Author Topic: The TBG Home Theater PC Build  (Read 29983 times)

mudsloth

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #105 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?

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #106 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. 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, 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.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2016, 07:27:14 AM by Ari Altman »

bF22

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #107 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!

mudsloth

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #108 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. 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, 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.

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #109 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. 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, 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. 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. Alternatively, they could use the Accell converter, released in January 2016, with a motherboard that has DisplayPort. One such product is the Asus Z170I Pro Gaming, a high-end ITX board. With this second option, you can build very small HTPCs that support HDMI 2.0 HDTVs.

gimlet72

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #110 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?

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #111 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 that uses the SilverStone ML04 case, and the $750 ITX high-end HTPC that uses the ML08 chassis. 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 for the Core i5-6600. 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 rather than the 480GB model listed in the guide, and use the money to buy a 2.5" 1TB hard drive.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 01:42:51 PM by Ari Altman »

tgiang1987

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #112 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!

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #113 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.

tgiang1987

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #114 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.

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #115 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.

T-City

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #116 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. Iím glad I could find the site again, and am happy you have a forum to discuss the various builds.

Basics of my HTPC build Ė 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), etcÖ 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, Iím 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, Iím thinking itís 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, Iím hoping you can provide some insight on a few things Iím mulling over:

1.   Clearly the 1050 Ti 4 GB low profile cards are the best choice. Iíve 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 Iím 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 wonít fit with the ML03B case and B250M-A mobo? There seems to be enough space but I havenít 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). Iím fine with the stock cooler as I wonít be able to overclock anyway - I just might get sick of the noise at some point. More importantly, Iím 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? Iím 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 ďnormalĒ 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!

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #117 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 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, 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, 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.

T-City

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #118 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.

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!
« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 03:29:49 PM by Ari Altman »

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Home Theater PC Build
« Reply #119 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.

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.