1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Part 1 - Cases (The BIG Build an Entertainment PC Project)

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by ColdKilla, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. ColdKilla

    ColdKilla
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    Messages:
    726
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +21
    OK Guys and Gals we are underway with the discussions on building your home entertainement PC.

    The idea of this project is for myself and others in a similar position to discuss each aspect of a PC over a few days / threads so we can pull together all our findings and products on each of the chosen subjects and all assist one another on what's out there and what things to look for....

    Triggaaar I know you had some good ideas on the other thread re cases but if we can start these discussions and recommendations here instead it would be much appreciated.

    If we can hear the pro's cons of each case size / products to look out for / extras that are worth having / faults that might not make some products unsuitable / cool looking cases etc you can recommend then the topic can run from there.

    Obviously buyers feel free to put forward your budget and see what some of the experts can recommend for the money you have available.

    My reason for this concept is two fold one to assist myself in building a new entertainment pc but also secondly to pull together many bit part threads on small aspects of each item to save people struggling to find exactly what they are looking for when they are carrying out a similar project.....
     
  2. richjthorpe

    richjthorpe
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,026
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    dat london
    Ratings:
    +13
    Hi ColdKilla,

    I don't know about you, but since I've already got quite a sizeable amp, I don't want another lump of metal on show. And if they had to be on show, then I'd want it in the style of the rest of my AV stuff (430mm wide and looking like a DVD/CD player).

    There are a couple of solutions I've thought for this....

    1. Use a normal tower/desktop case and hide it out of the way in a cabinet so it cannot be seen. Buy a case like a Hiper case and install a DVD drive into it and connect it to the PC via a USB cable. This can hit up to 480Mbps so will be fine for DVD playback. Then the Tower/Desktop case can take whichever full size mobo and cards. Only problem is that cooling would be difficult in a cabinet.

    2. Get a case like the silverstone LC-11 (http://www.silverstonetek.com/products-lc11.htm). This is smaller than a usual HTPC case and looks the business in my eyes. Problem with this case is that the PSU kicks out 240W which, if you're in for HDTV and upscaling using a 6600GT, might struggle when you've got a DVD player and whatever else you wish to add in. Also, if it's going to be on show, it needs to be quiet and with 3 fans already, you'd be looking to get heatsinks on the graphics card and Harddrives. This case also comes with a VFD and IR receiver on the LC-11M version but for a price ! Large CPU fans would be a problem with limited room.

    HTH,

    Richie.
     
  3. FruitBat

    FruitBat
    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    3,301
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Ealing
    Ratings:
    +382
    I'm just starting to think about my next entertainment PC. This will be mainly used as a PVR (I have the TV cards already, I just want to build something smaller, quieter and more stable to put them into).
    I've seen the all usual suspects:
    - "Proper" HTPC cases from Accent etc.
    - SFF (Shuttle and Aria)
    I've seen what they're talking about on silentpcreview.com.

    The case that most catches my eye at the moment is a Asus TM231 mATX case (I'm thinking that I might go with one of those Pentium-M motherboards). It's a conventional shape, but black and reasonably shallow. Of course, everyone will have their own requirements on shape. The space I have is limited in depth and width, but not height. Also it's quite cheap.
     
  4. ColdKilla

    ColdKilla
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    Messages:
    726
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +21
    Great responses guys this is exactly the sort of discussion which the thread was started for.

    Keep the info coming in....
     
  5. Big Adam

    Big Adam
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
    Messages:
    509
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Peterborough
    Ratings:
    +4
    Stuck on height but want the flexibility of a full size ATX mobo and PSU?

    Then the Arisetec HT-510 is the case for you:
    [​IMG]

    430 mm wide x 135 mm high x 450 mm deep
     
  6. rdhir

    rdhir
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Messages:
    471
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +8
    I'd like to see more details on this when it comes out. It would also be good to see if they do an Athlon based one. Its called the M1000 and is halfway down the page. Its the first Shuttle that is more like a HiFi case rather than a Cube.

    Look half way down this page.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/business/20050601/computex_day_2-13.html

    Cheers

    Rajiv
     
  7. Yaka

    Yaka
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2000
    Messages:
    1,664
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +110
    ive been looking into building a htpc for my brother, but he wants an ultra slim one like my xbox

    [​IMG]

    you guys wouldnt know of similar sized pc case would you?
     
  8. batty

    batty
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2004
    Messages:
    229
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Southampton
    Ratings:
    +27
  9. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Messages:
    1,937
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    Ratings:
    +81
    If you are looking for a case to match well with higher-end home audio equipment then I think the Claritas from stands unique is hard to beat. It's what I used for my HCPC build and I've been delighted with it since day 1. Customer service from Rod was excellent as well.

