Mini ITX i3 Haswell HTPC Build


Prominent Member
May 26, 2005
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Fife, Scotland
It's been a few years now since I built a media PC, and due to constraints in my cupboard space, my old system doesn't fit. Any excuse for an upgrade. Old Build thread here:

I've been playing with Openelec and XBMCBuntu on my current system to see what they're like and they're both fantastic - I had some problems with the audio channels being played in the wrong speakers when playing HD LPCM audio, but a bit of googling sorted that out. Getting the keyboard keys working on my MCE keyboard looks like it'll be a pain as well, but I'm going to give it a go (transport keys etc all work out of the box).

I'll probably hang this on the back of the telly as it's so small. Here's what I'm planning to build.

The CPU isn't available just yet, and the only Thin ITX Haswell board available at present is the ECS, so I could be waiting a wee while. I'll update the thread when there's some progress!

cheers for now

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Impatience has gotten the better of me waiting on some Thin ITX boards, so I've just ordered this lot:

Intel i3 4330
Asus H87I-Plus
Corsair Vengeance black C9 2x4GB
Skythe Big Shuriken
Streacom FC7
Pico PSU & power brick

I already have a 64GB Crucial M4 SSD so I'll use that. I don't intend to fit an optical drive, so I'll fasten the SSD to the front of the case somehow. That'll give me room to fit the Big Shuriken (If I've done my maths correctly, that'll fit in the case - fingers crossed).

Parts should be here this week sometime, so photo's and build report then. I'm going to try openelec first, and if I don't get on with it, i'll try XBMCBuntu.


Core components added to the motherboard. This is my first ITX system - it's tiny!! As you can see from the pics, I had a little helper (who kept trying to eat the fan cable).


I had to remove some of the foam on the Big Shuriken backplate as it was going to interfere with some components. Sharp knife - job done. It's going to be a tight fit for the cooler inside the case and I actually think it's not going to fit now. Find out when the case arrives, which will hopefully be tomorrow.

Here's some pics:








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And some more;






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Case arrived this afternoon and the good news is the CPU cooler fits! Case is a Streacom FC7 Evo and was bought from ebay for £39 and you might notice, it doesn't have any front usb ports. I prefer the cleaner look, but as it's going to be in a cupboard it's no big deal. Case is nice and it went together in no time.



The most frustrating thing for me now is the MCE remote (and the keyboard) still isn't working. I'm a bit green when it comes to Linux and it's starting to **** me off that the amount of information I have to take in is getting me nowhere. I'd appreciate some tips on troubleshooting the IR side of things. If not, then it's back to Win7.

Time to plug it in and see if it's still working.


Here are some power measurements:

Standby - 5.2w

Idle (Win7) - 24.6w

Prime95 Balanced test - 74.1w

Temps hovering around 65-70 degree C in a 22 degree C room when running Prime95 (unit is very, very quiet as well). Idles around 30/35 degree C.


Hi mate nice htpc, looking to replace my htpc with one like yours can you tell me how much yours cost in total
I have a ssd hard drive already.
Thanks cliff
No probs, here's a breakdown of costs:

CPU - £111.76
Mobo - £92.24
RAM - £63.36
Cooler - £35.32
Case - £49
PSU - £57.60

Total = £409.28.

Like you, I already had an SSD. I also already owned a Win7 licence and MCE remote/keyboard.

Performance is stunning. Boots into desktop in less than 10 secs, XBMC with a fully laden Nox Aeon skin is extremely snappy. I mainly watch unmolested BD rips and for me, sound & image quality is brilliant.

I've installed XBMClauncher to boot straight into XBMC, as well as stop/start it when pressing standby/resume. It's a great little addition. It also maps the Green Button to start XBMC when using Windows.

Overall, very happy with the upgrade.

Thanks for info, where did you get the Psu from as that is cheap, what is the HD 4600 like.
PSU was from Kustom PC's, here in Scotland:

Kustom PCs 90w PicoPSU Bundle (24 pin)

This box is for movie playback only, no games, so the HD4600 is more than enough for me. It's played everything I've asked it to so far. No 3D either as I'm not sure it's native in XBMC.....that's what my PS3 is for.


Nice looking build, and pretty good value, biggest question I have is what does the cat make of it all?;)
Hi Jammy

I was using openelec, but I wasn't getting any remote presses at all (same with XBMCbuntu). My receiver is an original Microsoft ehome RC6. I understood that it should have worked, but alas, it didn't. Windows 7 for me ATM.

I seen your posts on XBMC forum......
Nah. Works as expected in Windows.

If I can be bothered, I'm going to have another bash with openelec at some point....

I would. XBMC and HDMI handshaking work a lot smoother IME on oE than Windows!
It's wondering where the mouse is.

He isn't fussed by the lack of a mouse, but he was extremely happy when he was chewing on the fan cable!! :eek:

Fitted an Arctic Cooling F9 CO 92mm PWM fan as an exhaust to the side of the case. There's a bracket for an 80mm fan inside which uses 2 screws to hold the fan in - I just used one screw and the case lid pressing down on top of the fan to hold it secure.

Set it up as silent in the bios and it's dropped my idle temps by around 10c and the Prime95 Blend test by around 8c. Up close the fan motor has a faint ticking noise when running so slow, but I can't hear it with the door closed on my cabinet. I hear a very quiet whoosh when it's stress testing in a silent room once the fans have ramped up a bit. Not very scientific I know, but it works for me......


I also spent far too much time yesterday (with a hangover as well) trying to get openelec installed, but it either wouldn't install or wouldn't boot the installation when it did install......seems like I'll be sticking to Windows.

Using fully patched Win7 64bit with Intel drivers here are some temperature/power observations.

Idle, sitting in desktop it's hovering in the low 21w area.

1080p Bluray rip playback is ~ 23w

Standby is 3.1w

Ide temp is around 32C

Prime95 Large FTT's - 72.3w @ 79C

OCCT default test is ~ 86w @ 84C

IntelBurnTest Very High - 87.5w @ 91C

Intel ETU CPU test - ~ 83w @ 85C

1080p h264 Bluray rip played over network is around 36C in both XBMC and MPC-HC

CPU usage in XBMC is between 3% - 7% and MPC-HC is between 1% - 4% (both with DXVA2 enabled)
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Crucial M4 SSD has died and no amount of jiggerypokery will bring it back to life. :(

Thinking about an Intel 530 as a replacement.......although Dabs have no stock at the silly prices I noticed yesterday, typical!!

I recently built a much lower-spec HTPC, with a Celeron 1620. I was fully expecting to change the CPU cooler but the generic Intel one has been surprisingly good. Did you try the Intel cooler at all?

The Scythe Big Shuriken you have used was what I was planning to buy. How are you finding the supplied fan on that? When I was looking, I was going to put a Nexus Basic fan on it instead, but is there any need?
The Big Shuriken is very quiet, especially with the silent fan option selected in the bios.

It's good and I recommend it.

BTW, I installed another Crucial M4 I had in my Hackintosh (which has been upgraded with a 128gb Samsung 840 Pro). Both seem to be running fine now.


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