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Building New HTPC, need advise

inovice

Junior Member
Mar 12, 2013
15
0
0
Hello,

This is my first time to build HTPC. I am planning to build a basic HTPC with the parts below to watch movies and for light gaming I will use onboard Intel Graphics HDMI out to connect to my LG 42 inch TV or now. I need some advice whether the parts are fine or need to be changed. Appreciate your help:biggrin:

Mobo MSI Z87i (USD 128)
RAM Corsair XMS 1600 4GB x2 (USD 58)
Case Fractal Node 304 (USD 89)
PSU Antec Earth Watt Green EA 380 (USD 49)
Samsung SSD EVO 120 GB (USD 99)

Total USD 423

Items that I already have
Processor Intel i7 4770K (used item, cheap purchase from ebay)
Rocket RAID 2640X4 (used item, purchased online)

Old hardwares
I have 4 HDDs (3 x 750GB and 1 x 1TB)

My idea is to install the raid card and do raid 5 with 3 HDD to store data, and keep 1TB as well for normal stuffs.

Please let me know if the parts will work ok. Thanks
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
641
121
Seems good, mobo is a little expensive but seems good. It's the exact same type of build I did.

I got a Fractcal case, I got a Samsung SSD as well, 8 GB of ram, I went with a coolermaster PSU but well anythign works as long as you have enough power. Personally, I'd go with a larger PSU, then I'd get a video card like a HD7870 that isn't expensive later down the road.
I'd rather do light gaming with a decent video card than integrated graphics card but that's just me.

My build was this:
Asus Z87A mobo
8GB of ram (no clue the brand I forget)
Fractal Design define R4
CoolerMaster PSU (Like 800 watts, I'm always scared of running out of power)
Samsung SSD 240 GB
Sapphire HD7950.
i74770K

For your current build though, I wouldn't have gotten such a powerful processor or even went with Intel TBH. I think going with an APU would have been a better fit for light gaming.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,214
38
91
Mobo MSI Z87i (USD 128)
RAM Corsair XMS 1600 4GB x2 (USD 58)
Case Fractal Node 304 (USD 89)
PSU Antec Earth Watt Green EA 380 (USD 49)
Samsung SSD EVO 120 GB (USD 99)

Total USD 423

Items that I already have
Processor Intel i7 4770K (used item, cheap purchase from ebay)
Rocket RAID 2640X4 (used item, purchased online)

Old hardwares
I have 4 HDDs (3 x 750GB and 1 x 1TB)

My idea is to install the raid card and do raid 5 with 3 HDD to store data, and keep 1TB as well for normal stuffs.

Please let me know if the parts will work ok. Thanks
The only MSI mITX Z87 board I see is $195... serious overkill for an HTPC. I'll also say that an i7 is serious overkill as well, unless you plan on doing a lot of video encoding or something. I run my HTPC with a 2-core Pentium and it never breaks a sweat.

You didn't mention what games you'll be playing, the Intel iGPU can handle HTPC duties pretty well, but it's really going to fall short on gaming... depending on what the games are. I speak from experience... I used the iGPU on my 2500K to run MW1 & 2 until I could afford a GPU; it ran them, but it isn't what I would call an ideal setup.

I would probably drop the Antec PSU for a simple Corsair CX430... around $20 on sale w/rebate. It would give you a little overhead if you wind up having to install a GPU.

You also didn't mention what your storage is for... if you plan on storing ripped DVD content, you are going to need more storage than what you have... and, honestly, I think the RAID 5 array is a little silly for an HTPC. You could easily go with 2x 2TB drives in RAID 1 (no controller needed, I believe, with Z87, ) your SSD, and have all your bases covered. I also don't really want to think about the wiring for 5 drives in that tiny mITX case.

