Silent HTPC Build

vbimport

#1

Intro:
I completed the HTPC build not too long after my NAS build. I have been testing both the NAS and the HTPC builds in conjunction with each other for a few weeks now. I am quite happy with the build on its performance along with some small modifications as I expand my home network. I wanted to share my experience with this build, as well as, to give back to forums that have been a wealth of information for me personally. I hope my posts help others in small form even if it’s just to look at the pictures of the build. In my HTPC post, I will discuss about the components used and the modifications needed for my build to fit an H60 Corsair water-cooling unit in this unique case. I will also attach an Itemized list of all my components that will include the cost per item at the time of purchase, as well as, the vendors I used to purchase each item.

Why I built an HTPC?
I have a few TV’s throughout my home on multiple floors that are not very close to an internet port. Also, I did not want any running/exposed internet cables to be seen from the wall ports to the TV’s. As a result, I wanted to build a wireless HTPC unit to connect my TV’s to the home network. The HTPC needed to be portable and easily transferable from one room to another, including usage for possible LAN parties. My HTPC would be used mainly for streaming my backup media of movies, access to family albums, music, internet, some light emulator gaming, and the occasional DVR (Tuner) to be added in the near future.

Key points to a successful build:
Not all HTPC’s will be the same since everyone will have a different take, but some will share similar characteristics. The key to a successful HTPC build before shopping for components is to figure out what are your unique wants for the build.

For Example:
Do you want a silent/fan-less build?
What form factor are you looking for regarding size?
Where will the HTPC live, like on a shelf or the floor?
Do you want to stay within a budget?
Best value/performance? Etc.

You may or may not be able to satisfy all of your wants in your HTPC build, however my suggestion would be to choose your top three no-compromise points and go from there.

For example, my key points for the build:
*Absolute must — Needs to be Silent (Makes no sense if your HTPC is louder than your TV/ Media Player)
*Absolute must — Built in wi-fi (Stream media between floors – no extra cables)
*Absolute must — Portable
*Minimum of two 6GB/s SATA ports
*On board graphics
*Room for expandability
*Looks Good.

Here is a link to a one stop shop that I think is one of the best available DIY helpful online guides for HTPC building. Please review other forums and websites if further information is needed.
http://mymediaexperience.com/getting-started-with-my-media-experience/

I have chosen to use the LIAN LI PC-TU200B as my HTPC case. It is small and like most other Lian-Li cases very versatile. The added handle (very sturdy) gives the case the portability I was looking for in an HTPC. The case has a resemblance that reminds me of a small lunch box or an electric guitar speaker unit. I initially contemplated a fan-less build with a much smaller case footprint, but decided not to in the end. This allowed me to explore a few more expandable options regarding cases. It was a tossup between the Prodigy case (http://www.bitfenix.com/global/en/products/chassis/prodigy/) and the Lian Li PC-TU 200B cases (http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=585&cl_index=1&sc_index=25&ss_index=64&g=f).
Description and images of the HTPC Build:
0Mobo_and_CPU
Closeup of Mobo and CPU – nothing special.

1HTPC_stripped_down
I first removed the HD tray and side panels from the case. I then lay the front side of the case facing the floor to help detach the front fan and install the H60 unit. I then removed the front side fan from the bracket by sliding it backwards with respect to the case shown in this image.

2Closeup_Inside_Front_of_Case
Here is a close up shot of the Front Fan bracket.

3h60mounted_to_case, 4Closeup_H60_mounted_incase and 5back_side_ofh60
These three images gives a heads-up shot of the H60 unit attached to the inside-front of the case.

6order_of_adapter_fan_h60_mounting
Here you can see the order of the pre-setup of the Adapter, Fan and H60 unit… 6/32 x 1 inch flat head screws were used to attached the 140mm to 120mm adapter and fan to the H60 unit. However I needed to trim approximately 2-3mm of the 1 inch screws with a pair of pliers such that it does not pierce the radiator.

7closeup_of_adapter_and_screws
I transferred the mounting rubber bushing from the original 140mm fan to the 140mm Adapter mounting holes. I used the screws that came with the adapter and it turned out to be just the perfect fit as shown in 8closeup_of_adapter_and_screws2

8closeup_of_adapter_and_screws2
Here is a close up side profile of the bushing attached to the 140mm mounting holes of the adapter.

9adapter_fan_h60_mounted
After transferring all four rubber bushings to the adapter, the next step was attaching the fan to the H60 unit. I trimmed approximately 3mm of four 6/32 x 1inch flat head screws using a pair of pliers such that it does not pierce into the radiator of the H60 unit. The screws passed through the 120mm mounting adapter holes, through the (120mm x 120mm x 15mm) Xtraflo mounting holes and then screwed into the H60 unit. Flat head screws were used, such that it does not interfere with the spacing needed to slide the H60 unit back into the front of the case.

10Inside_HTPC_all_connected
Everything mounted.

