Mini ITX HTPC

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silentg
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Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:34 am

Mini ITX HTPC

Post by silentg » Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:40 am

I have a plan of building HTPC that would run 24/7. So it's quite important to keep it silent and energy efficient. I already have 2x2TB WD green HDDs, that I would like to keep in there. While it is possible to keep HDD in a NAS box, I'm not sure if that makes any sense. No optical drive nor IR is needed. I think some kind of iPad/iPhone control would better... Also no gaming is planned at the moment.

Case: Lian Li PC-Q25 ~120€
Mobo: Haven't picked a model, but something with Intel H67 chipset (mini-ITX) ~90€
CPU: i3 2120T (35W) ~114€
CPU cooler: Scythe Big Shuriken ~40€
GPU: integrated (Intel HD Graphics 2000)
PSU: SeaSonic X series Modular 560W 103€
RAM: 4GB DDR3 ~20€
SSD: small one for the OS ~85€
HDD: 2x2TB WD green HDD (maybe more in the future)

What I'm unsure of is this 560W PSU really needed? I do hope that it will run passive in idle and when watching 1080p and that fan will only start up when doing something very CPU intensive.
Does it make sense to replace the stock CPU cooler? Or is it possible to run this CPU in passive?

Any other advice is also welcomed. :)

nutball
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Re: Mini ITX HTPC

Post by nutball » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:05 am

silentg wrote:What I'm unsure of is this 560W PSU really needed?
Not really, you could probably run that setup on a <100W PSU but then again decent, modular PSUs all seem to be around the 500W+ range.
I do hope that it will run passive in idle and when watching 1080p and that fan will only start up when doing something very CPU intensive.
Does it make sense to replace the stock CPU cooler?
Yes. The stock Sandy Bridge cooler isn't particularly fantastic. I mean it's better than previous Intel stock coolers, but it's still worth spending a few tens of local currency to replace.
Or is it possible to run this CPU in passive?
It may be possible, whether it's worthwhile is a different question. You can get away with a slow-moving fan on the heatsink that will be inaudible unless you live somewhere very special. If it were me I wouldn't use a the thin fan that comes with the Shuriken (I've not had many good experiences with thin fans, but that's just a personal thing), I'd use a 25mm thick fan. Anyway point is that more than likely the hard drives will dominate the noise signature, especially if you put more than two in there in the future. An extra slow-moving 120mm fan doesn't make any audible difference and just makes life much easier cooling-wise.

HFat
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Location: Switzerland

Re: Mini ITX HTPC

Post by HFat » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:56 am

Cheaper CPUs would work just as well.

There's little point in using a SSD unless perhaps you want to run Windows.

A powerful PSU would be ineffcient unless you went for a really expensive one. Then again you did choose an expensive, yet fairly inefficient (for your purpose) PSU.

CPU fans rarely switch off automatically at idle. Make sure the mobo supports that if you really want this feature (you don't need it).

Worker control
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Re: Mini ITX HTPC

Post by Worker control » Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:58 am

Another board/CPU option would be an AMD E-350 board, which would save money, have worse CPU perf, and have better graphics. Boards on newegg are US $80-130, including both the mobo and the CPU.

silentg
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Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:34 am

Re: Mini ITX HTPC

Post by silentg » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:50 am

Thanks for these answers. I also thought this PSU would be slight overkill. But it's a bit cheaper than the 400W seasonic fanless. Would you have better recommendations for PSU?
I do plan to install win so ssd would help to speed things up. Both AMD E-350 and Intel Atom seem too slow and not very future proof..

Vicotnik
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Re: Mini ITX HTPC

Post by Vicotnik » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:13 pm

Another option to consider is going with two cheaper boxes, one HTPC and one NAS. More complex but also opens up a lot of possibilities. The HTPC could potentially be all passive for example, and the NAS hidden away.

But if you want a single box then you need to ask yourself what you plan to do with the system. How much CPU power do you need? Unless you need a lot of it for some reason I see two alternatives; the cheapest Intel Sandy Bridge you can find or AMD E-350. No reason to go fanless since you will have HDDs in there, but semi passive on the CPU is possible. If you go Intel, H61 might be a better choice. The SSD might be overkill, but it depends on how the system is intended to be used. Smaller PSU, perhaps a pico? :)

Oh, and Welcome to SPCR! :D

Nicias
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Re: Mini ITX HTPC

Post by Nicias » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:46 pm

I've been thinking of doing something very similar, but have recently decided that I would rather do a NAS and a Boxee box.

Abula
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Location: Guatemala

Re: Mini ITX HTPC

Post by Abula » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:43 pm

Nicias wrote:I've been thinking of doing something very similar, but have recently decided that I would rather do a NAS and a Boxee box.
Personally didn't like the boxee box because of the internal fan, my family prefers the Netgear NeoTV550 (already have 5 units) , although its not perfect, its pretty good and its fanless. Other options that run fanless is the duneplayer smart series and I think the popcorn hour A-210 (not sure on this one).

Scrooge
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Re: Mini ITX HTPC

Post by Scrooge » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:58 am

I'm not sure I'd bother with the T processor, honestly - they're just downclocked versions, not superior design or examples, and the 65w TDP versions never consume nearly 65 watts in real life. Of course, the i3 T processors don't cost much extra, but I'd rather have the 2105 or 2125, personally, and get the better graphics (even just for running Aero). Without gaming, I doubt you'd ever hit a power draw that would require a fan - I ran a 2500k with a passive Silverstone NT-01 that could even run 4xPrime95 for 9 minutes or so before hitting thermal throttling. They're very efficient CPUs, and if you somehow did need the fan, you could run it very, very slowly and handle anything the 2105 or 2125 could generate.

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