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Thread: What HTPC case?

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    mush-mushroom b0redom's Avatar
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    What HTPC case?

    Hi All,
    I'm looking to upgrade my MacMini to a full blown HTPC. Components will be:

    Intel Core2Quad 8200S (or similar)
    4 GB standard DDR2
    ASUS P5N7A-VM LGA 775 motherboard
    32GB Corsair, Extreme Series X32, MLC-Flash, 2.5", SATA II, Read 220MB/s, Write 135MB/s, Retail
    BDC-202BK - Pioneer BDC-202 5x Blu-Ray Reader Combo DVD±DL Writer internal Black OEM

    All content will be streamed from a NAS. The SSD is only going to hold the OS. I've really only gone SSD for low power, silence, with boot speed as a very distant 3rd.

    Can anyone recommend a decent HTPC case to go with this lot? It must have at two 5.25 bays as I'll need to mount a IR sensor. I was thinking of hiding it behind a 5.25" mesh blanking plate.

    Is there a much better processor than the Q8200s for similar money and with a similar thermal footprint? Swapping the motherboard is not an option, so it HAS to be Intel.

    Cheers...

    b0redom

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    Re: What HTPC case?

    Cant really give any suggestions without a price range - HTPC cases can range from ~£40 for cheeper cases, right up to several hundert pounds. And also a case is generally what you like, to one person it may look great, but to the other be ugly.

    To see some HTPC cases look here:
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Index.aspx?NT=1-0-6-210-0 (silverstone and lian-li, both which should be very nice cases)

    and
    http://www.ebuyer.com/search?sort=pr...imit=10&page=1 (antec - good, cheepy own brand ?? risky)

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    mush-mushroom b0redom's Avatar
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    Re: What HTPC case?

    Well say £150. I'm obviously aware of scan, ebuyer etc. I was after a recommendation.

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    Re: What HTPC case?

    Core2Quad? Is this a gaming PC too? My mother's HTPC (built-in graphics on a Gigabyte E7AUM) with an E5200 can decode 1080p just fine. Video cards are the main factor in decoding HD.

    For cases, I recommend the Antec NSK-2480. This review is of a version of it with a different PSU, but everything else is the same: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article591-page1.html

    I have two NSK-2480 cases - one as a HTPC for my mother who likes the look of it (she hated the huge Silverstone LC16M), and one I'm setting up now for my sister who wanted one just like it. Good thermal zones, a decent amount of room to work in, well-placed top vent where the video card heatsink would be, minimalist but nice appearance, the fans which come with it are very quiet in "low" mode while shoving out an okay amount of air.

    Don't bother with LCDs (VFD?) - I always read of people saying that they either look crap, are inconsistent in appearance, fade, brighten, burn out (as one of mine did), too bright, too dark, awkward to control, act inconsistently, have sucky software, or suffer from excessive blurring.

    I can also recommend the Scythe Ninja Mini heatsink - excellent cooling properties, and the proximity to the case fans on the 2480 mean that it doesn't need a fan of its own.
    Last edited by smargh; 09-11-2009 at 01:41 AM.

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    mush-mushroom b0redom's Avatar
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    Re: What HTPC case?

    Hi,
    An E5200 would probably do actually. There might be occasional Handbrake usage, but it'lll be media playback for the most part.

    I really don't want an LCD display as it'll be using an non-Windows OS. I looked at the NSK-2480, in fact I was just about to post this, but I really want it in black to match the rest of my A/V gear, and can't find anyone selling it.

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    Re: What HTPC case?

    Spraypaint. I also tried finding a black 2480 many months ago and had an equally difficult time.

    Personally, I wouldn't go for a less functional case just to satisfy aesthetic preferences.

    As for a non-Windows OS: my E5200 does need hardware acceleration, otherwise pixilation occurs. Perhaps a slightly beefier CPU would be advisable if you aren't sure whether your OS can do adequate acceleration.

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  9. #7
    mush-mushroom b0redom's Avatar
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    Re: What HTPC case?

    The OS in question doesn't do hardware acceleration on the GPU. I'm planning on running Plex on it. Not sure about the spray paint thing. Did you look at the Antec Fusion cases?

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    Re: What HTPC case?

    I recently bought this

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Silve...-in-black-RoHS

    but in silver and it is a fantastic case. Its a bit of ballache if your going to regualy change things but it looks great and the foam inside the hard drive cage really quietens down my noisey F1 750GB (even though this isnt going to matter for you) Its a pretty large case being full ATX but the Granadia series has definitely had an effect on me so they would get my recommendations + there is a couple of smaller versions.

    I think you might have to find an alternative method of hiding the IR sensor other than a 5.25 drive bay as its quite a limiting requirement to have 2 of them when your other specs are so mimalist allowing an otherwise much smaller case. Never-the-less, If you do go for it then you might wanna do a 7v mod on the fans or replace them with quieter ones.