11HTPC_enclosed
HTPC attached to my TV and using a Cideko Air Keyboard Conqueror to control mouse wirelessly. This unit worked flawlessly and was the overall winner over other miniature RF keyboards I tried. The benefits of this keyboard is its Full QWERTY keyboard with all the function keys. Logical placing of mouse buttons. Works as described and it is also a very comfortable xbox controller.

===========================HTPC============================
Case:…LIAN LI PC-TU200B Mini-ITX
Mobo:…ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX
GPU…HIS H657H1G Radeon HD 6570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready
RAM:…G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 Low Voltage Desktop
CPU:…Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 Quad-Core
Cooler:…CORSAIR CWCH60 Hydro Series H60 High Performance Liquid CPU
PSU:…SeaSonic X series SS-400FL Active PFC F3 400W ATX12V Fanless
HD:…Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARX 2TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s
SSD:…OCZ Vertex 4 VTX4-25SAT3-128G 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC
Fan:…(120mm x120mm x 15mm) CoolerMaster Blade Master XtraFlo 120 Slim Case Fan

===========================NAS==================== ========
Case:…LIAN LI PC-V354B Micro ATX
Mobo:…ASUS M5A88-M AM3+ AMD 880G HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
RAM:…G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 Low Voltage Desktop
CPU:…AMD FX-8150 FX 8-Core Black Edition Processor Socket AM3+ - FD8150FRGUBOX
Cooler:…CORSAIR CWCH60 Hydro Series H60 High Performance Liquid CPU
PSU:…KINGWIN Lazer Platinum Series LZP-550 550W ATX SLI Ready
HD:…Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARX 2TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s (x4) Raid5
SSD:…Intel 520 Series Solid-State Drive 120 GB SATA 6 Gb/s 2.5-Inch
Fan:…(120mm x120mm x 15mm) CoolerMaster Blade Master XtraFlo 120 Slim Case Fan
BD-RW:…Home Surplus

====================Full Tower Build - Water Cooled================
Case:…HAF-X
CPU:…Intel core i7 3960x
Mobo:…Rampage IV Extreme x79
GPU:…EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Classified Hydro Copper (x3)
PSU:…Enermax MaxRevo EVO EMR1350EWT
HD:…WD VelociRaptor 600 GB SATA III 10,000 RPM (x2) in Raid1
SSD:…OCZ 120 GB Vertex 3 SATA III 6.0 Gb-s
Sound:…Asus Xonar Xense Premium Gaming Audio Set
RAM:…G.Skill Ripjaws @ 2133Mhz 32GB RAM
Fan Controller:…Lamptron FC-5 V2 Black Fan Speed Controller

=================================================================================


#2

Excellent posts RogueRage.

Are you having any issues streaming HD video over wi-fi?


#3

[QUOTE=Kerry56;2661040]Excellent posts RogueRage.

Are you having any issues streaming HD video over wi-fi?[/QUOTE]

Thanks Kerry56!

I have not hooked up a tuner yet, but using other media I experienced no buffering or artifacts of any kind while streaming the HD content over the wi-fi network. For fun, I have also tested streaming from the NAS using 40-50GB Blu-Ray ISO’s… Depending on the movie, buffering did occur every 20-35mins for about 10-15secs or there was just no buffering of any kind.

The HTPC currently sits on the first floor, NAS on the second and other hardware on the third. Everything was able to stream wirelessly from the NAS. For a 100% seamless stream of my blu-ray ISO’s, I shrunk the 40-50GB backup files down to 8GB. The sound and image quality after compression was shockingly good. I use XBMC as my media center.

I also used AnyDVD to create a backup from my disc to the HD. Then BD-ReBuilder for audio/video compression and DVDFAB as a backup. I have also tested other software suites such as DVDNexTCopy, Leawo, however I personally prefer using AnyDVD with BD-ReBuilder.


#4

[QUOTE=Kerry56;2661040]Excellent posts RogueRage.

Are you having any issues streaming HD video over wi-fi?[/QUOTE]

Oh!..I should note that I was also able to test streams of 25-30GB ISO’s seamlessly over wi-fi. Only sizes of 40GB and higher is where I started experiencing the buffering. I was really pushing the wi-fi bandwidth at that point…lol

Plus, keeping ISO’s that large will eat up all my storage.


#5

Very nice builds. I’m thinking of doing another i3-3225 build, maybe an iTX this time. Glad to see more HTPCs coming out of the closet, so to speak.


#6

Additional/Updated useful links to my post:

All-in-one HTPC online guide for beginners:
http://mymediaexperience.com/getting-started-with-my-media-experience/

Online PSU calculator:


#7

[QUOTE=olyteddy;2661110]Very nice builds. I’m thinking of doing another i3-3225 build, maybe an iTX this time. Glad to see more HTPCs coming out of the closet, so to speak.[/QUOTE]

Thanks olyteddy!

They have been coming out with some pretty good iTX boards lately. They are packed with a ton of features.


#8

The next build will be simple and small. For the bedroom.