Custom build, all-in-one: HTPC/1080p + RAID1 + Fanless + Linux + 30 watts + 24x7
#1
Update: Here's the resulting HTPC post. Enjoy!


Hi there,

Like most of the guys in this forum, I'd like to build an HTPC -- and I hope y'all can help. I've read many posts already (Poofy's guide, Which group do you belong to?, endless discussions about Linux compatibility, ...), but I have slightly different requirements than most other users. Namely, I'd also like to use my HTPC as a NAS with RAID1 and Linux home server.

My requirements:
- HTPC/XBMC with flawless 1080p video playback
- NAS with RAID1: 1 SSD for the OS, 2 HDDs for the RAID1 (= min 3 eSATA slots)
- Linux without a hassle (NVidia GPU??)
- Low power consumption b/c it will run 24/7
- Fanless: And of course, it should be completely silent (no fans), b/c it will be in the living room.

First step, find a suitable mainboard/GPU: I'm struggeling to find a suitable mainboard. I've looked at the Zotac ION-ITX boards (IONITX-S-E, IONITX-A-U, IONITX-L-E, ...) but they either have not enough eSATA slots, or cannot be ordered anymore.

Do you have any suggestions?

Many many thanks in advance. I WILL post pictures and a guide as soon as I succeed.

Best regards,
Philipp
Related posts: http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=145060 and http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=140077
Fanless Linux HTPC/NAS: Streacom FC10, ASUS P8H77-M PRO, i3-3225, Corsair LP White DDR3-1600, picoPSU-150-XT, 1x SSD 840, 2x HDD WD Red 3TB
Stats: 29W idle, 55W load, CPU 38-43°C idle, CPU 55-60°C load, HDD 42-43°C idle, HDD 47°C load

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#2
Phillipp, do you mean SATA ports on the motherboard or do you have some external enclosure that really requires 3 eSATA ports? If a motherboard has a eSATA port it's usually 1. I've never seen one with 3.

There are SATA-to-eSATA adapters you can buy that connect to a internal SATA port and expose a eSATA port like this: http://www.startech.com/Cables/Drive/eSA...SATAPLATE2 but I am not sure that's what you need. If it is, this might be an easy solution since you just need a motherboard with enough SATA ports.

If you're looking for a motherboard with a lot of SATA ports, look at the ASUS P8H77-I. You might have an easier time going silent vs. fanless (you can build silent with the right fans).
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#3
Hi Dougie Fresh,

thanks for replying so quickly. As you might have guessed already, I'm not quite the hardware guy. Of course I meant SATA ports (not eSATA), so the suggested adapter is not what I'm looking for.

I looked at the mobo you suggested, but it seems to definitely need a fan. Are there any fanless Linux compatible mobos you could suggest with good GPUs and more than 2 SATA ports?

Best regards
Philipp
Fanless Linux HTPC/NAS: Streacom FC10, ASUS P8H77-M PRO, i3-3225, Corsair LP White DDR3-1600, picoPSU-150-XT, 1x SSD 840, 2x HDD WD Red 3TB
Stats: 29W idle, 55W load, CPU 38-43°C idle, CPU 55-60°C load, HDD 42-43°C idle, HDD 47°C load

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#4
The only ones I can think of, and I am not sure about Linux compatibility, is the ASUS E35M1‑M and ASUS E35M1‑I.

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#5
Thanks again. Those are both great boards I'm sure. Unfortunately, they're both AMD Fusion boards and I've read that their compatibility with Linux is not the best.

I've also read about PCIe cards to add additional SATA ports, but I think that these cards slow down the SATA speed significantly and are typically just a workaround if one already bought a board.

I'll keep on searching then ...
Fanless Linux HTPC/NAS: Streacom FC10, ASUS P8H77-M PRO, i3-3225, Corsair LP White DDR3-1600, picoPSU-150-XT, 1x SSD 840, 2x HDD WD Red 3TB
Stats: 29W idle, 55W load, CPU 38-43°C idle, CPU 55-60°C load, HDD 42-43°C idle, HDD 47°C load

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#6
The ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe looks great, but it's quite old. Seems to work quite alright with XBMC (apart from a couple of small Linux issues):

Review: http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/motherboa...ifications
Posts: http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=96802 and http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=140198

