Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

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Pewit
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Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:35 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

Post by Pewit » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:15 pm

I'm building a HTPC/Media Server/PVR to be placed in my AV cabinet located in the WC cupboard. The PC will be used for output of movies to the TV and audio to the sound system (to become distributed in 6 zones with additional 12 channel amp).

The WC backs on to the living room which has a 5:1 sound system using wall mounted speakers for front & mid and separate rears and sub. The TV is a Samsung UA40B6000VF 40" LED TV mounted on the wall backing on to the WC connected by HDMI & Digital Optical cables to the Pioneer Amp.

AV cabinet is an internal MDF box with doors to WC at the front and vents top (to roof space) and bottom. Internal dimensions H142 x W55 x D32cm

The cabinet already houses a Pioneer Amp (VSX-519V-K) and LG DVD Player.

The cupboard has the water pipe stack running behind it, hence it can get warm when the shower is being used, although it is well ventilated.

Keeping the kit cool will be a large requirement because of the above, but I also want it reasonably quiet since our bedroom is off this room (see plan here and cabinet photo here)

I originally looked at Micro ATX cases because of the dimensions (especially the cabinet depth means a max of 30cm allowing for cables/plugs) but feel that trying to keep this cool and quiet would be difficult wheras an ATX tower turned sideways would provide more airflow and space between components hence easier coooling.

I need the following
- 1x PCIe slot for Casa Tunes Xli card (6x audio out)
- 1x PCIe slot for TV tuner
- HDMI 1080p
- 5.1 Audio out (via Amp)
- BluRay player interface

I plan to install:
- 2x 1TB HDD (poss add more later)
- 4GB RAM
- Blue Ray/DVDR
- Win 7 Media

Current build shopping list is:
Case: Asus P183
Motherboard: ASUS P7H55-M
CPU: Intel Core i3-540
CPU Cooler: Scythe Shuriken Low Profile CPU Cooler (Rev. B)
RAM: 4GB DDR3 1333MHz
HDD: 2x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $59
GPU: On-board
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-B123A 12X Blu-ray DVD Combo Drive
TV Tuner: Hauppauge HVR-2210 Media Centre Kit
PSU: Seasonic X-400 Fanless Gold 400W
Backup: 2TB NAS

Remote: Logitiech Harmony One (already have)
Remote IR extender/repeater (already have) Selby Accoustics IR1010

Any suggestions/thoughts?

quest_for_silence
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Location: ITALY

Re: Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:51 am

Pewit wrote:Current build shopping list is:
Case: Asus P183

Do you mean "Antec P183", don't you?
Pewit wrote:Motherboard: ASUS P7H55-M

If your mobo is a mATX one maybe the Antec P183 is an overkill.
Pewit wrote:CPU Cooler: Scythe Shuriken Low Profile CPU Cooler (Rev. B)

If you go for a P183 or similar width case, a Cooler Master Hyper 212+ might be a better pick for a very similar price.
Pewit wrote:HDD: 2x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $59

The standard, the -R or the -EG ones? IMO there are better altenatives (several F4, WD Green, notebook-size drives, et c.).
Pewit wrote:GPU: On-board

IME a low-mid end VGA should be preferred.
Pewit wrote:Backup: 2TB NAS

Why to use any external NAS if you have plenty of room in an (alleged) Antec P183?
Regards,
Luca

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Pewit
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Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:35 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

Post by Pewit » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:17 am

Pewit wrote:Current build shopping list is:
Case: Asus P183
quest_for_silence wrote: Do you mean "Antec P183", don't you?

Doh! Yes, Antec
Pewit wrote:Motherboard: ASUS P7H55-M
quest_for_silence wrote:If your mobo is a mATX one maybe the Antec P183 is an overkill.

So suggested ATX MB would be?
Pewit wrote:CPU Cooler: Scythe Shuriken Low Profile CPU Cooler (Rev. B)
quest_for_silence wrote:If you go for a P183 or similar width case, a Cooler Master Hyper 212+ might be a better pick for a very similar price.

OK thanks
Pewit wrote:HDD: 2x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $59
quest_for_silence wrote:The standard, the -R or the -EG ones? IMO there are better altenatives (several F4, WD Green, notebook-size drives, et c.).

WD Green was my alternative so will look at them
Pewit wrote:GPU: On-board
quest_for_silence wrote:IME a low-mid end VGA should be preferred.

Hmm, I was trying to keep the slots free for the TV Tuner, Casa Tunes card and not have the added heat of a GPU card. If it's only low/mid VGA output then on board GPU should be OK?
Pewit wrote:Backup: 2TB NAS
quest_for_silence wrote:Why to use any external NAS if you have plenty of room in an (alleged) Antec P183?
Redundancy - I can locate it elsewhere on the LAN

Pewit
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Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:35 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

Post by Pewit » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:44 pm

I've been re-thinking my plans because of the problems of the dimensions of the cabinet and have now opted for a Micro-ATX Tower as being a reasonable compromise between size and cooling.

