My powerful HTPC in a drawer

Discussion in 'Completed HTPC Projects' started by Lehmden, September 4, 2014.

  1. Lehmden
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    Lehmden Retired Team Member

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    Hi.
    I like to show you my HTPC project build in a drawer. As I wanted the HTPC to be as invisible as possible I build it into a drawer of an IKEA "Malm" 3 drawer chest. The system is build around an Intel Core i5 4590. The mainboard is an Asrock H97M Pro 4, the cooler is an Arctic Cooling Freezer 13. it has 8 GB of DDR3 1333 RAM, one Digital Devices CineS2 V6.5 DVB-S2 dual tuner card, an OCZ 60GB SSD, 9 internal and 4 external HDD from 1.5 to 3 TByte capacity. The power supply is a BeQuiet 400 watts laying around here. As remote I use an old but very good working Microsoft MCE USB receiver together with an OneForAll URC 7962 transmitter as replacement for the original MCE transmitter which is broken some time ago.

    I have mounted all components on a wooden board that fits into the drawer nicely. It is painted to give better adhesive strength for the twin sided adhesive tape I've used to mount most of the components. This tape really is strong and at the same time it reduces noise as it prevents vibrations to be send to the wooden board.
    The cooler really is huge but fits nicely into the drawer, And it gives me temperatures below 40°C ( = 104° Fahrenheit) at 100% CPU load on a really hot (at least for northern Germany) midsummer day (more than 30° C).
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    First to mount is the Mainboard right in the centre of the board. It's mounted with woodscrews and rubber gaskets because I had them laying around. The rubber is cushioning possible vibrations and noise.
    [​IMG]

    There really are lots of cables to mount until all internal HDD are connected.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Small parts (like this extra USB 2 connectors) are mounted with tape also.
    [​IMG]



    A view from the other side before the board is put into the drawer.
    [​IMG]

    All fits nicely
    [​IMG]

    If you need to lay cables on a sharp edge you need to "unsharp" it a bit. Some tape can do the magic.
    [​IMG]

    How the system looks alike in my living room:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The external USB 3.0 HDD are hidden inside the middle drawer.

    As software I use Windows 7 Ultimate x64, MediaPortal 1.9 Pre, Media Portal 2.0 (most recent team internal version) and XBMC 13... The MP1 TV Server is used together with SQLExpress 2014 as I wasn't able to make MySQL 5.6 working properly.

    The Windows System information gives an first impression how powerful the system, CPU and GPU is.
    [​IMG]

    And those are temperatures while the CPU is working on 100% load a long time:
    [​IMG]

    I'm really impressed how powerful my new system is. Especially the HD4600 GPU of the Haswell i5 is unbelievable... It can recode HDTV recordings at 200 FPS (using Handbrake with Quick Sync enabled) and you can watch 4K content inside MP at the same time without any issues. VA Deinterlacing is working like a charm, the picture is crystal clear and razor sharp.
    The HD4600 outperforms all cheaper discrete graphics cards (below 100$), no matter if they are manufactured by AMD or NVidia. You need to use something like a Nvidia GTX 750 if you want to have at least a little bit more gfx power. The HD4600 is the best performing HTPC graphics solution I've ever seen with my own eyes. The video picture quality is visible better as with e.G. the GTX750. I had a GTX750 here to build into a gamer PC that time I was building my HTPC, so that's why I can compare it properly.

    The noise level goes from zero if most of the HDD are sleeping up to a light, quietly noise when some HDD are spinning. And the power consumption is at a nice low level. In S5 it's 0.2 Watts , in Idle it's around 40 Watts (with 15 HDD) and it goes up to 60 Watts if the CPU is loaded.

    Overall it really is a great HTPC system without disturbing the living room at all. WAF is at 100% this way.
     
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  3. tony72
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    tony72 MP Donator

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    Nice. Is the cable exit hole at the back the only exit for hot air? Doesn't it get warm after long usage?
     
  4. Lehmden
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    Lehmden Retired Team Member

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    Hi.
    There is more than one hole at the back. And the drawer did not close completely due to some bumpers. For this there is a gap on top front of the whole drawer. So all hot air can flow out nicely to the top (as hot air does naturally).
    You can see the temperatures during a long recoding operation with 100% CPU load on the last screenshot. All is working fine.
     
  5. Peter2
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    Peter2 MP Donator

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    Nice project, well done!

    This inspired me to do something similar: I have a tv cabinet in which my antec case doesn't fit.
    To keep this thread clean, I will create a new one.
    For those who are interested: My HTPC without enclosure in a cabinet
    I also could use some advice about airflow.
     
  6. Peter2
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    Peter2 MP Donator

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    Took another look at your project and was wondering this about airflow: you don't have any fans forcing the air to either front or back, right?
    Your PSU just sits inside the cupboard, with no exhaust to the outside?

    Good idea about these rubber washers but what are these 2 white strips?
     
  7. Lehmden
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    Lehmden Retired Team Member

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    Hi.

    This are ply wood leavings glued to the mounting board, just to get a bit space between it and the mainboard as there are bolts below the mainboard and it did not lay flat on the ground. And by this the woodscrews get a bit more "meat" to hold. The white colour is only because I've painted the mounting board after I glued all extra wooden parts to it. It's only painted, as told before, to get better adhesive strength. It's white, as I had the colour laying around. If there were pink laying around the mounting board would be pink ;)

    It's on the front of the drawer that has a gap on the top over the whole length. There is enough space for hot air to flow outside. I've planed to assemble an air channel from PSU to the outside, but it wasn't necessary so I leave it as it is.

    The airflow is mainly from back holes to front gap. Both, PSU and CPU cooler are forcing the air to go from back to front. This is enough in my case, even on a hot summer day, as proved by daily use. But other circumstances may need other airflow. Best is try and error... That's the way I found my solution without any extra fans. I've planed to add extra fans but did not need them, so I leave them out. Less work and less noise, both is something I "can live with" ;) Maybe it's because of the huge size of the drawer but I really don't need any extra air flow...
     
  8. Peter2
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    Peter2 MP Donator

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    Red or pink would be 'cool' ;)
    I think I will do something similar to fix the mobo or did you take a patent for that?
    Like I said, you inspired me!
    Good that you have enough airflow without any additional fans, that saves you power, work, clutter and most important: noise.
     
  9. Lehmden
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    Lehmden Retired Team Member

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    Hi.
    A short update. After the first full year (1.5 years in total) with the new system I've saved more than 500€ for electric power... Now I will save 40€ every month due to the new system. Really worth the money I've spend on it...:D
     
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  10. Lanistar

    Lanistar New Member

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    Whaat? 500 a year savings. That's great. I think I need to set this up for myself? Thanks for sharing Lehmden.
     
    Last edited: December 17, 2016
  11. Lehmden
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    Lehmden Retired Team Member

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    Hi.
    My old system was extremely power consuming, much more than average. So the savings I have must not be representative for you or anybody else. This depends too much on the old (and new) hardware and the time your hardware is powered up and running. For me my power bill goes down that much as the new CPU, GPU and mainboard are faster a lot so the system did not need to be powered up that often. And they are eating lot less power when running.
    But that did not mean your bill will go down the same amount, even if you will use exactly the same hardware than me.

    In general it's true, new hardware, especially if you have an eye on the power consum, will save a lot of energy (and money) compared to some years old hardware.
     
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