In answer to your question... yes, the parts you have listed will work, but there is some fat that could be trimmed, and, unless I'm missing something, I feel you should rethink your storage.
 

inovice

Junior Member
Mar 12, 2013
15
0
0
Hello,

Thank you all for your feedback, appreciate it. The MSI Z87i board has dual LAN ports and good features overall for $128. Hence I decided to go with MSI (but not purchased yet). I do not have wifi, I have a core 2 duo HP laptop and MacMini with i5 and Radeon HD 6630M as my main desktop, all wired to a 8-port HP switch. I want to use dual LAN port teaming for fast transfer speed in between over ethernet.

I cannot expand the internal storage or upgrade MacMini & laptop, due to limited space inside the case. I am planning to build the HTPC as a file storage unit as well as a video conversion machine. So besides watching movies, it will function as a file server/media server and I would be able to pull files/copy files to it.

I play Sleeping Dogs, Battlefield, Crysis and Bioshock on low resolution (I have a Lenovo 1600 x 1200 monitor). I read good reviews on HD 4600 for gaming, should be enough for gaming on low res on my TV. I want to use my old HDDs in raid configuration with Highpoint Card for good read performance (raid 0 or 5) and then keep my 1TB to store media and important files for now (overall I will use 4 x 3.5" HDD space inside the case, 1.5 x 3.5" HDD space will be left after I place my main SSD inside). Mobo has only 4 SATA 3.0, I will use 1 for my main OS SSD and I can later populate the remaining space with 2.5" SSD in the case.

As mentioned, I will also use HTPC for movie conversion, for watching HD videos and also streaming contents, hopefully I would be able to play 4K video in the future. Dual LAN ports and having i7 4770 would help me in my situation, raid performance would be a plus for streaming content (from HTPC to Mac/Laptop). I have considered AMD APUs, but the raw cpu power for movie conversion is not as good as i7 4770.

I have done some changes on the config based on your comments, please see below.

Mobo MSI Z87i (USD 128)
RAM Patriot Signature 1600 4GB x2 (USD 46)
Case Fractal Node 304 (USD 89)
PSU Antec Neo HE550 550 Watts (used ebay item, USD 35)
Samsung SSD EVO 120 GB (USD 99)

Total USD 397

Now, I am still not sure on 2 items;

1. I was going to use the Intel factory Heat Sink for the CPU. But apparently it will be good to use an aftermarket cooler. Which one should I buy?

2. Based on reviews, the case fans are loud under medium and max settings, I have not bought the case yet. Could you please let me know whether the fans are noisy? Should I replace the original ones?

Thanks again for your feedback, it really helps.
 

Alan G

Member
Apr 25, 2013
127
0
0
I've built a couple of work stations with the Node 304 case and it's easy to build in. At the medium speed there is very little fan noise, don't know about the high speed as they are not used. Certainly for HTPC use, you only need to run it on low. I would be very concerned about putting a used PSU into this build unless you are very confident that it's in good shape; I don't know how old this Antec model is (I don't use anything other than Seasonic and in this mITX build I use their G360 PSU which is fine as long as you are not driving a GPU). On all my builds at this size, I use the Intel stock cooler and it's fine but these are not gaming units only work stations or HTPC (all with i3 3225 CPUs). This case can take a number of other CPU coolers but you need to be careful to look at the MoBo layout to make sure there is no interference with RAM or the PCIe slot.
 

inovice

Junior Member
Mar 12, 2013
15
0
0
I've built a couple of work stations with the Node 304 case and it's easy to build in. At the medium speed there is very little fan noise, don't know about the high speed as they are not used. Certainly for HTPC use, you only need to run it on low. I would be very concerned about putting a used PSU into this build unless you are very confident that it's in good shape; I don't know how old this Antec model is (I don't use anything other than Seasonic and in this mITX build I use their G360 PSU which is fine as long as you are not driving a GPU). On all my builds at this size, I use the Intel stock cooler and it's fine but these are not gaming units only work stations or HTPC (all with i3 3225 CPUs). This case can take a number of other CPU coolers but you need to be careful to look at the MoBo layout to make sure there is no interference with RAM or the PCIe slot.
Thank you Alan, I have a written confirmation from the ebay seller that the PSU works. It needs to be dust-off and cleaned, I will handle that when I receive the unit, I have just placed the order.

