My Group 7+ HTPC Build
After using Gen. 1 AppleTVs + BCM970015 and a Raspberry Pi w/ CrystalBuntu and Raspbmc for the past 5 years, I've decided to build a dedicated HTPC.

  • Stream 3D 1080P from NAS
  • Play Netflix 1080P
  • Play Hulu 1080P
  • Play VUDU HDX
  • Ability to play 4k2k as content becomes avaliable
  • Bitstream audio (DTS-MA & Dolby TrueHD)
  • Run Couch Potato, Sick Beard and SABnzbd
  • Run Spotify

Components Purchased:
The idea is to use the SSD to run Windows 7/8 64-bit and XBMC then use the HDD as a "scratch disk" for Couch Potato etc. before moving the files to the 12TB NAS.

I don't know if the stock CPU cooler will work so I've been looking at the Gelid CC-Ssilence-APLUS CPU cooler and 4 Cooljag Everflow 60mm case fans

Am I missing any key components? Is there anything you wish you would of included when you built your HTPC?

I'll post photos of the build as it progresses.
Doesnt look like you are missing anything. That said, running XBMC on Windows 8 has proven difficult for a lot of people. I would recomend going with an Intel processor and running Ubuntu (Intel only because AMD drivers aren't very well supported in Linux).
HTPC - i3-3240 Processor | Asus P8H77-I Mobo | 8 GB PC3 12800 DDR3 | 60 GB SSD | Windows 8.1 w/ XBMC Frodo
NAS Server - Dual Xeon E5440 Quad Core | 32 GB DDR2 ECC | 4 X 2TB Western Digital RED | RAIDz | FreeNAS
A 100W TDP CPU in that short case is going to fry. The stock cooler isn't going to cool it sufficiently. We have taller cases and I wouldn't put a 100W TDP CPU in any of them.
Would a 65W A6-3500 be a better choice? Will it still have the power to do everything I am wanting?

I knew I should of posted before I ordered everything...
I might be able to fit a small radiator in the case and go water cooled.

Here is a shot of the case:

I think I have the room and could cut a window in the bottom of the case and go with this:
You might be able to undervolt/underclock it too and get a better low-profile cooler than stock.
Drill some vent holes in the top and bottom, give it feat and sandwich a 240 radiator in there - would be an awesome DIY high power minipc.
(a 240 radiator doesn't need to take a lot of space in height there are aftermarket 120 mm fans made for this purpose that have a depth lower than 10mm.

If you would get the perfect depth on the radiator and fans most of the air would just blow right through without spreading to the rest of the machine which would be great for CPU temps.
You could probably overclock it to a point where it handles 99% of games on 1080p Smile

Edit: it says max 2 1/4" height of CPU cooler which would give you about 2 2/4" for a radiator in there - that's enough for a pretty kick ass cooling system like the h110 which is only 2 1/10"
Ok, i'm going the liquid cooled route. Everything arrives today so I'll start placing items in the case and figure out the room I have available for fans and a radiator.

Due to space constraints I will go with a closed loop system and mount it in the horizontal position then use closed-cell foam padding to form a gasket on the top and bottom so the air flowing through the radiator is isolated from the rest of the system. Then use two 60mm fans to exhaust the air out of the case. There are 4 60mm fans installed in the case, but I think I can get away with just two.

I also have an extra Intel Pro1000 dual NIC card i could throw in the system and team the connections for 2GBs. My NAS is already teamed at 2GBs, would that help with streaming 40GB .mkvs from the NAS to the media center?

I'll keep an eye on the temps and if the cooler is efficient enough start overclocking just to see what it will do.

I'll start posting pics tonight.

This is going to be FUN!
I have a couple questions about your case if you don't mind? I was looking at the e5, which seems like the same case, but with the slot in the front for an optical drive.

Have you messed around with the remote / IR receiver at all? I've been reading about issues and can't seem to find definitive information about how will it works with XBMC.

Any reason you went with the Flex PSU as opposed to the Pico?

Any issues with the stock heatsink and fan fitting in the case? I was thinking of picking up this low profile to ensure that things fit.
The remote works great, I had some issues at first [ I ws using the CIR header instead of USB ] but since actually reading the manual I wouldn't use it without.

I went with the Flex PSU becuase I used a 100W processor and wanted the extra power in case I needed it. It is a noisy PSU, so I pulled the top of the case off and mounted a silent fan above it blowing down. I may replace the stock fan with a silent fan if I can find one the correct size.

I ended up having to drill a 120mm hole in the case as I couldn't find a low profile fan/heatsink that would support the A8 CPU. I went with liquid cooling. If I had to do it again, I would of gone with a low power Intel chip and anyone of the available low profile fan/heatsink combos. I have heard good things about this one: GELID

This is what I ended up with: Image
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My Group 7+ HTPC Build00