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Budget HTPC build: need ideas on cooling and power supply

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December 6, 2010 4:10:51 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: tomorrow

Budget Range: Total system around $550


System Usage from Most to Least Important: playing back SD and HD video from my network hard drive over HDMI, browswing web from couch, youtube, hulu, boxee, etc.


Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, already own copy of Win 7


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg


Country of Origin: USA


Parts Preferences: Intel i3 540 CPU, ASRock microATX H55M-Pro mobo, Seasonic or Corsair PSU


Overclocking: No


SLI or Crossfire: No


Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080


Additional Comments: Must be silent, and as cheap as possible without sacrificing quality

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First please excuse my inexperience, I'm building my very first PC and wish to make an HTPC. In my eagerness to get started I've ordered a few parts already but need advice on memory, hard drive, power supply and cooling. I purcahsed an Intel i3 540 processor with an ASRock H55M-Pro microATX mobo. I plan on running integrated graphics and sound over HDMI since I hear thats a strong point of the Clarkdale's. I also Bought an nmedia HTPC case, the 1000B model. I wish to run a "green" HDD, and don't plan on using a DVD/BR drive as they are quite noisy IMO.

This brings up the cooling concerns of mine. The case has two 60mm fan openings and one 90mm. I wish to make this as quiet as possible so I wondered approximately how many total CFMs I should require for intake/exhausting case heat?

Second is power supply. Using a few online calculators I come up with 200-230 watts. I found an efficient 300W Seasonic on newegg I like, would this be a good choice: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Finally I need a HDD, around 300-500GB is plenty, and sytem memory. What do you suggest?

More about : budget htpc build ideas cooling power supply

December 6, 2010 8:09:22 PM

You're not going to be pushing things very much using the i3-540 for an HTPC. You could see what you think of the stock cooler (I find it kind of "whiny") and then change it out if it annoys you. I have an i3-540 in a mini-ITX desktop and the fan annoys me enough I might replace it with this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(FWIW, my desktop case has NO fans and keeps cool enough with the stock heatsink)

As for the PSU, that Seasonic is always a good choice. This is probably my favorite HTPC choice and comes in just a hair cheaper thanks to free shipping:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 15, 2010 11:23:22 PM

Thanks for the advice, I went with that power supply and am using the stock cooler for now.

I can barely hear it up close but from 10 feet away its basically silent and runs cold and smooth.


Overall I'm pretty happy with the way this turned out, the Intel i3 is an amazing processor for this use.
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