I saw on another forum someone replaced the fans on Node 304 with some Notua fans. I read that those fans are very quiet and last longer without causing any troubles. It does look little strange to my eyes (when the case is white and fans are brown). I am now thinking of purchasing the black Node 304. The white will be too much. I will place the orders soon.

Hopefully I can have everything before the coming weekend:)
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,214
38
91
So besides watching movies, it will function as a file server/media server and I would be able to pull files/copy files to it.
OK... now it makes sense!

If you are not overclocking, the factory Intel HSF should be adequate.

The Fractal fans are decent and not that loud at normal RPM, I would give them a try and see how they do... monitor your operational temps with RealTemp or something to make sure it's not getting out of hand. That case comes with a manual fan controller for the case fans... on my 2 systems I set both at about 50% and forget about them...

Can you provide a link to the exact MSI board you are looking at? The MSI Socket 1150 Z87 mITX board I'm seeing has wifi, not 2x LAN ports.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,214
38
91
Thank you Charlie98, below is the spec of the motherboard that I just bought.
OK... now I see. That wasn't the board I was seeing on Newegg...

Ok, I am thinking of purchasing this heat sink for my build. Anyone has any experience with this heatsink. It is cheap and within my budget.
Maybe Alan can help with this, because he is familiar with the Node case... but that may be too big for that case. The cooler in the link is a Rev.B unit... I don't know if the bracket supplied will accommodate Socket 1155/1150 motherboards like Rev.C does. Understand, also, that you have to buy a fan for it separately... it does not come with one. With shipping, that cooler winds up being $50! You can get a CoolerMaster 212 EVO for $40 or less, shipped, and it includes a fan. The 212 is the same height as the Megahalems, however, so that height issue needs to be resolved first. You may have to go with something like this Gemini...
 

Alan G

Member
Apr 25, 2013
127
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0
Ok, I am thinking of purchasing this heat sink for my build. Anyone has any experience with this heatsink. It is cheap and within my budget.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Prolima-Tech-Megahalems-Rev-B-CPU-Cooler-Intel-775-1366-1156-/400595292946?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5d45571312
Way overkill unless you are overclocking this unit. It's also pretty large and you need to check to make sure it works with the m-ITX MoBo and the case (can use up to 165mm tall coolers in the case).
 

inovice

Junior Member
Mar 12, 2013
15
0
0
Alan and Charlie - Thank you very much! You guys rock!!

I totally forgot about socket details and completely forgot to measure the height of the case for the heat sink. I thought all these parts are standard-size. I have to be more careful.

I have already placed the order for the parts, with discounts, it came up at $378 total. Now I have some extra $$ left. I would wait for the case to reach my place to do some actual measurement before purchasing a heat-sink. I can also test the fans at the same time and see how loud it is. Thanks again:)
 

Alan G

Member
Apr 25, 2013
127
0
0
@invoice - you can switch to the Noctua fans if you want, they are not visible from the outside of the case.
 

inovice

Junior Member
Mar 12, 2013
15
0
0
Well it is Friday, and I still have not received all my pc parts yet……still missing PC case, SSD and Memory, hope to have everything by the end of the day :\



After reading couple of reviews online, I have finally decided to purchase Noctua fans. I bough a used 140mm fan and 2 new 92mm ones. Just want to avoid any fan noise from the pc case.

I also purchased a Prolimatech heatsink, apparently these are good heatsinks. So I bought the old revision B heatsink with a fan along from ebay. And I purchased a heatsink backplate compatible with my motherboard separately, as I was told that the heatsink is not compatible with my socket, managed to get everything under my initial budget.

Heatsink and psu were very dusty, managed to vacuumed all the dust, looking clean now.
 
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inovice

Junior Member
Mar 12, 2013
15
0
0
ok, I was testing the PSU, there was a noise coming out of it. There was a small piece of plastic impeding the PSU fan, probably due to the shipment.

Since I could see it inside the PSU, I decided to fix it by myself, I opened the PSU, removed the plastic and did a dust-off inside the PSU and put the piece of plastic back in place. Did a full fan clean up at the same time too :big grin:

With a quick vacuumed, it was clean (compare to the state it reached me), the yellow plastic inside was hitting the fan.



