Smallest, quietest HTPC possible?

Discussion in 'General' started by BillyTheFish, June 10, 2011.

  1. BillyTheFish

    BillyTheFish Portal Pro

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    I have been out of HTPCs for a while and am just thinking about a new build. I'm am completely out of date on my hardware and so could do with a bit of help or a point in the right direction.

    Basically, I want to build a HTPC to do the following:

    1) Act as a TV Server for 3D and HD content. I've posted here to ask about TV cards:
    https://forum.team-mediaportal.com/tv-cards-333/3d-wimbledon-97511/#post755559

    2) Be as small, quiet and unobtrusive as possible.

    3) Play Blu-rays (including 3D blu-rays), DVDs and CDs.

    4) Have a front/easily accessible USB 3 port.

    5) Be able to play photos contained on flash drives, external harddrives, SD cards.

    6) It needs to have enough storage for time-shifiting and recording TV programmes but it will be connected to a large-capacity NAS running FreeNAS using homeplugs, via a router.

    7) I would like to be able to play media files from the FreeNAS box on the HTPC (some of it will be HD/3D content).

    8) It will be connected to this amplifier: Yamaha RX-V1065
    And a sub and 6 satellite Q ACOUSTICS 1000Si speakers.

    9) And I would like to use it for internet radio/music/etc.


    Any suggestions?

    Oh, yes, remote. I've got a Logitech Harmony ONE but I've never really got it set up to work how I would like it and so have generally fallen back to using a wireless keyboard.



    I've got a Samsung Galaxy S2 and so was thinking about installing and using AmpDroid or Media Portal Remote. Is this a good idea?
     
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  3. mm1352000
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    mm1352000 Development Group

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    Hi again

    *Lots* of questions. You're really going to have to do your own research on a lot of this stuff to narrow down the options to cases that you like the look of etc.

    Answered in that thread.

    You probably want a mini-ITX form factor. Plenty of motherboards and cases available. Some cases end up approximately as small as a shoe box.

    You might want to look at this. MP will probably never be able to natively handle *copy-protected* Blu-rays, but anything else might be possible. The caveats with 3D content that I mentioned in the other thread also apply.

    When it comes to cases, everyone has their own preferences - I think you'll have to do your own research. Note that the USB 3 requirement probably limits you to quite a new chipset such as H67 or Z68.

    MP can do that. Just set up the drives/cards as folders in MP configuration. You'll be able to view the pictures as a slideshow etc. in "my pictures".

    You'll most likely want a reasonable size 7200rpm drive for recording and timeshifting. In my experience, Samsung HDDs are quiet and reliable. The alternative would be setting up a 4-8 GB RAM disc and using that for timeshifting, and having a medium sized cheap (relatively speaking!) SSD for recording. Timeshifting on the SSD may wear it out too quickly. Can't speak for the NAS but as long as it is available to browse as a network share then I don't imagine it would be a problem.

    As above - as long as it is accessible to the HTPC as a folder/share/FTP folder via the network then it shouldn't be a problem.

    HDMI is standard on many video cards these days, so that shouldn't be a problem. The display is the bigger question - you need to decide what you are going to show the 3D content on. If it is a TV then the TV and the video card have to support HDMI 1.4. If the receiver is passing the HDMI to the TV then the receiver would also have to support HDMI 1.4.

    No problem. Set up your music folders in MP and you're away with that. Internet streaming (SHOUTcast) etc. can be set up in TV Server using the virtual radio web stream card. There is also OnlineVideos for streaming video...

    No idea.
     
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  4. BillyTheFish

    BillyTheFish Portal Pro

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    Thanks, that's an absolutely fantastic reply! I guess I've got a lot of reading and research to do but that is a great push in the right direction.

    Thank you and I will post back here as I narrow it down.
     
  5. furnibird
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    furnibird Retired Team Member

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    My new build running GREAT

    i3-2100T
    H67M-ITX AsRock Motherboard
    4GB Kingston DDR3 RAM
    1tb WD SATA 3 Caviar Blue 7200rpm HDD
    Silverstone SG06 Black Case
    Avermedia Twinstar DVB-T Dual HD Digital TV Tuner A825
     
  6. porky996t
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    porky996t MP Donator

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    Show System Specs
    Don't know if it is what you are looking for, but I use a Zotac ZBox ID41 as a client.

    This has Optical SPDIF out, HDMI for the TV, 2xUSB 3.0 ports (along with four USB 2.0 ports, Wireless N, Gigabit network interface, and it will run 1920 X 1080. The box is approx 8" x 8" x 1.5".

    I use a MCE remote with it via a USB IR receiver. The unit is mounted on the rear of the TV in the bedroom and is very, very quiet.

    The spec for the ID41 is here

    There is a version with a BD player and 3D capability here

    I use mine with a 64Gb SSD and I cannot fault it.

    HTH
     
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  7. Holzi
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    Holzi Super Moderator

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    AW: Re: Smallest, quietest HTPC possible?

    I have the same case and its very small. Was a hell of a job to get all components in it.. =)
     
  8. furnibird
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    furnibird Retired Team Member

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    Heaps of room with the mini-itx :)
     

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  9. Holzi
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    Holzi Super Moderator

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    AW: Smallest, quietest HTPC possible?

    Your CPU cooler is way lower than mine it seems. But you don't have an extra graphic card an no second HDD do you?
     
  10. furnibird
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    furnibird Retired Team Member

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    No the in build graphic work fantastic and will in the future get a ssd for os. The htpc this replaced was a p4 3mhz 4gig ram and a ati 4525 full size accent case. MP would lag and couldn't even run the new cover flow, my new build will boot in about 15sec and MP new ui runs great. For $630 au i am very happy.

    Sent from my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk
     
  11. BillyTheFish

    BillyTheFish Portal Pro

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    I have an Antec Fusion Black which I could re-cycle for this. Does anyone have experience of the Antec and the Silverstone SG06B and whether it's worth me getting the SG06B?

    I have just moved flats and space is at a bit of a premium and so I'm keen to minimise the HTPC. I do want it a bit future proof, though, as I don't want to build/buy another for a good few years and so it has to be fairly high spec'ed. I've got a fair budget for it (around £2,000) but don't want to waste money if I can help it.

    My current thoughts are:

    CPU - Intel Core i7-860 (may be overkill? It will last me for a long while however)
    Some sort of passive cooling

    Mobo - Asus P7P55D-E Premium (for the 9.1 Output and USB 3.0)

    RAM - G.Skill DIMM Kit 4GB PC3-10667U CL9-9-9-24 (DDR3-1333)

    graphic card - ASUS Bravo 220 Silent or Radeon 5770 -I haven't really looked into this properly yet and so I'm not sure which or whether there is a better alternative.

    remote - Logitech Harmony One (already have)

    Keyboard / Touchpad - I already have a Keysonic Wireless Mini Keyboard and so I think I will use that

    PSU - Probably a seasonic fanless (not sure how much wattage I need?)

    SSD - for the OS and MP - OCZ Vertex 2E - probably 40gb
    HDD - for timeshifting and recordings - Western Digital GP - probably 1TB

    TV Card - Black Gold BGT3630 when it comes out so that I can receive Freesat, HD channels and (hopefully) 3D content. I was going to just get a BGT3595 but I can't find it on their website any more. Has it been discontinued?


    I think that's it. Am I missing anything and does anyone have any thoughts on the above setup?

    Oh, yes, I also have a "LG Electronics Blu-Ray & HD-DVD-Rom Combo 16x DVDRW Black SATA" (LG GGC H20L). Is that good enough and can I just re-cycle that?
     
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