arrows on the fans I placed them so that the arrows matched in the direction going towards the rear fans. Is that correct?

This is the fan at the bottom...

zisrqx.jpg


And this is the fan at the top.....

10opsfc.jpg


With the PSU I installed it with the fan facing the vent, in truth I wasn't sure whether to have it facing inwards or outwards but it kind of made sense to my zero knowledge of computer building to have it facing outwards.

Two fans at the rear of the case...

2sbqtcz.jpg


However now I have no idea what to do with all the wires from the fans and where to plug them in.

I have 2 wires from the 2 fans at the rear of the case and then 2 wires from the CPU cooler (which I connected with the blue ULNA adapter). Could someone tell me where they go as I have no idea what Im doing at this point.

Also I have these 2 fans left over....

24v7ebc.jpg


Could I use them anywhere else? There is a vent to the left hand side of the cpu cooler, would I fix one there?

Also where I've taken the middle HDD cage out, I was under the impresiom from reading other threads that I could put one there but it seems the fans are too small to fit there.
 
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spacemanc

Active Member
The case fans plug into the fan sockets located at various places around the motherboard. They're usually labeled "SYSFAN" The CPU fan is plugged into the socket labelled "CPUFAN" . On your system you have double rear case fans and double CPU fans, so not sure what you can do there - it looks like you need some kind of splitter adapter, though I'm not sure if there is such a thing because I've never needed them.

I doubt you'll need to fit the other fans. You could place a pull fan at the front, but it looks like you have plenty already.
 

Daveybryce

Novice Member
Great start there,

Looks like you went for the LC 17 case - best choice for a Gaming HTPC rig, you can get upto 330mm clearance by removing the centre HDD Cage, it the one I chose for mine and looks sweet in my AV Unit.

I would be interested to find out what the performance is like with the FX 6 core processor and temps too, if you wouldn't mind sharing. I'm due for an upgrade to my system and looking to go AMD 6 core.

On a side note, I would try your system with just the 1 CPU fan at the moment. I know Noctua are quiet but you are just adding noise to the setup. Is there any particular reason for 2 CPU fans (maybe a recommendation from Noctua on this CPU).

As for your fan cables, I had the same problem with my case, I ended up splicing the wires into one connector, however there are 2 - 1 fan adapters available. I think I saw them at LinITX.com a while back. Check it out, well I just checked myself and they still have them so here is the link

Anyways, I can see you are enjoying it and keep up the good work and keep us posted :)
 

Dharm

Member
The case fans plug into the fan sockets located at various places around the motherboard. They're usually labeled "SYSFAN" The CPU fan is plugged into the socket labelled "CPUFAN" . On your system you have double rear case fans and double CPU fans, so not sure what you can do there - it looks like you need some kind of splitter adapter, though I'm not sure if there is such a thing because I've never needed them.

I doubt you'll need to fit the other fans. You could place a pull fan at the front, but it looks like you have plenty already.

Thanks.

I tested the build out yesterday, connected the fans to ''cpufan'', ''sysfan1'', ''pwrfan'' all on the motherboard and then attached the last wire directly to the psu and shockingly the system actually works, getting me to the stage where it asks for a OS to be installed. Fans are really quiet, even with the lid off the case you still had to put your ear close to hear all four fans plus the 2 fans on the GPU at work.

Now that I know that Im on the right track Im going to concentrate on the cable management aspect. The wiring in the case is an utter mess, so I've dissembled it all to try and get it looking tidier.

Great start there,

Looks like you went for the LC 17 case - best choice for a Gaming HTPC rig, you can get upto 330mm clearance by removing the centre HDD Cage, it the one I chose for mine and looks sweet in my AV Unit.

Thanks.

I completely forgot to mention previously, but I ended up going for the Silverstone LC13 case. In the end I much preferred the look of the plain black panel at the front which hides the CD drive and USB ports etc.

I would be interested to find out what the performance is like with the FX 6 core processor and temps too, if you wouldn't mind sharing. I'm due for an upgrade to my system and looking to go AMD 6 core.

Im afraid Im using Intel i5 not AMD.

On a side note, I would try your system with just the 1 CPU fan at the moment. I know Noctua are quiet but you are just adding noise to the setup. Is there any particular reason for 2 CPU fans (maybe a recommendation from Noctua on this CPU).

No real reason other than after reading a few other build logs and the Gaming HTPC thread, it seemed that, that is what others were using.

As for your fan cables, I had the same problem with my case, I ended up splicing the wires into one connector, however there are 2 - 1 fan adapters available. I think I saw them at LinITX.com a while back. Check it out, well I just checked myself and they still have them so here is the link

Anyways, I can see you are enjoying it and keep up the good work and keep us posted :)

Ordered them yesterday, thank you for that. That'll make the whole cable management aspect of it so much easier. :thumbsup:

Update on components: I decided to ditch the idea of using the DVD drive from my old PC and have bought a Samsung SH-B123L instead.

Final revised build:

Case: Silverstone LC13

CPU: Intel i5-2500k 3.3GHz, 3.7GHz Turboboost Quad Core, 6M cache. Unlocked.

MOBO: Gigabyte "Ultradurable" series GA-Z68X-UD4-B3

RAM: 8GB (2x4GB) Corsair Vengeance Low Profile

GPU: Asus 1GB GeForce GTX 560TI DirectCUII PCI-E Graphics Card

PSU: OCZ 600W ModXStream PSU

HDD: Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB SATAII 7200RPM 16MB Cache

Blu-ray Drive: Samsung SH-B123L

HSF: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 Socket 775, 1156,1155, AM2+, 1366, AM3 aluminium with copper base Processor Cooler

2 x 80mm noctua fans
 
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Grangey.