I looked at the Antec P180 because of it's noise reduction features but it's still a bit big - even turned sideways - so now I'm looking at the Silverstone Sugo SG04 Case (H 360mm x W 200mm x D 347mm) which has 5 up to expansion slots and can accept a Bluray player.

Now I need to find a Micro-ATX motherboard to suit - any suggestions?

I need the following
- 1x PCIe slot for Casa Tunes Xli card (6x audio out)
- 1x PCIe slot for TV tuner
- HDMI 1080p
- 5.1 Audio out (Optical via Amp)
- On-board graphics

quest_for_silence
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Location: ITALY

Re: Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:27 pm

Pewit wrote:I'm looking at the Silverstone Sugo SG04 Case (H 360mm x W 200mm x D 347mm) which has 5 up to expansion slots and can accept a Bluray player.

I've often looked at that case as it's cute, but remember that you're severely limited with it for the CPU heatsink: AFAIK you've only two actual choice, the Scythe Shuriken and Big Shuriken (you have also the Nexus Low 7000, but it's more rare to find and much more costly), and personally I've never recommended them for any CPU with TDP > 45W for any very very quiet build (even if you shouldn't have any videocard heating it up).

Besides, it's not the best candidate to accomodate the fanless X-400 (it will strives the fresh air with the CPU heatsink), while the costlier -H version (or the less sleek SG03-F) should be better with its ample side vent.

So, don't forget its elder brother Silverstone TJ-08 and the venerable Antec NSK-3480: probably they aren't as cute as the SG03/04, but they are still a viable trade off between size and cooling (with maybe the Lian-Li PC-A03).
Pewit wrote:Now I need to find a Micro-ATX motherboard to suit - any suggestions?

Your requirements I guess should be easily fulfilled by any H55/57-Q57 mATX board (maybe the ASUS you've already pointed out): so IMO you may choose any of them with enough software controllable fan headers and an above average BIOS (as a general side note, Gigabytes usually lacks the firsts, Intel usually lacks the second).
Regards,
Luca

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tim851
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Re: Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

Post by tim851 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:49 pm

Some chipsets will automatically turn off integrated graphics if ANY card is placed in the PCIe 16x slot. I don't know how the situation is on the Socket 1156 front. Just to be on the safe side, if I were you, I'd not count the 16x slot as available for a non-GPU and look for a board that has two additional PCIe slots. There are plenty of them.

Any H55-mainboard should do fine. Choose whichever one tickles your fancy at the right price.
I have a MSI H55M-ED55 and am quite pleased with it.

Pewit
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Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:35 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

Post by Pewit » Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:44 am

Both the Silverstone TJ-08 (D 378 mm) and the Antec NSK-3480 (D 355mm) are greater than the 320mm cabinet depth - which means I could use them by turning the case through 90 deg but it would make access difficult (e.g. for DVDs) as previously mentioned.

The benefit of using the SG03 (H360 x W200 x D312 mm) is the depth - which means I can intall it the "right" way round and create a cutout at the rear of the cabinet for the rear fan so that the hot air from the case is exhausted directly into the void behind.

So now my build shopping list is:
SilverStone SG03 Micro-ATX Case
Gigabyte GA-880GMA-UD2H Micro ATX Motherboard
AMD Athlon II X2 260
Scythe Shuriken Low Profile Cooler Rev B
Seasonic X-400 Fanless Gold 400W
G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL8D-4GBRM (2x2GB) DDR3
Western Digital Green 2TB WD20EARS x2
Samsung SH-B123A 12X Blu-ray DVD Combo Drive 
Hauppauge HVR-2210 Media Centre Kit 
Nexus Real Silent 1200mm Fan x2
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64bit OEM

The manual of the Gigabyte GA-880GMA-UD2H does not specify that the PCIe x 16 slot is reserved for the GPU

Pewit
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:35 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

Post by Pewit » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:34 am

Well after further thought ( and input form others) I've gone back to plan A and decided the sideways ATX mid-tower option is the way to go - the depth of the cabinet is just too shallow for a Micro-ATX cabinet and Mini-ITX doesn't have enough slots for the cards I require.

