TBG Reader Forum

The PC Builder's Guides - Small Form Factor => The HTPC Build => Topic started by: Ari Altman on March 04, 2014, 01:47:19 PM

Title: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on March 04, 2014, 01:47:19 PM
Here's the thread to discuss the "The Home Theater PC Build" on The Tech Buyer's Guru.

The original article can be found here:

http://techbuyersguru.com/HTPCbuild.php (http://techbuyersguru.com/HTPCbuild.php)

Feel free to start your own threads to discuss your personal builds in this category!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on June 17, 2014, 02:14:32 PM
We recently received this inquiry from a reader and thought others would be interested in the topic:

"I'm currently in the process of specifying an HTPC. The operating system
I plan to use is openelec, a dedicated XBMC Linux distribution. I mainly
stream HD mkv videos and my main requirement is that HD video and Dolby
Digital HD and DTS HD Master Audio sound tracks are passed through and
recognized by my Onkyo TX-NR929 receiver. My prototype, installed on an
NVidia GT670 laptop worked perfectly.

Based on your guide will the recommendation of the Intel i3 processor in
combination with the MSI H97M-G43 motherboard correctly pass through HD
video and audio signals through the HDMI port on the motherboard? If
that's the case I can avoid the expense of an NVidia card. If not, I can
add an NVidia card."


--------------------------------------

While this is a fairly technical question, our preliminary advice was as follows:

"Intel has been criticized for not providing timely updates for its HDMI audio drivers.
This may be complicated by running on a Linux system. My suggestion would
be to try it out, and if it does not work, buy a GeForce GT 640 video card (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ENU2K5G/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00ENU2K5G&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=Z42L6NBZHYW7EPES)
to handle the processing. Note that the 640 is now being sold as the GT 740 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KJGYXTO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00KJGYXTO&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=FGIL4LBLQ4M3ADYT) by some
manufacturers. It in fact uses the same GPU."
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on June 24, 2014, 02:04:55 PM
A reader just sent along this question, and we thought it would be helpful to post the e-mail exchange:

"Hello,

I'm looking to build a system and wondering about thermal management in
your system.  I am using a projector and planning to put the HTPC in a
cabinet (with external fans) right next to my seating area.  This makes
noise a key factor.  I was considering to go towards a fanless heatsync
style case, but they are expensive and cumbersome to deal with.

Any recommendation for a low noise setup?"


----------------------------------------------------------

Here's our response:

"Thanks for your e-mail. One thing to keep in mind is that in a cabinet,
you get the benefit of some sound insulation, but you also have a bit less
airflow (even with external fans). Therefore, some active cooling is
probably a good idea. I've never used a completely fanless HTPC setup, but
my experience with fanless video cards suggests that sometimes it's better
to have a small fan than no fan at all to prevent hot spots inside the
case.

I would recommend this Noctua CPU fan (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009VCAJ7W/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B009VCAJ7W&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=Q3RL6JYQSATHTTIZ).

It will be nearly silent, and I doubt you'll hear anything through a case
and a cabinet. You can probably skip any additional case fans, unless you
are using either a fanless video card or a fanless power supply. In that
case, I'd also add a 120mm Noctua case fan (if using the Silverstone GD05
case), like this one (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BEZZBFO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00BEZZBFO&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=LXD2IZC5VR7PWFD2).

For the low-profile Silverstone ML04 case, you'll need the 80mm version (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000S95RWE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000S95RWE&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=CIRDALKCLXLUQ54X) of the Noctua
fan.

A Tech Buyer's Guru reader recently put together a silent HTPC in a
cabinet, using all Noctua fans, a Scythe CPU cooler, and the GD05 case.
You can see that build here (http://techbuyersguru.com/thegallery2.php)"
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Dohara1985 on July 23, 2014, 06:59:02 PM
I have been working on my htpc for over a yr. it is constantly evolving and always changing. Originally I was running an old PC using xbmc and plex. I have since replaced that computer with a newer but still old computer. Win 8, 4 GB ram and 2.9 ghz dual core. I now only use plex. For me Plex is absolutely perfect. The main reason I replace the old computer was because it could not handle the three 3 tb hdd I purchase. There was not enough space nor connections. Nor did it recognize the 3 TB. The new computer recognizes it but splits them into 2.2 tb and .7 tb drives. Not a big deal but still annoying. I am now running out of room on the 9 tb and need to add another few hdd. So here is the question. Should I spend the money and buy a nice computer and make it the primary plex server with the other computer as a second with the less used hard drives. Or should I keep the current computer and purchase a NAS. Currently I stream to multiple places both internally on the network and externally. 24/7 it is streaming to a least one device and downloading at the same time works well. Doing anything else on the computer ( like organizing files, unzipping or even browsing) is a choir. Either way I need to expand, what do you suggest?
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on July 24, 2014, 08:10:09 PM
I have been working on my htpc for over a yr. it is constantly evolving and always changing. Originally I was running an old PC using xbmc and plex. I have since replaced that computer with a newer but still old computer. Win 8, 4 GB ram and 2.9 ghz dual core. I now only use plex. For me Plex is absolutely perfect. The main reason I replace the old computer was because it could not handle the three 3 tb hdd I purchase. There was not enough space nor connections. Nor did it recognize the 3 TB. The new computer recognizes it but splits them into 2.2 tb and .7 tb drives. Not a big deal but still annoying. I am now running out of room on the 9 tb and need to add another few hdd. So here is the question. Should I spend the money and buy a nice computer and make it the primary plex server with the other computer as a second with the less used hard drives. Or should I keep the current computer and purchase a NAS. Currently I stream to multiple places both internally on the network and externally. 24/7 it is streaming to a least one device and downloading at the same time works well. Doing anything else on the computer ( like organizing files, unzipping or even browsing) is a choir. Either way I need to expand, what do you suggest?

Good question - sounds like you're definitely getting the most out of your current HTPC setup.

First things first - you should be able to access the entire 3TB of your drives in one partition with a new motherboard - typically vendors provide an app that allows the OS to access the entire 3TB. You might check the manufacturer's website for your current motherboard to see if there's an app available for your model.

Now, secondly, it seems like you have two significant limitations with your current PC: (1) space for additional hard drives and (2) performance while multi-tasking. The space issue could be addressed simply with a larger case, without changing any of the other components, or alternatively using a NAS, as you mentioned, or even external hard drives via USB 3.0. I wouldn't recommend a full system upgrade just due to your need for more storage.

The performance issue you mention could be one of two things. If you have an older model dual-core that lacks Hyperthreading, you may be running into the limits of your CPU. Any later-model i3 dual-core, such as the 2.9GHz i3-4130T, wouldn't have problems multi-tasking, so the answer depends on which dual-core you have.

Another concern is whether you're operating your OS off of one of your mechanical storage drives. If they really are streaming/recording 24/7, I'd make sure to get the OS onto a solid-state drive. That would be a significant boost to overall multi-tasking performance.

To summarize: if you have less than a Core i3, you should probably upgrade the CPU, if you already have an i3 but not an SSD, add an SSD for the OS. And if you have both an i3 and an SSD, it sounds like all you really need is a NAS for additional storage.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ploppy on August 06, 2014, 10:49:10 AM
I'm planning on copying the build from your post. I'm going to place it on an open shelf on my tv stand with no other electronics next to it. I'll be using the ML03B case though instead (just don't like that cover in the front). Do you recommend additional fans for the build? If so, anything specific or just the Noctua fans you suggested in the previous post? I saw an older build somewhere else that was using the same case but had 4 of these http://amzn.to/X24k58 (http://amzn.to/X24k58) Also, how many?
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on August 06, 2014, 01:00:05 PM
I'm planning on copying the build from your post. I'm going to place it on an open shelf on my tv stand with no other electronics next to it. I'll be using the ML03B case though instead (just don't like that cover in the front). Do you recommend additional fans for the build? If so, anything specific or just the Noctua fans you suggested in the previous post? I saw an older build somewhere else that was using the same case but had 4 of these http://amzn.to/X24k58 (http://amzn.to/X24k58) Also, how many?

My advice would be to start with a couple of 80mm fans. If you use the Noctua CPU fan that's mentioned in the CPU section of the HTPC build, the CPU will definitely be fine even without any fans, but to get a bit of airflow, those Enermax fans you linked to would work. You might also try this Noctua fan (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000S95RWE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000S95RWE&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=PVUBKXDOO53MKOE3), which is more expensive but is definitely very high quality.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ploppy on August 07, 2014, 08:02:31 AM
I'm planning on copying the build from your post. I'm going to place it on an open shelf on my tv stand with no other electronics next to it. I'll be using the ML03B case though instead (just don't like that cover in the front). Do you recommend additional fans for the build? If so, anything specific or just the Noctua fans you suggested in the previous post? I saw an older build somewhere else that was using the same case but had 4 of these http://amzn.to/X24k58 (http://amzn.to/X24k58) Also, how many?

My advice would be to start with a couple of 80mm fans. If you use the Noctua CPU fan that's mentioned in the CPU section of the HTPC build, the CPU will definitely be fine even without any fans, but to get a bit of airflow, those Enermax fans you linked to would work. You might also try this Noctua fan (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000S95RWE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000S95RWE&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=PVUBKXDOO53MKOE3), which is more expensive but is definitely very high quality.

Great thanks Ari. One final question. I ordered 2 of the Enermax fans for the case. If I don't go with the a separate CPU fan do you think I have to worry about overheating or would the fans be enough to keep things cool? If a CPU fan is still needed I suggest adding one to the build so other users like me, don't accidentally melt their CPU's.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on August 07, 2014, 08:04:46 AM
I'm planning on copying the build from your post. I'm going to place it on an open shelf on my tv stand with no other electronics next to it. I'll be using the ML03B case though instead (just don't like that cover in the front). Do you recommend additional fans for the build? If so, anything specific or just the Noctua fans you suggested in the previous post? I saw an older build somewhere else that was using the same case but had 4 of these http://amzn.to/X24k58 (http://amzn.to/X24k58) Also, how many?

My advice would be to start with a couple of 80mm fans. If you use the Noctua CPU fan that's mentioned in the CPU section of the HTPC build, the CPU will definitely be fine even without any fans, but to get a bit of airflow, those Enermax fans you linked to would work. You might also try this Noctua fan (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000S95RWE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000S95RWE&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=PVUBKXDOO53MKOE3), which is more expensive but is definitely very high quality.

Great thanks Ari. One final question. I ordered 2 of the Enermax fans for the case. If I don't go with the a separate CPU fan do you think I have to worry about overheating or would the fans be enough to keep things cool? If a CPU fan is still needed I suggest adding one to the build so other users like me, don't accidentally melt their CPU's.

Oh, don't worry - the Intel CPU comes with its own CPU fan! It's definitely capable of cooling the CPU, even without any case fans at all. It's just a little loud, and HTPC users often look to minimize fan noise as much as possible.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ploppy on October 11, 2014, 07:45:31 AM
Hi ari. Finally got around to putting together this build. Ive run into an issue trying to connect the power though.

The secondary power supply cable is an 8 pin connector. The motherboard JPWR2 connection is only 4. Am i missing an adapter or something?

Images are attached. Any help is appreciated.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on October 11, 2014, 07:59:49 AM
Hi ari. Finally got around to putting together this build. Ive run into an issue trying to connect the power though.

The secondary power supply cable is an 8 pin connector. The motherboard JPWR2 connection is only 4. Am i missing an adapter or something?

Images are attached. Any help is appreciated.

The 8-pin power connector was released after the 4-pin version, and is designed to provide additional power to the CPU if needed. Your motherboard is designed for lower power applications, so it doesn't need that much power and therefore uses a 4-pin connector. Typically the 8-pin connector can either be physically separated, or if not, half of it can be used to plug into the motherboard. Can you confirm which power supply and motherboard you have? The only issue would be whether the 8-pin would overhang in the wrong direction and hit another component of the motherboard, preventing it from being plugged in, but this would be very unlikely, because every new power supply has an 8-pin connector and motherboard manufacturers know that.

Note that the pins in the connector are keyed by shape so they cannot be inserted incorrectly. You should be able to identify the matching key on one of the halves of the power supply connector.

I've copied below instructions from the Corsair CX430M Power Supply manual, as an example. Note the last subsection, regarding use with 4-pin +12V connectors:

"Step B: Installing the Corsair power supply
1. Make sure the power supplys AC power cable is not connected.
2. Follow the directions in your chassis manual and install the power supply with
the screws provided.
3. Connect the main 24-pin power cable. The main 24-pin power cable has a detachable
4-pin mechanism in order to support either a 24-pin or a 20-pin socket on the
motherboard.
 A. If your motherboard has a 24-pin socket, you may connect the 24-pin main
 power cable from the power supply directly to your motherboard.
 B. If your motherboard has a 20-pin socket, you must detach the four-pin
 cable from the 24-pin connector, and then plug the 20-pin cable onto your
 motherboard without connecting the four-pin connector.
4. Connect the eight-pin +12V (EPS12V) cable to the motherboard.
 A. If your motherboard has an eight-pin +12V socket, connect the eight-pin
 cable directly to your motherboard.
 B. If your motherboard has a four-pin socket, detach the four-pin from the
 eight-pin cable, and then plug this four-pin cable directly to your motherboard."
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ploppy on October 14, 2014, 12:28:56 PM
Okay, i was able to split the connector as you suggested.

I have 2 final connection questions.

The USB 3.0 cable from the front panel is really close to where it should plug in to the MB. It came with a 20 pin to 10 pin (9pin? 1 is really a no-pin) adapter but the manual doesnt list any other usb 3.0 connections, just 2.0. If i connect it to those will i still be able to use 3.0 cables for my devices?

My second question concerns the SATA wires for the HDD and bluray drive. The MB manual says to not bend them at 90 degrees, but i have 2 places that have to get bent right at the connection point. Should i be worried?

Im using The MSI H97M-G43 MB and the case is silverstone ML03.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on October 14, 2014, 12:48:27 PM
Okay, i was able to split the connector as you suggested.

I have 2 final connection questions.

The USB 3.0 cable from the front panel is really close to where it should plug in to the MB. It came with a 20 pin to 10 pin (9pin? 1 is really a no-pin) adapter but the manual doesnt list any other usb 3.0 connections, just 2.0. If i connect it to those will i still be able to use 3.0 cables for my devices?

My second question concerns the SATA wires for the HDD and bluray drive. The MB manual says to not bend them at 90 degrees, but i have 2 places that have to get bent right at the connection point. Should i be worried?

Im using The MSI H97M-G43 MB and the case is silverstone ML03.

Excellent - glad you figured out the 8-pin vs. 4-pin CPU power connector issue.

Now, as to your other two questions:
(1) You said the USB 3.0 cable is really close to where it should plug in - are you saying that you can't bend it sufficiently to get it properly inserted? That is one of the issues with USB 3.0 cables - they are typically very thick and not particularly pliable. It's a bit of luck of the draw whether the motherboard and case are a perfect match to make the connection easy. You can either try to bend it (gently) to get it installed, or you can use the included 20-pin to 10-pin connector. What that is doing is converting the USB 3.0 to work with USB 2.0. It's intended mostly for motherboards without a USB 3.0 header, but in this situation, it can also be used if you simply cannot reach the USB 3.0 header. The only drawback is that devices plugged into the front USB 3.0 jacks will operate at USB 2.0 speed.

(2) With the SATA cables, it again sounds like we're running into a clearance issue, common with small form factor cases. You can try bending the cable, making sure that it doesn't put too much pressure on the motherboard (if the SATA header looks like it could pull off the motherboard, you should refrain from proceeding). I believe that at least one of the two cables included with the MSI motherboard has a 90-degree connector on one end, so perhaps try that, but if you do indeed need two 90-degree connectors, you may need to order them separately. Amazon sells the Monoprice model (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009GUXU52/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B009GUXU52&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=FH5ADRAJRJVHNLJ7) for about $3, but feel free to source it elsewhere.

My suggestion would be to try using the cables you have, but as you install other components, make VERY sure that nothing gets caught on or drags across those cables in a way that would pull on the motherboard headers.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on October 14, 2014, 10:32:17 PM
Okay, i was able to split the connector as you suggested.

I have 2 final connection questions.

...

My second question concerns the SATA wires for the HDD and bluray drive. The MB manual says to not bend them at 90 degrees, but i have 2 places that have to get bent right at the connection point. Should i be worried?

Im using The MSI H97M-G43 MB and the case is silverstone ML03.

I have some more info for you. Taking another look at the MSI motherboard, it turns out you may need a "left angle 90 degree (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004KDTTXW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B004KDTTXW&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=IN2P4M4TBVARKTHT)" connector if you can't get the included SATA cables to work. A left angle 90 degree connector will plug into a top SATA port and then point upwards, allowing you to route it to the drive. Most 90 degree connectors are right angle, and will point down, potentially hitting the bottom of the case and preventing motherboard insertion.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ploppy on October 16, 2014, 02:41:10 PM
The connection angle was only something i worried about when i saw the wire bending warning in the manual. The SATA connecter from the optical drive is straight, but my wires get bent almost 90 since theres so little space between it and the power supply.

The HDD SATA cable to the motherboard has a 90 connector that fits fine in the top SATA slot on the motherboard. If i had realized this was gonna be an issue i probably wouldve moved these around but due to some other problems ive already had to screw and rescrew a lot of pieces and this all seems to be working fine so im not going to worry about it.

