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  • Community Question: What makes a good motherboard?

Looking to build Value HTPC

xaeniac

Golden Member
Feb 4, 2005
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Presently have an i3-2100, RAM, HDD, and microatx motherboard that I will repurpose out of my current desktop.


My plans are to buy Silverstone ML03B and PSU and stick the existing components to make a HTPC. What fanless PSU should I get? Not a gamer and will be onboard video/audio. Anything else I am missing besides DVD/Bluray drive?

Also what remote/bluetooth/wireless keyboard do you all recommend?
 
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DesiPower

Lifer
Nov 22, 2008
15,368
740
126
I didnt see SSD

why do you want fanless psu? are you going all fanless?

iirc, 2100 has HD1000? will that really be enough? what kind of videos are you planning to play?
 

xaeniac

Golden Member
Feb 4, 2005
1,640
13
81
I didnt see SSD

why do you want fanless psu? are you going all fanless?

iirc, 2100 has HD1000? will that really be enough? what kind of videos are you planning to play?
Was going to go with fanless due to lower noise, but it does not have to be. Plan on streaming/playing ripped DVD's for the kids, Amazon prime, and possibly in the future Bluray. This will be replacing a PS3, and felt a PC would give me more capability as I cut cable. At the present only have a 720P Panasonic 42" plasma. Are you thinking I need a video card? If so which one would present a value.
 

NTMBK

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2011
8,907
1,981
136
If you care about noise you'll want a new CPU cooler, the stock Intel one isn't great.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,214
38
91
I would just get a decent brand lower watt PSU and be done with it; power demand is very low in an HTPC; there are newer PSU's that don't run the fan until they have enough demand to warrant it, maybe check out one of those, but expect a little sticker shock. I have a Corsair CX430 in my HTPC... I don't really hear it, but it's at the bottom of a very quiet PC case stuck into a cabinet; I wouldn't hear it over the TV anyhow...

Unless you are encoding video or something, the demand on the CPU is very low... nothing that should ramp up the CPU cooler. I actually used the copper-base Intel cooler from my i5 on my HTPC's Pentium CPU, it never ramps up even during LinX testing (the CPU doesn't go above 45C or so under full load.) I would try the Intel cooler first, before spending the money and trying to find something that will fit in that Silverstone HTPC case.

Do you need a keyboard for the HTPC? If you are using Windows Media Center (WMC) you can use something as simple as a Rosewill remote for $20 to navigate through it. I have a wired keyboard I plug into my HTPC when I need to get in and do maintenance, or I just use TeamViewer to log into it from my desktop. Otherwise, I would probably get a Logitech K400. Since I realized I can use TeamViewer on the HTPC I hardly ever plug in the local keyboard...

At your resolution the Intel iGPU should be fine; if you ever bump up to 1080p you might have to throw in a card, something passively cooled like this would be my suggestion.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
OP, if you want a quiet PSU get one with a 120mm fan. Seasonic makes this best overall PSUs, I so would recommend this

In fact that is the trick for a quiet PC in general- only 90mm fans or bigger (120mm or bigger if possible) running at low speeds.
 

Rio Rebel

Administrator Emeritus<br>Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,195
0
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The onboard graphics on an i3 2100 for video playback is fine. Period. As long as you're talking about using it strictly as an htpc, watching videos and web browsing, you do not need more than that. You can always throw in a cheap passive video card later if you decide you need more power for some reason.

If you are strictly playing media files, get a small ssd and throw on XBMC and be happy. No need for an optical drive and no need to pay Microsoft for an OS. If you just have to include blu-ray disk playback, you will probably end up adding Windows at that point.
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
13,028
2,585
126
I'm running a Pentium G620, a 4 gig stick of ram, on a BioStar TH61 ITX motherboard, with 2 harddrives (both Seagate Barracudas) all shoved in a Fractal Design Array R2.
The CPU uses the OEM heatsink, I use the basic 300W PSU that came with the case, and the computer is still about 400 times quieter then my PS3 when streaming Netflix (okay, I have an old PS3.) The point is that HTPC duties do not stress a computer very much, it will not often spin those fans up.
 