    One of the main advantages for me was that as well as being the standard 440mm wide it is also possible to put this on a normal Hifi rack as the rear feet are mounted a bit forward of the back of the case. Its a great compromise that allows a full size ATX PSU (albeit with a mATX MB), one optical drive and a stack of HDs. It even has a spare expansion slot so that a daughter card (like the one for my RME soundcard) which doesn't use a PCI slot can be accommodated.

    Not cheap, but then it does look expensive too :)

    Links: http://www.standsunique.com/
    http://www.standsunique.com/Claritas-july04.pdf
     
  10. ColdKilla

    ColdKilla
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    Messages:
    726
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +21
    What sort of limits does a min atx sized case put on to you with regard to card slots / disk drive space etc.

    CK
     
  11. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Messages:
    1,937
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    Ratings:
    +81
    hi CK,

    the mATX board I have in my PC has three PCI aslots and an AGP slot. This is fine for me - I would struggle to need more than that tbh. A freeview card, a good soundcard and a video card are pretty much all I need so I can't really see it being a problem.

    As far as disk space goes I wanted my HCPC to be a quiet as possible so I only have single, fairly small drive. I have a separate media server upstairs which I find to be a better solution than having all the storage on the local PC. with the stands unique case you do have the option of having a lot more disks if you want to, something like 5 I think. My MB has a couple of IDE connectors allowing upto 4 drives and 2 SATA connectors so, in theory, you could have something like 2 terabytes of data - surely enough for anyone.

    Another thing to consider with the stands unique cases is that they do a version which can take a full sized ATX MB, the only compromise with this is that you then have to go for a smaller PSU.

    HTH
    owain
     
  12. Dean[SAS]

    Dean[SAS]
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Messages:
    88
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +4
  13. Dr_Mike

    Dr_Mike
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Messages:
    367
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Loughborough
    Ratings:
    +16
    Hi Everyone

    I've just built a entertainment PC using an Antec Aria SFF case. The pros & cons as I see it are.

    Pros :
    Compact,
    Well built,
    Quiet (The PSU fan and cyclone blower case fan make little noise)
    300W PSU is better than you see in many compact PCs.
    Good value at around £70 including the PSU.
    Takes mATX mobo so plenty of options.
    Take full height expansion cards (Four, but the cylcone blower case fan takes one space)

    Cons :
    Very cramped inside. I've only got mobo, 1x HDD and 1 x DVD and the cyclone blower and wouldn't relish trying to get anymore in. The wire bundle coming out of the PSU is more or less on top of where the AGP/PCIe card would go. This isn't a problem for me as I'm using the mobo's onboard gfx and only need to put the TV-out s-bracket in there. It would be interesting to know if anyones managed to get something like a 6600GT fanless in there. The supplied IDE cable is much longer than it needs to be so has to double back on itself and is eating into the space where the PCI cards would go.

    [EDIT] Pictures added. The third one shows how crowded the area around the PCI slots is. The big black thing behind the multicoloured IDE cable is the cyclone blower.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. ColdKilla

    ColdKilla
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    Messages:
    726
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +21
    Looking at the antac aria pictures I really cannot see how you can feasably get any cards in there - or at least if you do try it will be a very time consuming fiddly and frustrating exercise. Personally I do imagine this to be the case with all the mATX cases altho obviously the look and feel from the outside is the big bonus in return.

    I assume with a fan like that the whole case can hover above the shelf its sat on!!! My god that should keep things cool!
     
  15. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2003
    Messages:
    5,490
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Ratings:
    +1,012
    As I see it, the main decision is: A fancy looking HTPC, or standard tower?

    Does your PC have to go in your living room (or equivelant) with all your posh AV gear?

    If you can put it under the stairs or something, and connect with a radio keyboard and mouse (as you would anyway), you have a lot more choice of components (size of cards, and how silent everything has to be) which will save a fair amount of cash, and be easier to build (not having to worry if something will fit).
     
  16. Dr_Mike

    Dr_Mike
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Messages:
    367
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Loughborough
    Ratings:
    +16
    In think if I moved the cyclone blower one slot over (towards the middle) I could probably get one PCI card in. When I go for DVB, I'll be going USB anyway, as I understand that you're more likely to get good reception if the tuner is kept outside the electrically noisy PC. The mobo's onboard sound & gfx appear to do everything I need at the moment although the lack of a DVI output may neccesitate an pukka gfx card at some point in the future.

