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  • Community Question: What makes a good motherboard?

Low-power HTPC build

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
I wouldn't use that platform, I would get one of the newest Intel chips that have a GPU that can decode HEVC. You might as well build something that will be relevant for more than a year or two. This build would have been great in say 2014 but the world has moved on.

A Pico PSU can be fine as long as you stay under 50% of its limit. You need something like a KillaWatt to make sure.

The only way I know to go completely fanless is to get one of those cases that is a heatsink. Like these:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/9633/hdplex-unveils-2nd-generation-h5-passive-pc-chassis
 
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Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
39,255
698
126
I wouldn't use that platform, I would get one of the newest Intel chips that have a GPU that can decode HEVC. You might as well build something that will be relevant for more than a year or two. This build would have been great in say 2014 but the world has moved on.

A Pico PSU can be fine as long as you stay under 50% of its limit. You need something like a KillaWatt to make sure.

The only way I know to go completely fanless is to get one of those cases that is a heatsink. Like these:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/9633/hdplex-unveils-2nd-generation-h5-passive-pc-chassis
I'm using a Pico PSU (60W model IIRC) on an Intel Core I3 4130T, Intel 128GB SSD, 16GB DDR3, 2 TB drive and Asus motherboard. Pulls 19 Watts at the wall most of the time but spikes occasionally.

OP: as for the HD, I made a splitter for the cable from the picoPSU to run to the HD.
 
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Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
39,255
698
126
I don't think we're talking about the same thing. The build I linked is using a power brick like you'd use for a laptop, and no picoPSU.
Maybe you're thinking of the motherboards that have a direct connection to a power brick. Regardless, the picoPSU uses a power brick. Just plugs into the ATX power connector and has an extension that runs to the back of the case (where the brick power supply plugs in similar to a laptop). Out of the picoPSU are several cables for power.

If you're using a motherboard with build in adapter, it generally has a molex connector onboard that you can use a split cable to power your devices.

For reference, I'm not using a passive cooler. I simply put the stock Intel cooler along with a 120mm quiet fan and use the Asus board to turn the speeds down so low that I cannot hear them running. Yates Loon fan on the cooling fan. I hate fan noise, drives me crazy. I'm fine with this. Not sure any of the Core I3's can be passively cooled. Possibly but I haven't kept up on it.

I do have an N3700 that's passively cooled. System runs at 10-11 watts. Quad core but I don't think it has enough power for a good HTPC though.
 
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truckerCLOCK

Senior member
Dec 13, 2011
217
0
71
So basically you want to build a file server. Something like Unraid or freeNAS. The requirments for these builds aren't too demanding. Unless you got a lot VM's going or decoding 1080p streams. Low power I3 should handle that.

Unraid

freeNAS
 

jana519

Senior member
Jul 12, 2014
771
100
91
To reply to your questions, according to Amazon reviews it powers SATA drives through the motherboard. One thing I disagree with is the SSD. SSDs might be necessary if you want to speed up a sluggish laptop, but since this is a desktop and since you're getting a $100 4TB disk drive already, is the SSD even necessary?

If you are truly frugal and looking to save money I'd strongly suggest purchasing a used Dell or HP SFF off EBay which will give you equal or higher performance at a fraction of the cost. I'm talking $80-120 for a fully built system running Windows.
 
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truckerCLOCK

Senior member
Dec 13, 2011
217
0
71
To reply to your questions, according to Amazon reviews it powers SATA drives through the motherboard. One thing I disagree with is the SSD. SSDs might be necessary if you want to speed up a sluggish laptop, but since this is a desktop and since you're getting a $100 4TB disk drive already, is the SSD even necessary?

If you are truly frugal and looking to save money I'd strongly suggest purchasing a used Dell or HP SFF off EBay which will give you equal or higher performance at a fraction of the cost. I'm talking $80-120 for a fully built system running Windows.
I think it depends on what OS the op is using. If he is running something like Unraid which loads from a USB there is no need for an SSD.
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
13,026
2,580
126
So, the first question is why do you want to replace the current PC? You are never going to make up the cost of replacing that PC by lowering electric costs. So, I'm left with thinking that making it quiet is your main concern.

So, the next question to ask is, have you considered just moving the PC to somewhere unobtrusive? Would it be possible to set up the PC in a closet or attic and control it remotely?
 

jana519

Senior member
Jul 12, 2014
771
100
91
Yeah it's probably a good idea to go with a Kabini build here and get the build bug out of your system.

If you still want more and have piles of money to burn, you can go even further and get an Asus H110T, i3-6100T, and Akasa Galileo T thin Mini-ITX aluminum fanless case. That gets you 1.2V DDR4, HD 530 graphics, and a completely silent, 35W Skylake core power-sipping system.
 
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