    As for 5200 not handling 1080p, it should do just fine if you set up the decoding to pass onto the GPU (9300 on your mobo should have bult in decoding capability?). I think you can do that pretty well using XMBC which incidently works well with NAS streaming

    Edit - i see your running plex which is OSX only... naughty naughty! i would recomend taking the legal route and using ubuntu + XBMC

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    Re: What HTPC case?

    That Silverstone ^ is huge. It wouldn't fit where my current Antec 2480 lives.

    For the Antec Fusion, it has a VFD which silentpcreview found to be (of course) crap - bad software, volume control is useless, and a weird problem with S/PDIF. It also has a rotating CD/DVD/BD tray cover, which I found to get a bit crap after a year or two on my old Silverstone LC16M. The tray button would also get annoying sometimes if it doesn't line up well with the button on the drive. tomshardware said "VFD text is too small for viewing past eight or nine feet". So, if you don't mind a Fusion but with a broken volume knob and pointless VFD, go for it.

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    Re: What HTPC case?

    Not sure about your space requirements but the new silverstone gd04 is what I'll be going for as my next htpc case. Depth of 33(?)cm but still takes 3 120mm fans, full size psu and full height cards. Doesn't look too bad either and its black. Can't vouch for the performance of the case though, but I have owned an antec fusion which is a great case, the one I had had an lcd instead of vfd which was terrible but by all accounts so is the vfd. Cooling was good though and quiet.
    Btw is you get a case with a lcd/vfd which is crap and you won't use you could always remove it and mount the ir sensor there. Thats what I have done.

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    Re: What HTPC case?

    Why an uATX board, you can get a Zotac 9300 ITX that has a 9300 which is ace for an HTPC, and uses a lot less room. See my sig for my HTPC rig build, and what I put in it. Please feel free to ignore the Q8200, since I only got that because it was cheaper since it came with a free Mini-ITX case, reducing the cost of my build sigficiantly. If OcUK are still doing that deal, it'll be worth it.
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    Re: What HTPC case?

    The mobo is fixed, for reasons I don't want to go into for fear of the thread of being locked/deleted.

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    Re: What HTPC case?

    Quote Originally Posted by b0redom View Post
    The mobo is fixed, for reasons I don't want to go into for fear of the thread of being locked/deleted.
    Can you not use that motherboard in another demonstration/sponsered/whatever reason I can think of for you logically having to use a particular motherboard over another, bar the of course obvious "I have already purchased it", which would not justify the need to hide the reasoning, and use a more fit for purpose board for this HTPC?
    Desktop (Cy): Intel Core i7 920 D0 @ 3.6GHz, Prolimatech Megahalems, Gigabyte X58-UD5, Patriot Viper DDR3 6GiB @ 1440MHz 7-7-7-20 2T, EVGA NVIDIA GTX 295 Co-Op, Asus Xonar D2X, Hauppauge WinTV Nova TD-500, 2x WD Caviar Black 1TB in RAID 0, 4x Samsung EcoDrive 1.5TB F2s in RAID 5, Corsair HX 750W PSU, Coolermaster RC-1100 Cosmos Sport (Custom), 4x Noctua P12s, 6x Noctua S12Bs, Sony Optiarc DVD+/-RW, Windows 7 Professional Edition, Dell 2408WFP, Mirai 22" HDTV

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  16. #14
    mush-mushroom b0redom's Avatar
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    Re: What HTPC case?

    Hi,
    Ok let's say I've already bought it.

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    Re: What HTPC case?

    Quote Originally Posted by b0redom View Post
    Hi,
    Ok let's say I've already bought it.
    Yes. I'll buy that.
    Desktop (Cy): Intel Core i7 920 D0 @ 3.6GHz, Prolimatech Megahalems, Gigabyte X58-UD5, Patriot Viper DDR3 6GiB @ 1440MHz 7-7-7-20 2T, EVGA NVIDIA GTX 295 Co-Op, Asus Xonar D2X, Hauppauge WinTV Nova TD-500, 2x WD Caviar Black 1TB in RAID 0, 4x Samsung EcoDrive 1.5TB F2s in RAID 5, Corsair HX 750W PSU, Coolermaster RC-1100 Cosmos Sport (Custom), 4x Noctua P12s, 6x Noctua S12Bs, Sony Optiarc DVD+/-RW, Windows 7 Professional Edition, Dell 2408WFP, Mirai 22" HDTV

    MacBook Pro (Voyager): Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.6GHz, 4GiB DDR2 RAM, 200GB 7200RPM HDD, NVIDIA 8600GTM 512MB, SuperDrive, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, 15.4" Matte Display

    HTPC (Delta-Flyer): Intel Core 2 Q8200 @ 2.33GHz, Zotec GeForce 9300-ITX, 2GiB of DDR2 Corsair XMS2 RAM, KWorld PE355-2T, Samsung EcoDrive F2 1.5TB, In-Win BP655, Noctua NF-R8, LiteOn BluRay ROM Drive, Windows 7 Home Premium, 42" Sony 1080p Television

    i7 (Bloomfield) Overclocking Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
    I am not our father.

  19. #16
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    Re: What HTPC case?

    I think the reasons are quite obvious if you look up what PLEX is

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