Ive run it with the case still open and have been able to install my OS, ipdate my BIOS, and install most of the stuff i want with few roadbumps.

I do have 2 casefans left to install but im not sure where they should go. The ML03 case only has space on the right to screw them in. 1 would blow over the cpu and mb, while the other would be blowing over the front panel wires and not much else. Any suggestion on how they should be placed or if theyre even necessary? All my pics are too big to post :(
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on October 16, 2014, 03:09:42 PM
The connection angle was only something i worried about when i saw the wire bending warning in the manual. The SATA connecter from the optical drive is straight, but my wires get bent almost 90 since theres so little space between it and the power supply.

The HDD SATA cable to the motherboard has a 90 connector that fits fine in the top SATA slot on the motherboard. If i had realized this was gonna be an issue i probably wouldve moved these around but due to some other problems ive already had to screw and rescrew a lot of pieces and this all seems to be working fine so im not going to worry about it.

Ive run it with the case still open and have been able to install my OS, ipdate my BIOS, and install most of the stuff i want with few roadbumps.

I do have 2 casefans left to install but im not sure where they should go. The ML03 case only has space on the right to screw them in. 1 would blow over the cpu and mb, while the other would be blowing over the front panel wires and not much else. Any suggestion on how they should be placed or if theyre even necessary? All my pics are too big to post :(

I'm very glad to hear you were able to get all the cabling to work. Did you end up having to use the USB3 to USB2 adapter?

As for the fans, your are correct - they can only be mounted on the right side. With this low-power build, they are not necessary, but they will help to cool the motherboard components, as well as the hard drive area, which otherwise will get relatively hot due to stagnant air. With two fans installed, you'll get a nice wall of air pushing through the case.

The first one should be mounted to blow over the middle of the motherboard, if possible, with the second fan mounted to blow over the connectors, which should also help with the hard drive. My one concern, however, is that at least one of the motherboard's fan headers may be too far from the right side of the case to connect the fan. You should locate the fan headers and measure the fan power leads to make sure before going through the trouble of installing both fans.

By the way, if you'd like, I can post photos of your system in the User Gallery (http://www.techbuyersguru.com/thegallery.php). Photos can be e-mailed to theguru@techbuyersguru.com
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ploppy on October 17, 2014, 03:11:20 PM
The reason i asked about the USB port was because I initially tried to connect it after putting the HDD and bracket in and I wound up bending one of the pins. I had to unscrew everything but with a pair of tweezers and nail clippers was able to straighten the pin.

This forced me to move the HDD to the side under the optical drive and just leave the HDD bracket out if the case. With that out of the way bending the usb connector to fit into the slot wasn't that bad.

My fans had pretty lengthy wires and both were able to reach the right side while plugged in. However, im not sure if its a fault of the fans or the case but the fan holes did not match up that well with the holes in the case. One of the fans only has 2 screws because the holes were off by that much.

But all in all i am super happy with this, my first real pc build all by myself and I would not have been able to do it without your help. Thank you very much. I will send in pics when i get some time.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on October 18, 2014, 12:07:52 AM
The reason i asked about the USB port was because I initially tried to connect it after putting the HDD and bracket in and I wound up bending one of the pins. I had to unscrew everything but with a pair of tweezers and nail clippers was able to straighten the pin.

This forced me to move the HDD to the side under the optical drive and just leave the HDD bracket out if the case. With that out of the way bending the usb connector to fit into the slot wasn't that bad.

My fans had pretty lengthy wires and both were able to reach the right side while plugged in. However, im not sure if its a fault of the fans or the case but the fan holes did not match up that well with the holes in the case. One of the fans only has 2 screws because the holes were off by that much.

But all in all i am super happy with this, my first real pc build all by myself and I would not have been able to do it without your help. Thank you very much. I will send in pics when i get some time.

Great to hear this all worked out. Building PCs definitely takes a bit of ingenuity sometimes, but that's part of the fun!

By the way, since this is your first custom PC, just a quick reminder. If you haven't already, be sure to install the drivers off the CD that came with the motherboard. The Intel chipset (INF) drivers, along with the video (Intel Graphics), audio, and Ethernet drivers are all important.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: shoc08 on March 04, 2015, 04:29:27 PM
Ari, thanks for putting this together. Hopefully you still take a glance at the forums every now and then. I am in the process of purchasing parts for my own build (largely based off your recommended pieces) and have a question about using the Silverstone ML-04b case.

You say the MSI B85 Gaming motherboard will be a tight fit for the ML-04b case and would fit better in the GD05 case. I'm assuming the MSI board will still fit in the ML-04b but with little room to spare? I really need a ~4-5" tall case for it to fit on my entertainment system shelf, and I like the specs of the MSI board better than the Gigabyte because of the better sound codec (no plans for a sound card yet) and the optical audio out. Plus the MSI board is slightly cheaper.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on March 04, 2015, 06:03:07 PM
Ari, thanks for putting this together. Hopefully you still take a glance at the forums every now and then. I am in the process of purchasing parts for my own build (largely based off your recommended pieces) and have a question about using the Silverstone ML-04b case.

You say the MSI B85 Gaming motherboard will be a tight fit for the ML-04b case and would fit better in the GD05 case. I'm assuming the MSI board will still fit in the ML-04b but with little room to spare? I really need a ~4-5" tall case for it to fit on my entertainment system shelf, and I like the specs of the MSI board better than the Gigabyte because of the better sound codec (no plans for a sound card yet) and the optical audio out. Plus the MSI board is slightly cheaper.

Welcome to the forums, shoc08!

So, the issue with the ML04 case (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DL4BMRC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00DL4BMRC&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=FN7K7FRLXPX7CTLC) is that being as slim as it is, the drive mounts and cabling in the front of the case, shown in the picture below, really crowd the right side of the motherboard.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41rsL4nrcWL.jpg)

Note how the last row of motherboard standoffs are situated under the drive cage and the bundle of front USB port cabling. For a narrow micro ATX board, that doesn't matter, but for a full-width (9.6") micro ATX board like the MSI B85 Gaming (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KXP4ZPS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00KXP4ZPS&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=4HWSKCHX2VBL5DCB), it's a tight fit.

Here's a detailed photo of the board:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81PTiiD7XvL._SL1020_.jpg)

At the bottom edge of the photo (which is actually the right side of the board), you'll see the USB 3.0 port, right next to a motherboard mounting hole. And toward the top of the board is the big 24-pin power connector. These ports could make things difficult in the ML04 case, because you're going to have to plug two big cables in perpendicular to the board, right under the hard drive cage. There's a chance that getting them to bend into place won't be possible, at least not with the board already mounted in the case.

So...this is all to say, the B85 Gaming is a great mATX board, and the ML04 is a great mATX case, but sometimes things can get complicated when we PC builders actually try to put two parts together that should by all accounts be compatible. Yes, the board will fit, but whether that USB 3.0 cable (which is very stiff) or the motherboard power cable will be a struggle to insert is left to builders to figure out - it's not in the mATX spec. If you're willing to do a little trial and error, by all means go for the B85 Gaming board. I'm pretty sure that the power connector will bend into place - I'm less certain about the USB 3.0 connector.

I hope this helps explain the compatibility note in the builder's guide - it's a bit complicated, so I'm glad you asked!

As an aside, if the AV-type styling of the ML04 isn't a requirement, you might find a couple of the options in the TBG Small Form Factor Guide (http://techbuyersguru.com/miniITX.php) would suit your needs. If you have questions about any of them for use in an HTPC setup, feel free to ask here.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: shoc08 on March 05, 2015, 07:29:37 PM
Wow, thank you for the prompt and very thorough response. I can see what you mean now. I'm on the fence but will probably give it a go with the MSI board.

I only plan to have one HDD and one SSD. The HDD can be installed under the optical drive mount. Do you think the SSD will fit on the bottom of the case between the ATX PSU and the optical drive? If so, I could just remove the plastic drive bay and have no clearance issues with the motherboard's USB 3.0 or power cable.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on March 07, 2015, 04:27:18 PM
Wow, thank you for the prompt and very thorough response. I can see what you mean now. I'm on the fence but will probably give it a go with the MSI board.

I only plan to have one HDD and one SSD. The HDD can be installed under the optical drive mount. Do you think the SSD will fit on the bottom of the case between the ATX PSU and the optical drive? If so, I could just remove the plastic drive bay and have no clearance issues with the motherboard's USB 3.0 or power cable.

That won't be a problem at all. The SSD can be mounted in a lot of locations, and the bottom of the case is probably the easiest. There may even be space between the motherboard and the front of the case, but under the optical drive should work too.

You really don't need a hard drive mount for an SSD - they are so light and durable that just using some double-stick tape will keep them in place without risking their integrity.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on March 14, 2015, 03:19:48 PM
Just a quick update for readers interested in the HTPC build...we'll be getting a sample of the brand-new Noctua NH-L9x65 (http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=productview&products_id=108&lng=en) cooler in for testing soon. It should be a great upgrade option from the NH-L9i (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009VCAJ7W/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B009VCAJ7W&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=Y7WVKSQH7O2QODTP) that's been featured in the HTPC build for quite some time. Availability in the US and Canada is expected by mid-April.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on April 26, 2015, 07:46:16 AM
A reader recently asked us what we'd recommend for an HTPC build that could handle gaming at moderate to high settings while sticking to a $700 budget. He also mentioned that he wanted to use the attractive but relatively expensive (and large) Fractal Node 804 case.

Here's what we came up with:
(1) Processor: Intel Core i3-4160 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LV8U0VE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=B00LV8U0VE&link_code=as3&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=ZSXWFLGJ72GOWSPF) ($118)

(2) Motherboard: MSI B85 Gaming (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KXP4ZPS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=B00KXP4ZPS&link_code=as3&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=TC2UPRREUGXJXFSN) ($90 - $10 rebate)

(3) Video Card: PowerColor Radeon R9 270 2GB (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HRSGO9O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00HRSGO9O&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=5C45DKQDNBSWJEG2) ($150)

(4) Optical Drive: Samsung 24x DVD Burner (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CE58ZYC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00CE58ZYC&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=OYHM4LVYB6J7A5IB) ($17)

(5) Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 2x2GB (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006WAGG5K/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=B006WAGG5K&link_code=as3&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=7K5SEWJ5T455SDUH) ($37)

(6) Hard Drive: Western Digital Blue 1TB (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0088PUEPK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0088PUEPK&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=OKKR4HXBQX5EQDOH) ($55)

(7) Case: Fractal Node 804 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K6OVG0I/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00K6OVG0I&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=YZ2WSTAL4KCVISTM) ($121)

(8 ) Power Supply: Corsair CX430 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0092ML1SC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0092ML1SC&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=FLI2LT4EO44ZLXW6) ($50)

(9) Operating System: Windows 8.1 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F3ZN2W0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=B00F3ZN2W0&link_code=as3&tag=thtebusgu-20) ($92)

Total Cost: $720 after rebate

And here's the explanation on our component picks, because to get a midrange video card into the mix, we had to drop something from our standard HTPC Build (http://techbuyersguru.com/HTPCbuild.php).
(1) The first thing to go was the SSD, which is great to have in a system, but just won't fit into the budget when trying to maximize gaming potential.
(2) Next to go was the "Green" 5900RPM drive, which would be too slow to use as an OS drive. We instead went with a smaller but faster 7200RPM drive.
(3) Finally, we skipped the modular 430W power supply and stuck with a non-modular 430W unit, as it would be plenty to support this system. In the huge Node 804 case, modular cables aren't really necessary anyway.

We should note that you could fit a much better video card into this budget, like the Asus GeForce GTX 960 2GB (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S9SGMZM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00S9SGMZM&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=K3UT5SHIKBOISN7D), if you skipped the Node 804 case and went with something like the excellent, but slightly more gamer-centric Corsair Carbide Air 240 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LA6WXEO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00LA6WXEO&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=2VN5WTOYXPTQZFR6).
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ianmcw on December 06, 2015, 07:26:34 PM
Hi Ari, I am new to the forum and hope this thread is still active as i am interested on building a HTPC based on your guide here,
I have a question regarding the case you have selected

1. Silverstone ML04B you say case is 4.1" high but the specs on amazon say it is 7''x20"x17"
2. Silverstone GD05 you say case is 5.95" high but the specs on amazon say it is 10"x22"x17"

Reason i am asking is to make sure links are correct as i already have an older silverstone case with touchscreen but wife doesnt like it as she thinks it is too big, so i am looking for a smaller case like 4" high roughly (happy wife Happy life  :) )
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on December 06, 2015, 08:57:32 PM
Hi Ari, I am new to the forum and hope this thread is still active as i am interested on building a HTPC based on your guide here,
I have a question regarding the case you have selected

1. Silverstone ML04B you say case is 4.1" high but the specs on amazon say it is 7''x20"x17"
2. Silverstone GD05 you say case is 5.95" high but the specs on amazon say it is 10"x22"x17"

Reason i am asking is to make sure links are correct as i already have an older silverstone case with touchscreen but wife doesnt like it as she thinks it is too big, so i am looking for a smaller case like 4" high roughly (happy wife Happy life  :) )

Hello ianmcw, and welcome to the TBG Forum!

You are definitely not the first person to ask about the specs listed on Amazon. Unfortunately, Amazon seems to think the size of the shipping box is what's most important to PC builders, rather than the actual size of the product! So yes, indeed, the Silverstone ML04B (http://amzn.to/1LXIuAO) is 4.1" tall and the GD05 (http://amzn.to/1LXIvV8) is 5.95" tall.

Older HTPC cases tended to be quite large, so I'm not surprised your wife isn't pleased with your current case. While Silverstone does have an impressively-compact ATX-based GD09 (http://amzn.to/1LXIWii) HTPC case, which you can read all about in the TBG Gallery (http://techbuyersguru.com/chris-extreme-4k-gaming-htpc), I think the microATX cases are a better option for most people, especially if they're trying to match them up with slim AV gear like set-top boxes or Blu-Ray players.

Of course, if you really wanted to impress the wife, you'd go with a mini-ITX build or perhaps an Intel NUC. Read about all the options in the Small Form Factor Buyer's Guide (http://techbuyersguru.com/introduction-building-small-form-factor-pc).

Any other questions, just post them here!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ianmcw on December 07, 2015, 08:47:02 PM
Ahh that makes sense now  :D thank you for the quick reply.

I have been looking at the small form and i really like the raven case but not sure if it can sit horizontal as i dont have room for it to sit vertical. I really  like the 1100 build but seems a bit much for htpc but that board does have hdmi/dvi and ethernet which would be nice for connecting to LAN ahh more decisions  :-\
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on December 07, 2015, 08:59:32 PM
Ahh that makes sense now  :D thank you for the quick reply.

I have been looking at the small form and i really like the raven case but not sure if it can sit horizontal as i dont have room for it to sit vertical. I really  like the 1100 build but seems a bit much for htpc but that board does have hdmi/dvi and ethernet which would be nice for connecting to LAN ahh more decisions  :-\

I'm publishing a complete step-by-step guide to building the $1,100 Gaming/HTPC system in the RVZ02 case tomorrow, as it happens, so I can tell you all about it ahead of time and ruin the surprise! In fact, it can definitely sit horizontally, as it includes rubber feet to attach to the "side", making it the bottom. In this orientation, airflow is a bit compromised, so I wouldn't go crazy with the video card pick (the GTX 960 recommended in the guide is definitely fine). You can also drop down to the GTX 950 (http://amzn.to/1NHnzTC) for HTPC use and still get full use of HDMI 2.0/4K HDTVs. Saves about $80.

And as for the CPU, this case just isn't great for fire-breathing processors (I'm testing the Core i7-6700K (http://amzn.to/1NHnC1E)), but any Core i3 or non-overclocked Core i5 will work fine, including the Core i3-6100 (http://amzn.to/1YVBCgx) dual-core, or a Core i5-6400 (http://amzn.to/1YVByNK) quad-core for serious high-res video processing/editing.

The Core i3 saves you about $60, so with that and the video card change, the total cost of the build drops well below $1,000. It's just 3/4 the size of the already small ML04 (http://amzn.to/1YVBYDL), making it a very sleek HTPC indeed!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ianmcw on December 08, 2015, 07:19:48 PM
Hi Ari

Thanks for the quick reply again, I cant wait to see you step by step guide for this build, i might just go foe this and make a few tweaks if needed fore cost
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on December 08, 2015, 07:24:52 PM
Hi Ari

Thanks for the quick reply again, I cant wait to see you step by step guide for this build, i might just go foe this and make a few tweaks if needed fore cost

The article's been delayed one day for overclock testing (which is a pretty delicate situation in this case). All photography is complete, and the article should be up within 24 hours!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on December 09, 2015, 05:30:17 PM
Hi Ari

Thanks for the quick reply again, I cant wait to see you step by step guide for this build, i might just go foe this and make a few tweaks if needed fore cost

The hands-on Raven ITX guide (http://techbuyersguru.com/pc-builders-guides-assembling-high-end-mini-itx-pc) is now live!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Changedx on December 28, 2015, 11:54:30 PM
Hi, I just read the 12/28 HTPC guide.  Any thoughts about saving $40 on the MB by dropping from an h170 to an h110?  Also, would you recommend any short-cable sets for the ML03/ML04 cases?  Thanks!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on December 29, 2015, 03:03:18 AM
Hi, I just read the 12/28 HTPC guide.  Any thoughts about saving $40 on the MB by dropping from an h170 to an h110?  Also, would you recommend any short-cable sets for the ML03/ML04 cases?  Thanks!

