HTPC proposed build - £750-ish budget - comments?

csmcc

Standard Member
Hi

Just signed up to see I could get any feedback or improvements on a proposed HTPC build.

For the living room so requirements are:

1. Quiet! And quick.
2. Fit in an existing AV rack so amp sized case. AV rack shelf it will be going on is: Height 17cm, Width 46cm, Depth 40cm. There is also a couple of inches gap behind the unit for cabling.
3. Primary use is media playback. Audio & video (HD obviously). Light gaming is secondary but nice to have.
4. Most media will be stored on board (or from external drives which already live in the AV rack). Will be on wifi. Not really planning for any streaming (has to be wireless - wired internet is not an option) other than for background file transfers.
5. Optical drive is required. Both BD and DVD. Not sure about HDCP? Is that hardware or software requirement?
6. Will be connected to an Onkyo TX-SR577 amp. The amp is connected to a Panasonic Plasma TV via HDMI. No 3D required currently. Realise updates will be required if I want to go 3D with this setup in future. Would prefer to route everything through a single HDMI cable but optical S/PDIF is also available.
7. The touchscreen on the case is a very nice to have. Some visual control without the TV on would be very useful in audio jukebox mode. But I don't expect miracles from it. Very much an occasional use thing.
8. Would be nice if I could at least power it up from a Logitech Harmony remote. Should be OK as my chosen case has IR.

Already have wireless keyboard mouse combo and an airmouse. Will worry about OS & software separately but I already have a fair idea what I'll be doing with most of that. Just asking about the hardware side here. Quick online costing brings the system out at around £730. Budget is around the £750 mark.

What I have planned is:

Case: Silverstone Grandia GD02B-MT
PSU: Antec EA-380GREEN 380W
mobo: Asus P8Z77-M
CPU: Intel Core i3-3225
RAM: 8gb (2x4gb) Kingston HyperX DDR3 1600MHz
SSD: Crucial 64gb M4
BD/DVD: Pioneer BDROM x CDRW combo
HDD: Seagate 3TB Barracuda

From what I know of the case, the fans it comes with are decent so not planning to add any extra fans or cooling over and above what it ships with. However, if the addition of any extra cooling would get me close so silence I'm willing to look into it. Off the shelf parts only though. I don't plan on investing in a soldering iron. Thats not my thing!

Thanks in advance. :)
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
Can't add to much as I've limited build experience but I fitted two power supplies at the same time back in March 2011 both bought from eBuyer
An "Item: Antec 380W EarthWatts Green PSU - 80plus Bronze Certified" cost: £31.39
and a "Be Quiet 530W Pure Power PSU - 120mm Fan Dual 12V Rails 5x SATA 2x PCI-E" Cost: £38.96

The Antec went in my Dad's desktop Dell to replace a dead stock PSU. The Be Quiet went into my HTPC to replace an Onyxx 750W which was well over the requirements for the machine.

The Be Quiet isn't silent but was noticeably quieter when switched on compared with the Antec. It's been running 24/7 ever since and hasn't shown any signs of problems. The fan barely idles even when the CPU is 80% and all 3 tuners are in use.

You've no OS in there are you planning on using Linux or have you got a spare Windows licence?
Windows Media Centre is free in Windows7 but a paid upgrade on Windows 8 IIRC.
 

csmcc

Standard Member
Thanks for the reply.

Will look into the alternative PSU. The Antec was recommended to me and Amazon feedback is generally good for it but happy to look into alternatives.

I also have this thread posted on TomsHardware and someone has come back saying they thought the Z77 board was overkill so have now revised that to the H77 version which is cheaper but retains HDMI and optical S/PDIF out.

OS will be W7 Pro. I have the software side pretty much covered I think. Just worring about getting hardware that will all work happily together, fit in the case (which is now bought) and give decent performance.
 

rojgelf

Distinguished Member
I'd also recommend the bequiet, I use the 300w (with i3 32) and its more than enough, you'll unlikely use more than a 100w for this PC - mine typically runs at 50w. You only need the h77 mobo as the z77 is for overclocking which I assume you won't be doing.

