[WINDOWS] Help to save baldmosher's marriage
#16
Apex MI-008 w/ 250W PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6811154091

Would something like this do the job? At a fraction of the price of the SS and BQ combo I spec'd above. Not that I can find one in the UK for less than £80 Sad and they have 110V PSU (GB mains is 230V)

I'm guessing I should utilise the wide space I have at my disposal and stick to the S/S Milo (or similar) above. I do like the look of Silverstone cases.
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#17
EDIT: won't fit

Is the Silverstone LC11 suitable for what I'm planning above? It even fits in the drawer....! But I can't find info on the S/S website....

There's one on eBay now (complete with a 200W PSU), I'm tempted to get a suitable case first (I don't mind buying a used case) and can work everything else out later properly, once I know how much space I've got inside.... and I can always upgrade the PSU later if it's noisy/not powerful enough.
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#18
baldmosher Wrote:wsume99, your system looks pretty sweet actually, especially as it's micro. Amazed it only draws 38W at full load.
Be careful there. I did not say it drew 38W at full load. I said that it drew 38W when the system was performing those tasks I outlined. Under that scenarion the HTPC is not even close to full load (as I stated the CPU was only around 25% utilization). Full load on that system would probably be somewhere around 55-60W but that's just a guess.

And to clarify...

SB = Sandy Bridge -> meaning Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs (In case you see IVB anywhere that is referring to Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs)

Nightly builds = Beta releases of XBMC. These include new features and/or bug fixes that are under development and not part of the official XBMC Dharma release.

DXVA = DirectX Video Acceleration (you got that one right).

Without getting into a lot of detail here you want to use DXVA because it lowers the CPU usage and power draw of your system when playing back video. The problem here is that there is a problem with the current XBMC release that prevents you from using DXVA with Intel SB graphics. Not to worry though because you can still playback 1080p content without DXVA, it just means that the HTPC will use more CPU power and electricity to do this. If you use a nightly XBMC (beta) build they have fixed this problem and you can use DXVA with SB graphics no problem. I use the nightly and it works fine for me.

Also, let me say that my signature is a bit out of date and I've replaced my E-350 with a G620 and an Intel MB. Other than needing to use the nightly build to get DXVA working I see no difference at all in terms of video playback. I did notice a difference in terms of system responsiveness - the G620 totally blows away my E-350. I also noticed a difference in power consumption, the G620 draws about 8-10 watts more than the E-350.

Next topic, which CPU to get. My advice to you is to not pay more to get a 35W CPU vs the 65W version (G530T vs. G530 or G620T vs. G620). I don't think I would do it even if it was the same price. If you check around on the internet you'll see that there is almost no difference in power draw at idle and not that big of a difference at full load either. So you're essentially paying more for a chip that uses just a little bit less power at full load but is also less powerful as well. So to me the decision is G530 vs. G620. They both have about the same passmark score so it's kind of a tossup there. I went with the G620 because I found a deal at a local vendor and got it for about the same price as I could buy a G530 online. For what you're going to be doing either one should be just fine.

Next,next topic, picking a case. I actually think that picking a case is the hardest part of building a HTPC. I don't have any rule of thumb here - just get what your WIFE thinks looks good and fits where you need it to fit. However be careful about getting a case just because it includes a PSU (see below) and you think you'll save a little $$$ (sorry I don't know how to make the euro symbol and I'm an American so that means I'm too lazy to figure out how, that is if you believe in stereotypes).

Last topic, picking a PSU. Be careful here. Two things. First, you need to be aware that the power usage numbers I am getting are in large part due to the fact that I'm using a picoPSU. When I switched from a 80 Plus Corsair PSU to the picoPSU I saw a 10W drop in power consumption across the board. Second, many of the PSUs that come bundled with cases are junk (IMO). I got a case a few months ago that had one of the cheap 250W PSUs included and the fan in that thing sounded like a turbine engine. Needless to say it has since been replaced by a picoPSU which is completely silent and more efficient. I'm not saying that you need to get a picoPSU but just pointing out that the bundled PSUs are often times utter crap. And from my perspective if you're going to purchase a PSU why not get one that is highly efficient and silent.

One last thing - I highly recommend trying out things on a computer you already have. This helps you to see how things work in XBMC and allows you to figure out what's important to you. That way you are more educated about your specific needs and can make a better decision when it comes time to purchase new hardware for a HTPC. That said, it seems like you are already on this path and I think that is a very good thing.
HTPC: Win 7 Home 64-bit | MB | CPU | GPU | RAM | Case | PSU | Tuner | HDDs: OS, Media | DVD Burner | Remote
Media server: unraid 4.7 | CPU | MB | RAM | Case | PSU | HDDs: Parity-2TB, Data-2x2TB
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#19
Would this work?

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=114891

(Luckily I didnt order my planned build last week because the couple of new AMD ones Eskro posted look even better to me.)