Great questions!

Versus something like the low-cost Gigabyte GA-H110M-A (http://amzn.to/1RPgS9h), the Gigabyte GA-H170-D3H (http://amzn.to/1R5jD4F) offers a number of advantages for its $40 price premium:

(1) a better integrated audio solution (Realteck ALC892 vs. 887)
(2) four RAM slots instead of two
(3) much more robust PCI expansion slots (PCIe x16 3.0, PCIe x4 3.0, and dual PCI versus PCIe x16 3.0 and two very slow PCIe x1 2.0 slots)
(4) double the number of fan headers (4 vs. 2)
(5) an M.2 slot for SSDs
(6) DVI, VGA, and HDMI ports versus only an HDMI port
(7) more high-speed USB 3.0 ports

Overall, I do think that for $40 you're getting a number of upgrades that will make this motherboard more versatile in the long run. Actually, there's a new board that offers nearly all the same features for about $10 less: the Gigabyte GA-B150-D3H (http://amzn.to/1RPkdoI). The only major feature it gives up versus the H170M is RAID support. The build guide will likely be switched to that board shortly, and it's probably worth making the investment over the H110 board.

As for short cable sets, the width of the Silverstone ML03 (http://amzn.to/1R5kBO9) case means that for some of the cable runs, you really need standard-length cables. And because very few cables will actually be used on the modular Corsair CS450M (http://amzn.to/1R5kG4q), there won't be too much of a mess inside anyway.

If you still wanted to use short cables, like Silverstone's kit (http://amzn.to/1RPi10s), you'd have to use one of its modular power supplies, like the Strider 550W (http://amzn.to/1R5l5nn). With a total cost of over twice that of the Corsair unit, this isn't a particularly good value given the low-power components and minimal cabling requirement.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Changedx on December 29, 2015, 08:53:21 PM
Thanks for your help.  I placed the order on Amazon through your links, and in the end decided to go with the low-end H110 MB.  There are certainly a lot of additional features on the B150, but I didn't see any that I would be using for my build.  I'm also going to try running with no case fans, since it's only an i3 and GTX 750.

About the cables, I had read a few reviews on the ML03/04 cases, complaining that the internal header wires are too long.  But now that I think about it, those are soldered in-place to the power switch, LED's, etc... so they wouldn't be easily replaceable with shorter cables.  I guess it's possible to shorten and splice the wires with heat-shrink tubing, but that's too much effort compared to just bundling them with zip ties.  Since I'm going with no HDD or optical drive, I should have plenty of space for both wires and (passive) air flow.

Thanks again!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on December 29, 2015, 10:02:45 PM
Thanks for your help.  I placed the order on Amazon through your links, and in the end decided to go with the low-end H110 MB.  There are certainly a lot of additional features on the B150, but I didn't see any that I would be using for my build.  I'm also going to try running with no case fans, since it's only an i3 and GTX 750.

About the cables, I had read a few reviews on the ML03/04 cases, complaining that the internal header wires are too long.  But now that I think about it, those are soldered in-place to the power switch, LED's, etc... so they wouldn't be easily replaceable with shorter cables.  I guess it's possible to shorten and splice the wires with heat-shrink tubing, but that's too much effort compared to just bundling them with zip ties.  Since I'm going with no HDD or optical drive, I should have plenty of space for both wires and (passive) air flow.

Thanks again!

Ah, yes, the front panel wiring...that's a problem in a lot of smaller cases, as the wiring is likely standardized for larger models. In particular the USB 3.0 header cable will likely be a pain to route, as it's very thick. But as you noted, these cables cannot be removed without splicing, which most builders probably aren't brave enough to do!

Good luck with the build - any questions, just post back here.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: sccyms on January 08, 2016, 04:34:55 PM
Hi Ari -

I was looking to build out this system, but got a bit hung up on the case (I was looking at the larger case suggestion to give myself more expansion options down the road).  The suggested one is out of stock, so I started poking around a bit, and it looks like it might be due to age (as far as I can tell, there are 5 or so newer models of the case you chose.  Would you still strongly recommend the Silverstone GD05 rather than 6-10 or another case entirely?  I was also hoping to do most of my storage on this system, so would likely want to get one or two of the WD Blue drives.  Finally, if you choose not to put an optical drive on the system, would you suggest downloading an operating system and putting it on a flash drive or some other method?

Thanks!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on January 09, 2016, 12:30:54 AM
Hi Ari -

I was looking to build out this system, but got a bit hung up on the case (I was looking at the larger case suggestion to give myself more expansion options down the road).  The suggested one is out of stock, so I started poking around a bit, and it looks like it might be due to age (as far as I can tell, there are 5 or so newer models of the case you chose.  Would you still strongly recommend the Silverstone GD05 rather than 6-10 or another case entirely?  I was also hoping to do most of my storage on this system, so would likely want to get one or two of the WD Blue drives.  Finally, if you choose not to put an optical drive on the system, would you suggest downloading an operating system and putting it on a flash drive or some other method?

Thanks!

The Silverstone GD05 (http://amzn.to/1na1S9l) is still current, but you're correct that it's sold out at Amazon right now. Be careful, though, many of the cases listed by Amazon on the same product page aren't even remotely similar, and frankly shouldn't be grouped together. The current sister product is the Silverstone GD06 (http://amzn.to/1mKefck).

It has the same dimensions as the GD05, but a different front panel style. Another option is the Silverstone GD04 (http://amzn.to/1kUzdmV), which was the predecessor to the GD05. What's really cool about the GD04 is that it actually comes in a white version (http://amzn.to/1mKfIiU).

Those hard drives you mention would work well, but fewer is better, so get a single high capacity one if you can.

And, yes, you can download Windows 10 and install it easily, but you'll still need a license number that you'll get with the DVD version. Installation instructions are on the Microsoft Windows website (https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/windows10).
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: sccyms on January 18, 2016, 11:44:21 AM
Hi Ari -

Thanks for the input. I went with the gd06, but am struggling to get the power supply to fit with the hot swappable drive bays. Any suggestions?
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on January 18, 2016, 01:21:00 PM
Hi Ari -

Thanks for the input. I went with the gd06, but am struggling to get the power supply to fit with the hot swappable drive bays. Any suggestions?

What power supply did you go with? If you're using something longer than 140mm, it's possible that you can't use the bays at the same time. That's often true with Silverstone cases - fitting all components in when using the maximum configuration won't work.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: sccyms on January 18, 2016, 01:23:28 PM
I used the larger of the two suggested in your build configuration. I think it was the corsair 550 (cs550m).
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on January 18, 2016, 02:40:06 PM
I used the larger of the two suggested in your build configuration. I think it was the corsair 550 (cs550m).

OK, the CS550M is only 140mm long, the shortest length ATX power supply, so it shouldn't be the problem. Can you describe in more detail the exact problem you're having? Do you have hard drives in the hot swappable bays, and what is actually interfering with the power supply - the cables, the drives, the bays, or something else?
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: sccyms on January 18, 2016, 05:18:41 PM
Hi Ari -

Thanks for the quick response.  The problem is that if you use the top two of the modular outputs from the power supply, the unit that contains the two swappable bays will not fit in (the back of the bottom bay is where the plugs need to connect in for the modular cabling).  So, I think I got around it by only using the bottom two ports and using a molex to sata power connector to plug in the SSD. The bays have molex connectors hardwired in with the sata data component, so I needed to use one of the modular outputs for molex.  The other modular output is larger and has a PCI-e plug.  I can't see a way to take the bays out without having a gaping hole in the front of the case, so I'm not sure if there's another way around this one.

The new issue that I've run into is that I am trying to connect the GeForce GTX 950, per the upgrade recommendation along with the bigger case in the guide.  The PCI power plug is on the top of the card, which is flush with where the top of the case needs to go.  As a result, there's no way to get the power plug in unless I'm missing something (or if for some reason the motherboard is able to supply enough power?).  Additionally, the top brace of the case won't fit back in with the card in place (again, due to the flush nature of the card to the top of the box).  Any ideas on this as well?

Thanks!

Note: edited for grammar and a bit of additional info
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on January 18, 2016, 06:52:49 PM
Hi Ari -

Thanks for the quick response.  The problem is that if you use the top two of the modular outputs from the power supply, the unit that contains the two swappable bays will not fit in (the back of the bottom bay is where the plugs need to connect in for the modular cabling).  So, I think I got around it by only using the bottom two ports and using a molex to sata power connector to plug in the SSD. The bays have molex connectors hardwired in with the sata data component, so I needed to use one of the modular outputs for molex.  The other modular output is larger and has a PCI-e plug.  I can't see a way to take the bays out without having a gaping hole in the front of the case, so I'm not sure if there's another way around this one.

The new issue that I've run into is that I am trying to connect the GeForce GTX 950, per the upgrade recommendation along with the bigger case in the guide.  The PCI power plug is on the top of the card, which is flush with where the top of the case needs to go.  As a result, there's no way to get the power plug in unless I'm missing something (or if for some reason the motherboard is able to supply enough power?).  Additionally, the top brace of the case won't fit back in with the card in place (again, due to the flush nature of the card to the top of the box).  Any ideas on this as well?

Thanks!

Note: edited for grammar and a bit of additional info

Sounds like you came up with a creative solution on the power supply issue. The molex adapter will work fine with your SATA drive. The compatibility of Silverstone's compact cases with other brands of modular power supplies is never quite 100%.

As for the video card, it looks as though you've run into a couple of issues. Gigabyte has actually used a taller-than-standard circuit board for its GTX 950, and combined with the relatively low-profile GD06, the vertical power cable attachment becomes a challenge.

There are a few things you can try:

(1) exchange the Gigabyte video card for EVGA's GTX 950 (http://amzn.to/23blJ8O), which is slightly lower profile, likely just enough to clear the top.
(2) install the case top without the cross-bar. This is something I've had to do with Silverstone HTPC cases in the past - I'm currently testing the GD09 (http://amzn.to/1U8wFhn) and sure enough, I had the exact same problem.

I'm sorry you've run into so many problems with this build - after testing half a dozen Silverstone cases, I've determined that many don't really conform to standard ATX and mATX conventions on extra clearance, so they really require a "custom" build solution. All of the pre-set parts lists have been vetted, but the GD06 isn't a case I or other TBG readers have had experience with.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: sccyms on January 18, 2016, 09:57:36 PM
Hey Ari -

It's not your fault. It sounds like I went off the reservation a bit with the gd06 rather than the 05 (I thought they were the same height). When I say that the power input is flush, I really meant with the case top, so even without the crossbar, there's going to be no luck on that one. Do you think the card you've suggested is half an inch or more shorter? If not, it may make more sense to abandon the full size card and go with one of the cards intended for smaller boxes?

I welcome your continued advice!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on January 18, 2016, 11:58:17 PM
Hey Ari -

It's not your fault. It sounds like I went off the reservation a bit with the gd06 rather than the 05 (I thought they were the same height). When I say that the power input is flush, I really meant with the case top, so even without the crossbar, there's going to be no luck on that one. Do you think the card you've suggested is half an inch or more shorter? If not, it may make more sense to abandon the full size card and go with one of the cards intended for smaller boxes?

I welcome your continued advice!

TBG's main goal is to make embracing technology easier, so this kind of thing really gets to me - it shouldn't be this hard!

I spoke in very plain terms with Silverstone's director of marketing at CES 2016 in Las Vegas about the continued problems I and my readers have been having with their case designs, and I'm going to continue pushing the issue with them this year. Silverstone makes the most innovative cases around, but half the time, it seems they don't bother testing them with actual components inside.

So, the two advantages of the EVGA GTX 950 over the Gigabyte GTX 950 are that it's 0.38" shorter (4.38" tall vs. 4.76" tall), and it also comes with a molex-to-PCIe power adapter that might give you just a little more flexibility (literally) than the power supply's PCIe power cables.

As an aside, when Nvidia decided a few years back to require that all of its GeForce cards had top-facing PCIe power connectors, as opposed to the older designs that had them at the end of the card facing the front of the case, the intention was to avoid clearance issues resulting from ever-longer video cards. But now that cards are growing taller, it's come full circle, causing a whole new set of clearance issues.

Again, so sorry this happened - if you decide this is all a bit too much trouble, simply go for the EVGA GTX 750 Ti (http://amzn.to/1StjJ81), which thankfully requires no external power connectors. Just note that you will lose HDMI 2.0 in the process, an issue if you wanted to connect to a 4K HDTV at 60Hz.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Bjorg on January 19, 2016, 02:03:02 PM
Hi,
     I will build your HTPC setup to upgrade my old Core 2 duo e6600 loud tower that sits in my living room and need a tip.

Here is the current part list following your guide: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/WG7J6h
Requirements:
I want to use Windows 7 and windows media center for PVR capability.
I already own a tuner card setup on my main pc and hdhomerun.
The HTPC needs to be virtually silent as it is in the living room in an open cabinet. It also needs to run 24/7 and be very reliable.
I use a Sony AV receiver model STR-DG710 and currently connect to it from my GTX 470 using HDMI only, then to a Sony 40'' TV.
I don't plant to game much on it besides maybe through Steam in-home streaming as I have a beefy PC on the same network. I also have a steam controller.
I listen to a lot of music mainly from web radios.

Questions:
Do I need a video card so I input sound and video from it through HDMI? If so, considering my setup, I guess I should go fanless GPU? Witch model? I have an old GTX 470 I could use, but I bet it would be the loudest part of this pc.
Do I need a sound card to have great sound for music, tv and movie playback? What model?

Thanks



Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on January 19, 2016, 03:03:20 PM
This is a great build for your purposes. You'll use the HDMI built into the motherboard for audio and video. No need for a video card, definitely not the very loud and power hungry GTX 470!

And here's a money-saving tip for you: while the Noctua fans you have listed are good, they're totally unnecessary for this build. It will generate almost no heat and the Silverstone GD05 case actually comes with good, quiet fans.

You will love the performance and silence of this build in comparison to your current PC!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Bjorg on January 19, 2016, 05:49:08 PM
Excellent. I will post results here when I am done. Thanks for the great guide and prompt response.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Bjorg on January 20, 2016, 11:49:53 AM
What motherboard do you recommend for my application, the Gigabyte GA-B150M-D3H or the MSI B150M MORTAR?

Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on January 20, 2016, 01:33:04 PM
What motherboard do you recommend for my application, the Gigabyte GA-B150M-D3H or the MSI B150M MORTAR?

For your application, where your primary concern is sound quality, ideally you'd get an mATX board with the built-in ALC1150 sound codec. Unfortunately, that's only available on more expensive Z170 boards, which you don't need for a dual-core HTPC. So the next best option is a B150 board with the ALC892 codec, which is just one step down and still quite good.

Between the Gigabyte B150M-D3H (http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B016OQL3BS/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=15121&creative=330641&creativeASIN=B016OQL3BS&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu06-20) and MSI B150 Mortar (http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B015ZKJRTO/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=15121&creative=330641&creativeASIN=B015ZKJRTO&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu06-20), I'd recommend the Mortar, as it has more forward-looking PCIe slots, rather than a combination of PCIe and legacy PCI slots. That's great for expansion, for example if you decide to add a PCIe-based sound card.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ianmcw on January 23, 2016, 04:16:21 PM
Hi Ari

I am back and ready to start building my new HTPC :) i decided the to go with this one rather than the raven box in small form  that being said i notice on your update that you said that crucial  brought out the new SSD model BX200 but was a downgrade to the BX100.
I checked there site for some basic specs see below
Crucial BX100 250GB SATA 6Gbps 2.5" Internal SSD 535 MB/s Read / 370 MB/s Write
Crucial BX200 240GB SATA 6Gbps 2.5" Internal SSD 540 MB/s Read / 490 MB/s Write

it seems the BX200 is 10gb smaller but reads/writes faster to the disk, I know there must be more to it than this but can you give me an idea of why it is a major downgrade as i am also considering upgrading my old pc with ssd for the os

Thx
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on January 23, 2016, 04:41:35 PM
Hi Ari

I am back and ready to start building my new HTPC :) i decided the to go with this one rather than the raven box in small form  that being said i notice on your update that you said that crucial  brought out the new SSD model BX200 but was a downgrade to the BX100.
I checked there site for some basic specs see below
Crucial BX100 250GB SATA 6Gbps 2.5" Internal SSD 535 MB/s Read / 370 MB/s Write
Crucial BX200 240GB SATA 6Gbps 2.5" Internal SSD 540 MB/s Read / 490 MB/s Write

it seems the BX200 is 10gb smaller but reads/writes faster to the disk, I know there must be more to it than this but can you give me an idea of why it is a major downgrade as i am also considering upgrading my old pc with ssd for the os

Thx

Welcome back!

The one and only advantage of the BX200 240GB (http://amzn.to/23kYppg) is a much lower price. The BX100 250GB (http://amzn.to/23kYvgs) is higher-capacity, faster, and also uses more long-lasting NAND memory. While sequential figures suggest the BX200's faster, this is not what actually matters when it comes to SSD performance. Random performance is what counts, and the BX100 is probably 10-15% faster there. That being said, both are much faster than hard drives.