Rio Rebel

Administrator Emeritus<br>Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,195
0
0
The CPU uses the OEM heatsink, I use the basic 300W PSU that came with the case, and the computer is still about 400 times quieter then my PS3
Sex with a Latin girlfriend is quieter than a damn PS3. ;)
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
13,028
2,585
126
Sex with a Latin girlfriend is quieter than a damn PS3. ;)
I've never had sex with a Latin girlfriend to compare it, but I know that if he is used to the sounds of a PS3 he won't notice the sound of his CPU or PSU fans at all.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,596
471
126
The onboard graphics on an i3 2100 for video playback is fine. Period. As long as you're talking about using it strictly as an htpc, watching videos and web browsing, you do not need more than that. You can always throw in a cheap passive video card later if you decide you need more power for some reason.
The only thing that worries me is that he just gave us his motherboard's form factor. These days, it's hard to buy a motherboard without some sort of video out port on it, but back then, it wasn't that hard given how common the P67 boards were!
 

xaeniac

Golden Member
Feb 4, 2005
1,640
13
81
The only thing that worries me is that he just gave us his motherboard's form factor. These days, it's hard to buy a motherboard without some sort of video out port on it, but back then, it wasn't that hard given how common the P67 boards were!
mobo has hdmi out. Does XBMC within Windows give any additional features? what size PSU should I be looking at?
 

DesiPower

Lifer
Nov 22, 2008
15,368
740
126
mobo has hdmi out. Does XBMC within Windows give any additional features? what size PSU should I be looking at?
Yes and no, one one hand it can play almost everything, no need for additional players or codecs, also great for streaming. IMHO, its a "cool" gadget. On the other hand you can consider it as a cool looking tent built inside a palace, much like how Gaddafi used to live :D
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
mobo has hdmi out. Does XBMC within Windows give any additional features? what size PSU should I be looking at?
Under 500 watts for sure. Heck under 400 and higher efficiency would be the best. Like this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817151117

As far as XBMC, the only better feature of Windows is being able to launch different external apps like Blu Ray playback software or certain games.

For a pure XBMC experience I prefer XBMCbuntu. I have four XBMC clients in my house and this year I switched two from Windows to XBMCbuntu for the more appliance feel.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,214
38
91
mobo has hdmi out. Does XBMC within Windows give any additional features? what size PSU should I be looking at?
Windows 7 comes with WMC, which is pretty streamlined for a HTPC frontend. I coupled mine with Media Browser and I couldn't ask for much more. I tried XBMC and I thought it was a bit much... simplicity was one of my goals. I suppose I could have waded through all the XBMC skins to find one that worked... but why?

I don't know if XBMC through Windows works any better than straight up XBMC...

As far as a PSU, 300w would work; I suggested the Corsair CX430 because it can regularly be found on sale or with rebate in the $20 range (I think the 430M... modular... is on sale today at Newegg for something like $24.) I have 2 CX430s in systems and they have been solid all the way, I have a CX430M ready for my next build. I would pick a SeaSonic over the Corsair, price not being a consideration, just not one of their OEM versions.
 

Rio Rebel

Administrator Emeritus<br>Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,195
0
0
Having used both extensively, I prefer XBMC over WMC (even with Media Browser). But Windows gives you the ability to play blu-ray disks using PowerDVD or Total Media Theatre or a number of other software players. There are ways to play bd in XBMC and Linux, but not straightforward for an htpc. That's the only reason I use Windows in my theater room (But with XBMC sitting on top of it).
 

OGOC

Senior member
Jun 14, 2013
312
0
76
My Ivy i3 with low-end video card uses a cheapo (but 80-rated) 300w PSU. You can run an i5 on 300 watts if the video card isn't too strong.

Try the stock CPU fan. If it's loud for you, upgrade it then. Unless the case has a ton of air holes in it or really thin metal, it's hard to see the stock fan being much of a noise problem. I'd worry about the noise of the case fans before the CPU fan. Also, set the CPU fan to only really kick in at higher temps -- those higher temps won't come just from playing a movie. Non-i5s don't heat up as much anyway.

XBMC looks and feels like a race car. Like a race car, it can also take more time to run perfectly. WMC is great for simplicity, and even great beyond that, and is great for live TV, but XBMC with the right skin makes you feel like you're in the future in comparison.

I think an SSD is overkill, but I guess it would boot faster if nothing else. If you use externals, make sure they aren't getting too hot in their enclosures or they'll die.
 

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