Due to the lack of decent dvd-style HTPC cases these days, I've had it in mind for a while now to build a PC into an existing CD/DVD/Blu Ray player. Originally I wanted to build it into my old H&B DRX-420. Alas, this was a bit too slim for anything other than a NUC-style setup.
My first HTPC was a cheap mATX tower with a tuner card. That progressed into a Hiper case and then finally, I scored a bargain on eBay - the Silverstone ML-02. For various reasons, this case was becoming more of an issue to keep using so I setup some eBay alerts for spares/repairs Marantz CD/DVD/BD players and managed to get a non-working CD5005 for £70 which matches my SR5008 AVR nicely.
The CD5005 case really lends itself to a HTPC build. It has a decent amount of space for an mATX mobo and has just enough room for half-height cards to sit vertically. It could technically run an SFX PSU but in order to make HDD and fan placement easier, I opted to keep my 250w Flex ATX PSU (1U 80x150mm) - although in the future I will replace it with a 400w Seasonic 1U 100x235mm when I get round to fitting a half-height GTX 750 ti.
It's running the following (all transferred out of the last ML-02 build):
- Asus A88XM-Plus Motherboard
- AMD A10-7800 APU w/ Scythe Kozuti cooler (biggest cooler that fits in the ML-02, good for 65w TDP)
- 2 x 4GB 1866Mhz RAM
- 3TB WD Green HDD
- 128GB Sandisk SSD
- 250w FSP Flex ATX PSU (replaced stock 40mm fan with Noctua NF-A4x10 FLX)
- Blackgold BGT3620 Dual DVB-T2 Tuner
- Laptop DVD Burner
- Single Noctua Redux NF-R8 80mm Fan
- Antec Fusion VFD module (iMON VFD)
The build process was straightforward but quite long and fiddly - couple of weeks of evenings after work messing about in the garage.
The case floor isn't totally flat but any lumps and bumps are just below the height of the little brass stand-offs you get from Maplin etc. I placed an old 780g mobo in the case and used an automatic centre punch to transfer the mounting holes.
The case had no ventilation at all so I drilled a series of 10mm holes for the exhaust fan and a load more on the opposite side for the inlet. To make them look a bit nicer, I used a countersink bit.
Making the cutouts in the back panel for the I/O shield, expansion slots and PSU took a lot of measuring and re-measuring to get right. I used a dremel with cut-off discs (must have gone through about 20) combined with goggles and a respirator (those cut-off discs throw out a LOT of nasty dust!). I cannibalised an old mATX tower case from work to aid with the measuring of the cutouts - it was also handy for making the brackets for the DVD drive and the HDD. I could have just sat the HDD on the PSU but I wanted as much of an air gap between them as possible to prevent heat transfer and avoid any possible (unlikely) EMF issues.
Getting the alignment of the DVD drive right was quite time consuming, as was mounting the Marantz CD facia to the laptop drive. I need to make another bracket for it really but for now, it works fine.
The last thing on my list was hooking up the power led, power button and VFD display. The power led and button were quite simple - I just soldered wires directly to the little Marantz PCB behind the left hand facia panel. I considered trying to make the Marantz VFD work but as the space was quite generous behind the front panel, I cut the VFD out of the PCB and slid my Antec USB VFD unit in its place.
My future plans for the case are to add USB 3.0 ports and an SD card reader to the side (keep the front looking clean), relocate the power LED to where the VFD is and add a HDD LED (there are specific places they can go next to the VFD), make a better bracket for the DVD drive, wire the case's eject button to the drive and at some point add a GFX card and upgrade the PSU.
Currently, while gaming the case sits at around 50-60°C - I may need to add another fan when I add the GFX card but there's not much room for another thick fan so hopefully not!