    The big fan in the pictures is the CPU cooler, a zalmann cnps-7000. Chose this as in addition to keeping the CPU cool, it should keep air moving around the case in general and should help the memory, HDD, northbridge etc stay cool. (It is also quiet when you turn the spped down with the supplied controller.)
     
  17. rdhir

    rdhir
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Messages:
    471
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +8
    I use an Antec Aria, but not for an HTPC as I don't want a cube look. It is not as cramped as a shuttle, and it is very quiet as the case/psu fan is 12cm and so runs slowly. I did not need the blower so I have all the slots free. Installing cards is time consuming but not hard and really the same as doing so in a shuttle. Its big plus is that it can take four hardrives. 2 horizontally (1 can be regular optical drive) and 2 sideways. Yes it can be done - mine is my network server currently with 2x160, 2x80 as I reused old drives but I will eventually go 4x320 Software RAID 5 enabled with a hack to XP.

    Cheers

    Rajiv
     
  18. richjthorpe

    richjthorpe
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,026
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    dat london
    Ratings:
    +13
  19. OneEleven

    OneEleven
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I looked at the hiper and thought it lacked upgradability. I also have a huge amp and don't really want another chunk of enormo-box. :suicide:
    For me it came down to the Silverstone LC11 or the mediaPC.tv case. There was a coolermaster one also, but this only took half height cards :thumbsdow
    I went for the mediaPC case as it could house a card reader too (and was cheaper than the LC11). It's about twice the height of the Hipermedia (about 100mm), but will take 2 PCI and 1 AGP card using a riser. :clap:
     
  20. richjthorpe

    richjthorpe
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,026
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    dat london
    Ratings:
    +13
    OneEleven,

    The Silverstone LC11 has the option of a 300w PSU, has the mediaPC case ?
     
  21. Skunkpipe

    Skunkpipe
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I'm afraid at the moment it doesn't. This is something we're looking into...
     
  22. ColdKilla

    ColdKilla
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    Messages:
    726
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +21
    Looking at the various specs and responses here the Antec Aria I think will be the case for me. The lack of space does concern me but then it sounds worse in the shuttle and I double I would be using every slot!

    CK
     
  23. Xelon

    Xelon
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Messages:
    391
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +53
  24. johnny

    johnny
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2000
    Messages:
    179
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London, UK
    Ratings:
    +2
    I've gone for the mCubed HFX case. I looked at quite a few cases from Accent, Claritis etc, in the end I knew I wanted something that would be as near silent as possible and with this case being passively cooled, I hope I get that.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Its being dispatched today from mCubed in Austria, so hopefully have it in my hands wed/thur next week. Then I can stop looking a the pile of innards on my bedroom floor which include, passive cooled 6600GT and passive cooled Abit AN8 Ultra mobo.

    http://www.mcubed-tech.com/eng/hfx.htm
    Price is 340euros so approx £230
     
  25. ColdKilla

    ColdKilla
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    Messages:
    726
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +21
    now you have thrown me a curve ball!!!
     
  26. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Messages:
    1,937
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    Ratings:
    +81
    hi johnny,

    nice looking case, do you know what it measures from front to back?
     
  27. johnny

    johnny
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2000
    Messages:
    179
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London, UK
    Ratings:
    +2
    taken from mCubed's site:

    Dimensions 430 mm (W) x 145 mm (H) x 450 mm (D)
     
  28. Skunkpipe

    Skunkpipe
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Guessing by what you paid for it you didn't go for their CPU, gfx, and HDD cooling system.
    Do you just intend putting the 6600GT in there as is?
    What about CPU cooling?
     
  29. johnny

    johnny
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2000
    Messages:
    179
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London, UK
    Ratings:
    +2
    yep, have orderded the Borg CPU cooler as well. decided against the HD enclosure as I read on the silentpc forum that a couple of users said it actually raised temperatures!

    The 6600GT is passively cooled, so yes will be putting it in as-is. I did order thier HFX 'emergeny' fan which will cut in if the system gets too hot. But judging from their specs on the site where they list the hammering they gave it with various mobos/cpus, i think i'll be ok.
     
  30. Skunkpipe

    Skunkpipe
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    hmmm even though it's fanless it still needs some airflow over it. The thing with the borg (what a complete and utter cr@p name - no doubt star trek fans :s )is that the heatpipes connect to the heatsink fins which will get some airflo over them - same with their gfx card borg thing.
    I costed one of these up for a customer the other week with all the bits and gave the customer a heart attack.

    I'd be very interested in how you get on - esp to see if the gfx card hold out without the airflo
     

Share This Page

Loading...