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Topic # 55005 23-Dec-2009 01:35 Send private message

I am struggling to choose the form factor for a HTPC build.
Should I choose the case or the mobo first?
What form factor do you prefer for your HTPC?
And why?




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  Reply # 284753 23-Dec-2009 06:49 Send private message

I had a Mac Mini running Windows Vista, then Windows 7 MCE and it's the perfect size for this task - I used a HDHomerun as DVB-T receiver so didn't need space for any additional cards. This month I replaced the Mac Mini with a Dell Zino HD. Similar sizes, but a more disc space, faster processor, discreet ATI video card.

Of course this is if you want to buy something ready to use - mind you there's the option to configure the Dell Zino HD with different processors, memory configuration, HDD sizes, video cards but you can't put any card due to the small size of the case.




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  Reply # 284762 23-Dec-2009 07:58 Send private message

I have a regular MIDI ATX case. Sits next to the cabinet and loots like a Subwoofer (liottle black box, no optical drives bays showing, they're covered by a door).

Of course my system has been around before digital, so at that time tuners where premium. With the new digital tuners where you can record all channels off a transponder, I'd need less and could go smaller.

I like @freitasm's implementation and intend to move to a lcient server based system later on with a small lounge client and a big beefer server running windows home server with the tuners and storage.




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  Reply # 284767 23-Dec-2009 08:35 Send private message

I use a black Mini ITX case. Sits next to the TV and doesn't worry me.

I had tried several "HTPC" style cases but found they all suffered from heat buildup issues and the only way to cool these was numerous fans. If you want to get one of these I'd recommend a Thermaltake or a Zalman case. Since size and looks were't important for me I just moved to a Mini ITX with an extremely quiet PSU and case fan which was significantly cheaper.

Noise and heat are the two biggest issues - there's nothing worse that the noice drowning out your TV viewing!

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  Reply # 284771 23-Dec-2009 08:42 Send private message

I'm looking at building a powerfull PC which will be in the living room sometimes used for HTPC. Settled on a Gigabyte Poseidon 310 case with Cooler Master Silent Pro M850 power supply. The PC will be used as a CAD workstation running an i7 processor and Quadro video card, as well as doing audio and video processing.

I have not seen the case in real life, but it got good reviews, has a filtered intake (which might be a bit small, but supplied with side vent mesh), and the power supply is good quality capable of delivering over 1000W inbench tests so for HTPC use the fan will be running slow/quiet. The case will look good in any living room.

I'm getting an Arctic Cooling Freezer Extreme II. Not the best, but quiet. Gigabyte motherboard, they make good quality. (Stay far away from MSI, always had overheating issues, quality issues, and crash when allowing Windows to install certified drivers.)




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  Reply # 284788 23-Dec-2009 10:20 Send private message

I went with getting a full home theatre style ATX case that I hoped would outlast the hardware I put in it. So far it is now on its third generation of innards and I am still very happy with what I went with.

I tried to get a box that would blend with the other HT components I had. However it also needed to have enough room for everything and be easy to cool with minimal fans.

I have a Silverstone LC16M with two 80mm AcoustiFans for cooling. Video, CPU, chipset are all passive cooled.

Be aware that the smaller the case the more noise it is going to make as it needs to pull air though more quickly to achieve the same volume of air movement of a larger case.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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  Reply # 284810 23-Dec-2009 11:47 Send private message

I couldn't find anything at the time that was black and 17" wide (was many many years ago) so I got a big old kenwood equalizer and gutted it, put in a back and floor off an old ATX case and even went as far as wirnig up the old front panel buttons to an old keyboard circuit board so that most of them produced usable keypresses.

Now that there are plenty of black 17" wide cases to match normal audio gear on a rack I would go for one of those.




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  Reply # 284830 23-Dec-2009 13:14 Send private message

Richms, classic. Love your style. Any photos?




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  Reply # 284832 23-Dec-2009 13:24 Send private message

No, lost them to a harddrive failure and its packed up at the moment since I have the lounge is a mess. Will see If I can dig it out later in the year or next year. The hardware in it is hardly state of the art nowdays. Was ok to play divx on a SD tv which is all there was 5-6 years ago.