Now that I have the PSU opened, I cleaned all the dust inside, it looks cool and is very quiet now.



Phewww….I was just seconds away from emailing for full refund.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,214
38
91
The joys of buying used stuff...

Let us know when the rest of the goodies arrive!
 

inovice

Junior Member
Mar 12, 2013
15
0
0
oh man….it is not a good day today. I just tried to sit the heat sink on the motherboard to check the space between memory dim and heatsink. It looks fine. Now I have another problem, the heatsink is too BIG, it covers the pcie slot. My raid card will not fit due to its height:(



And if I rotate it, I think it might hit the HDD caddy in the case, and I probably will not be able to install the rear fan.What a waste……I also bought a new backplate for the heatsink, really not good



The intel heatsink fit perfectly fine thou, I should have listened to Alan's advice on that. I am going to use the intel heatsink and return the backplate and get a refund. I will replace the heatsink later on.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,214
38
91
If you are not overclocking, the factory Intel HSF should be adequate.
;)

Wedging a big tower heatsink in a small case, let alone an mITX board, can be an exercise in frustration. I also recommended the low-profile Gemini II for an aftermarket HSF option, if you were going to OC.
 

inovice

Junior Member
Mar 12, 2013
15
0
0
While having coffee, I got an idea, removed some of the blades from the bottom part of the heatsink.

Grabbed some tools and I removed the lower end of the heatsink, only on the side that would be close to the pcie.



Finally it fits now…had to improvise.



I am going to install the cpu and mount the heatsink, when the case arrive, I will check to see whether it fits before going any further.
 

inovice

Junior Member
Mar 12, 2013
15
0
0
Great news…I have just received case and memory while I was doing some thermal paste painting. Good timing, I will mount the heatsink and try to sit the motherboard to check if the heatsink height/size is an issue



Box looks quite big for a small case.



Now, I just need to wait for SSD
 

inovice

Junior Member
Mar 12, 2013
15
0
0
Thank you for correcting me, sorry, I do make mistakes sometimes (English is not my native language, I am french). I apologies for the incovenience. I am a uni-student, trying my best to communicate in English to solve my HTPC problem :)

I have been in US for 1 year now, I was in England previously prior to my uni- assignment, I am so confuse of some of the expressions that I encountered everyday. I am trying to get hold of the language (my friends taught me this line, I know it is slag)…I am still a little bit confused of the format (forgive me), give me some time…please
 
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Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,214
38
91
Thank you for correcting me, sorry, I do make mistakes sometimes (English is not my native language, I am french). I apologies for the incovenience. I am a uni-student, trying my best to communicate in English to solve my HTPC problem :)

I have been in US for 1 year now, I was in England previously prior to my uni- assignment, I am so confuse of some of the expressions that I encountered everyday. I am trying to get hold of the language (my friends taught me this line, I know it is slag)…I am still a little bit confused of the format (forgive me), give me some time…please
No apologies necessary... I would think English would be a real pain to learn because it has so many slang meanings and duplicate words. You are doing just fine...

My Taekwondo instructor is from France, but he lived in Louisiana for a while... so he has sort of a French accent with a Southern/Cajun spin to it. I don't make fun of his pronunciations... :eek:
 

coolpurplefan

Golden Member
Mar 2, 2006
1,243
0
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Thank you for correcting me, sorry, I do make mistakes sometimes (English is not my native language, I am french). I apologies for the incovenience. I am a uni-student, trying my best to communicate in English to solve my HTPC problem :)

I have been in US for 1 year now, I was in England previously prior to my uni- assignment, I am so confuse of some of the expressions that I encountered everyday. I am trying to get hold of the language (my friends taught me this line, I know it is slag)…I am still a little bit confused of the format (forgive me), give me some time…please
Yeah, no need to apologize. I just wanted to point it out because I've seen others make the same mistake. I figured others will simply copy without knowing. I speak French as well.
 

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