[WINDOWS] Help to save baldmosher's marriage
#31
ASUS-P6-P8H61E £129
Dimensions (WxDxH): 11.2 cm x 27.9 cm x 36.6 cm (mounted vertically)

The supplied PSU is apparently 29dB, which is pretty quiet, so add in £75 for CPU + RAM and it's not a bad solution.

Can anyone foresee any issues that I might have with expansion?

I think this sort of smaller size case is probably the best choice I have.


There's also this one: http://tsunamitech.webnode.com/products-...e-pc/mjr2/ which I've seen in a couple of HTPC builds sold on eBay, it uses a riser card though.
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#32
The only issue I can see with the ASUS is that because there are only 2 slots if you ever decided to use a tuner and a GPU at the same time you probably would not be able to use a passively cooled GPU (such as the G210). The heatsink on passively cooled cards usually takes up part of the adjacent slot. I have an ASUS G210 passive card in one my desktop PCs and it blocks the adjacent slot on the MB. So you'd most likely have to use a card with a fan or find a passive one that does not extend into the adjacent slot. I'm sure you can find something that will work so I would not be too concerned about this.

The downside of Tsunami case is that it only has a single expansion slot. So you can either use a GPU or a tuner, not both (obviously). The fact that it uses a riser card does not bother me that much. That is what you are going to get when the case is that small.
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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#33
Just a thought, do I take it that switching to Mini-ITX form factor would mean one slot and so no GPU & tuner card upgrade possibility....?

Could switch the whole thing to AMD and get it all onboard but doubt the CPU would be up to the task. e.g. Gigabyte E350N £105

Then again I suppose I could use a USB tuner?? If so a Mini-ITX H61 board could be a serious option for me
http://www.maplin.co.uk/pctv-nanostick-u...4&t=module

This is weird... case with space for 2 PCI cards on risers... but no Mini-ITX boards with two slots...!
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#34
its indeed pretty anemic ;/
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#35
It seems Korea is a hot bed of HTPC activity at the moment... some ingenious case designs on eBay.... not found one that fits yet though.

I am seriously considering just designing my own case to fit. I would probably have to source a generic riser card, but I can't imagine they are anything more than a set of wires on a board?? The Wife could probably ask the guys in the lab next door to custom make a board for me.

One thing I've noticed is that you can't get cases with PCI slots (horiz or vert) but no 5.25" drive bay. They're all the other way around. The drive bay seems to be the main reason for extra case depth.

If I do save £50 on buying the case then picoPSU becomes an affordable option Wink
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#36
This should fit... just about. Tight but with a right-angle power plug it should be OK.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HTPC-Media-Cen...19caede806
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#37
Would anyone like to hear my latest headache? Admittedly it isn't much of a headache really as it's not a dealbreaker (the simplest workaround would involve me making the Xbox inaccessible to The Wife) but it's still a bit rubbish. At least I'm finding all this quite amusing, and it's keeping me busy, and stopping me from spending £200 right this very second.

As I said earlier, I've got a coax digital audio output socket on my TV that I want to connect to the non-HDMI Cambridge 540R amp, as I'm instead hoping to use the TV as an automatic HDMI sound & source switcher, to save all faffing about with the remote changing the TV for images and the amp for sound sources. (The Wife hates doing this although since we got the Harmony One she's got used to it now.)

But the problem is, I've only got 3 HDMI inputs on my TV (one ARC), plus component, VGA & coax audio inputs. So as I have four sources I will need to have one source set up with coax + component/VGA instead of HDMI. (Laptop is currently VGA & optical via the amp.)

Xbox 360 has HDMI, Component, VGA, Optical
- nope, no coax. Or is there....? Could buy a converter for a tenner

BD player has HDMI, Component, Coax, Optical
- possibly? Wouldn't I get a worsened picture with Component cables compared to HDMI?

Humax STB has HDMI, Component, Optical
- nope, no coax. And apparently some HD won't pass through Component (non-DHCP) but then again, if I got a FreesatHD tuner card*, I could sell the separate Humax box?

I assume miniATX motherboards won't have coax audio output, so that won't be an option. Or do they??

Any other ideas I've not thought about? As I say the worst case scenario here is having to manually switch over the amp for the Xbox, or buy a new remote to control 5 devices, or just abandon the idea of using the Harmony as my HTPC remote.

At least I'm finding all this rather entertaining. Serves The Wife right for saying I should get a hobby....

