My ITX bedroom media streamer

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kieran45
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

My ITX bedroom media streamer

Post by kieran45 » Sun May 10, 2009 11:28 pm

I wanted a media center PC for the bedroom, so I could watch all my stored video's, DVD's, TV series and recorded TV. All my media is stored on my WHS, so I planned a small, quiet extender type device.

I intially had planned on a media center extender, but limited formats and high prices meant I could build a PC that would be much more versatile at about the same price.

Specs:
Case - Aywun MI-100
Mobo - Intel DG45FC
CPU - e5200
HDD - Fujitsu 160GB 2.5"
PSU - Pico 120W with 100W brick
Wifi - Linksys wireless N USB adapter
DVD - Pioneer 216
Remote - Microsoft remote

I chose the case mainly because of availability and price. Not many options for ITX cases in Oz, and this is identical to the Apex MI-008 reviewed favourably by SPCR, with a different faceplate. I am not in love with the looks, but it is small and unobtrusive and I can't ask much more than that at the price.

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I did some mods on the case to help it cope with a Core2 processor. Started by sticking some heavy ruber to the roof panel to quiet vibrations. Cut out a large fan vent on the right side panel, to fit a Nexus 120mm there as an exhaust. Drilled some intake holes on the left side panel to allow for intake and then covered all other holes up to control the airflow. This means that all the airflow is from left to right directly across the motherboard.

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After that it was all pretty straightforward. I removed the stock PSU, and replaced it with a Pico120, which keeps it cooler and quieter, but more importantly, gives me plenty of room to play with. I stuck a Zalman NB47J cooler on the southbridge to help keep it cool, and I suspended the HDD below the normal HDD mountings.

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Cable management is a bit tough in such a confined space, but cable tie anchors helped there.

I am still using the stock HSF, but I am looking out for something like an Arctic Cooling Alpine 7 Pro to run passive right next to the Nexus 120. These don't seem to exist in Oz, and postage is pretty steep from overseas. As it is the noise level is really good though, so I am not too fussed. It is in my bedroom, so it can't make much noise, but it sleeps all the time anyway. When it is woken by my WHS for nightly backups it never wakes me or the missus up. In the middle of the night, I can hear a low hum from the nexus and that is about it. The CPU fan is running slow enough that I can't hear it over the 120mm fan, and even though that is at 12V at the moment, from about 8 feet away in bed, it is really quiet.

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All media is streamed wirelessly from my WHS, and N wireless handles HD content fine. The G45 graphic on the DG45FC are also excellent. I have had a G35 motherboard before, and that was definately below par, but the G45 is really good.

Riffer
Posts: 517
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 4:14 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Post by Riffer » Mon May 11, 2009 6:29 am

You are a better man than me. I couldn't fit a Zalman on my DG45FC southbridge without touching anything. I will get a Microcool 30x30mm one with my next Performance PC's order.

I managed to get a Nexus LOW-7000 on my board, but I couldn't use the backplate due to the placement of a chip on the back of the board. I used a non-conductive washer/board/non-conductive washer sandwich to install. Even if you go with the stuff Nexus provides, I recommend using longer screws than provided to ease assembly. It is 70mm high from the top of the board to the top of the fan, so it may fit. LOW-7000 will just clear the Intel northbridge heatsink and memory, but I had to bend the LOW a little bit (actually I made it straighter).

SteveRCE
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:56 pm
Location: Detroit, MI

Post by SteveRCE » Fri May 15, 2009 6:15 am

@Riffer:
Use a metal file to form the heatsink around surface components that get in the way.
For example, use a rat tail (round file) to grind away and get around that electrolytic capacitor. Use a flat file or dremel for the edges that might touch components surrounding the base of the heatsink. If the heatsink is too tall, snip off a few millimeters of the fins.

If you don't have the tools, a file set is handy, especially if you own a lawn mower ;)

Riffer
Posts: 517
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 4:14 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Post by Riffer » Fri May 15, 2009 1:45 pm

SteveRCE wrote:@Riffer:
Use a metal file to form the heatsink around surface components that get in the way.
For example, use a rat tail (round file) to grind away and get around that electrolytic capacitor. Use a flat file or dremel for the edges that might touch components surrounding the base of the heatsink. If the heatsink is too tall, snip off a few millimeters of the fins.

If you don't have the tools, a file set is handy, especially if you own a lawn mower ;)
I already ordered a Microcool heatsink, but that is a good idea. I have the tools.

Quietstick
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:00 pm
Location: Perth

Another way?

Post by Quietstick » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:40 am

Does anyone know of or can recommend (having used it) a simpler wireless device which only sends the audio and video signals from the PC to another TV / sound system?

My media PC is upstairs but I sometimes want to watch / listen to media on the downstairs TV / stereo system.

My mouse and keyboard are wireless and can control the PC from downstairs. So I envisaged a kind of transmitter upstairs and a receiver downstairs with the necessary plug connections.

I live in Oz but will consider importing.

Thanks in advance. :D

ilovejedd
Posts: 676
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:14 pm
Location: in the depths of hell

Re: Another way?

Post by ilovejedd » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:36 am

Quietstick wrote:Does anyone know of or can recommend (having used it) a simpler wireless device which only sends the audio and video signals from the PC to another TV / sound system?

My media PC is upstairs but I sometimes want to watch / listen to media on the downstairs TV / stereo system.

My mouse and keyboard are wireless and can control the PC from downstairs. So I envisaged a kind of transmitter upstairs and a receiver downstairs with the necessary plug connections.

I live in Oz but will consider importing.

Thanks in advance. :D
You mean something like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Brite-View-BV-250 ... 0026FCGLI/

Quite frankly, at that price, I think you're better off building another HTPC.

Jay_S
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 713
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 2:50 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Re: Another way?

Post by Jay_S » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:50 am

Quietstick wrote:Does anyone know of or can recommend (having used it) a simpler wireless device which only sends the audio and video signals from the PC to another TV / sound system?
Audio is easy as bitrates are low. HD video is a challenge, even for .11N wireless. You need a reliable 30-50Mbps for blu-ray.

Can you pull cat5? Aside from the labor, it's easily the cheapest and most-reliable networking topology for video.

Quoting the conclusion of SmallNetBuilder's HD Streaming Smackdown: Draft 11n vs. Powerline - Draft 11n Wireless:
The bottom line is that the best solution for trouble-free HD streaming is still good ol' Ethernet. There's just no alternative yet that can beat it for delivering reliable, glitch-free bandwidth no matter where you need it.
it's the only jib I got, baby

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