New HTPC build, open to new ideas and suggestions

OK, here's what I'm looking at

Thermaltake Bach HTPC case $115.29 shipped

Thermalright si-128 HS $55.65 shipped

(2) S-flex SFF21F fans $34.78 shipped

Intel E4300 OEM $106.00 shipped

HD-DVD 360 add-on drive $182.46 shipped

Coolmax CP-500T PSU $65.69 shipped

Gigabyte 965P-DS3 V1.3 $99.99 shipped

Gigabyte 8600GT $154.12 shipped

Microsoft Media Center remote $27.81 shipped

Linkskey 19-1 card reader $17.98 shipped

Generic Wireless KB and Mouse $26.94 shipped

2GB A-DATA DDR2-800 $88.99 shipped

Lite-On 20X DVD burner retail $43.99 shipped

TwinHan ATSC HD capture card $39.99 shipped

Vista Premium OEM academic ed. $82.98 shipped

Seagate 7200.10 320 GB HDD $79.99 shipped

HT Omega Striker 7.1 sound card $65.68 shipped

Encore 802.11g wireless card $14.28 shipped

10 FT DVI cable $15.98 shipped

DVI to HDMI adapter $7.98 shipped

So, any suggestions? I can't wait any longer for ATI, don't bother mentioning it. The 8600's VP2 processor is what sold me on it, so older tech is no good. There will be some light gaming, but home theater is the focus. I will be attempting a 3.0GHz speed on the E4300, anything need to change for that to happen? I know there are better HS, but I need one that will fit in my case. I'm not sure on the PSU, might need a different one. What do you think of this one over it?

I can't really go up in price, but if there are any alternatives to anything that will work better, run cooler, be quieter, I'm all ears. All is to be ordered online in the US.
26 answers Last reply
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  1. Also looking at this PSU, little more expensive, but I'm going to guess everyone will say this is better

    Antec TruePowerTrio 550W Power
    64.99 plus shipping at
  2. Well, as I was, the new ATI cards are out now. Any ATI suggestions?
  3. Only the 2900XT is available for sale at the moment. The 2400 and 2600 series will be available in either June or July.

    The FPS Group PSU you selected is pretty good, but will not be able to support the 2900XT. Then again the 2900XT is probably out of your price range since you selected the 8600GT as a possible GPU.

    As for the rest of your components, they seem to be adequate enough to OC your CPU to 3.0GHz. However, I don't have any experience with the E4300.
  4. You are right, my last post was in haste. I did not realize that the lower cards were a paper launch until I started looking around and reading the articles. Yes, the 2900XT would be out of my price range. What do you think of the Antec TruePowerTrio? I have heard good thinks if my memory serves me and 3 12v rails looks good, even if they wont support the 18A on all 3 simultaneously. Would this be overkill, should I go with the cheaper FSP?
  5. The Antec Trio is definitely an overkill for your system. But I believe it is quieter than the FSP PSU which, in my opinion, is important for an HTPC.

    The Antec is also more energy efficient than the FSP which means less power is wasted as heat and overall your PC will draw a little less power from the A/C outlet.
  6. This looks like a good build, but do you need all this for your purposes?
    Read about this one, change it to HD and see what works
    Build a Better DVR out of an Old PC
  7. Ok, an update. I have purchased all the parts, just waiting on a couple retailers who are taking their sweet time ( and, I'm looking at you...) I have found that the SI-128 is a tight squeeze in the Thermaltake Bach case. I can fit it but it requires I remove the included 2 60mm exhaust fans. I have the 120mm PSU fan exhausting RIGHT next to the SI-128, but I'm concerned about how well that will work. I was wondering about the age old fan question, push or pull? I can put the fan pointing down at the MB or up to exhaust from the top of the case. I'm liking up as it gives me another exhaust and takes the hot air right out of the case, and it also wont be fighting physics trying to push warm air down. (remember this case is on it's side compared to a standard case) I still have the 2 60mm case fans too, so I'm thinking I'll point one at the MCH (northbridge) and one at the RAM (God bless hot glue). What does the collective mind of THG think of this? Sound reasonable?
  8. Not bad. You could cut a 120mm hole in the top or 80mm holes in the side and add fans for more airflow. There is also watercooling to think about.
  9. Not sure watercooling would work in my HTPC case, kind of a non-traditional design. The case has a grated hole over where the HS/Fan will be so I don't need to cut anything.
  10. There are a few external watercooling kits built for HTPCs, as for cutting holes/adding fans.........Get back to me on that after you OC and see your temps. :wink:
  11. Yeah, going for the "clean" look, this will be next to an HDTV and stereo components. My OC goal is 3.0, but if I can reach that easily, I would really like to go 3.2 at 8X400FSB for 2:1 memory ratio. I'll post my results once the rest of my parts come.
  12. That would be a 1:1 ratio for DDR2 800.
  13. sorry, my motherboard calls it 2.0, there isn't a 1.0 divider. You're are right though, 400 quad pumped is 1600. 800 in dual channel is 1600. It would actually be 1:1, but the motherboard doesn't see it that way in BIOS.
  14. 2 is 1:1 :wink:
  15. Yeah, sorry to be confusing, I was using my motherboards terminology for 1:1. Back to my question, what do you think, push or pull? I know blowing down is the common setup, but I don't exactly have a common setup.
  16. Does your PSU have 2 fans? Hot air goes out the back, so you want the fan toward the MB to pull in.
  17. Try it both ways, with your setup It's hard to tell.
  18. Quote:
    Does your PSU have 2 fans? Hot air goes out the back, so you want the fan toward the MB to pull in.

    PSU is the Antec TruePowerTrio 550 so it only has 1 fan. So you're vote is screw thermodynamics, push to the MB? I'll try it that way first and see what happens and then switch it around and compare.
  19. My vote is to use the PSU as Antec built it. If it does not have an exit path, you do not want all the hot air in the PSU either.
  20. If you are talking about the PSU fan, it will suck air out of the case, through the PSU, and out the back of the PSU.
    Do not change the direction of the PSU fan :!:
    1: you dont want "hot" PSU air in your case
    2: you will void your warranty if you open the PSU

    For case fans the general rule of thumb regardless of case style is:
    Top = exaust
    Back = exaust
    Side = intake
    Front = intake
  21. God no! I'm not going to change the PSU fan, I want to know about the fan on the HS, blow to the MB or up out of the case. I have an HTPC case so the MB sits flat, not vertical like a normal case. This allows me to point the fan on the HS straight up or straight down.
  22. Up, out of the case.
  23. Upon re-reading my earlier post I didn't make which fan I was talking about clear at all! I'm sorry to be so confusing but it's 5:30 in the morning and I've been up all night. I'm talking about the fan on top of the SI-128. The only exhaust the case has right now is the PSU fan, so that's one of the reasons I want to exhaust with the fan on the HS as well.
  24. Ok, an update. Well, I'm STILL waiting for my fans (now Newegg is taking forever!) In the mean time I've hit a snag. I can't get the HD-DVD drive to work. I have started a thread in the optical section

    So, now I just have to wait for my fans so I can overclock and figure out what the hell is wrong with my drive.
  25. UPDATE!

    Well, UPS was a day off and my fans came today! I wasn't able to do too much with the computer other than a quick OC test. I cranked the FSB to 334 and put the RAM divider at 2.0 (668) at 1.8v, overvolted the FSB, MCH, ect .1v, and stepped the CPU voltage up until it was stable. I got 2 hours stable in orthos at 1.375v, which I'm pretty happy with. Temps seem to hover in the mid 50's without the case's top on, so I'll have to watch that once I put the top back on. I took a couple pics

    Everything is kind of setting in it's eventual place, so this is a rough draft of what it will be.

    Screen shot. Sorry for the low rez screen bunching everything together, it's a loaner.

    Here are some shots of the drive, since no one seems to have ever tried to do this kind of HD-DVD mod yet.

    This is the back of the drive, notice the large piece of case that had to be cut away to fit the adapter (which you can see sitting on the table)

    Here's the front of the drive. A tray faceplate fits on nicely, but the rest of the faceplate will take some modding to attach. Notice the lack of any buttons... :(

    Here is one of the feet I had to trim to get it to fit in the case. The black plastic was surrounded in metal. The other 3 corners look similar.

    I think I have figured out how to test/return the drive if it is faulty (have you ever had to return opened software...?) So I should be done with this computer by this weekend! I tried pushing the RAM to 835 MHz (2.5 divider) and even with relaxed timings and 2.2v I can't get windows to load. I am very disappointed with this A-DATA RAM, I should have gotten G-Skill or something. Anyone have some tips on getting the RAM to OC? I also noticed a funny thing in CPU-Z. When under load the voltage will jump from 1.376 to 1.393 for a second every once in a while. That didn't bother me much, but I tested the C1E (or whatever Intel calls it) and it under clocked when idle from 334x9 3008 MHZ to 334x6 2004 MHz, but the voltage went UP to 1.401v!! I have my doubts as to whether I want to use the "Cool and Quiet" (or whatever Intel calls it) BIOS options when I saw it over volted HIGHER when it's supposed to under volt. Is this normal?
  26. Ok, another update. I have figured out what's wrong with my drive, now I just have to get it working. I have started another thread about an overclocking problem I've run into.
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