Distinguished Member
Ultimately 2 fans will always be better for cooling, especially if you have intent on OC'ing aswell. Yes this will mean they could be slightly noiser but, on their lowest setting it means if anything it could be quieter that one because they can spin slower whilst pushing more air, and sure are full pelt theyl be louder but in theory it wont be for as long as it will keep your cpu much cooler. :)

Also with one- at least on the noctuas, its great about having a fan pulling the air out, or pushing it in, but without one of the other to me its quite a week combination as youre missing a part of the flow process.

I am no air cooling expert though thats for sure!

Kit list looks great, get that build thread started!
 

LittleGreyCat

Standard Member
Cool.
I'm building an almost identical system (apart from a few small variations...)

<snip>

Final revised build:

Case: Silverstone LC13

Well, I went for the LC17. :)
There isn't all that much difference I can see apart from the allocation of internal and external 3.5" drives.
Yours may be the better choice but it is too late to change.

CPU: Intel i5-2500k 3.3GHz, 3.7GHz Turboboost Quad Core, 6M cache. Unlocked.

Yep!:thumbsup:

MOBO: Gigabyte "Ultradurable" series GA-Z68X-UD4-B3

Well, I nearly went for the GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 (nearly the same, but has on-board graphics)
However I finally decided to go for the very similar ASRock Extreme 4 Gen 3 because it has a couple of minor extra features.

RAM: 8GB (2x4GB) Corsair Vengeance Low Profile

8Gb (2*4Gb) Kingston HyperX Genesis Grey 1600MHz

GPU: Asus 1GB GeForce GTX 560TI DirectCUII PCI-E Graphics Card

No graphics card initially - which is why I chose a MoBo with on-board graphics. (I would have thought that this was a good choice anyway as it allows multiple monitors and also is backup if your GPU dies for any reason).

PSU: OCZ 600W ModXStream PSU

PSU: OCZ 750W ZT - I was belt and braces here to allow for future expansion; also this was recommended as a very good modular PSU for easy cable management.

HDD: Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB SATAII 7200RPM 16MB Cache

I plan to use a spare :)blush:) WD Scorpio Black 750Gb 2.5" 7200rpm HDD which I bought when I thought I'd trashed my laptop drive and would have to send it off for data recovery. Managed to revive it using Linux tools.
Once HDD prices return to a sane level I may well look for a 6Gb/sec drive.

Blu-ray Drive: Samsung SH-B123L

I will buy a BluRay writer when I need to write (or read) a BluRay disc.
May never happen.;)
For optical media I have an external USB2 Dual Layer DVD Writer.

HSF: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 Socket 775, 1156,1155, AM2+, 1366, AM3 aluminium with copper base Processor Cooler

On the list is Noctua NH-C14 Top-Flow Low-Profile CPU Cooler.
Good ratings on Overclockers and low enough to fit the case (allegedly).
This for when I start to overclock, so it can wait a few weeks.:D
I will watch how yours does with interest.

2 x 80mm noctua fans

I may order extra fans once it is all together and I can see how well it cools.
Again, watching with interest.

So you see it is just like yours.:laugh:

Only difference is I don't plan to do any gaming - just video editing and media centre.

However, if someone buys me a game and a controller.....

Cheers

LGC
 

Dharm

Member
Cool.
I'm building an almost identical system (apart from a few small variations...)



Well, I went for the LC17. :)
There isn't all that much difference I can see apart from the allocation of internal and external 3.5" drives.
Yours may be the better choice but it is too late to change.



Yep!:thumbsup:



Well, I nearly went for the GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 (nearly the same, but has on-board graphics)
However I finally decided to go for the very similar ASRock Extreme 4 Gen 3 because it has a couple of minor extra features.



8Gb (2*4Gb) Kingston HyperX Genesis Grey 1600MHz



No graphics card initially - which is why I chose a MoBo with on-board graphics. (I would have thought that this was a good choice anyway as it allows multiple monitors and also is backup if your GPU dies for any reason).



PSU: OCZ 750W ZT - I was belt and braces here to allow for future expansion; also this was recommended as a very good modular PSU for easy cable management.



I plan to use a spare :)blush:) WD Scorpio Black 750Gb 2.5" 7200rpm HDD which I bought when I thought I'd trashed my laptop drive and would have to send it off for data recovery. Managed to revive it using Linux tools.
Once HDD prices return to a sane level I may well look for a 6Gb/sec drive.



I will buy a BluRay writer when I need to write (or read) a BluRay disc.
May never happen.;)
For optical media I have an external USB2 Dual Layer DVD Writer.



On the list is Noctua NH-C14 Top-Flow Low-Profile CPU Cooler.
Good ratings on Overclockers and low enough to fit the case (allegedly).
This for when I start to overclock, so it can wait a few weeks.:D
I will watch how yours does with interest.



I may order extra fans once it is all together and I can see how well it cools.
Again, watching with interest.

So you see it is just like yours.:laugh:

Only difference is I don't plan to do any gaming - just video editing and media centre.

However, if someone buys me a game and a controller.....

Cheers

LGC

Good luck with it mate, my build is frustrating the hell out of me at the moment. Just when I think I've made progress another issue pops up that brings me back to square 1.

All part of the learning process I suppose but if it wasn't for the great advice from all the helpful people on here, Im pretty sure I'd just give up.:suicide:
 
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