To learn more about the SSD market, see my recent in-depth analysis (http://techbuyersguru.com/ssd-market-crossroads-0) based on conversations with the biggest SSDs manufacturers.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ianmcw on January 23, 2016, 05:14:30 PM
Ari,  again thank you for your quick reply and info on the SSD ( I wish all forms were like this :) )  I will go with the BX100 :) couple of other questions on this build

You recommend W10 home not pro ? also not retail

You say W7 if we want to use WMC, I have read that it is possible to get WMC on W10  do you know if this is possible?

thx
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on January 23, 2016, 05:31:38 PM
Ari,  again thank you for your quick reply and info on the SSD ( I wish all forms were like this :) )  I will go with the BX100 :) couple of other questions on this build

You recommend W10 home not pro ? also not retail

You say W7 if we want to use WMC, I have read that it is possible to get WMC on W10  do you know if this is possible?

thx

If you'll be installing a DVD drive and don't need the option to move the Windows license to a new machine later on, the "OEM" version of Windows 10 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZSI7Y3U/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00ZSI7Y3U&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=VYBDK5HNT7ZGHALA) is perfectly fine. The license is tied to your motherboard (so motherboard upgrades are considered a new PC, and therefore unlicensed).

No need to go Pro at all, although if you want Windows on a flash drive, the Retail version on USB (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01019T6O0/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01019T6O0&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=NXQQIE3PUFDDYNUZ) may be worth it to you.

As far as I know, there will never be an option to run Windows Media Center on Windows 10. Microsoft never released a WMC application for W10.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: sccyms on January 27, 2016, 04:37:56 PM
Hey Ari -

Just checking back in on my troublesome build with the Silverstone GD06B.  I managed to get the second graphics card that you suggested (the EVGA GeForce GTX 950 2GB) to fit in the case, with the top case brace in place and using the appropriate PCI-e power cord from the power supply.  I'm now having an issue with one of the three system fans, but after a quick call to Silverstone, it sounds like they're willing to ship me one pretty quickly.  Hopefully that will be the last of the issues!

Thanks for the ongoing help! 
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on January 27, 2016, 05:19:49 PM
Hey Ari -

Just checking back in on my troublesome build with the Silverstone GD06B.  I managed to get the second graphics card that you suggested (the EVGA GeForce GTX 950 2GB) to fit in the case, with the top case brace in place and using the appropriate PCI-e power cord from the power supply.  I'm now having an issue with one of the three system fans, but after a quick call to Silverstone, it sounds like they're willing to ship me one pretty quickly.  Hopefully that will be the last of the issues!

Thanks for the ongoing help!

So glad that going with the EVGA GeForce GTX 950 (http://amzn.to/1RODxTq) worked. Sorry about the complications. I actually did have a long e-mail exchange with Silverstone about this very post, and it turns out that the issue here is that the GD04/05/06 were originally designed in 2008, when all video cards were quite long, but none had yet started growing in height. They also used front-facing power plugs exclusively. Hence, the case has plenty of clearance for big graphics cards, as long as they aren't any taller than the PCI slot itself. Once they go beyond the standard height, top-facing power plugs start to become a real problem for these low-profile cases, and that's the issue you ran into.

Unfortunately, in the long-run, what this means is that Silverstone's cases, and all media-style cases, are going to have to get taller. That's a big disappointment for HTPC enthusiasts looking for a streamline AV solution, but the dimensions are really dictated by the components available on the market today, and today's video cards are getting taller.

Silverstone has great customer support, so it's not surprising that they're willing to take care of you regarding the fan. That happens all the time, to many manufacturers (a reader recently had the same problem with a Phanteks case fan right out of the box). Luckily, case fans only cost $10 or so to replace, and to be completely honest, you don't need three fans running in the case for this HTPC build. Feel free to use it with two fans until the third arrives. You won't come close to overheating the components.

By the way, as long as you're visiting the TBG Forum, you should sign up for the prize drawing (http://techbuyersguru.com/forum/index.php?topic=114.0), ending Jan. 31st. There's actually an HTPC keyboard among the prizes!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: sccyms on January 28, 2016, 10:11:50 AM
I'm actually also using the computer for gaming, so I'm likely running it a little bit hotter than a standard HTPC!  That said, I suspect two fans would be enough given that the fans have yet to really kick into a high gear.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ianmcw on January 30, 2016, 03:00:52 PM
Hi Ari,

Just got some of my parts for the htpc build today so i thought i would get a start, I was looking for some pics/guide for the htpc with the ml04B case but couldn't find any on site, just trying to figure best way for the SSD and HDD location, did you use the slot under the optical drive for the HDD and the SSD on the plastic hard drive holder?

sorry if i have missed info on site or question sounds stupid just wanted to see best way
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on January 30, 2016, 03:55:11 PM
Hi Ari,

Just got some of my parts for the htpc build today so i thought i would get a start, I was looking for some pics/guide for the htpc with the ml04B case but couldn't find any on site, just trying to figure best way for the SSD and HDD location, did you use the slot under the optical drive for the HDD and the SSD on the plastic hard drive holder?

sorry if i have missed info on site or question sounds stupid just wanted to see best way

Yes, that's right, use the 3.5" bay under the optical drive bay to mount your hard drive. That gets it out of the way, and you can't use that space for anything else anyway. The SSD can go the plastic mount, which is better for it anyway since it's much lighter than a hard drive, and you'll have a lot of motherboard cables in that general area to sort stash.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ianmcw on January 31, 2016, 09:31:08 AM
Hi Ari,

Thanks again for your quick reply :) I thought that was the way but just wanted to check as its been close to 10 years since i built my last pc

Did you have to buy longer screws for the SSD ? it seems ones supplied when go through the plastic holder only have like 1 thread to hold the ssd
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ianmcw on January 31, 2016, 01:25:02 PM
sorry another question the usb front panel connection, the board only has an optional connection so do the usb 3 front panel connect to usb2 port on mother board
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ianmcw on January 31, 2016, 02:40:25 PM
Also noticed now that only 2 sata power cables come with the PSU and i cant just use 1 for the SSD and HDD as its about 1.5" to short that means i will be 1 sata power cable short for the LG optical drive :(
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on January 31, 2016, 03:15:27 PM
sorry another question the usb front panel connection, the board only has an optional connection so do the usb 3 front panel connect to usb2 port on mother board

Also noticed now that only 2 sata power cables come with the PSU and i cant just use 1 for the SSD and HDD as its about 1.5" to short that means i will be 1 sata power cable short for the LG optical drive :(

Hi Ari,

Thanks again for your quick reply :) I thought that was the way but just wanted to check as its been close to 10 years since i built my last pc

Did you have to buy longer screws for the SSD ? it seems ones supplied when go through the plastic holder only have like 1 thread to hold the ssd

An easy solution to the multiple issues you've listed is to use double-stick tape to attach the SSD right next to the hard drive and optical drive. That's what I've done with many Silverstone cases that position the drives far apart. SSDs weigh so little that they're easy to stick on and won't be damaged if they come undone.

As for the USB 3 cable, every current board has a USB 3.0 header. On the MSI B150M Mortar (http://amzn.to/1POoLMm), for example, it's the second header up from the lower-left-hand corner in the photo below:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/A1is%2B88hFmL._SL1500_.jpg)
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: ianmcw on January 31, 2016, 04:30:58 PM
Hi Ari thx again for your replys

ok so it is the connection that says JUSB 2 not the optional connection next to power connection that says JUSB 3

I picked up some 4 pin adapters to sata for LG dvd drive
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on January 31, 2016, 05:31:00 PM
Hi Ari thx again for your replys

ok so it is the connection that says JUSB 2 not the optional connection next to power connection that says JUSB 3

I picked up some 4 pin adapters to sata for LG dvd drive

What you're seeing is a header numbering, not a reference to the USB generation. So there's a USB1, USB2, and USB3, meaning headers 1, 2, and 3. USB1 is for a USB 2.0 connector, USB2 is a USB 3.0 connector, and USB3 is an optional pin-out for use on higher-end boards (meaning this PCB is used in several models).
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: mufc on February 04, 2016, 07:58:00 AM
I am wanting to build an HTPC but I am nervous about whether it will work with my Denon AVR 1613. I recently tried a refurbished Dell E6420 Core i5 2520M with no success at gettting it to play nice with my Denon. It would hook up directly to the TV via HDMI but that is it. I tested the rear HDMI and front Aux HDMI with one of my WDTV Live boxes and the front Aux HDMI works fine. I took that Laptop back and need to try someone elses Laptop to see if I can get the Denon to work. If not then I need to consider getting another AVR. I do not want to build an HTPC until I can at least get a Laptop working the same way the HTPC would.

What do I want my HTPC to be able to do?
Run KODI and be able to play files on my LAN(Ethernet) with passthrough DTS-HD and Dolby True HD via HDMI. I have no interest in gaming.
Either play Blu-Ray by having a player as part of the HTPC or play ripped Blu-Rays from my LAN

Right now I use WDTV Live boxes but they will not pass through DTS-HD and Dolby True HD and they will not run KODI.


I have narrowed down some parts from your article and would appreciate some input. I am assuming that these cases will be fine for me as I should have no need for a dedicated Video Card. I will run Windows 10.

Part options
Core i3-6300 Processor, 3.80GHz w/ 4MB Cache       HD Graphics 530                                                                             
Core i3-6100 Processor, 3.70GHz w/ 3MB Cache     HD Graphics 530                                                                           


Motherboard MSI B150M Mortar mATX LGA1151 B150 DDR4 SATA3 2PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 HDMI DVI VGA USB3.0 Motherboard                       

Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR4-2133 MT/s (PC4-17000) CL15 SR x8 Unbuffered DIMM Desktop Memory CT2K4G4DFS8213/CT2C4G4DFS8213       
ADATA Premier Series 8GB DDR4 2133MHz Dual Channel RAM Kit (2x 4GB)                                                     
HyperX Fury 8GB DDR4 2133MHz CL14 Dual Channel Kit (2 x 4GB), Black                                                             

Crucial MX200 Series Solid State Drive, 250GB                                                                                   

Silverstone ML04B Slim HTPC Case, Black                                                                                         
Silverstone Milo ML03 MicroATX HTPC Case, Black                                                                       


Antec Basiq VP-450 450W Power Supply                                                                                           
Corsair CS Series 450 Watt ATX Modular and Efficient Power Supply CS450M                                                       
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on February 04, 2016, 09:54:12 AM
I am wanting to build an HTPC but I am nervous about whether it will work with my Denon AVR 1613. I recently tried a refurbished Dell E6420 Core i5 2520M with no success at gettting it to play nice with my Denon. It would hook up directly to the TV via HDMI but that is it. I tested the rear HDMI and front Aux HDMI with one of my WDTV Live boxes and the front Aux HDMI works fine. I took that Laptop back and need to try someone elses Laptop to see if I can get the Denon to work. If not then I need to consider getting another AVR. I do not want to build an HTPC until I can at least get a Laptop working the same way the HTPC would.

What do I want my HTPC to be able to do?
Run KODI and be able to play files on my LAN(Ethernet) with passthrough DTS-HD and Dolby True HD via HDMI. I have no interest in gaming.
Either play Blu-Ray by having a player as part of the HTPC or play ripped Blu-Rays from my LAN

Right now I use WDTV Live boxes but they will not pass through DTS-HD and Dolby True HD and they will not run KODI.


I have narrowed down some parts from your article and would appreciate some input. I am assuming that these cases will be fine for me as I should have no need for a dedicated Video Card. I will run Windows 10.

Part options
Core i3-6300 Processor, 3.80GHz w/ 4MB Cache       HD Graphics 530                                                                             
Core i3-6100 Processor, 3.70GHz w/ 3MB Cache     HD Graphics 530                                                                           


Motherboard MSI B150M Mortar mATX LGA1151 B150 DDR4 SATA3 2PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 HDMI DVI VGA USB3.0 Motherboard                       

Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR4-2133 MT/s (PC4-17000) CL15 SR x8 Unbuffered DIMM Desktop Memory CT2K4G4DFS8213/CT2C4G4DFS8213       
ADATA Premier Series 8GB DDR4 2133MHz Dual Channel RAM Kit (2x 4GB)                                                     
HyperX Fury 8GB DDR4 2133MHz CL14 Dual Channel Kit (2 x 4GB), Black                                                             

Crucial MX200 Series Solid State Drive, 250GB                                                                                   

Silverstone ML04B Slim HTPC Case, Black                                                                                         
Silverstone Milo ML03 MicroATX HTPC Case, Black                                                                       


Antec Basiq VP-450 450W Power Supply                                                                                           
Corsair CS Series 450 Watt ATX Modular and Efficient Power Supply CS450M                                                       

Your Denon AVR-1613 (http://amzn.to/1nPLCuQ) is a 2013 model, but is new enough to have built-in DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD decoding. No need for a newer receiver (there's nothing at all you gain from upgrading in regard to these sound formats).

I think one of your best bets may actually be a new Intel NUC. As stated in the Intel specifications (https://downloadmirror.intel.com/25507/eng/NUC6i5SYB_NUC6i3SYB_TechProdSpec01.pdf) (page 23), it can handle DTS-HD MA and Dolby TrueHD.

Because you will be running files off your LAN, and because you will not be gaming, you need neither large onboard storage capacity nor a discrete video card. The NUC is an elegant solution, and has plenty of decoding power. The Core i3 desktop processors you listed would be fine of course, but they are overpowered for the job you have in mind. KODI doesn't require much more power than a typical DVD player. The NUC can handle that too!

You can read more about the NUC in the NUC Buyer's Guide (http://techbuyersguru.com/intel-nuc-pc-build).
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: mufc on February 04, 2016, 11:44:11 AM
Wow! Thanks for your prompt reply. I have searched all over the Internet to answers to questions like this and there is such a rich vein of knowledge here.

Intel NUC BOXNUC6I3SYK I3-6100U 2 SODIMM Slots M.2 PCIEx4 Slot Mini-DP HDMI 6XUSB SDXC Slot
with
Intel SSD 535 Series 120GB M.2 SATA 3 Solid State Drive (SSD)
and
Kingston HyperX Impact 8GB(2X4GB) DDR4-2133 SODIMM Memory

It seems like these should work together well. As far as the Operating system goes would you recommend Windows 10 or 8.1? I have read KODI sometimes has problems with Windows 10 and some people recommend 8.1. What is you two cents on that issue?
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on February 04, 2016, 11:53:34 AM
Wow! Thanks for your prompt reply. I have searched all over the Internet to answers to questions like this and there is such a rich vein of knowledge here.

Intel NUC BOXNUC6I3SYK I3-6100U 2 SODIMM Slots M.2 PCIEx4 Slot Mini-DP HDMI 6XUSB SDXC Slot
with
Intel SSD 535 Series 120GB M.2 SATA 3 Solid State Drive (SSD)
and
Kingston HyperX Impact 8GB(2X4GB) DDR4-2133 SODIMM Memory

It seems like these should work together well. As far as the Operating system goes would you recommend Windows 10 or 8.1? I have read KODI sometimes has problems with Windows 10 and some people recommend 8.1. What is you two cents on that issue?

That would all work quite well. Indeed, the Core i3 version of the NUC is a more cost-effective solution for your needs. It's just a bit harder to find than the Core i5 version due the Skylake NUC being brand-new (and the Core i3 being the lower-volume part).

I'm not a huge fan of the Intel 535, as it's based on very old technology, and is therefore much slower than the Samsung 850 Evo M.2 listed in the guide.  If you just want a smaller model, the 850 Evo is also available in a 120GB size - here it is in the U.S. (http://amzn.to/1nQ71UF) and Canada (http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00TGIVY1G/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=15121&creative=390961&creativeASIN=B00TGIVY1G&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu06-20).

I'm not too concerned about complaints about Windows 10, with Kodi or otherwise. I'd never buy Windows 8.1 at this point. Win10 is vastly superior in so many ways. If you were really worried about it, you could get Win8.1 and use the free upgrade through July 2016 to go to Win10 once the Kodi issues are worked out, which they surely will be on a well-supported app like that one. Windows 10 is already installed on more systems than Win8.1. It's not just the future, it's the present!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: digisides on March 02, 2016, 08:06:36 PM
Thank you for all the fantastic information on your website. If I can change topic a bit, I wanted your advice.

I love your component suggestions for your current Home Theatre PC build. I'm looking for a very quiet, cool desktop that will sit on my standing desk. I may go with the Silverstone ML04 case if I use the desktop as a monitor stand but i'm also hoping to find other possibilities for smaller, quieter cases. I'm intrigued by the Sugo SG13 case that you've recommended for the $1100 Gaming/HTPC Mini-ITX but I don't plan on gaming- only some video/photo editing and general office tasks.

If I used the SG13 case instead of the ML04B, what components would you recommend? Would this case be super quiet running a Pentium I3 skylake?

Sol
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on March 02, 2016, 10:37:20 PM
Thank you for all the fantastic information on your website. If I can change topic a bit, I wanted your advice.