* assuming of course that I can find a case that has space for 2 PCI cards, LOL

EDIT: problem solved by Xbox via £10 optical-coax converter.
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#38
wsume99 Wrote:The only issue I can see with the ASUS is that because there are only 2 slots if you ever decided to use a tuner and a GPU at the same time you probably would not be able to use a passively cooled GPU (such as the G210). The heatsink on passively cooled cards usually takes up part of the adjacent slot. I have an ASUS G210 passive card in one my desktop PCs and it blocks the adjacent slot on the MB. So you'd most likely have to use a card with a fan or find a passive one that does not extend into the adjacent slot. I'm sure you can find something that will work so I would not be too concerned about this.
I'm not concerned as I have no plans to buy a separate GPU card.

But in theory, if I did, couldn't I just mod the standard H/S on any passively cooled card? I'm thinking of one that's designed to be narrow enough up the card face, but that extends laterally across the top of the case, or even back down the other side, i.e. in an L or U shape..... The Wife would be able to knock one up for me in half an hour from some leftover materials, if it's possible to do this. I assume metal conductivity would make this a very simple mod.

One other thought, why would the PCIE x16 slot be positioned on the near side of the other PCI slot i.e. obstruct it? What I mean is why wouldn't it be designed to be the other way around? Or would the h/s normally straddle the GPU card on both sides?
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#39
If the slots were swapped in the ASUS case then the GPU would be right up against the side of the case. Then you would not ever be able to use a card that extended beyond the footprint of a single slot. The way it is laid out now you can use a GPU that takes up more space but you'd have to keep the pci-e slot open. So with the current option you at least can decide if you want to do it, if the slots were swapped you would be prevented from using an oversized card.

As far as making your own heatsink goes I'm sure that's possible if you have access to the proper material and equipment to do so.

If you're not concerned about getting a discrete GPU then why not (as you asked about) just get a mITX board with a single pci-e slot. I think you're much more likely to find a mITX case that meets your size needs.
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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#40
You're right, of course, I'm being too precious about future upgrade potential. If it came to it I'd just have to start the process all over again and find another case, but that's not exactly the worst thing that could ever happen is it.

If the BD player died a death, I'm sure the G620 would be sufficient for 1080p BD video. I don't have an amp capable of HD audio anyway, nor would I be able to find one to fit the unit. (Same problem all round, basically, I'm limited by IKEA.)

I've at least settled on a suitable mATX build (see edited post 1 and my signature - I guess I needed 25 posts for my signature to become visible in threads!) Incidentally as it's only £40 for 8GB RAM, and I would only have 2 RAM slots in either a mATX or mITX board, I'll just go for 8GB in the first place, so I can avoid swapfile usage. It's very little extra cost for total future-proofing and I know that 64-bit CPUs do like having lots of RAM to breathe. And it'll be handy if I ever wanted to upgrade to a 1155 quad.

I'll put together a suitable mITX build now as well, and then ask The Wife to decide which one of the two she really wants. Saves grief later....! She's already sounding intrigued by the idea of getting rid of the Humax completely and just watching TV via the HTPC. Which basically means I'll be getting a tuner card sooner rather than later.

Any suggestions for a suitable mITX case? All eskro's systems use the Apex case LOL

This board seems fairly comprehensive as it includes E-SATA and onboard HD audio... I'm not sure if that's a coaxial SPDIF audio out or DC power socket on the left hand corner??
baldmosher™
Trying to save his marriage with a HTPC
Current system: TV unit, 37PFL5405H, Microserver N40L (as HTPC), Xbox360, BDP-S370, FoxsatHD, Azur 540Rv2, Keysonic 540RF, Harmony 300
Planned W7x64 AMD mATX (HT)PC build: Case, PSU, RAM, Mobo, CPU Total £240 + IR + HSF? + SSD?
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#41
OK, so here goes for first whack at a miniITX build, some thought now put into this (don't mind me, I'm editing as I go along):

Mobo: Gigabyte GAH67N, E-SATA, SATA3, coax £81
CPU: G530 £40
RAM: 4GB RAM £25
Case: Antec 310 150W £73
Total roughly £225

MiniITX H67 boards seem to have better features than MiniATX H61 boards.... but also a bit cheaper for some reason. Not sure how that works...

G630 has just been released.... £5 more than the G620... apparently not much real world between the G530-G620-G630 options... http://ark.intel.com/compare/53414,53480,53483 so G530 probably a better value option really

More cases (again with no slot for cards, so would have to replace the case later, unless I just go for a USB tuner):
Akasa Crypto £63 inc 80W PSU
M350 £35 + £45 for 80W picoPSU (no option for cards - but could just replace the case later and keep the PSU)

More cases with card slots:
Wesena ITX6 £80 + £60 for picoPSU (ouch!)

