Dual Screen Fanless HTPC

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Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:33 pm

Dual Screen Fanless HTPC

Post by Sp00n » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:16 pm

This is the first fanless system I'm building and could use some advice. I want to build a fanless HTPC system with Windows 7 and XBMC. I will be using two screens simultaneously, the first screen (FullHD TV) for XBMC and the second screen (22" monitor) for internet surfing and downloading from usenet.

CASE: Streacom FC8 Evo
MB: Gigabyte GA-Z77N-WIFI (Integrated Bluetooth 4.0 and Intel Wi-Fi module)
CPU: Intel i3-3225 (Integrated Intel HD4000)
RAM: Kingston HyperX 2x4GB DDR3-1600
PSU: PicPsu 150W Fanless AC‐DC Adapter+24PIN DC‐DC Converter

The i3-3225 processor has a 55W TDP and the Streacom case should be able to handle 95W TDP. The case comes with 4 heatpipes to connect the CPU, could I use just two heatpipes (I'm only using half the TDP)?
I want a fast system and will be streaming blurays over gigabit ethernet while surfing the internet on a second monitor. I really don't want any hickups, to keep everything running smoothly should I upgrade the CPU to a i7? For example the Intel i7-3770T (Integrated Intel HD4000) even has a lower TDP of 45W. Will an i7 CPU stay cool enough in a fanless case?

If I should change anything else, please let me know. Thanks in advance for all your wisdom ;)

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Re: Dual Screen Fanless HTPC

Post by Pappnaas » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:45 am

As long as your CPU sports a HD4000 your good. You shurely won't need the power of a i5 or a i7 for the mentioned tasks. I'd stick with a non-k i5 modell to give some headroom for the years to come. The $ difference between i5 and i7 is to much imho, given that you'd get along with a solid i3 CPU.

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Re: Dual Screen Fanless HTPC

Post by kuzzia » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:17 am

There's no need to upgrade to i7. The major feature of the i7 CPU's is the hyper-threading which is only beneficial for those who rely on heavily threaded software. This isn't case with watching blu-ray movies.

To prevent any hiccups simply ensure that no unnecessary applications run in the background. You already plan to buy an SSD which is good. I wouldn't worry about the CPU and the integrated GPU not being able to run blu-ray movies. I am quite certain that they will!

Perhaps you could save some money by using a H77 motherboard. The only difference between that and the Z77 is that the latter is able to overclock the CPU and run multiple dedicated GPU's at the same time. But you won't need that.

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Re: Dual Screen Fanless HTPC

Post by defaultluser » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:47 am

Trust me, the i3 3225 is already overkill for you if you're not gaming. Most reviews show the i3 to have the muscle to power modern games running on high-end discrete graphics cards, so asking it to stream video and browse the web is relatively painless :D

I am the happy owner of a Core i3 2100T and Core i3 3225, and I can tell you straight that I can't tell a bit of difference between these two machines and my Core i5 2500k gaming machine (except when I'm playing BF3 or encoding videos). They both open webpages and stream video with the same smoothness!

HD 4000 is quite capable for gaming as well: you can run most recent games at 720p with medium/low settings, and most older games can run 720p at med/high.

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