I love your component suggestions for your current Home Theatre PC build. I'm looking for a very quiet, cool desktop that will sit on my standing desk. I may go with the Silverstone ML04 case if I use the desktop as a monitor stand but i'm also hoping to find other possibilities for smaller, quieter cases. I'm intrigued by the Sugo SG13 case that you've recommended for the $1100 Gaming/HTPC Mini-ITX but I don't plan on gaming- only some video/photo editing and general office tasks.

If I used the SG13 case instead of the ML04B, what components would you recommend? Would this case be super quiet running a Pentium I3 skylake?

Sol

Hey there digisides,

The Silverstone ML04 (http://amzn.to/24CRTL5) is a great pick if you'd like to stand a monitor on top of your PC. That's because it's designed for stacking, and features internal cross-bracing to support the weight of a monitor.

That being said, if you don't need the height for your monitor, or just don't like that style, something like the SG1 (http://amzn.to/1TRZFNh)3 would work well for your purposes too. But there's another case I'd suggest to you: the Silverstone CS01 (http://amzn.to/1TqfDyu), which TBG recently reviewed (http://techbuyersguru.com/silverstone-cs01-mini-itx-case-review). It's really the ideal case for setting on top of your desk, due to its mini-tower format, which gives it a small footprint. It also looks fantastic. It's quite a bit more expensive than the SG13, but also has a much more premium feel.

Either way, here are the components I'd recommend you use:
(1) CPU: Core i3-6100 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015VPX2EO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B015VPX2EO&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=KYH6KAEZEJBRBGXH) - plenty of power for video/photo editing and still ultra-efficient
(2) Motherboard: ASRock H170M-ITX/DL (http://amzn.to/1TRZQbr) - nice feature set for the price
(3) SSD: Crucial BX100 250GB (http://amzn.to/24CSpZy) - absolutely the best value in mid-range SSDs right now
(4) CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-L9i (http://amzn.to/24CSpZy) - top quality heatsink that includes a voltage reduction adapter to cut noise to a minimum
(5) Memory: 2x4GB Corsair DDR4-2133 (http://amzn.to/1QUSxj9) - among the best DDR4-2133 sticks on the market (note that DDR4-2133 is as fast as the H170 chipset can support, so don't spend money on higher-frequency RAM)
(6) Power supply: Silverstone SX500-LG (http://amzn.to/24CSMU1) - with a zero-fan idle mode, it will be silent nearly all of the time
(7) OS: Windows 10 Download (http://amzn.to/1TS0pSu) - assuming you don't have a copy of Windows, this is the best alternative for this system, as you can copy it onto a thumb drive for installation (these cases don't have space for a DVD reader)

That about covers it. Just pick the case you want (SG13 or CS01), and all of the above components will work with either.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: digisides on March 07, 2016, 03:31:15 PM
Ari- Thanks again for your advice and input on this. I just completed building an adjustable standing desk for myself and DEFINITELY need a riser under my monitors so i've decided on a horizontal style HTPC case to put under one of them.

Can you think of any other shallow cases to place under the monitor as a riser besides the Silverstone ML03 and GD04/06? I've searched and search but can't find any that would hold a few drives, standard ATX power supply and look professional.

Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on March 07, 2016, 04:18:14 PM
Ari- Thanks again for your advice and input on this. I just completed building an adjustable standing desk for myself and DEFINITELY need a riser under my monitors so i've decided on a horizontal style HTPC case to put under one of them.

Can you think of any other shallow cases to place under the monitor as a riser besides the Silverstone ML03 and GD04/06? I've searched and search but can't find any that would hold a few drives, standard ATX power supply and look professional.

If you really need risers to find the ideal ergonomic position, you may want to consider a monitor stand rather than a PC case. I use the 3M Adjustable Stand (http://amzn.to/1RxsvNf) on two of my office setups and find it very effective for the price. It has three height settings, so you'd probably find the one you need.

There really aren't any cases between the ML04 and GD04 in terms of size, so if neither of those works, I don't have any other ideas. If you could use something taller than the GD04, consider the SilverStone GD09 (http://amzn.to/1TFXgGb). It's remarkably compact for a full ATX case. I have one in and will be publishing a review in the near future, so feel free to ask questions about it.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: digisides on March 21, 2016, 06:37:53 PM
I have all of my components picked out for my build but I'm stuck on picking a motherboard. You suggested the ASRock H170M-ITX/DL - however i'm willing to spend a bit more for a nicer, more stable board. I'm looking for:
-RAID support (though many say use software instead of hardware RAID- thoughts?)
-6 or more SATA ports
-6 or more USB ports
-3 or more fan headers with good software to control this.

Help?
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on March 21, 2016, 08:33:06 PM
I have all of my components picked out for my build but I'm stuck on picking a motherboard. You suggested the ASRock H170M-ITX/DL - however i'm willing to spend a bit more for a nicer, more stable board. I'm looking for:
-RAID support (though many say use software instead of hardware RAID- thoughts?)
-6 or more SATA ports
-6 or more USB ports
-3 or more fan headers with good software to control this.

Help?

The board you mention, the ASRock H170M-ITX/DL (http://amzn.to/1RgQxfT), is used in the Mini-ITX Gaming/Home Theater Build (http://techbuyersguru.com/1100-gaming-htpc-mini-itx-pc-build). RAID will not be all that feasible in an ITX case, and fan headers are a moot point as the ITX case does not have fan mounting slots. Is that the build you're interested in? This is the forum thread for the Micro ATX-based HTPC (http://techbuyersguru.com/home-theater-pc-build), which uses the MSI B150M Mortar (http://amzn.to/1RgRtRg).

As far as micro ATX boards that have all the options you're looking for, I'd suggest the MSI Z170M Mortar (http://amzn.to/1VxRvtw). It adds hardware RAID to the basic B150M Mortar feature list, which otherwise would have what you're looking for. I can't comment on software RAID, as I've only used hardware RAID. I think it's probably a good idea to have that feature if you're serious about RAID.

Also, as an FYI, more expensive boards are not necessarily more stable, although they typically do have more features.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: dvett on April 06, 2016, 09:58:07 AM
Hi all. First time on the form and looking for some advice. I am going to build my first HTPC/Plex server. I plan to follow this guide for the most part - http://techbuyersguru.com/home-theater-pc-build - with a few modifications.

I was hoping you could assist with my questions, thanks!

1. I plan to get the i5-6500 processor vs. the i3-6100 mentioned in the guide. Does this change the selection of the MSI B150M MORTAR motherboard? Any other implications of going with the other processor as it relates to the rest of the build?

2. I have a Synology NAS that I store all of my media on. I plan to have the HTPC connect directly to the router. However, my current ASUS router has all 4 ports in use as they connect to a switch that provides connections for 4 hard wired ethernet connections in my house. Would it be beneficial to get a motherboard that has 2 ethernet ports so I can connect my NAS directly to the HTPC? Or should I just simply get a switch and expand the number of ports on the router? Any speed/bandwidth considerations with either approach?

3. The other option would be to discontinue use of the NAS and just put the two drives in the NAS in the HTPC. Although I read it is beneficial to have the media store on a NAS vs. the HTPC internally. Thoughts either way on this?

Thanks!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on April 06, 2016, 12:08:47 PM
Hi all. First time on the form and looking for some advice. I am going to build my first HTPC/Plex server. I plan to follow this guide for the most part - http://techbuyersguru.com/home-theater-pc-build - with a few modifications.

I was hoping you could assist with my questions, thanks!

1. I plan to get the i5-6500 processor vs. the i3-6100 mentioned in the guide. Does this change the selection of the MSI B150M MORTAR motherboard? Any other implications of going with the other processor as it relates to the rest of the build?

2. I have a Synology NAS that I store all of my media on. I plan to have the HTPC connect directly to the router. However, my current ASUS router has all 4 ports in use as they connect to a switch that provides connections for 4 hard wired ethernet connections in my house. Would it be beneficial to get a motherboard that has 2 ethernet ports so I can connect my NAS directly to the HTPC? Or should I just simply get a switch and expand the number of ports on the router? Any speed/bandwidth considerations with either approach?

3. The other option would be to discontinue use of the NAS and just put the two drives in the NAS in the HTPC. Although I read it is beneficial to have the media store on a NAS vs. the HTPC internally. Thoughts either way on this?

Thanks!

The Intel Core i5-6500 (http://amzn.to/1MeHfEv) is the perfect CPU for a high-end HTPC due to its impressive processing power and low energy use. And you can easily use it with the B150M Mortar (http://amzn.to/1MeHxeI), as well as the recommended power supply for this build.

Given that you've already invested what was likely a substantial amount of money in your Synology NAS, you should really keep it in use. Getting an HTPC to duplicate all its functions will not be straightforward. That means your best bet, if you're not willing to use WiFi for any of your devices (such as the HTPC) will be to use a TP-Link 8-port Gigabit switch (http://amzn.to/1TCrvN4). It's very affordable and easy to set up.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: dvett on April 06, 2016, 12:59:42 PM
Thanks Ari! I have one of these laying around, will that work? http://www.amazon.com/TRENDnet-Unmanaged-Gigabit-GREENnet-TEG-S80g/dp/B001QUA6RA?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

Here is what I ended up ordering:

-MSI Computer Motherboard Micro ATX DDR4 LGA 1151 B150M MORTAR
-Intel Boxed Core I5-6500 FC-LGA14C 3.20 Ghz 6 M Processor Cache 4 LGA 1151 BX80662I56500
-Crucial MX200 250GB SATA 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive - CT250MX200SSD1
-Noctua NF-A8 FLX Premium 80mm Fan
-Silverstone Tek Aluminum Front Door/Steel Body Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML04B - Black
-Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR4-2133 MT/s (PC4-17000) CL15 SR x8 Unbuffered DIMM Desktop Memory CT2K4G4DFS8213/CT2C4G4DFS8213
-Corsair CX Series, CX430M, 430 Watt (430W), Semi Modular Power Supply, 80+ Bronze Certified
-Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 Plus with Built-In Touchpad for Internet-Connected TVs

Am I missing anything? I didn't purchase the optional CPU cooler. Will the stock i5 cooler be sufficient? This will primarily be used as a media server (no gaming, etc). Also, I only purchased 1 fan for the case. Will this be enough? Outside of the system SSD, the NAS will hold the main storage.

Thanks again! I am excited to get this built. Been using a Popcorn Hour A-300 attached to a single TV so this will be a huge upgrade so I can have a Plex server.



Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on April 06, 2016, 01:26:28 PM
Thanks Ari! I have one of these laying around, will that work? http://www.amazon.com/TRENDnet-Unmanaged-Gigabit-GREENnet-TEG-S80g/dp/B001QUA6RA?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

Here is what I ended up ordering:

-MSI Computer Motherboard Micro ATX DDR4 LGA 1151 B150M MORTAR
-Intel Boxed Core I5-6500 FC-LGA14C 3.20 Ghz 6 M Processor Cache 4 LGA 1151 BX80662I56500
-Crucial MX200 250GB SATA 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive - CT250MX200SSD1
-Noctua NF-A8 FLX Premium 80mm Fan
-Silverstone Tek Aluminum Front Door/Steel Body Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML04B - Black
-Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR4-2133 MT/s (PC4-17000) CL15 SR x8 Unbuffered DIMM Desktop Memory CT2K4G4DFS8213/CT2C4G4DFS8213
-Corsair CX Series, CX430M, 430 Watt (430W), Semi Modular Power Supply, 80+ Bronze Certified
-Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 Plus with Built-In Touchpad for Internet-Connected TVs

Am I missing anything? I didn't purchase the optional CPU cooler. Will the stock i5 cooler be sufficient? This will primarily be used as a media server (no gaming, etc). Also, I only purchased 1 fan for the case. Will this be enough? Outside of the system SSD, the NAS will hold the main storage.

Thanks again! I am excited to get this built. Been using a Popcorn Hour A-300 attached to a single TV so this will be a huge upgrade so I can have a Plex server.

You should be all set with that. The TRENDnet Gigabit Switch (http://amzn.to/1MeXiST) should work just fine, but if you already have it, why not test it out?!?  :)

And yes, you'll be fine with the stock cooler that comes with the Intel Core i5-6500 (http://amzn.to/1qsRKdT), as well as the single Noctua case fan. You'd only need more if you were running a video card in your system.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: dvett on April 06, 2016, 05:56:44 PM
Thanks Ari. One more networking question if you don't mind.

Right now in a basement closet I have a cable modem which is connected to an Asus RT-AC68U router which is connected to a 4 port switch that run to the 4 ethernet ports in various parts of my home. Since each room only has a single ethernet jack, I have 8 port switches installed in each. Since the wireless router is in the basement, I decided to re-purpose an old router (Cisco E1000) to act as a Wireless Access Point upstairs and provide a signal to the upper level.

On the main floor in my living room, I plan to have the HTPC and NAS plugged into the switch. I assume this will work fine or will I have a bottleneck with both devices sharing a single line back to the router? Eventually I might have the HTPC and NAS go directly into the Router, but for now I need them on the main floor.

Then upstairs, am I hurting my Gigabit network by having the a 10/100 Wireless Access Point attached to the switch in that room? Nothing connects to that router, it's simply a WAP. I read somewhere that if you add something that is non-Gigabit to your Gigabit network, it will decrease your speed to the fastest device on the network (10/100). I want to ensure I have a full gigabit network. Do I need to upgrade my WAP to a Gigabit router?

Thanks again!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on April 06, 2016, 11:08:25 PM
I'm really not sure if having a 10/100 device on your network will slow the entire network down to that speed, but my hunch is that it does not. You can always test this yourself simply by transferring a few large files across your intranet. Any modern hard drive would exceed the capacity of a 10/100 network in that scenario, and you'd therefore see file transfers that are slower that what the hard drive can do on a single system (about 100-150MB/s).
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: dvett on April 12, 2016, 09:57:28 AM
Thanks for all the help! I built my PC last night and it's working great.

I had a couple of questions on controlling it. I have a Harmony Home/Smart Control. I would like to program one of the activity buttons to automatically launch Plex Home Theater. As far as I know, the MSI B15M Mortar motherboard I have does not have IR or Bluetooth. Is that correct?

If so, do I buy a bluetooth or IR adapter? Is one better? I have seen this floating around - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BB0ETW8/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1944687762&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00J5NRWFO&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1AR5SQ0WVNE5052AFC37.

But my thoughts are that if Bluetooth works as well as IR, I should go that route since Bluetooth would offer additional capabilities.

Then would I just go through the Harmony set up to set up the activty? What am I missing here? I am trying to make this easy for my family to start Plex. The other option is to just leverage the Plex client on our Apple TV to play from the server instead of using PHT. Thoughts on that?

Thanks!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on April 12, 2016, 10:16:15 AM
Thanks for all the help! I built my PC last night and it's working great.

I had a couple of questions on controlling it. I have a Harmony Home/Smart Control. I would like to program one of the activity buttons to automatically launch Plex Home Theater. As far as I know, the MSI B15M Mortar motherboard I have does not have IR or Bluetooth. Is that correct?

If so, do I buy a bluetooth or IR adapter? Is one better? I have seen this floating around - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BB0ETW8/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1944687762&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00J5NRWFO&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1AR5SQ0WVNE5052AFC37.

But my thoughts are that if Bluetooth works as well as IR, I should go that route since Bluetooth would offer additional capabilities.

Then would I just go through the Harmony set up to set up the activty? What am I missing here? I am trying to make this easy for my family to start Plex. The other option is to just leverage the Plex client on our Apple TV to play from the server instead of using PHT. Thoughts on that?

Thanks!

The FLIRC (http://amzn.to/1Vk7axb) is a very popular IR receiver for HTPC users, and in fact it's mentioned as an option in TBG's HTPC Buyer's Guide! You are correct that your motherboard does not have built-in IR or Bluetooth... in fact none that I know of have IR, and only a few have Bluetooth, and they're typically much more expensive.

I really don't know of a way to issue Windows commands via Bluetooth. Perhaps it's possible, but I haven't seen it done. Unless you find others who've done it with Bluetooth, I'd go with the FLIRC. You might need to set up a hotkey combination in Windows to get PLEX to launch, as FLIRC just turns IR blasts into keyboard taps for Windows to interpret. I haven't used this combination of products (Harmony + FLIRC + Plex), but I know others have.

By the way, if you feel so inclined, I'd be happy to feature your HTPC in The Gallery (http://techbuyersguru.com/gallery) - you'd just need to send in a few photos to theguru@techbuyersguru.com.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: dvett on April 12, 2016, 10:22:57 AM
Thanks Ari!

I purchased the Logitech K400 Plus keyboard which includes a reciever, but likely just or the keyboard/mouse combo. Just wanted to add that in case that makes a difference. I am just trying to make it simple for my family to use, so for the short-term I will just have them use the Apple TV plex app while I do more research on a solution involving the remote. My family will never use anything outside of PHT, but I will access Windows regularly on the HTPC.

I'd be happy to send you a few pics of the build! Just need to work on my cable routing first!  :P

Do you have any photos you could share of the ML03/04 case showing how others have routed their cables?
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on April 12, 2016, 12:54:50 PM
Thanks Ari!

I purchased the Logitech K400 Plus keyboard which includes a reciever, but likely just or the keyboard/mouse combo. Just wanted to add that in case that makes a difference. I am just trying to make it simple for my family to use, so for the short-term I will just have them use the Apple TV plex app while I do more research on a solution involving the remote. My family will never use anything outside of PHT, but I will access Windows regularly on the HTPC.