BTW have you looked at AMD? A £50 A6 5400k will have better graphics and enough CPU for your needs - unless you are encoding in which case i3 will be better, but more than twice the price. I use an A4 in my htpc - i3 is in my main pc.
 
Last edited:

DavidT

Well-known Member
Should add .... a couple more parts now included.

Gonna replace the stock case fans with these: http://www.amazon.co.uk/NOCBO-NF-R8-1800-Noctua-Case-Fan/dp/B000KP3V42/

And add a 300mbps wireless card along the lines of: http://www.amazon.co.uk/TP-Link-TL-WN851N-Wireless-PCI-Adapter/dp/B0019EMF2M/

Replacing the stock fans is a waste of money IMO, the Silverstone fans will run silently at 5volts so I would use the money elsewhere like on a decent CPU cooler.

David
 

Claes

Standard Member
I built my HTPC in a GD02B case (i.e. the same case as yours but without the display) and there are a few things to be aware of.

1. There are no 2.5" hd slots so you'll need some adapters. I struggled to find something that fit in the HD cage with the supplied screws. I've since put more HDs in so I resorted to drilling some holes in the internal bracket that holds the dvd-player and mounted the SSD there (behind the dvd-player). Works brilliant.

2. The HDs and PSU are mounted along the same side of the case and it is very tight. I'm using a Nexus 430 Value PSU which is only 125 mm deep and it took some effort to fit everything. I highly recommend you go with a PSU that is max 140mm deep, preferably modular if you can find it. Otherwise you'll struggle with the cabling.

3. The case you've selected can only take a slimline dvd/bd-player. A standard size one won't fit due to the display protruding into the case so the one in your list won't work.

4. The case fans aren't that great in my opinion. I replaced mine with some Noctua running with 5V adapters. I'm using the stock Intel cooler for the CPU (1st gen Core i3). The whole thing is pretty much silent after that. If you use one of the low power i3s (T models, 35W TDP) you could probably get away with passive cooling for the CPU.
 

csmcc

Standard Member
Thanks for further input.

Have got (almost - need to replace a couple of bits!) all the parts now.

Ended up going for the BeQuiet 300w PSU. Seems to run pretty much silent, very impressed!

Have replaced the two stock fans with Noctua ones. In terms of efficiency, they are apparently much better than the stock Silverstone ones, especially when run at lower (and thus quieter) speeds. Also means I have the Silverstone ones as spares in case of any failures. Those, plus the fan that comes with the 3rd gen i3 3225, should be plenty. I've also added a couple of fan controllers that slot into the PCI brackets (I'm only using one of them for my wifi card) at the back of the unit so I can easily adjust the speeds.

No problem fitting the 3.5" drive into the bay and still clearing the PSU. Picking up the bracket to fit the SSD into the drive bay on my way home today. (Thought I had one lying about the flat already .... turns out I didn't) If it proves too tight in the bay using a bracket, I'll likely just cable tie it on or something. It's an SSD so as long as it's not rattling about in there, it should be fine.

Also discovered that it needs a slimline drive. I kind of had a feeling that was the case but took a chance that I'd be able to squeeze a full size one in.

No matter, the full size one can go in my desktop PC to replace the cheap nasty DVD drive thats in there at the moment and slimline slot loader is being delivered tomorrow.

So far, it's about 50% built. Case is more spacious than I expected really .... and looks great. No issue fitting things in so far. It posts, and the front screen works fine. Need to get the drives installed tonight and tomorrow and hopefully have everything up and running by the weekend.

:clap:
 
Last edited:

The latest video from AVForums

AVForums Movies Podcast: Streaming Theatrical Releases And The Future Of Cinema
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom