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New HTPC/gaming hybrid build... input welcome!

Juror No. 8

Banned
Sep 25, 2012
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Hello, all. This is my first post here so be gentle.

I am planning to self-build my first computer. I once tried this about three years ago, but couldn't complete the job due to numerous mistakes and had to take it to Fry's Electronics for hands-on help. This time I'd like to do the build and software installation all by myself. The only part I need help on is choosing the right parts.

What I am shooting for is an HTPC/gaming hybrid that is relatively compact, quiet, power efficient, and won't heat up my tiny apartment all by itself. This computer has to be able to operate as a Media Browser front end, 24-hour torrent box, and modern 1080p gamer. I have no plans to overclock, but don't want to rule it out for the future either. Here is what I have so far. Feel free to offer input or recommendations:

Case: Wesena e7 micro ATX black aluminum HTPC chassis
PSU: Seasonic SS-460FL fanless modular power supply
CPU: Intel i7-3770s Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz 65 Watt CPU
Motherboard: Asus Maximus V Gene LGA 1155 Intel Z77 micro ATX
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-C12P SE14 140mm low profile SSO CPU cooler
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP (low profile) 16GB (2x8GB) DDR 1600
GPU: EVGa GTX 660 Superclocked 2GB
Solid state: Samsung 830 256GB (*reused from other computer)
Hard drive: Western Digital Black 500GB (*reused from other computer)
Optical: Asus SATA 24X DVD Burner
OS: Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium

Grand total: 1400 USD

I realize this a fairly expensive build for an HTPC, but I've intentionally spared no expense. I don't want any cheap, flimsy components that I'll need to replace later.

Any thoughts, recommendations, or input?
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,480
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Unless the Gene-series motherboard has some features on it that you want, you don't really need it. The S-series Intel processors don't overclock (only K-series or the Extreme ones do), which is what Z-series motherboards provide over the H-series or B-series motherboards (among other things that don't affect you either).
 

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
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I would skip i7s and grab a normal i5 or i7 based on your stated purpose.
The fanless Seasonic probably will not cut it once the draw on that card kicks in during gaming. Considering the fan on that card will also be the loudest component in the system I would just get a standard actively cooled PSU. Seasonic\Antec Corsair makes some really quiet ones.
That Asus board is a bit overkill but if you want to go all out...go all out.
16gb - Hey...toss on VM Player and rock out with your i7 +16gb combo.

What do you plan on controlling this rig with?
What wireless keyboard\mouse\MCE remote will you be using?
You connecting an xbox controller?
BR player?
Do you have another PC\laptop in the apartment?

What case fans will you be using on the wesena?
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,480
451
126
I would skip i7s and grab a normal i5 or i7 based on your stated purpose.
I'm guessing that he went with the S to keep the TDP down.

The fanless Seasonic probably will not cut it once the draw on that card kicks in during gaming.
It should be fine:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/660

What case fans will you be using on the wesena?
The Wesena chassis comes with fans:
http://www.shop.perfecthometheater.com/HTPC-e7-v2-Black-Full-profile-aluminum-chassis-HTPC-e7-v2-B.htm
 

Juror No. 8

Banned
Sep 25, 2012
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I would skip i7s and grab a normal i5 or i7 based on your stated purpose.
I'm also looking at the i5-3450S (65 watts) for the lower cost and better thermal dynamics and the i5-3570K (77 watts) for the lower cost and overclockability.

Which processor would you guys pick if your primary concern was power draw and heat? From what I've read, the Ivy Bridge S processors are all more than fast enough to run the most demanding games. Since that's the case, what's the issue with going for lower power draw? Is the only trade off the ability to overclock, or am I missing something else?

The fanless Seasonic probably will not cut it once the draw on that card kicks in during gaming.
Are you sure? According to the EVGa website, the GTX 660 SC is rated for a minimum power supply of 450 watts. That Seasonic 460 should be able to cut it, especially with new Ivy Bridge processors:

http://www.evga.com/Products/Product.aspx?pn=02G-P4-2662-KR

Considering the fan on that card will also be the loudest component in the system I would just get a standard actively cooled PSU. Seasonic\Antec Corsair makes some really quiet ones.
I have an actively cooled Corsair power supply in my current rig and it's very much audible, whether I'm gaming or not. I can hear it from my couch six feet away. I'm looking at the fanless Seasonic unit as a way to cut down on some of the noise I hear.

That Asus board is a bit overkill but if you want to go all out...go all out.
Yes, it is overkill, but I like a few of the features (upgraded on-board sound chip) and the fact that it's overbuilt for use in a hot case/environment).

16gb - Hey...toss on VM Player and rock out with your i7 +16gb combo.
I don't know what VM Player is. As for the 16GB of RAM, it's cheap as hell so why not?

What do you plan on controlling this rig with?
What wireless keyboard\mouse\MCE remote will you be using?
You connecting an xbox controller?
BR player?
Do you have another PC\laptop in the apartment?
I'll be controlling it primarily through a wireless Logitech mouse and keyboard. I also have a wireless Logitech game controller for emulators and such. My PS3 can handle BR, but I really don't use physical media much anymore. I have a Synology 1812+ which I use to stream all of my media. All my BR movies are stored on that.

What case fans will you be using on the wesena?
The Wesena comes with a few 80mm case fans that are supposedly quiet. If it turns out they are noisy, I figure I can replace them.
 
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pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
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Pay attention to the layout of your case and the Seasonic design.
The 460 is supposed to be installed with the (vented) top facing up. That case looks like it places it on its side.

Based on the case design, I'm a little concerned about how "gaming " is going to go once GPU\PCU start heating up and start to place a load on the PSU. Sure the power requirements work our on paper, but I think you are cutting it close with that fanless model.
 

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
6,983
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I would check some of the other subforums, specifically the power supply subforum about your GPU\PSU\CPU\case combo.

Hopefully there are other owners on there who can give the seal of approval on your build

You may want to check out some the actively cooled designs that only run the fan past certain temperature thresholds.
Best of both worlds

edit: That does look like a nice power supply. It just might be the right choice...
 
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Juror No. 8

Banned
Sep 25, 2012
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Pay attention to the layout of your case and the Seasonic design.
The 460 is supposed to be installed with the (vented) top facing up. That case looks like it places it on its side.
Good catch. You're right about the case putting the PSU on its side. Hmmm...

On the other hand, that PSU is vented on each side, so wouldn't the heat just dissipate upwards regardless?

Based on the case design, I'm a little concerned about how "gaming " is going to go once GPU\PCU start heating up and start to place a load on the PSU. Sure the power requirements work our on paper, but I think you are cutting it close with that fanless model.
How much extra juice would I need for a 65 watt CPU and 250 watt TDP GPU? The case fans and drives can't consume that much power. What size PSU do I need?
 

Juror No. 8

Banned
Sep 25, 2012
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OK... I won't be going with the Seasonic fanless power supply. Instead, I ordered the Seasonic X750 off Newegg for $109. I also decided to go with the Intel i7 3770K processor instead of the lower wattage S version.
 

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