Theydon's mate's HTPC Build (AMD FM2)

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by Theydon Bois, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Building a HTPC for my mate, who really liked my 'Silver box' and asked me to spec one up for him. He originally thought about Blu-ray, but as I pointed out, thats the part that adds a lot of extra cost due to the software requirements - approx £150 for software and drive on top of the cost of the base HTPC.

    Parts List, total cost, just over £500

    • CPU/GPU - AMD A-Series A6 5400K Black Edition FM2
      Heatsink - Artic FM2 Rev 2
      Motherboard - Asus F2A55-M AMD A55 (Socket FM2) DDR3 M-ATX Motherboard (Optical + HDMI)
      Hard Drive - OCZ 60Gb SSD
      Hard Drive - 3Tb WD Green
      OS - Windows 7
      Remote - MCE
      Case - Silverstone ML03
      RAM - 4Gb Corsair
      PSU - Corsair 430 Non Modular
      Assorted Cables - Assorted cables (Optical, SATA angled)
      Keyboard/Mouse - K400 Logitech

    He liked my case, but the room he had for clearance in his rack was smaller, so he needed a lower profile case. Smaller cases normally cost a lot more, but this Silverstone ML03 was very reasonable. It has its limitations, more on that later though.

    [​IMG]

    The case itself. It does not have the hidden slot that my case does, just a normal 5.25" bay that is open. If you do not have a drive, then the plastic slot hides this opening much like in a normal PC case. The front is nice and clean looking, reset and power button, USB slots and headphone slots, and a large grilled top over the space where a CPU is located for cooling.

    [​IMG]

    Inside is the optical drive bay on the left, and a small singular raised drive caddy on the right. The right hand side of the case is a grilled wall, and I think you can install four 8cm fans along that side. Four low profile slots for a motherboard, and a daughterboard based full height card can be installed assuming your board comes with one.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    This is why low profile cases are difficult to work with. EIther you require small low profile or block based PSU, or you work around problems such as having very little room to work with inside the case.

    [​IMG]

    This is also the reason why I did not get a modular PSU, as I had read some information on the size limitations of both PSU (max 140mm) and DVD (max 170mm) sizes, and that a modular PSU would add bulk to the limited space.

    [​IMG]

    The motherboard goes in. I chose this M-ATX motherboard as it had the optical out and USB3/SATA6Gb connections to make it future proof, and that my mate also needs the optical out as he has the same pretend amp that I do.

    [​IMG]

    The SSD for the boot drive goes in. This was always going to be a squeeze as the case is built to have one optical drive and two drives, and with a non modular PSU, I have cables to hide as well.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Starting to come together, the case begins to take shape as I route cables, put in parts and then remove them again.

    [​IMG]

    And then 'part one' of the build is complete. The 3Tb drive is not installed yet, and things are not secured properly, but I just needed the build running to install Windows and update drivers.

    [​IMG]

    And soon, its up and running. The EFI BIOS is nice and neat, Windows 7 starts to install, and I have all the drivers installed.

    I have an Arctic Pro Ver 2 on order from Amazon, but the stock cooler is quite quiet, and I am pretty sure the BIOS was left as Normal, rather than Quiet.

    [​IMG]

    Thats it for now. The remote and heatsink have not arrived from Aamzon yet, and so I have simply installed the OS and drivers, with Windows updates, AV, Mediaportal all still to be installed.
     
  4. WheresMyArtisan

    WheresMyArtisan
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    It looks very nice - it's a very similar layout and size to my two PCs - one is my HTPC, the other my slim tower desktop (basically just like this but the feet are on the end where the PSU is and the optical drive is at the other end). I've got quite proficient at squeezing cables into spaces that don't exist. My top tip is a pack of small cable ties - you can squeeze anything anywhere with these.

    That black/yellow extra power cable should fit under the PCI card(s). They all have a standard "notch" just between the slot and the backplate. The surplus CPU fan cable should push under the motherboard.