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  Reply # 284842 23-Dec-2009 14:31 Send private message

sbiddle: I use a black Mini ITX case. Sits next to the TV and doesn't worry me.

I had tried several "HTPC" style cases but found they all suffered from heat buildup issues and the only way to cool these was numerous fans. If you want to get one of these I'd recommend a Thermaltake or a Zalman case. Since size and looks were't important for me I just moved to a Mini ITX with an extremely quiet PSU and case fan which was significantly cheaper.

Noise and heat are the two biggest issues - there's nothing worse that the noice drowning out your TV viewing!


Interesting. What motherboard did you put in that mini ITX? Also, there is the point Nety has made about smaller cases suffering either from heat or from noise of fans keeping the temp down. How did you overcome that?




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  Reply # 284846 23-Dec-2009 14:39 Send private message

richms: I couldn't find anything at the time that was black and 17" wide (was many many years ago) so I got a big old kenwood equalizer and gutted it, put in a back and floor off an old ATX case and even went as far as wirnig up the old front panel buttons to an old keyboard circuit board so that most of them produced usable keypresses.

Now that there are plenty of black 17" wide cases to match normal audio gear on a rack I would go for one of those.


I think the new Wiktionary definition for "Cool" is right here.




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  Reply # 286006 30-Dec-2009 08:46 Send private message

To answer your questions

Should I choose the case or the mobo first?
- Mobo first, find the features you need then get the case to fit it with the cooling required.

What form factor do you prefer for your HTPC?
m-atx, upgradable, expandable, but also small enough to fit in with common HT kit. m-itx is still not there yet and ATX is just too big now days.

And why?
upgradeable and expandable, and they come with plenty of features.

I have had my m-atx mobo/cpu/hdd for about 4 or 5 years now so getting those parts right can save pointless upgrades in the future.

cheers
db




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  Reply # 286009 30-Dec-2009 09:03 Send private message

browned: [snip]
What form factor do you prefer for your HTPC?
m-atx, upgradable, expandable, but also small enough to fit in with common HT kit. m-itx is still not there yet and ATX is just too big now days.
[snip]


Sorry browned but my case is ATX and fits in perfectly with my amp and my CD player. All depends if you have full size gear or not.








Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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  Reply # 286047 30-Dec-2009 13:00 Send private message

my own case is atx capable, but my opinion is still to go with a m-atx mobo.




Home Server: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3, AMD FX-6100, 16GB RAM, 17TB, UPS, 2 x HP P410/256 8 Ports SAS/SATA, 3 x Norco SS-500,  ESXi 5.5u1, WHS 2011 (16TB HDD), W2K12 for Unifi.
Media Center: Silverstone GD01, AMD A6-3600, Asus F1A75-M PRO, 8GB G.Skill Ripjaws-X 1866, 120GB Samsung EVO Pro + 750GB WD7500BPK HDD, APC UPS, DVB-T AVerTV TwinStar HD, HD Homerun, Blu-ray player, Windows 8.1 with MCE, MediaBrowser3, Freeview HD, LG 55LA6230.
Kids Media Center: Gigabyte Brix 3227, 120GB mSATA SSD, 4GB Ram, HD Homerun, Windows 8.1 with MCE, MediaBrowser3, Sony KDL40W4000 iDTV.
Main PC: Intel C2Q 2.5Ghz, 8GB RAM, NVidia GTX760, 90GB OCZ Agility 3, 750GB WD7500BPK HDD, 2 x 24" Panasonic LCD TV, Blu-ray drive, Windows 8.1 with MCE, Mediabrowser3, HD Homerun.
House: 100/50 UFB, ONT to Router in Garage, Router to 16p switch and voice line, 16 x CAT6 Ethernet ports in house. Unifi Wifi.

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  Reply # 286174 30-Dec-2009 22:32 Send private message

atx means you can have a space between cards in it, whereas mini means the heatsink on the grapics one is virtually touching the next one over.




Richard rich.ms



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  Reply # 286298 31-Dec-2009 17:49 Send private message

Nety:

Sorry browned but my case is ATX and fits in perfectly with my amp and my CD player. All depends if you have full size gear or not.



Sorry, where on this photo is the HTC? No, really.




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