Thoughts?
Fanless Linux HTPC/NAS: Streacom FC10, ASUS P8H77-M PRO, i3-3225, Corsair LP White DDR3-1600, picoPSU-150-XT, 1x SSD 840, 2x HDD WD Red 3TB
Stats: 29W idle, 55W load, CPU 38-43°C idle, CPU 55-60°C load, HDD 42-43°C idle, HDD 47°C load

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#7
How about the ZOTAC H67ITX-D-E?
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#8
Hm. The video chipset (Gt520) works great with linux (so I've read), but it's not fanless...
Fanless Linux HTPC/NAS: Streacom FC10, ASUS P8H77-M PRO, i3-3225, Corsair LP White DDR3-1600, picoPSU-150-XT, 1x SSD 840, 2x HDD WD Red 3TB
Stats: 29W idle, 55W load, CPU 38-43°C idle, CPU 55-60°C load, HDD 42-43°C idle, HDD 47°C load

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#9
Listen up. You're not going to get away with a fanless build that does 1080p playback, has a SSD, and two hard drives. It's not possible. There will be too much heat. Fanless and silent are not mutually exclusive things. You can have fans in your build and still have it be silent.
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#10
(2012-12-04, 10:55)h0ly lag Wrote: Listen up. You're not going to get away with a fanless build that does 1080p playback, has a SSD, and two hard drives. It's not possible. There will be too much heat. Fanless and silent are not mutually exclusive things. You can have fans in your build and still have it be silent.

I was kind of worried that you would say something like that. I think I'll keep on looking anyway. I'm haven't quite accepted the fact(?) that I'll need a fan. Big Grin
Fanless Linux HTPC/NAS: Streacom FC10, ASUS P8H77-M PRO, i3-3225, Corsair LP White DDR3-1600, picoPSU-150-XT, 1x SSD 840, 2x HDD WD Red 3TB
Stats: 29W idle, 55W load, CPU 38-43°C idle, CPU 55-60°C load, HDD 42-43°C idle, HDD 47°C load

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#11
Big low-RPM = what you want.

No fan = binwiederda shopping for 'another' HTPC. ;-)
If I helped out pls give me a +

A bunch of XBMC instances, big-ass screen in the basement + a 20TB FreeBSD, ZFS server.
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#12
(2012-12-05, 06:00)thethirdnut Wrote: Big low-RPM = what you want.
No fan = binwiederda shopping for 'another' HTPC. ;-)

You just silently killed my dream!

Fanless Linux HTPC/NAS: Streacom FC10, ASUS P8H77-M PRO, i3-3225, Corsair LP White DDR3-1600, picoPSU-150-XT, 1x SSD 840, 2x HDD WD Red 3TB
Stats: 29W idle, 55W load, CPU 38-43°C idle, CPU 55-60°C load, HDD 42-43°C idle, HDD 47°C load

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#13
I too tried to go fanless and gave up. I ended up with a Wesena ITX-6 case (which has a 80mm fan) which I replaced with a 80mm PWM fan from Noctua. I went with a FM1 board and got a Noctua NH-L9a cooler for it and with both those fans running my build is literally silent.

And I mean like I put my ear up to the intake for the case to hear it kinda silent. CPU temps are 40C at idle and the fans are at around 800-1000 rpm each and still no noise.

So it is possible to have fans and still meet your criteria of little to no noise and not compromise on size. Also as mentioned the more components you add the more heat you generate and also the higher up the chain you with with your CPU/GPU combinations they normally run hot enough to either need: A) active cooling or B) a ridiculously large heatsink.


As a side note I also have a midtower pc with about 6 Noctua 120mm fans in it controlled by a fan controller. This build is also all but silent until you get within about 1 foot of it.
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#14
All good posts here -- you can get silent w/o fanless.

Wow, for $50 that Noctua heatsink must be awesome. That's a serious upgrade.
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#15
(2012-12-05, 21:12)Dougie Fresh Wrote: All good posts here -- you can get silent w/o fanless.

Wow, for $50 that Noctua heatsink must be awesome. That's a serious upgrade.

My build was all about silent, and I like the fact that Noctua includes screws so you can use any aftermarket fan with them. The Silverstone you are stuck using their stock fan with and the noise from it was more of a grinding sound which irritated me and was audible no matter how low the RPM's were.

With the Noctua its almost dead silent and the fan moves a TON more air than the Silverstone.
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