    What you don't get with these cases is the extractor fan-effect from the PSU's downward-facing fan. In a normal tower it continually pulls air from the inside of the case and blows it out the back. With these cases it gets lovely fresh air from the outside for itself, while the inside of the case can cook. Although the CPU will be fine with its own cooler, some other bits and bobs can get warm, particularly as the CPU cooler does tend to spew heat outwards. If I was building mine again I might try and get a PSU with a fan on its end, like they were in the old days.

    You may find the HD temp gets a bit high if it doesn't get much air. I put a fan in a spare header then set up speedfan to control its speed based on the HD temp, but set it so that it was at a speed of zero unless it gets hot. It may never switch on, but perhaps on a hot day while recording loads of TV it may just save it.

    Is that the stock fan at the moment?
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2013
  5. DavidT

    DavidT
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    Great post.........I have the same case and I agree it is a little cramped compared to my other full height case (Grandia05). I don't think you have used the hdd locations effectively, you can get 2x 2.5" drives screwed to the underneath of the DVD tray and put a 2.5" or 3.5" on the base of the case below the tray there is also the plastic hdd tray for a 2.5" hdd.

    I only have a 2.5" hdd in my system and I hide the excess psu cables under the DVD tray.

    David
     
  6. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    There are no PCI cards to install, the AMD F2 has an onboard GPU, and he will not being using it for a TVTuner. This is not finished, I like to pride myself on my tidy builds, so those cables will be stored somewhere! :D

    Yes, I have an Arctic coming shortly to replace it.

    Cheers for that, I will check again. I thought that there was room to screw down one hdd, I did not realise that you could fix one to the underneath of the optical cage. With it fixed under, I should be able to squeeze more cables in (there are some already hidden below.)

    As mentioned above, this was purely to get the machine up and running and install the OS. I have a 3Tb WD Green to add that will go on the drive bay on the right, and will have a better cable routing underneath (you need to remove the plastic cage again to attach the drive as the screws are underneath.

    Ideally, the cable that runs the 4pin power and the USB 3 header cable will be the most prominant cables (4 pin as it snakes across the board) and the USB header as it is a very rigid cable and loops up and down onto the board. The PSU cables should hopefully be as invisible as possible in the space allowed by the end of the build.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2013
  7. WheresMyArtisan

    WheresMyArtisan
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    Out of interest... Why mATX and not smaller if no TV cards? I'd have gone for miniITX with no cards needed. I've got 8 tuners in a box that size! (4 x dual cards).
     
  8. DavidT

    DavidT
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    When you install the top brace bar make sure you put it on the right way. On mine if it was not correctly installed I would get a slight bow in the top panel.

    David
     
  9. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    The Mini ITX that had optical was an extra tenner, and...... although I thought I did, I dont have any other reason than that. :D

    Will do. :smashin:
     
  10. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    The remote arrived Saturday, but Amazon are dragging their heels on the delivery of the Arctic and the K400 Keyboard. I also realised that I had forgotten about the DVI-HDMI cable and a wireless adapter, so had to tell him to order them. Doh!

    Anyway, on with the build.

    Removing the optical drive and taking a look at the cables and tidying things up is my job for the day, and so I start by cable tying the 4/8 pin cable to the back of the case, and then cable tie the motherboard header cables together.

    [​IMG]

    I had removed the optical drive bay as it I thought I could attach the SSD to the base of it, but it seemed that none of the screw holes lined up - I could only attach one screw, so I did not bother. I laid more cables under the space, and squashed things down as much as I could before putting the SSD back where it was.

    Looking far neater, I took this picture and then realised that I had no spare SATA power cable to use for the HD, as the PSU only came with two SATA and one Molex.

    [​IMG]

    I added in another SATA data cable and then dug out a Molex to SATA convertor so that I did not have to route the drives acqwardly to fit three drives to two cables. It probably would be possible, but I would imagine that it would have caused problems with cable routing.

    [​IMG]

    And then its done. The Arctic is still to be installed when it arrives obviously, but the HTPC is very quiet already, and with no PCI-E cards, the airflow and the case design should stop any heat build up.

