I've only built one PC in my time, my main rig (although it's been in and out of the case more times than Houdini, and sometimes mystified me as much too), so when it came to this miniature PC I thought I'd catalogue my experience, especially as people seem to be looking more and more to an HTPC at the moment. Also because the poster who mentions his choice of vehicle in his username reckoned it would be a good idea, to save him some money he doesn't need to spend, and also save him getting his fingers sliced off when he builds an HTPC in the semi-near future. Consequently, I aim to slice off no more than one finger during this build. Anyway...
After discovering the virtues of streaming media about a year ago, I formed a picture of my future PC network. First in was a Tranquil SQ-A5H Windows Home Server to take fileserving duties over from my main desktop, but it was never quite perfect. The PS3 is fairly poor at recognising video formats, so all sorts of complicated transcoding and remuxing is required, which then requires complicated software on the server - when all I wanted was to share a folder. Add onto that the fact that fiddling around with high quality video on an Intel Atom is not something you want to be doing on a regular basis, and the rubbish PS3 media browsing GUI, and I decided that an HTPC was the answer.
It needed to be
- Compliant with my current setup
- Fast enough to play 1080p video
- Reasonably priced
- As reponsive as a DVD player
So it had to be Mini-ITX, and was going to have to be a low power processor. For it to be responsive, and quick to resume from sleep, I really wanted to squeeze in an SSD if I could afford it. It also needed a motherboard that would support Optical Out and HDMI from the off, as an external graphics card was a big no.
After several different build designs, it came out as the following:
Compucase 8K01 (Inc 120W PSU) - £46.99
J&W Minix 780-SP128MB - £99.88
AMD Phenom II X3 705e 2.5 GHz - £92.63
2x2GB SODIMMs - £73.60
Scythe Mini-Kaze 60mm Case Fan - £6.05
Corsair X32 - £104.56
Silverstone NT07 LP - £15.22
Samsung Slimline SATA DVD Drive - £29.36
Scythe Twin 2.5" Drive Mounter - £4.08
AKASA AK-CB050 SATA cable for slimine opticals - £3.98
Keysonic Wireless Keyboard and Touchpad - £24.66
Speedlink SL 6399 Remote Control - £6
Total of: £507
I'll explain a bit more about the individual components as I go through the build. Particular credit here goes to eBuyer, who only 13 hours after I ordered my Phenom, had it appear at the front door.
On with the build...