I'd be happy to send you a few pics of the build! Just need to work on my cable routing first!  :P

Do you have any photos you could share of the ML03/04 case showing how others have routed their cables?

I don't have any photos, but if you have specific questions, I might be able to help. The hardest part may be the USB 3.0 cable, which is hard to bend into place.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: dvett on April 13, 2016, 12:26:25 PM
Did you build using this case? Perhaps a photo of yours?
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on April 13, 2016, 03:12:27 PM
Did you build using this case? Perhaps a photo of yours?

I have built HTPCs with the SilverStone GD09 ATX Case (http://amzn.to/1T4TOlb), SilverStone SG08 ITX Case (http://amzn.to/1VWuro5), SilverStone CS01 ITX Case (http://amzn.to/1T4UbMH), and SilverStone RVZ02 ITX Case (http://amzn.to/1T4TV09). I also have reader-submitted photos of the SilverStone GD05 mATX Case (http://amzn.to/1T4U6sm). Unfortunately, I don't have photos of the ML03/04 mATX Case (http://amzn.to/1VqfzQo).
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: dvett on April 17, 2016, 06:50:41 PM
I'm back! Will send photos soon of the build to feature in the gallery.

I had a question regarding storage. I need to upgrade. I currently have 2x2TB WD Red Hard Drives in a Synology NAS. I would like upgrade to 2x4TB drives in the NAS. I would love to get larger drives, but want to keep cost under $300 for both drives.

My plan is to move 1 (or both) of the WD Red drives to the HTPC. Which hard drives (2x4TB or larger) should I buy to put in the Synology? I see you recommend the Blue drives (even over the Red drives for NAS). I like the price of the 4TB Blue drives, but wasn't sure if it mattered to have 5400 vs 7200 RPM drives for the NAS? The Red Drives I have now are 5400, but I was never streaming video from them before. Going forward, the 4TB drives will serve us movies. Would you still recommend the Blue's for my NAS?

Thanks!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on April 17, 2016, 07:30:41 PM
I'm back! Will send photos soon of the build to feature in the gallery.

I had a question regarding storage. I need to upgrade. I currently have 2x2TB WD Red Hard Drives in a Synology NAS. I would like upgrade to 2x4TB drives in the NAS. I would love to get larger drives, but want to keep cost under $300 for both drives.

My plan is to move 1 (or both) of the WD Red drives to the HTPC. Which hard drives (2x4TB or larger) should I buy to put in the Synology? I see you recommend the Blue drives (even over the Red drives for NAS). I like the price of the 4TB Blue drives, but wasn't sure if it mattered to have 5400 vs 7200 RPM drives for the NAS? The Red Drives I have now are 5400, but I was never streaming video from them before. Going forward, the 4TB drives will serve us movies. Would you still recommend the Blue's for my NAS?

Thanks!

Good question!

I do like the WD Blue drives for their reliability and low noise, and the 4TB 5400RPM (http://amzn.to/22GefHK) model is right in your price range. Note that this is actually a re-branded WD Green 5400RPM drive, which was originally designed for media use in PCs, not 24/7 NAS use. It would probably do just fine in a NAS that isn't constantly hammered with reads. Of course, WD markets its Red line for NAS use, and they are also 5400RPM, but they do have a 3-year vs. 2-year warranty for the Blues, and also have NAS-specific firmware. If you're a serious NAS user, I'd probably stick with Red. The Red 4TB is $150, just making your cut-off for 8GB at $300. But why not keep one of your 2TB Red drives in your NAS, add the 6TB for $240 (http://amzn.to/1qRPHQj), which is a better value than the 4TB, and use the other 2TB drive in your HTPC? No drawback unless you're running a RAID1 in your NAS.

You definitely don't want to use 7200RPM drives in your NAS - the heat production is way too high given the close proximity and limited cooling of the drives. The faster rotational speed definitely isn't needed for video streaming.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: dvett on April 20, 2016, 02:59:00 PM
Thanks for the write-up Ari. Happy building!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on April 20, 2016, 08:43:32 PM
Thanks for the write-up Ari. Happy building!

Thanks for the photos!

Here's the direct link  (http://techbuyersguru.com/daves-media-server-htpc)for forum readers wanting to take a look!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: David on June 30, 2016, 10:04:04 AM
Hello!

Yesterday I've been searching for some reviews on Silverstone's Grandia cases (specifically GD09 and GD10) and I've stumbled upon this website and its forum. My attention has been caught by Chris' Extreme 4k Gaming HTPC (http://techbuyersguru.com/chris-extreme-4k-gaming-htpc)

I'm on the verge of upgrading my setup and I'm really strongly leaning towards getting a HTPC case. The whole component list is not that relevant in my situation, the most important parts are:

SSD: 1
HDD: 1 (optionally, additional 2 or even 3, total would be 4)
Audio Card: Creative SB Xtreme Music
CPU: Intel Core i5-4430 @ stock cooler
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B85-HD3 (http://www.gigabyte.pl/products/page/mb/ga-b85-hd3rev_20)
Power Supply: Corsair CMPSU-520HX (http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-CMPSU-520HX-Professional-Certified-compatible/product-reviews/B000I54FFS?tag=midl21-20) - I might end up changing it (might not be enough), giving it for the sake of current size
Video Card: ATM, I'm using i5's integrated HD4600 GPU. However, I'm aiming for a non-reference GTX 1070, but I'm still waiting for them to be properly available and priced (especially here, in Poland)

My current case is Thermaltake Shark - I like it, temperatures are fine, it looks cool to my taste. However, what bothers me is its size and weigth. I want something smaller and horizontal, that I can lay down on my table (heigth limits me). Since Chris' setup is nearly year old, I've got some questions:

1. How does GD09 compare to GD10? Are there any big differences? (I prefer GD09's front due to easier access to USB ports)
2. Should I get any of the two or perhaps some other new and interesting cases appeared?
3. I've also got interested in his choice of CPU cooler - was he able to close the case after all? Is it quieter than the stock one?
4. In my case, 1 SSD and 1 HDD is a minimum - would that be a problem with GD09/10? Chris' setup had only 1 SSD, which are pretty easy to install.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on June 30, 2016, 10:40:24 AM
Hello!

Yesterday I've been searching for some reviews on Silverstone's Grandia cases (specifically GD09 and GD10) and I've stumbled upon this website and its forum. My attention has been caught by Chris' Extreme 4k Gaming HTPC (http://techbuyersguru.com/chris-extreme-4k-gaming-htpc)

I'm on the verge of upgrading my setup and I'm really strongly leaning towards getting a HTPC case. The whole component list is not that relevant in my situation, the most important parts are:

SSD: 1
HDD: 1 (optionally, additional 2 or even 3, total would be 4)
Audio Card: Creative SB Xtreme Music
CPU: Intel Core i5-4430 @ stock cooler
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B85-HD3 (http://www.gigabyte.pl/products/page/mb/ga-b85-hd3rev_20)
Power Supply: Corsair CMPSU-520HX (http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-CMPSU-520HX-Professional-Certified-compatible/product-reviews/B000I54FFS?tag=midl21-20) - I might end up changing it (might not be enough), giving it for the sake of current size
Video Card: ATM, I'm using i5's integrated HD4600 GPU. However, I'm aiming for a non-reference GTX 1070, but I'm still waiting for them to be properly available and priced (especially here, in Poland)

My current case is Thermaltake Shark - I like it, temperatures are fine, it looks cool to my taste. However, what bothers me is its size and weigth. I want something smaller and horizontal, that I can lay down on my table (heigth limits me). Since Chris' setup is nearly year old, I've got some questions:

1. How does GD09 compare to GD10? Are there any big differences? (I prefer GD09's front due to easier access to USB ports)
2. Should I get any of the two or perhaps some other new and interesting cases appeared?
3. I've also got interested in his choice of CPU cooler - was he able to close the case after all? Is it quieter than the stock one?
4. In my case, 1 SSD and 1 HDD is a minimum - would that be a problem with GD09/10? Chris' setup had only 1 SSD, which are pretty easy to install.

Welcome to the TBG Forum, David!

As a matter of fact, after Chris shared his Extreme 4K Gaming HTPC (http://techbuyersguru.com/chris-extreme-4k-gaming-htpc) with TBG, we went out and purchased a SilverStone GD09 (http://amzn.to/2998iAh) case at retail, with the intention of reviewing it. It is in fact the smallest ATX case in existence, which makes it quite unique! Well, its cousin the GD10  (http://amzn.to/293jDj8)is identical other than the front panel, which actually makes the GD10 a bit larger (by a few millimeters).

We got so busy with other reviews that the GD09 has fallen off the review list for now, but I can tell you that it will work great for your setup. Its only real limitation is on CPU cooler size, but with your stock Core i5-4430 cooler, you will be fine. Chris wasn't really able to fully close the case, and no, the liquid cooler he used isn't quieter than a stock cooler. But he was running an overclocked six-core i7 processor. Your i5-4430 could practically run without a fan! Please don't get a liquid cooler for it! If you want something quieter, go with the Noctua NH-L9x65 (http://amzn.to/295EoQ2), set up with the included low-noise adapter.

That and the somewhat unusual airflow design, which goes from right to left, rather than front to back. If you use a custom GTX 1070, which will push hot air towards the CPU, you'll want to buy two additional fans, and reposition the included fan so that all air goes in that direction. In other words, the single left fan (near the PSU) will be an intake, and the two fans near the CPU will be exhausts. The case comes with a single fan near the CPU as intake, which will be completely wrong for running an open-air GTX 1070. But luckily, the GTX 1070 (of which we have two in for review!) is amazingly efficient, and will produce little waste heat.

And no, you won't have any problem with 1 SSD and 1 HD - if you had more HDs, that could get a bit more difficult. In fact, the case has a maximum of two 3.5" drives, and even then, it would be crowded if you tried to do that. Three or more will NOT fit in this case. Sorry!

Hope that helps!

P.S. Just for you, I'm providing a previously unpublished TBG photo of the GD09 in action, equipped with the largest tower-style cooler that will fit, the SilverStone AR08 (http://amzn.to/29bmJp9). In the end, I don't really recommend this setup, as the fan has to be positioned in a pull arrangement, which I do not like. With this case, I suggest a downdraft cooler (and a lower-power CPU!).

(http://techbuyersguru.com/sites/default/files/pictures/Cases/CaseReviews/SilverStoneGD09/GD09-AR08workaround.jpg)
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: David on June 30, 2016, 12:26:34 PM
Oh wow, thank you very much for such a quick and detailed answer! :)

Well, since the difference is in front, I'll most probably go with GD09. I like the one in GD10 slightly better, but 09's is more practical in my situation as I need easy access to USB ports.

You are totally right, the liquid cooling would be an overkill for this CPU. The only reason I was considering it was the noise, but since it's louder, I might consider the Noctua cooler, if not now then in a near future.

Thanks for the hints about fans placement - I'll definitely follow them after I get the case and new GPU. However, what do you mean that GPU will push the hot air into the CPU? Aren't the GPU's coolers directed towards PSU?

About the fan included with in the case - is it quiet and efficient or would you recommend changing it? And also, about the two additional fans, are the ones from Chris' setup (Arctic F12 PWM Rev. 2) still a viable option? They are pretty cheap, so I could replace the stock one as well, but I could also throw in some more cash and buy something better if it would make sense.

About the drives, I think I'll manage with SSD and HDD then. It's actually better that way - it'll force me to get rid of those old ones that have much smaller capacity :) Do I need to get any additional sleds for those or are they included?

Thanks again and sorry for so many new questions :)
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on June 30, 2016, 01:32:56 PM
Oh wow, thank you very much for such a quick and detailed answer! :)

...

Thanks for the hints about fans placement - I'll definitely follow them after I get the case and new GPU. However, what do you mean that GPU will push the hot air into the CPU? Aren't the GPU's coolers directed towards PSU?

About the fan included with in the case - is it quiet and efficient or would you recommend changing it? And also, about the two additional fans, are the ones from Chris' setup (Arctic F12 PWM Rev. 2) still a viable option? They are pretty cheap, so I could replace the stock one as well, but I could also throw in some more cash and buy something better if it would make sense.

About the drives, I think I'll manage with SSD and HDD then. It's actually better that way - it'll force me to get rid of those old ones that have much smaller capacity :) Do I need to get any additional sleds for those or are they included?

Thanks again and sorry for so many new questions :)

The open-air video card will pull in air from the power supply area and push it up towards the top of the case, and towards the CPU. That's why you must reverse the case fan orientation from the standard SilverStone uses, which is wrong for this setup. It would be fine if you weren't using a separate video card.

For your setup, I would recommend three Arctic F12 Silent fans (http://amzn.to/29bOEFz). The included SilverStone fan is good, but the Arctic is a bit better, and you'll then having matching models.

The hard drives are attached directly to the side of the chassis. No "sleds" are used for this case.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: pimjoosten on July 07, 2016, 01:01:04 PM
Hello Ari,

First of all thank you for this great site. There is much valuable information! I will make sure that when I am ordering parts from Amazon I will be doing it via your site, so you will get a kickback fee  ;)

I am very soon going to build a PC for my very first time (I used to have others do it for me based on the components I selected) and it is going to be an HTPC/File server. I am doing this step by step. I already have a case: the Silverstone GD06. Because I still have a Windows 7 Ultimate license and Microsofts free upgrade to Windows 10 only lasts less than a month, I decided I am going to buy a motherboard, CPU and memory first, build it on a piece of cardboard just to get Windows 7 and then Windows 10 activated. I have a PSU that I can use for this occasion. After havging taken care of the Windows 10 license I am going to select the other components and then build everything. I will be using Windows 7 first, but this way I have already claimed my Windows 10 license, so that I can upgrade whenever I want to without the need to buy a new Windows 10 license.

I know I have given myself quite a task building with the GD06. I have read lots of times it is a tough build, because it is so compact. I have already done quite a bit of research (long live the internet!), including TBG. In this stage where I am focusing on the motherboard and CPU I am wondering why in your HTPC build you have chosen the i3-6100 over a Pentium (e.g. the G4400). On other websites I have read that a Pentium would also be a good CPU for an HTPC. I am not going to game or edit at all. I am not a gamer and besides the HTPC I will also have a much more powerful desktop. I might want to do some transcoding on the HTPC in the future. I have read somewhere that the Pentium is able to do that, but I still need to look further into this.

The reason for choosing the Pentium is of course that it is cheaper. Also, one thing I am considering as a possible scenario is upgrading my CPU to a Kaby Lake processor in the future, as that will include 10-bit HEVC hardware decoding. I plan to use the onboard graphics of the CPU and will not be using a videocard. Upgrading is only a possible scenario, I am not yet certain about it. I also need to look into how much of the CPU of a Skylake Pentium or i3 is used when 10-bit HEVC is done by the processor itself, as Skylake does not support 10-bit HEVC hardware decoding. I would be buying a Kaby Lake processor at least 2 years from now, when they have become cheaper. I could then buy an i3 and for the mean time settle with a Pentium. I think it would be a waste of money to buy an i3 now an then another i3 2 years from now, if I could manage with a Pentium for now. Waiting with my build until Kaby Lake is available is not an option for me, I need this computer sooner than that. I do not think I will be doing any HEVC decoding very soon, but I do know it is becoming the standard.

My second question is why your advice includes a 480GB SSD and not just a smaller one that only contains the OS and programs. In my case I think a 128 GB SSD would suffice, one reason being that I still have one lying around that I can use. Like I said, I will not be gaming, it is just going to be an HTPC that also serves as a (not very intensively used) file server. As data disks I have 2 Hitachi 5K4000 3" 4TB hard disks that I am planning to use. The good thing about the GD06 is that I can always add 2 more 3" hard drives if (temporarily) needed.

I am curious about you answers.
Thanks a lot in advance!

Pim
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on July 07, 2016, 02:25:07 PM
Hello Ari,

First of all thank you for this great site. There is much valuable information! I will make sure that when I am ordering parts from Amazon I will be doing it via your site, so you will get a kickback fee  ;)

I am very soon going to build a PC for my very first time (I used to have others do it for me based on the components I selected) and it is going to be an HTPC/File server. I am doing this step by step. I already have a case: the Silverstone GD06. Because I still have a Windows 7 Ultimate license and Microsofts free upgrade to Windows 10 only lasts less than a month, I decided I am going to buy a motherboard, CPU and memory first, build it on a piece of cardboard just to get Windows 7 and then Windows 10 activated. I have a PSU that I can use for this occasion. After havging taken care of the Windows 10 license I am going to select the other components and then build everything. I will be using Windows 7 first, but this way I have already claimed my Windows 10 license, so that I can upgrade whenever I want to without the need to buy a new Windows 10 license.

I know I have given myself quite a task building with the GD06. I have read lots of times it is a tough build, because it is so compact. I have already done quite a bit of research (long live the internet!), including TBG. In this stage where I am focusing on the motherboard and CPU I am wondering why in your HTPC build you have chosen the i3-6100 over a Pentium (e.g. the G4400). On other websites I have read that a Pentium would also be a good CPU for an HTPC. I am not going to game or edit at all. I am not a gamer and besides the HTPC I will also have a much more powerful desktop. I might want to do some transcoding on the HTPC in the future. I have read somewhere that the Pentium is able to do that, but I still need to look further into this.