I personally like this one with the Apex case you mentioned above:
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=114896
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#20
baldmosher Wrote:Is the Silverstone LC11 suitable for what I'm planning above? It even fits in the drawer....! But I can't find info on the S/S website....

There's one on eBay now (complete with a 200W PSU), I'm tempted to get a suitable case first (I don't mind buying a used case) and can work everything else out later properly, once I know how much space I've got inside.... and I can always upgrade the PSU later if it's noisy/not powerful enough.
That is a nice looking case. I found that case on the Silverstone site but there weren't any pictures of it's layout. I also found a deactivated listing for it on Newegg and you can see the layout there. The biggest problem I see is that this case has horizontal expansion slots which means that you need to use riser cards if you plan on using and of the slots. It looks like that case came with 2 PCI risers and 1 AGP riser. The AGP riser Shocked should give you an indication of just how old the case is. So if you plan on ever using a PCI express (x1 or x16) slot on your MB you might be in trouble. You might be able to find a riser card, but I'm not sure about if it will work in that case. I've never sailed in those waters before.
HTPC: Win 7 Home 64-bit | MB | CPU | GPU | RAM | Case | PSU | Tuner | HDDs: OS, Media | DVD Burner | Remote
Media server: unraid 4.7 | CPU | MB | RAM | Case | PSU | HDDs: Parity-2TB, Data-2x2TB
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#21
dtviewer Wrote:Would this work?

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=114891

(Luckily I didnt order my planned build last week because the couple of new AMD ones Eskro posted look even better to me.)

I personally like this one with the Apex case you mentioned above:
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=114896

Those are both nice builds. Nothing wrong with using either one. Not sure about the PSU in the APEX case though. I know that a lot of users have that case so it must not be too bad.

My 2 cents - The Intel chips (G530 or G630) use less power but the AMD llano chips have more graphics capability. However that additional capability is wasted if all you are doing is playing 1080p content. If you were going to do some light gaming (more than just emulators) then I'd go AMD otherwise I'd get the Intel build.
HTPC: Win 7 Home 64-bit | MB | CPU | GPU | RAM | Case | PSU | Tuner | HDDs: OS, Media | DVD Burner | Remote
Media server: unraid 4.7 | CPU | MB | RAM | Case | PSU | HDDs: Parity-2TB, Data-2x2TB
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#22
wsume99 Wrote:That's a nice build as well. Nothing wrong with using that one.

My 2 cents - The Intel uses less power but the AMD has more graphics capability. However that additional capability is wasted if all you are doing is playing 1080p content. If you were going to do some light gaming (more than just emulators) then I'd go AMD otherwise I'd get the Intel build.

Good points but the AMD is also 3d capable AND will bit stream HD audio.
The intel wont without a seperate video card.
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#23
@dtviewer - You are 100% correct, however if you step up to an i3 or if you add a GT430 (like you mentioned) to your G530/G620 then you can bitstream and play 3D all day long as well. So you do have options. My point is why buy a system that can do way more than you need? I think that there are a whole crap load of users out there who fall into the same category as our bald friend here (myself included). They just want to stream 1080p content to their TV. They want their system to be snappy/responsive, quiet, and cheap all the while providing superb 1080p playback. I'm not an Intel fanboy, heck most of my PCs are AMDs because I don't want to spend an arm and a leg to get the best performance when good will suffice. And I think that in terms of building a good, basic HTPC the Sandy Bridge Pentiums/Celerons offer a very compelling choice. I'm just trying to lay the facts on the table as I see them and let people make their own decisions.

As a comparison to the AMD llano (A6-3500) builds I'm suggesting this Eskro build sans the G210. That's $204 plus HDD/SSD and RAM. So let's call it $300 total for a complete system and it plays 1080p all day long.
HTPC: Win 7 Home 64-bit | MB | CPU | GPU | RAM | Case | PSU | Tuner | HDDs: OS, Media | DVD Burner | Remote
Media server: unraid 4.7 | CPU | MB | RAM | Case | PSU | HDDs: Parity-2TB, Data-2x2TB
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#24
Games - definitely not. That's why I have an Xbox 360!

I've avoided Intel in all my system builds since that DX4-75, but AMD just seems a pricier option for what I'm doing with it now. And I can always add a GPU card later if requirements change.

G530/G620 is just a simple toss-up whether I want to spend the extra £10. I probably will. The power savings with the T versions seem pretty irrelevant as you say. When I said "under full load", I probably meant "normal load". 90% of the time it'll be idle anyway.

---

It seems the biggest problem will be choosing a case and the more I look into this the more confused I get (ah, the joys of learning). I just found out that mini ITX is smaller than micro ITX.... that just does not make sense Rolleyes

WS, thanks for the info about the riser cards in the LC05... I didn't even consider that problem. Do all low-profile cases use riser cards? If not, why not?