I'd use the 500GB SATA internally or in an Icy Box via ESATA for now and install a SSD and card/USB tuner later when funds allow.
baldmosher™
Trying to save his marriage with a HTPC
Current system: TV unit, 37PFL5405H, Microserver N40L (as HTPC), Xbox360, BDP-S370, FoxsatHD, Azur 540Rv2, Keysonic 540RF, Harmony 300
Planned W7x64 AMD mATX (HT)PC build: Case, PSU, RAM, Mobo, CPU Total £240 + IR + HSF? + SSD?
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#42
You can get H61 or H67. I have a G620 and an Intel H67 MB in my HTPC right now. The H67 will have SATA 3 support if you ever get a SSD that can use that speed.

All of the Intel GXXX chips have the same graphics. I don't see much reason to get the 630 over the 620. Sure it's a little faster but even a G530 will be fine in XBMC. If you want to spend the extra money that's ok but I doubt you'll notice a difference.

Here is an option for a mITX case with an expansion slot and a psu: Antec ISK310-150.
Note the title of the item on Amazon.UK says it's Micro-ATX but that is incorrect. This is a mITX case [222mm W 96mm H x 328mm D].
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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#43
The shelf depth problem strikes again Wink How much space do you reckon I would need at the back of the shelf for cables? I can't imagine how 1 inch spare is going to leave enough room.

I'm leaning back to that Asus mATX barebones system in my sig, and shove it up on the open top shelf.... not as neat though.

I'm putting aside the discrete GPU option as it's proving far too restrictive and I really don't think I'd ever need it anyway. Room for a PCI tuner is now the only future requirement as that looks to be a very likely purchase.

I haven't even started looking at CPU coolers yet.... strewth, that could be another can of worms.

Still editing my post at the top of this page as I go along.... it certainly looks like the Gigabyte GA-H67N-USB3-B3 is the mobo for me. It's the only one I've found with coax digital out (which saves me £10 on a converter box) and one of the rare ones with eSATA (which saves me installing the HDD inside the case). One PCIE slot will have to do. And I assume I can install a TV card in pretty much any case with a half height card bay... I might just have to opt for the Antec 310 and hope it fits! Looking at the length of this cable, I think it might, just about.
baldmosher™
Trying to save his marriage with a HTPC
Current system: TV unit, 37PFL5405H, Microserver N40L (as HTPC), Xbox360, BDP-S370, FoxsatHD, Azur 540Rv2, Keysonic 540RF, Harmony 300
Planned W7x64 AMD mATX (HT)PC build: Case, PSU, RAM, Mobo, CPU Total £240 + IR + HSF? + SSD?
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#44
Turn up for the books? Or a spanner in the works? Custom built case from 10 miles away from me!

Image

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/110778771462?s...1438.l2649
310mm x 310mm x 90mm - I can't believe my luck!

I'm asking them about the possibility of a case without PSU as I don't trust nonbranded. I hope they come back and quote the brand & model Smile Failing that it'll do for now - and it might be pretty quiet anyway.
baldmosher™
Trying to save his marriage with a HTPC
Current system: TV unit, 37PFL5405H, Microserver N40L (as HTPC), Xbox360, BDP-S370, FoxsatHD, Azur 540Rv2, Keysonic 540RF, Harmony 300
Planned W7x64 AMD mATX (HT)PC build: Case, PSU, RAM, Mobo, CPU Total £240 + IR + HSF? + SSD?
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#45
I've finally found some photos of the Asus P6-P8H61E barebones that was listed in my sig... the case looks OK (if a bit too fat for my narrower shelf) but the back plate is seriously underspecced (there's apparently an SPDIF header on the board, no indication if the socket is provided, and no eSATA) and as WS pointed out above the two PCI slots are pretty much unusable with a GPU, although could get two tuner cards I suppose..... Wink So I'm ruling that one out and sticking to finding a suitable case for the GB board in my mITX list, or hopefully finding a mATX board with the same specs to fit in the case above.

http://www.bestbyte.hu/images/cikkek/ASUS/45997_1.jpg
http://www.bestbyte.hu/images/cikkek/ASUS/45997_2.jpg

Is this the board in the case I wonder? Looks very similar but it's got DVI

Then again, if I found one cheap on eBay, it would still be a tempting option.
baldmosher™
Trying to save his marriage with a HTPC
Current system: TV unit, 37PFL5405H, Microserver N40L (as HTPC), Xbox360, BDP-S370, FoxsatHD, Azur 540Rv2, Keysonic 540RF, Harmony 300
Planned W7x64 AMD mATX (HT)PC build: Case, PSU, RAM, Mobo, CPU Total £240 + IR + HSF? + SSD?
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