The reason for choosing the Pentium is of course that it is cheaper. Also, one thing I am considering as a possible scenario is upgrading my CPU to a Kaby Lake processor in the future, as that will include 10-bit HEVC hardware decoding. I plan to use the onboard graphics of the CPU and will not be using a videocard. Upgrading is only a possible scenario, I am not yet certain about it. I also need to look into how much of the CPU of a Skylake Pentium or i3 is used when 10-bit HEVC is done by the processor itself, as Skylake does not support 10-bit HEVC hardware decoding. I would be buying a Kaby Lake processor at least 2 years from now, when they have become cheaper. I could then buy an i3 and for the mean time settle with a Pentium. I think it would be a waste of money to buy an i3 now an then another i3 2 years from now, if I could manage with a Pentium for now. Waiting with my build until Kaby Lake is available is not an option for me, I need this computer sooner than that. I do not think I will be doing any HEVC decoding very soon, but I do know it is becoming the standard.

My second question is why your advice includes a 480GB SSD and not just a smaller one that only contains the OS and programs. In my case I think a 128 GB SSD would suffice, one reason being that I still have one lying around that I can use. Like I said, I will not be gaming, it is just going to be an HTPC that also serves as a (not very intensively used) file server. As data disks I have 2 Hitachi 5K4000 3" 4TB hard disks that I am planning to use. The good thing about the GD06 is that I can always add 2 more 3" hard drives if (temporarily) needed.

I am curious about you answers.
Thanks a lot in advance!

Pim

Welcome to the TBG Forum, Pim!

First of all, congrats on choosing the SilverStone GD06 (http://amzn.to/29SLAwa). It's a stylish and well-designed case.

As for your questions, let me address the three main issues I see:

(1) Windows 10 upgrade: you say you are going to run Windows 7, but "claim" your Windows 10 upgrade by July 29th, when the free upgrade expires. This is likely not possible. You must upgrade and have Windows 10 on your system by July 29th. Just "claiming" it will not be enough, as far as I understand. You could download it and not install it, but I have no idea whether this will install after July 29th, and unless you find documented proof from Microsoft directly on this issue, you should assume that this is NOT possible. And truthfully, Windows 10 is better. Yes, Windows 7 does have a few advantages in terms of DVD playback, but that isn't a major concern for most users today.

(2) The CPU: The G4400  (http://amzn.to/29SL0i4)is a very cost-effective processor, but for significant multi-tasking, as well as transcoding, you really want a little extra capability. In my experience, two threads can get overwhelmed fairly quickly, and I do not view a Pentium as a good long-term solution. The Core i3-6100 (http://amzn.to/29u8OdZ) is twice as much, and will likely be usable for twice as long. That being said, given your need for Kaby Lake's 10-bit HEVC hardware decoding and the fact that you have another more powerful desktop, the situation is completely different. If Kaby Lake arrives this Fall, it will be a miracle, given Intel's proven inability to deliver CPUs on time, but you can always hope. So grab a Pentium now, and potentially a Kaby Lake Pentium or Core i3 later this year. By the way, there's absolutely no reason to wait two years to buy Kaby Lake, for two important reasons: Intel does not reduce prices on prior-gen CPUs when new processors come out, and of course Kaby Lake will be obsolete in two years, replaced by a more powerful CPU at the same pricepoint. Get it this year or don't get it at all!

(3) SSDs: TBG's guiding principle when it comes to storage is to hit the sweet spot in terms of price, capacity, and speed. TBG can't tell you how much storage you need, only where the sweet spot is. Today, the sweet spot is 480GB. You are always welcome to choose something smaller or larger, and of course these drives will function just as well, although larger SSDs do tend to be faster than smaller SSDs of the same model. That being said, 128GB models are now terribly priced, and I do not recommend anyone buy a 128GB model brand-new. 240GB models are typically just $10 more.

By the way, thanks for supporting this site by ordering through TBG's links!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: bF22 on July 08, 2016, 01:01:43 PM
Hello Ari,

Thank you for this website, this forum, and your assiduous, generous, and unceasingly-gentle attention to this thread. It is a joy to experience your enthusiasm!

1) In the first place, I have a very basic question: I intend to assemble the July HTPC build (minus the SSD), using SilverStone GD05, but I have not put together a computer since the late 90s when I took apart and reconfigured my Gateway 2000 486sx/33. I don't even know the difference between ITX and other motherboard types. Is there a site where I could get step-by-step instructions on which cable connects to which item, when to do it, and where to screw them all into the case? I am a quick learner but left Engineering for the Humanities and have been out of the game for some time.

2) I'm trying to do this on the cheap, so I'm skipping the SSD and will try to make it also without a WiFi card, using a USB WiFi dongle instead. If this fails, I'll try to rewire my walls a bit to get my DSL modem closer to the unit for a wired connection. If, in the end, I *did* require the WiFi card, would I have to disassemble the whole HTPC to install it, or would it simply be a matter of inserting a new card on top of everything else in the case?

All the best!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on July 08, 2016, 01:37:30 PM
Hello Ari,

Thank you for this website, this forum, and your assiduous, generous, and unceasingly-gentle attention to this thread. It is a joy to experience your enthusiasm!

1) In the first place, I have a very basic question: I intend to assemble the July HTPC build (minus the SSD), using SilverStone GD05, but I have not put together a computer since the late 90s when I took apart and reconfigured my Gateway 2000 486sx/33. I don't even know the difference between ITX and other motherboard types. Is there a site where I could get step-by-step instructions on which cable connects to which item, when to do it, and where to screw them all into the case? I am a quick learner but left Engineering for the Humanities and have been out of the game for some time.

2) I'm trying to do this on the cheap, so I'm skipping the SSD and will try to make it also without a WiFi card, using a USB WiFi dongle instead. If this fails, I'll try to rewire my walls a bit to get my DSL modem closer to the unit for a wired connection. If, in the end, I *did* require the WiFi card, would I have to disassemble the whole HTPC to install it, or would it simply be a matter of inserting a new card on top of everything else in the case?

All the best!

Welcome to The TBG Forum, bF22!

I'm glad you appreciate my enthusiasm for helping PC builders. It was born of my desire to create a place where anyone could ask any tech-related question and not get berated for not already knowing the answer!

So, in that vein, here are the answers to your two excellent questions, along with an answer to another question you didn't exactly ask, about SSDs!

1) Building Help: In terms of a step-by-step guide, you might find TBG's Guide to Assembling a Basic PC (http://techbuyersguru.com/pc-builders-guides-assembling-basic-pc) helpful. Appropriately enough, it covers a lot, if not quite all, of the basics. Check it out and if you still have questions, post them here!

2) SSD: Are you suggesting using only a hard drive and no SSD? Well, I'm obligated to tell you that SSDs really do make a PC much more responsive, and quieter too. Do you have very large media storage requirements? If so, you could always get a small SSD for your OS and a larger one for your media. Quality SSDs, such as this PNY CS1311 model (http://amzn.to/29VKuQf), can be had for as little as $40 nowadays, and are a very good investment. Of course, as I suggested to the forum-goer above, 240GB and 480GB models are a better deal in terms of capacity per dollar, but if you have a strict budget, there's nothing at all wrong with a 120GB model, and I think you will find the $40 to be well spent in the long run. Windows 10 makes it very easy to set up your Documents, Music, Pictures, and Video storage on a separate drive, for example the Western Digital Blue 2TB Hard Drive (http://amzn.to/29tMVcU). All in, the storage system is just $110, and will provide great speed and flexibility.

3) WiFi: You can absolutely use a USB dongle for WiFi. In fact, most of TBG's test systems use USB WiFi adapters rather than add-in PCIe cards. It does mean you have to watch out for walking into the dongle accidentally (yes, I've done that, and the results weren't pretty!). But performance is excellent, and they are typically cheaper. Just avoid the ultra-small adapters, which look really cute but simply don't work well. If you're in the market for a new adapter, this Netgear AC1200 model (http://amzn.to/29EomuW) is currently on sale at an exceptional price. I'm almost tempted to get one as a spare! I've been using the Netgear AC1200 Beamforming (http://amzn.to/29Eoryy) model for over a year, and have been extremely impressed with it. If you wanted, you could use an internal model, and it would only require opening the case and inserting the PCIe-based card. You don't actually have to disassemble anything to add it later on.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: pimjoosten on July 13, 2016, 12:07:59 PM
Hello Ari,

Thanks for you super fast reply! I want to repeat what the previous forum contributor says:
Thank you for this website, this forum, and your assiduous, generous, and unceasingly-gentle attention to this thread. It is a joy to experience your enthusiasm!
I completely agree!

Last Saturday I had almost finished my response to your post when I had to interrupt writing to do something else. When I came back after 20 minutes I was logged off and had lost my entire post. I was counting on a browser extension to backup what I had written, but apparently it had stopped working so I lost all my work... It took me a couple of days to collect the courage again to try to write the same I had written Saturday... And yes, I now always log in with a longer log off time than 60 minutes  ;)

(1) Windows 10 upgrade: you say you are going to run Windows 7, but "claim" your Windows 10 upgrade by July 29th, when the free upgrade expires. This is likely not possible. You must upgrade and have Windows 10 on your system by July 29th. Just "claiming" it will not be enough, as far as I understand. You could download it and not install it, but I have no idea whether this will install after July 29th, and unless you find documented proof from Microsoft directly on this issue, you should assume that this is NOT possible. And truthfully, Windows 10 is better. Yes, Windows 7 does have a few advantages in terms of DVD playback, but that isn't a major concern for most users today.

Thanks for the warning but I do think it will be OK.  You can read this article by Ed Bott (http://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-lock-in-your-free-windows-10-upgrade-and-keep-using-your-old-windows-version/ (http://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-lock-in-your-free-windows-10-upgrade-and-keep-using-your-old-windows-version/)) (which Microsoft for obvious reason will not confirm as they want to have as many people as soon as possible on Windows 10). Once you claim your Windows 10 license you get a digital entitlement. It does not matter whether you immediately use it or. Even though in perhaps many ways Windows 10 is better, I still have a couple of important issues that need to be solved before I jump over. The most important is the force feeding of cumulative updates, making no distinction between security and non-security updates and even having no choice with regard to drivers. Especially with drivers I hold the position that I need to be careful, but also that I want a driver directly from the manufacturer and not from Microsoft. I have had a couple of cases where an newer driver version had issues that were not present in the older version. Besides that I also read stories about Microsoft insisting on installing an older driver version via Windows Update than was available from the manufacturer. I think Microsoft really needs to deal with Windows 10 updates a bit different than they do now and hopefully they do before Windows 7 EOL in 2020.

(2) The CPU: The G4400  (http://amzn.to/29SL0i4)is a very cost-effective processor, but for significant multi-tasking, as well as transcoding, you really want a little extra capability. In my experience, two threads can get overwhelmed fairly quickly, and I do not view a Pentium as a good long-term solution. The Core i3-6100 (http://amzn.to/29u8OdZ) is twice as much, and will likely be usable for twice as long. That being said, given your need for Kaby Lake's 10-bit HEVC hardware decoding and the fact that you have another more powerful desktop, the situation is completely different. If Kaby Lake arrives this Fall, it will be a miracle, given Intel's proven inability to deliver CPUs on time, but you can always hope. So grab a Pentium now, and potentially a Kaby Lake Pentium or Core i3 later this year. By the way, there's absolutely no reason to wait two years to buy Kaby Lake, for two important reasons: Intel does not reduce prices on prior-gen CPUs when new processors come out, and of course Kaby Lake will be obsolete in two years, replaced by a more powerful CPU at the same pricepoint. Get it this year or don't get it at all!

Thanks for this info. I did not know that Intel does not reduce prices on prior-gen CPU's. I did some more research and found that the rumours say that Kaby Lake CPU's will probably also support HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2. Now what I do not know, and I am hoping you do, is whether the HDMI port on the motherboard then will become HDMI 2.0 and DHCP 2.2 HDMI ports or not. I do not know whether the chipset also influences this or not. I do know (well, read about the rumours  ;) ) that new 200 series chipset motherboards likely will be available when Kaby Lake comes out, but (again rumours) it is said that the improvement of that chipset will be mainly an increased I/O performance to be able to suit the new XPoint memory architecture (Optane SSD's). If this route (first Skylake Pentium, then Kaby Lake i3) might work it would definitely be a better choice I think and at least worthwhile to take the chance.

Thanks again for your reply!

Pim
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on July 13, 2016, 01:12:54 PM
Pim,

So sorry the forum timed out on you. I will look into whether I can change the default time limit on that.

Good to hear you found some evidence that Windows 10 can be claimed but not used. That being said, I'm not sure the ZDNet author knows for sure this will work. It's a bit of conjecture on his part. You see, once you roll back to Windows 7, as he suggests, there isn't going to be a way to upgrade again for free. He implies you can use a Windows 10 USB install tool, but he's wrong. I have the tool, and it requires a license key right from the start, which you will not have. Yes, the Windows rollback dialog box says "come back to Windows 10 anytime," but this isn't necessarily an offer for another free shot at Windows 10. I'm pretty shocked he didn't complete the process by downgrading and then doing exactly what he's telling readers is possible: upgrading again. The only thing he's definitely right about is that you can make an image of the Windows 10 install, downgrade, and then re-image your OS drive when you're ready to upgrade, but you'll lose all the new data you've accumulated on that drive since downgrading.

I'd proceed with caution if Windows 10 is important to you, but as it seems you prefer W7 at the moment, losing that upgrade may not be a big deal.

As for HDMI 2.0, that will be a long-overdue upgrade to the Intel platform, but yes, it will probably require a new motherboard (X200). Even if Kaby Lake supports HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2, the port itself is part of the chipset and will need to conform to the new spec. While the video processing takes place in the CPU, my educated guess, it's just a guess, is that the chipset does some of the signal processing. That's based on the fact that a few select Z170 boards already include HDMI 2.0, like this Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 (http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=5481#ov).
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: bF22 on July 23, 2016, 01:14:06 PM
Dear Ari,

Newbie bF22 here again. I have purchased all the components (including the SSD) and have begun to assemble the SilverStone GD05 HTPC from your July listing. The components relevant to my question are these:

* Power Supply = Corsair CX450M (I'm using the Power cable for SATA drives that was included with this one. It has multiple power outputs strung along the length of the cable. The short story is that they are not oriented properly to enable me to power the SSD when the SSD is mounted on the mounting that is supplied with the GD05 case.

* SSD = 2.5" Toshiba OCZ TR150 (as recommended).

* HDD = Western Digital Blue 3GB (as recommended).

I have four questions:

1) How must I position the 2.5" SSD and the 3.5" HDD in the SilverStone GD05 case so that the power cable included with the Corsair will be able to connect to both drives (especially that 2.5" drive). Right now, the SSD is flush with the panel on which it is supposed to be mounted, but the orientation of the SATA/Power outlet on the SSD is such that the power cable that came with the Corsair cannot actually fit into the outlet without bending so far that the plastic would break. If the drive were flipped on its back, then it the orientation would be great, but of course there are no screw holes on the back of the SSD. Is there a particular separate cable that you would recommend I purchase? Could somebody show me a photo?

2) You recommended one StarTech 12" cable but here I am with (apparently) three items that need a SATA cable: The optical drive (LG bluray), the 2.5" SSD, and the 3.5" HDD. Must I purchase two more cables or am I missing something about how this is done?

3) The BT150M motherboard has attachment points for fan cables but they have four pins so that the speed of the fan can be controlled. There are two such attachment points. There are three fans in the GD05 case, and all of them have 3-pin cables, which means that if I were to choose two fans to connect to the motherboard, they would run at max speed. Should I instead wire them directly into the power supply with the cable that came with the GD05 case?

4) Last question: How aggressive can I be about bending these cables to get them out of the way. I am very wary lest I crimp or damage them. Moreover, the corner of the motherboard near the USB and SATA attachment is not supported (no hole in the GD05 case at that point) and I'm worried that if I put lots of torque on the cables I will torque the board.

Like I said, I'm a newbie, but I want to learn.

Thanks!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on July 23, 2016, 02:37:43 PM
bF22,

Glad you got your PC build started. I think I can help you with these questions:

(1) the SSD mount is a problem, but it's not unique to this build. The only photos of this build on TBG are in the Gallery (http://techbuyersguru.com/barrys-high-end-home-theater-pc), and unfortunately you can't see the SSD in them. I've had the very same problem you're describing (insufficient clearance for the SATA power cable connector) on numerous builds, including big ATX cases I've reviewed with dedicated SSD mounts, like the NZXT S340 (http://techbuyersguru.com/nzxt-s340-atx-case-review) and SilverStone PM01 (http://techbuyersguru.com/silverstone-primera-pm01-atx-case-review). This is an issue manufactuers are going to have to learn to address sooner or later: you can't simply surface-mount an SSD, as cool as that may seem on a spec sheet or marketing photos that include no cabling!

I suggest you either use the last SATA cable connector in the chain, or if that doesn't have the right orientation or reach, just use double-stick tape to mount the SSD elsewhere in the case.

(2) The other two SATA cables are in the box with your motherboard. Just look under the cardboard divider and you'll find them!