The Apex MI-008 looks good but I can't source them in the UK and the PSU is 110V anyway, so that's simply not an option for me.

I like the Silverstone styling in particular and the Milo ML03B is my current benchmark. EDIT: won't fit the shelf

The 140mm shelf is open air, and I guess I could fit quieter 120mm case fans into a slightly taller case, although 100mm height and 440mm width looks perfect alongside the amp, and that seems the most suitable location anyway. I would be severely limited by the max 100mm height of the drawer shelf, although the rear of the drawer shelf is open, vents up behind the TV, so I could squeeze in a 95mm height case, e.g. SS LC19, as long as any vents on top of the case are towards the rear. But that particular case is costly and wouldn't that height cause more problems with needing a riser card for PCI-e?

The LC05 on eBay is (currently, with no bids, ends today) £35 delivered inc PSU so that might be a very cheap stop-gap option for me. EDIT: won't fit the shelf

----

I looked briefly at picoPSU, for silence and space reasons, but they seemed prohibitively expensive at about £100... and I've got space for a wide case.... however I've just seen some on eBay UK for about £35 and up for 160W, which is very cheap, although would those also incur extra cost for a separate external power pack??

I didn't realise they were also more efficient... that makes sense... no fans!
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#25
baldmosher Wrote:G530/G620 is just a simple toss-up whether I want to spend the extra £10. I probably will. The power savings with the T versions seem pretty irrelevant as you say. When I said "under full load", I probably meant "normal load". 90% of the time it'll be idle anyway.
Great, looks like you are on the right path here. I think I spent $5 more to get the G620. That was a no-brainer to me.

baldmosher Wrote:WS, thanks for the info about the riser cards in the LC05... I didn't even consider that problem. Do all low-profile cases use riser cards? If not, why not?
I'm not sure what the definition of a low profile case is but nearly all of the cases with low profile expansion slots that I have seen do not user riser cards. The height of the bracket on a low-profile card is 80mm. I think the only way to get the case height below 100-110mm is to use a riser card.

I think you seeing why I said that choosing a case is the hardest part. I don't really have any solutions for you but it seems like you have a good handle on your needs.

baldmosher Wrote:I looked briefly at picoPSU, for silence and space reasons, but they seemed prohibitively expensive at about £100... and I've got space for a wide case.... however I've just seen some on eBay UK for about £35 and up for 160W, which is very cheap, although would those also incur extra cost for a separate external power pack??

I didn't realise they were also more efficient... that makes sense... no fans!
Those picoPSUs can be pricey but I feel like it was worth the cost. If you want a low cost solution then my advice to you would be to get a good quality psu with a 120mm fan. This means you'll need a case that can accommodate an ATX sized psu.There are lots of ATX PSUs that you can get at a pretty reasonable price.
HTPC: Win 7 Home 64-bit | MB | CPU | GPU | RAM | Case | PSU | Tuner | HDDs: OS, Media | DVD Burner | Remote
Media server: unraid 4.7 | CPU | MB | RAM | Case | PSU | HDDs: Parity-2TB, Data-2x2TB
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#26
OK so I presume I'm looking for the lowest profile case I can find that doesn't use riser cards.... I can deal with that!

I could actually get a case that is up to 140mm tall (including any feet) but that would absolutely not be able to have any top-side vents, I recall one of the first HTPC cases I saw some years ago had that configuration. I've seen one or two configured like this but they are still rare - and that means probably not cheap either.

When I was looking into silent computing some years back I saw one PC built in a home-made wooden case with passive cooling and simple, clever airflow utilising natural convection. The mere idea of that was fantastic to me but it's beyond (a) my capabilities and (b) my ambitions.

I've just noticed the SS LC19.... that's not too expensive really considering it comes with its own 120W fanless PSU and riser card. It does make this build rather more expensive though!
EDIT: won't fit
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#27
One other issue I hadn't considered.... shelf DEPTH..... I've only got 350mm to play with, which has to include space at the back for cables & plugs, so realistically, I suppose I can only fit in a max 300mm (11.8") depth chassis. This is getting worse and worse. If only I could buy the Apec case in the UK!!! Why on earth are HTPC cases all so hugely deep? Huh

I could just put it in the cupboard, but even then, I would only have an extra 30mm depth to play with, and there's less ventilation in there. This one would just about fit but no point of a VFD if it's in a cupboard!

So I need suggestions for cases that aren't deep or too tall, but can be almost as wide as you like. I could really do with a case search engine! Nod

I'm verging on asking The Wife to custom build herself a case at work....! She seems to think it'd be doable. And the more I think about it, the more sensible this option seems to be. Fitting a case around the parts would definitely help with airflow and cooling!

I might also have a look on Instructables Big Grin
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#28
i also have the too "deep" for my Shelf issue,,,
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#29
eskro Wrote:i also have the too "deep" for my Shelf issue,,,
I don't think The Wife would accept your solution Laugh
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#30
Tongue
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