    [​IMG]

    The cables are hidden as much as possible - the header board cables tied to the front of the case, most cables stuffed under the optical drive, and the last bits had to go here. The USB3 header cable is the most prominent as its very stiff, and the extra cable attachment from the Molex to SATA convertor adds to the 'bulk'.

    [​IMG]

    The tidying of the build continues, as cables are stuffed in - its like a little SSD sandwich under there, with PSU cables as the bread. Or something.

    [​IMG]

    Then its all connected. As mentioned, my mate has a similar (the same?) pretend amp that I have, so I removed my own HTPC, and have his currently hooked up to my TV. The windows chimes working through my speakers, I activate Windows, start on the windows updates, and added MSE.

    Thats it for today, more on Monday.
     
  11. bharatgi

    bharatgi
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    What Artic fan did you order? i'm looking for an 80mm case fan for the Silverstone SST-LC20B-M that is quiet but powerful
     
  12. WheresMyArtisan

    WheresMyArtisan
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    Nice HTPC.

    I'll reply on your thread about fans bharatgi. Don't want to steal Theydon's glory.
     
  13. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    The Arctic is a Heatsink, rather than the 8cm fan you are after, and I also replied in your thread - Noiseblockers would be my choice:

    Noiseblocker BlackSilent Pro Fan P-1 - 80mm [ITR-P-1]
     
  14. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Sunday

    The next steps undertaken in the build.

    Formatted the new drive
    Setup a Media Folder on E: (Folders created: Movies, TV Shows, Music, Pictures)
    Install Mediaportal
    Install StreamedMP
    AMD graphics drivers update (auto update as unsure what CPUGPU drivers are required, and it seems it uses the normal AMD ones)
    Copied some test Media to Media Folder (a few random DVD TV show rips, as well as some of my Bluray rips)
    Installed Air Video Server (installs Java and Bonjour)
    Configured Air Video to point to Media folder.

    Air Video was another selling point for my mate. He has more than one iPad at his house, and his aging laptop that has all the kids DVD rips on it was being pulled from pillar to post as everyone wanted it. He was going to buy one of the wireless streaming boxes, but as I knew he wanted his own silver box, I suggested Air Video. That way he or whomever could watch the box, and also stream to one or more of the iPads.

    All tested ok with my test media rips:

    [​IMG]

    Configuring MediaPortal, Moving Pictures and MyTV to pick up the test folders, which subsequently actively watch the folders created allowing you to simply drag and drop media in and then be scraped in the background for info. Weather was also configured.

    I then setup the StreamedMP basic home screen and downloaded splash screen images, and amended background images of the categories.

    I restarted the HTPC, which loaded directly into Mediaportal, selected TV Series and fired up an old episode of the Mentalist to watch for ten minutes or so.

    Monday

    The next day I set up the remote. I had been pointed to MediaPortals own Infrared Server Suite (along with .net 4) and so installed this (next next next through the setup). Spent a while ******* about with the setup which didn't work so I moved onto LMRemote, which was smart, and I got most things to work, but the back button and some other features where not quite right. This took approx two hours of tinkering on and off I reckon, and I only spent that long as I really wanted LMRemote to work.

    So I went back to EventGhost, set it all up the same as my HTPC and within 5 minutes and a reboot, it was all done....should have just stuck with what I had already.

    More Windows updates, multiple reboots to pick up all the updates.

    I then copied some more test media into the folders (blank .txt files renamed .avi and then ran through a renamer program) to dump into the media folders to test so that when he copies his own media across, Mediaportal and its plugins simply does all the work in the background) - a few minutes later all the movies and TVSHows all picked up ok as needed.

    His HTPC goes back in the box, waiting for the heatsink and Keyboard mouse now.....
     
  15. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Just to finish this thread off to make it complete, my mate was very happy with his new toy, and has spent far more time ripping all the kids DVDs than actually watching anything so far, which I did warn him about. :D

    The heatsink by the way was about 5mm too tall, and so cannot be fitted in the case, making it unsuitable for reference. :blush:
     

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