(3) You can use four-pin fan headers with 3-pin fans, and you'll still be able to control the fan speed. The GD05's generous number of fans does mean, however, that the B150M Mortar motherboard  (http://amzn.to/2a3JWpX)doesn't have quite enough fan headers for the case and CPU, and no motherboard in this price class would. You can wire one of the fans to the power supply, and it will run at full speed. I'd choose the single fan on the left, since it's on its own.

(4) Did you double-check whether additional mother standoffs came in the box with the case? Those could potentially help support the motherboard's far edge. For some reason, SilverStone doesn't pre-install all the standoffs that a standard mATX board requires. That would help you press down on the motherboard power cables. If there are no more standoffs, then just keep one finger under the board to help support it as you push the cables in. The hardest cable to bend out of the way is the usb 3.0 cable, which is pretty stiff, but the others can be easily maneuvered out of the way.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: bF22 on July 23, 2016, 06:01:43 PM
Ari,

Thanks so much for your prompt and helpful reply.

1) I will simply flip the SSD over and use double-faced tape as you recommend. I am intrigued by the TGB Gallery build, as it appears that the SSD has been mounted with the mounting-screws. Again I wonder: Are there slimmer power cables that could be used? Of course, introducing yet another cable to the box means more of a headache for getting cables out of the way.

2) I found the other SATA cables. Thanks! As for the power chain, is that chain supposed to supply power also to the optical drive, far away on the other side of the case?

3) Thanks for the tips on the fans.

4) There is one additional stand-off, but there is no hole in the case into which I could screw it. If I used it under the motherboard, it would be slightly higher than the other standoffs and would torque the board, I fear. I'll support the board with my finger.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on July 23, 2016, 11:05:20 PM
Ari,

Thanks so much for your prompt and helpful reply.

1) I will simply flip the SSD over and use double-faced tape as you recommend. I am intrigued by the TGB Gallery build, as it appears that the SSD has been mounted with the mounting-screws. Again I wonder: Are there slimmer power cables that could be used? Of course, introducing yet another cable to the box means more of a headache for getting cables out of the way.

2) I found the other SATA cables. Thanks! As for the power chain, is that chain supposed to supply power also to the optical drive, far away on the other side of the case?

3) Thanks for the tips on the fans.

4) There is one additional stand-off, but there is no hole in the case into which I could screw it. If I used it under the motherboard, it would be slightly higher than the other standoffs and would torque the board, I fear. I'll support the board with my finger.

I think the easiest solution for the SATA power cable issues you're having (both orientation and length) is to buy a simple splitter, like this Startech model (http://amzn.to/29WN8nQ). It will give you a little additional length, and can also lay flat - none of those annoying 90-degree bends in the cables. You might pick up two if you think you'll need one for the SSD and one to reach to the optical drive and hard drive.

I realize it's a bit of a hassle to get everything set up, but once you have it all working, I think you'll agree that it was worth it!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: mudsloth on July 25, 2016, 08:22:15 PM
I have a question about the current build guide. The recommendation for the i3-6100 says that it's fully capable of 4K/60Hz/4:4:4 video using the DisplayPort -> HDMI adapter that's linked in the guide, but the motherboard that's recommended does not have a DisplayPort on it. Is this an oversight? How is it recommended to use that adapter with nowhere to plug it in? What's the point of a CPU that can handle that output if you need a separate video card to get the port that can provide that output?
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on July 25, 2016, 09:40:33 PM
I have a question about the current build guide. The recommendation for the i3-6100 says that it's fully capable of 4K/60Hz/4:4:4 video using the DisplayPort -> HDMI adapter that's linked in the guide, but the motherboard that's recommended does not have a DisplayPort on it. Is this an oversight? How is it recommended to use that adapter with nowhere to plug it in? What's the point of a CPU that can handle that output if you need a separate video card to get the port that can provide that output?

Thanks for that good, close reading, because you just found a mistake in the guide! Yes, indeed, you need a motherboard with a DisplayPort out to take advantage of the DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 converter, and there's only one B150 mATX board on the market that has such an output, the Asus B150M-C (http://amzn.to/2aGN4Ki). But it's not as good as an HTPC board due to lower-end audio, so it's not ideal for this build. The only other option is the AsRock H170M Pro4 (http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/7120282/type/dlg/http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157641&ignorebbr=1), which on paper is a great board, but gets bad user reviews, so it probably won't make it into this guide. Because I can't wholeheartedly recommend a board to go with the converter, I've just pulled the reference to it in the guide.

It is not true that you need a video card, however, to take advantage of 4K/60Hz/4:4:4. The problem is that motherboard manufacturers are not focusing on the HTPC market with their mATX boards, which is a shame. You are welcome to use either of the boards mentioned above with the converter, however, if you're looking for 4K/60Hz output without a video card.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: bF22 on July 26, 2016, 09:42:31 AM
Ari,

I just wanted to thank you for all of your advice. I have completed the build and it works very well. Despite the claims in the MSI Mortar motherboard manual, the 3-pin fans *do* control their speed dynamically.

Connecting the drives to the SATA data cord was a perfectly awful experience. I think that I twisted it twice to orient it properly for the three drives, even after attaching the SSD drive with double-faced tape at a crazy angle. If only the power supply had shipped with a single port and a couple of flat splitters. I would highly recommend that you add a splitter to your build guide.

Two more questions:

1) I note that you do not recommend arctic silver in the build guide. Do I infer correctly that you believe the contact between fan and chip to be sufficient as-is from the factory?

2) Is there a safe and reliable way to acquire free software for playing Blu-Ray discs? Or must one simply shell out another $75 for PowerDVD? If the latter, then I highly recommend that you add PowerDVD as a recommended item on the build guide. Not seeing it, I had assumed that Kodi/XMBC would be sufficient, which I have since discovered not to be the case.

Thanks again!

Thanks!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: mudsloth on July 26, 2016, 10:11:40 AM
Thanks for that good, close reading, because you just found a mistake in the guide! Yes, indeed, you need a motherboard with a DisplayPort out to take advantage of the DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 converter, and there's only one B150 mATX board on the market that has such an output, the Asus B150M-C (http://amzn.to/2aGN4Ki). But it's not as good as an HTPC board due to lower-end audio, so it's not ideal for this build. The only other option is the AsRock H170M Pro4 (http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/7120282/type/dlg/http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157641&ignorebbr=1), which on paper is a great board, but gets bad user reviews, so it probably won't make it into this guide. Because I can't wholeheartedly recommend a board to go with the converter, I've just pulled the reference to it in the guide.

It is not true that you need a video card, however, to take advantage of 4K/60Hz/4:4:4. The problem is that motherboard manufacturers are not focusing on the HTPC market with their mATX boards, which is a shame. You are welcome to use either of the boards mentioned above with the converter, however, if you're looking for 4K/60Hz output without a video card.
Thanks for the quick and informative response! It's a real shame there there are only a couple options for that right now. I'm a bit surprised that, with the powerful CPUs that exist, there doesn't seem to be any real focus on motherboards for HTPCs to output video via DisplayPort or HDMI 2.0.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on July 27, 2016, 08:36:04 AM
Thanks for that good, close reading, because you just found a mistake in the guide! Yes, indeed, you need a motherboard with a DisplayPort out to take advantage of the DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 converter, and there's only one B150 mATX board on the market that has such an output, the Asus B150M-C (http://amzn.to/2aGN4Ki). But it's not as good as an HTPC board due to lower-end audio, so it's not ideal for this build. The only other option is the AsRock H170M Pro4 (http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/7120282/type/dlg/http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157641&ignorebbr=1), which on paper is a great board, but gets bad user reviews, so it probably won't make it into this guide. Because I can't wholeheartedly recommend a board to go with the converter, I've just pulled the reference to it in the guide.

It is not true that you need a video card, however, to take advantage of 4K/60Hz/4:4:4. The problem is that motherboard manufacturers are not focusing on the HTPC market with their mATX boards, which is a shame. You are welcome to use either of the boards mentioned above with the converter, however, if you're looking for 4K/60Hz output without a video card.
Thanks for the quick and informative response! It's a real shame there there are only a couple options for that right now. I'm a bit surprised that, with the powerful CPUs that exist, there doesn't seem to be any real focus on motherboards for HTPCs to output video via DisplayPort or HDMI 2.0.

If you're interested in using HDMI 2.0, there are definitely a few options. Intel really hasn't supported it, and is only now, with Kaby Lake processors arriving this fall, marketing the HDMI 2.0 aspects. but some high-end ATX boards have had HDMI 2.0 since last year, like the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 (http://amzn.to/2a4K7BH). But that's not an HTPC-focused product.

Users interested in a compact HTPC with HDMI 2.0 have had two options. First, they could use add-in Nvidia video cards, which have supported HDMI 2.0 since Sept. 2014, but only on full-height cards like the GTX 950 (http://amzn.to/2axwuNJ). Alternatively, they could use the Accell converter (http://amzn.to/2abzH9e), released in January 2016, with a motherboard that has DisplayPort. One such product is the Asus Z170I Pro Gaming (http://amzn.to/2ah8nnO), a high-end ITX board. With this second option, you can build very small HTPCs that support HDMI 2.0 HDTVs.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: gimlet72 on July 28, 2016, 10:56:06 AM
I am going to be building an HTPC soon. The space I have to put it is limited. If I did your build (the basic components) would it fit in the silverstone ML08 case?
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on July 28, 2016, 01:37:09 PM
I am going to be building an HTPC soon. The space I have to put it is limited. If I did your build (the basic components) would it fit in the silverstone ML08 case?

Welcome to The TBG Forum, gimlet72!

There are two HTPC-specific builds on TBG, the $650 mATX-based HTPC (http://techbuyersguru.com/650-home-theater-pc-build) that uses the SilverStone ML04 case (http://amzn.to/2a2VaQl), and the $750 ITX high-end HTPC (http://techbuyersguru.com/750-high-end-home-theater-mini-itx-pc-build) that uses the ML08 chassis (http://amzn.to/2afw0iJ). Unfortunately, these are not interchangeable.

The good news, however, is that you can bring the price of the high-end HTPC down very close to the standard HTPC by substituting the Core i3-6100 processor (http://amzn.to/2azEtgu) for the Core i5-6600 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0136JONRM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0136JONRM&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=QPG5TRS65I6KIVOZ). This change alone reduces the cost by $110, and nothing else needs to be changed for it to work. Now, if you still needed a mechanical hard drive, which only the $650 version has, you could cut your SSD cost in half by going with a 240GB model (http://amzn.to/2aBzeto) rather than the 480GB model listed in the guide, and use the money to buy a 2.5" 1TB hard drive (http://amzn.to/2azGxFa).
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: tgiang1987 on August 13, 2016, 02:00:14 PM
With the $650 -htpc if I wanna play good 4k, which GPU I should buy? Do I need to upgrade anything? Thank you!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on August 13, 2016, 02:19:44 PM
With the $650 -htpc if I wanna play good 4k, which GPU I should buy? Do I need to upgrade anything? Thank you!

By "play good 4K" do you mean movies or games? And is output going to a 4K monitor or a 4K HDTV? Whether you need a video card, and which type you need, will depend on exactly what kind of use you have in mind.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: tgiang1987 on August 13, 2016, 03:16:52 PM
I dont playing game, so all I need is for movie. And the output is for Tv. Im looking around and see some GPU under 200. But I dont know which should is the best and compatible with your suggestion.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on August 13, 2016, 06:14:09 PM
I dont playing game, so all I need is for movie. And the output is for Tv. Im looking around and see some GPU under 200. But I dont know which should is the best and compatible with your suggestion.

You can use the built in hdmi output on this build's motherboard to output 4K at 30Hz, which should be fine for video. To get 60Hz output, you'd need to choose the larger case in the guide and add the optional GTX 950 video card.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: T-City on July 05, 2017, 12:39:29 PM
Hello. First off let me say thank you for developing this site. It was one of a couple sites I consulted when choosing components for a HTPC build back in January/February, and was highly useful. Im glad I could find the site again, and am happy you have a forum to discuss the various builds.

Basics of my HTPC build ML03B case, Asus B250M-A mobo, core i5-7500 with stock cooler, 2x4GB RAM, new M.2 SSD and some old media drives from my old HTPC (ancient desktop), etc The original intent for this build was to be primarily a media server capable of transcoding multiple streams at once to Plex clients, with 4K potential, light gaming potential, and upgrade potential. Now, Im starting to get back into gaming and my son is getting older and his games are getting more resource-heavy. With steam in-home streaming being as awesome as it is, Im thinking its time to add a video card and another 16 GB of RAM to the system to allow us to do some light-medium duty gaming on our client PCs. 

Since there are a few people on here who have experience with this case and setup, Im hoping you can provide some insight on a few things Im mulling over:

1.   Clearly the 1050 Ti 4 GB low profile cards are the best choice. Ive noticed that since MSI released its version other vendors have now followed suit. There are some minor price differences which could make me lean toward one over the other (i.e. Zotac), but are there any other considerations? It has been a number of years since I bought a video card, and the last one was just to get HDMI out from an old desktop, so Im not aware if some brands are more trusted than others, or if performance will basically be the same across all brands. Also, are there any of the 1050 Ti low profile cards that wont fit with the ML03B case and B250M-A mobo? There seems to be enough space but I havent seen any of the cards in person yet.

2.   Cooling... I plan on getting an aftermarket cooler at some point, but not right away (that and a blu-ray drive will probably be next on the list). Im fine with the stock cooler as I wont be able to overclock anyway - I just might get sick of the noise at some point. More importantly, Im wondering about fans. I currently have one 80mm PWM fan mounted as exhaust, but am thinking I should add more with the video card and RAM. This is a weird case with all fans being mounted on one side. Does anyone have a preferred fan orientation? Should I be going with four fans or will two be sufficient? Im thinking of mounting two as intake near the CPU and two as exhaust near the drive bracket (or one and one). Does this make sense in terms of airflow inside the case and overall cooling capacity? Will the system get much louder than it currently is when being taxed? Will the PWM control keep the fans at a low enough speed to not be that noticeable during normal activities?

I realize you may not have answers to all of the above, and that some of it (such as noise) comes down to personal preference/tolerance. If you can provide any comments or insight at all it would be appreciated. Thanks for reading!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on July 05, 2017, 01:39:31 PM
The GTX 1050 Ti 4GB low profile is absolutely the card to go with for your system. It's far faster than anything else that's ever been available in that form factor. Unfortunately, due to the cryptocurrency mining craze currently in effect, you can't buy one.

But when they eventually come back in stock, the MSI GTX 1050 Ti LP (http://amzn.to/2sr1jer) is probably the best option, as MSI tends to have the best handle on minimizing fan noise. You also have the option of the Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti 4GB LP (http://amzn.to/2sr1jer), but its single fan may need to run faster and louder to get the same thermals. I don't know that Zotac has a low profile 1050 Ti (I've seen the 1050 listed), but at the same price, the MSI would be the way to go.

I agree that cooling a slim case with fan mounts on only one side is a bit tricky, and will get trickier with a video card installed. Because the fans are on the exhaust side of the open-air video card, you'll want to set all fans to exhaust, as intake will just be fighting with the air coming off the video card. Luckily it's not a high-wattage card, so it won't be a major issue. A lot of people are drawn to coolers such as the Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B (http://amzn.to/2tJzzp3), which do provide a nice upgrade in cooling. The problem is that they are inherently not quiet, due to the this bearings used in their fans. Improved cooling and improved noise do not necessarily go hand in hand. If you want quiet, go for the Noctua NH-L9x65 (http://amzn.to/2uLC8Uy).
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: T-City on July 05, 2017, 03:14:48 PM
Hi Ari,

Thanks for the reply. You convinced me to go with MSI. The price difference wasn't major (less than $20 last I checked). For info, here is the Zotac, which I also found on Newegg: https://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-GeForce-Profile-Graphics-ZT-P10510E-10L/dp/B06XHZ29N5 (http://amzn.to/2urjd21).

Thanks for the suggestion on cooling. Makes a lot of sense to orient all the fans as exhaust. Do you recommend using 4 fans or would 2 be sufficient?  Looks like the card only draws 75 W. Although I'm not a stickler about fan noise, it's primary use will still be as a HTPC connected to my AVR.

Thanks again!
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: Ari Altman on July 05, 2017, 03:31:03 PM
Hi Ari,

Thanks for the reply. You convinced me to go with MSI. The price difference wasn't major (less than $20 last I checked). For info, here is the Zotac, which I also found on Newegg: https://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-GeForce-Profile-Graphics-ZT-P10510E-10L/dp/B06XHZ29N5 (http://amzn.to/2urjd21).

Thanks for the suggestion on cooling. Makes a lot of sense to orient all the fans as exhaust. Do you recommend using 4 fans or would 2 be sufficient?  Looks like the card only draws 75 W. Although I'm not a stickler about fan noise, it's primary use will still be as a HTPC connected to my AVR.

Thanks again!

Thanks for providing the link to the Zotac model - I was finding it because it's sold out, like all other 1050 Ti models.

I'd suggest you start out with two fans, and the next step would be upgrading the CPU cooler. That's going to make a bigger difference than adding another two case fans.
Title: Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
Post by: T-City on July 05, 2017, 04:40:56 PM
Thanks. I'll go with two and probably pick up a better cooler sooner rather than later. It certainly is the loudest component in the system by far. Some sites have the MSI cards listed as being in stock - maybe the gold diggers will move on soon!