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Thread: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

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    cat /dev/null streetster's Avatar
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    New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    Hey guys,

    I'm looking at building a little htpc to hook up to my tv such that i can watch various 720/1080p x264 files, bluray, dvds, etc...

    I thought about getting a popcorn hour but wanted something a bit more powerful + a bluray drive...

    So far I'm thinking:

    Silverstone SST-LC12 Black case [img] [link] [£120]

    Zotac 9300 itx motherboard [image] [link] [£120]

    Slimline bluray drive [image] [link] [£140]

    Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5200 [link] [£55]

    Then stick in a ~500gb/750gb harddrive in there and maybe 2gb ram depending on the OS.

    Though this is already £120+£120+£140+55 (+hdd&memory = £60?) = £500ish?

    What OS do you guys reckon i should use? ubuntu + boxee? or xp mce? or wait for Windows 7 (MCE) 64bit?

    Will the E5200 be up to decoding 1080p x264?

    Anyone doing/done a similar build?

    [e!]

    a few pics of the build are available here - i'll add some better ones when i get access to a proper (non-phone) camera - plus a few of it running xbmc+aeon
    Last edited by streetster; 27-05-2009 at 10:22 PM.

  2. #2
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    Probably just get n E5200 and save £40 but that looks good.

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  4. #3
    Bows out! CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    I would look at this review of the case:

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article701-page1.html

    It does have some thermal issues.

    According to this review of the Zotac motherboard with an E5200 it should do fine with HD media playback:

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/mot...-wifi-review/7


    Those despicable Elk,stealing the pond weed!

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    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    Because you want to play BluRay it would probably be best to wait for Win7 MCE as Linux's BluRay support can sometimes be less than optimum.

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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    I've just set up a Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H with an E5200. The onboard graphics plays 1080p and blu-ray discs perfectly. It was housed in an Antec NSK2480 with a Scythe Ninja Mini, and everything is always very very cool inside, and it's very quiet - I didn't even bother with any CPU grease. You really do need to think about airflow - that case you linked to looks terrible for it.

    If you go the Windows route, Vista is preferred - it's better for a few reasons, I think mainly being able to use the normal MCE remote and some kind of decoding/audio thingy I never bothered to read up on.

    This is the definitive thread about the GA-E7AUM-DS2H:
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1087407

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    I'd personally wait for Windows 7 rather than get Vista now then have to shell out for an upgrade! The RC will be on public release from 5th May, and will reportedly have a 1 year lifespan, so you could use that in the interim!

    I quite like this Compucase case for a budget option (&#163;45) with plenty of space and power (120W!), or this Cubid case for a slightly more stylish approach (&#163;74) - although I'm not entirely sure what the power rating of its psu is...

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    cat /dev/null streetster's Avatar
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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    Hi Guys,

    firstly, thanks for all the input!

    staffsMike - yup, i think i ninja-editted as you were posting as it seems to have similar performance (and insane o/c potential, tho probably not in an itx box) as the c2d.

    cat-the-fifth - thanks for the review, hadn't seen that, the thermal issues look like they could be a bit of a bugger, unless i crowbar'd in a 92mm/80mm fan to sit inside somewhere (i doubt the cpu hsf would shift enough air to cool the northbridge/gpu chipset.

    nightkhaos - ta, just had a look and ubuntu seems a bit sketchy ( i dont want to have to rip a bluray to my hdd to remove the drm and watch it...)

    smargh - that mobo is matx from the looks of it? vista/win7 is something i'll decide closer to the time of the build - might slap rc1 on there and see how it performs

    scaryjim - not so keen on the compucase but saw the cubid and read a review and it looks quite cool - 60mm fan should help with the airflow too - review here suggests ~60w (12v * 4.58A) so might have to drop a 120w picoPSU in there as i doubt 60w is enough for cpu+mobo+hdd+bluray - but i'd probably have to get the pico even if i got that silverstone case as ive read .

    Exciting stuff, bring on payday

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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    What are you doing with that PCI-E x16 port? If you're not using it then there's a much bigger selection of boards you could use instead. Most of them are cheaper and some run cooler (hopefully removing any thermal issues with that Silverstone case).

    Also, no IDE ports on the Zotac board. If you're using an adaptor then make sure there's enough room for them to fit (there isn't in the SG05).

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    Senior Member walibe's Avatar
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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    I'm looking to use that board in a custom mini-itx case. It gets my vote and blu ray play back out of the box with the on board is great, having said that the atom + ion (is it called ion?) combination is looking promising if prices drop.

    I wish you luck!

    Oh and for the bit extra I would get the slot loading blu-ray drive, its just more conveniant that only a partialy ejecting laptop drive. Also on your OS. Win 7 definatly. I've been using it alot lately and its superb, it puts vista to shame and has never locked up on me without recovbering itself. My reset button only had to be used when Crysis went a bit crazy on me. The Media centre has some nice improvements but is pretty similar to what you recognise in Vista and MCE.
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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    Thinking about going down the mini itx route myself & was looking at the Sugo SG05 until I saw this on another forum:

    http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product...25&ss_index=63

    I could use a std PSU & optical drive. Might be worth considering

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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alistair View Post
    Thinking about going down the mini itx route myself & was looking at the Sugo SG05 until I saw this on another forum:

    http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product...25&ss_index=63

    I could use a std PSU & optical drive. Might be worth considering
    Looks good, though no option to instal dual-slot graphics :/
    Wonder what's the price on it.

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    cat /dev/null streetster's Avatar
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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    McPhee - not going to use the pci-e slot, no room in the case for a card, might look into the AMD offerings - potentially heat, watts and cost-wise.. I'd get SATA hdd and SATA bluray drive so should be nothing to worry about IDE-wise.

    walibe - the dual core (330 is it?) atoms look potentially interesting though need to check how good they are at 1080p non-hardware accelerated x264 playback. slot-loading drive is a good shout, just got to find one (in black) at a decent price.

    Alistair - i've always liked the lian-li cases, though i want a really small box to sit under/next to the tv, i'd go for a matx build if i wanted something a bit bigger...

    It's payday in ~2 weeks time so might look into buying the case and workout out whether i'd need to stick either a 80/92mm fan in the top (ie crack out the jig-saw), and stick just a heatsink on the CPU or maybe stick a 60mm fan in the side of the case... decisions decisions.

    Regarding Win7, i've got a spare xp license and i've been looking at XBMC with the Aeon/Stark skin and it looks pretty swish, so might give that a go instead of win7+mce...

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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by streetster View Post
    slot-loading drive is a good shout, just got to find one (in black) at a decent price.
    Scan have one for £136here: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Optia...SATA-Black-OEM

    Hope that helps, its probably the one I will use. Will be following your build with interest a I think your likely to use the same products as I want to .

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    cat /dev/null streetster's Avatar
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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    Well the case has been ordered @ &#163;136 inc delivery from kustom, could be a while for that to arrive, then it'll be payday and time to look at the rest of the components

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?

    Cool bits. As you've probably already seen there's some ION mini-itx boards coming with the Atom 330, so depending on how long they take to get to etailers it might be worth waiting for one of those...

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    Re: New HTPC build.. m-itx... thoughts?



    Those despicable Elk,stealing the pond weed!

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