Current build shopping list is:
Case: Antec Sonata III (the Antec P183 I was originally looking at would be a very tight fit)
Fan: EarthWatts 500 Watt power supply (included)
MB: ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO
CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 Dual Core 260 CPU, 3.2 GHz (65W), 2MB Cache, Sockets AM3/AM2+/AM2.
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2
RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 1.5-16v F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ
HDD: 2x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $59
GPU: On-board ATI Radeon HD 4250
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-B123A 12X Blu-ray DVD Combo Drive
TV Tuner: Hauppauge HVR-2210 Media Centre Kit
Remote: Logitiech Harmony One (already have)
Remote IR extender/repeater (already have) Selby Accoustics IR1010

To allow space for plugs and keep the cabinet cool, I plan to create a duct (aka a big PC size hole!) through the side of the cabinet with a foam seal against the PC around the case. This means I can slide the PC into place and then add the seal strips.
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Last edited by Pewit on Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

quest_for_silence
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Re: Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:22 am

Pewit wrote:Case: Antec Sonata III (the P18 I was originally looking at would be a tight fit)
Fan: EarthWatts 500 Watt power supply (included)

The EarthWatts is too much loud, avoid it: if you want to stick with a Sonata, go for the Sonata Elite. And if you want to stick with the EarthWatts, void the warranty and swap its fan.

Personally I would check the Antec Solo, or a cheaper CoolerMaster Sileo, while for the PSU I would go for a costly Seasonic X-Series, due to your environmental constraints (but I don't know your budget).
Pewit wrote:To allow space for plugs and keep the cabinet cool, I plan to create exhaust ducts through the side of the cabinet using PVC pipe with a rubber seal against the PC around the fans.

Personally I would leave more than those 3cm behind the PC free for cables and connectors.
I also think tha you should need a proper hole on the side to let the CPU sucks some fresh air.
Regards,
Luca

Support SPCR, use these links when you buy: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg

Pewit
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

Post by Pewit » Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:19 am

quest_for_silence wrote:
Pewit wrote:Case: Antec Sonata III (the P18 I was originally looking at would be a tight fit)
Fan: EarthWatts 500 Watt power supply (included)

The EarthWatts is too much loud, avoid it: if you want to stick with a Sonata, go for the Sonata Elite. And if you want to stick with the EarthWatts, void the warranty and swap its fan.

Personally I would check the Antec Solo, or a cheaper CoolerMaster Sileo, while for the PSU I would go for a costly Seasonic X-Series, due to your environmental constraints (but I don't know your budget).
I thought I'd try it with the EarthWatts 500 and swap it out if it poved too loud (there's a gale blowing today and all you can hear is the wind in the roof!). The Sielo has some nice features but it is deeper (480mm Vs 440 mm) and, as you can see, there isn't much room to play with. But I'll take another look at the Elite/Seasonic combo.
Pewit wrote:To allow space for plugs and keep the cabinet cool, I plan to create exhaust ducts through the side of the cabinet using PVC pipe with a rubber seal against the PC around the fans.
quest_for_silence wrote: Personally I would leave more than those 3cm behind the PC free for cables and connectors.
I have 11 cm to play with and can cut the exhaust vents to any length but will need to leave some space at the right side to be able to manouvre the PC in/out.
quest_for_silence wrote:I also think tha you should need a proper hole on the side to let the CPU sucks some fresh air.
I have a better solution, there's already a 200mm x 400mm solid inspection hatch in the base of the cabinet (to allow access to the plumbing) and I am replacing this with a custom filtered return air grille so the PC will be sitting over the grille (see pic).
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Last edited by Pewit on Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

quest_for_silence
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Re: Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:44 am

Pewit wrote:
quest_for_silence wrote:I also think tha you should need a proper hole on the side to let the CPU sucks some fresh air.
I have a better solution, there's already a 200mm x 400mm solid inspection hatch in the base of the cabinet (to allow access to the plumbing) and I am replacing this with a custom filtered return air grille so the PC will be sitting over the grille (see pic).

I mean there should be a more straight path to the CPU heatsink: without it, you'd likely have an at least 3-5°C (I guess) rise in temps (not welcomed in 24/7 machine).
Regards,
Luca

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Pewit
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

Post by Pewit » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:31 am

The Sonata III has an optional 120mm front fan which I will add if I go that route - whereas the Elite has the side vent and rear slot blower.

If that doesn't work there's always this mod :)

JamieG
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Re: Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

Post by JamieG » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:43 pm

Pewit wrote:If that doesn't work there's always this mod :)
I did something similar with my brother's Antec NSK4400 - cut 2 x 120mm fan intakes into the bottom of the case and blocked the front intake 80mm fan grill. Got to get around to posting pictures at some stage ...

I would recommend cutting bottom intakes as a good way of getting cold air into your system in this situation. Just make sure to filter the air intakes.
My PCs:
Main PC (E5200, G31, Lian Li Q07) | Gaming PC (E6850, X38, 5870 Vapor-X, P182) | HTPC (4850e, 780G, 3450, NSK2480B)

Pewit
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Cool & Quiet HTPC in Cabinet

Post by Pewit » Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:26 am

I've edited the design images above as I've decided if I'm using the Antec Elite which has 3 fans (slot, exhaust, PSU) at the rear it's going to be much easier for cooling and assembly to create a PC-sized hole in the side of the cabinet and seal this with some removable foam backed plywood strips around the case.

I'll feed the cables through a cable tube back into the cabinet above the case.

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