Need Advice on New HTPC Build

Approximate Completion Date: 2 - 3 Months


Budget Range: Not Applicable


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Home Theater (BluRay/DVD movies, Moderate gaming)


Parts Not Required: Monitor, Speakers, Keyboard, Mouse


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Not Applicable (but I mostly get my parts from eBay or NewEgg.)


Country of Origin: USA


Parts Preferences: Zalman, Corsair, ASUS


Overclocking: Yes (4.5 - 5.0 GHz)


SLI or Crossfire: Yes (2-Way SLI)


Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080


Additional Comments: This is not my first build but I need some advice on a CPU cooler and RAM for this build that will work together/fit the case.


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Parts already purchased:

ZALMAN Silver Aluminum HD160 ATX Media Center / HTPC Case (Rev. 3)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811235001

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072&cm_re=i5_2500k-_-19-115-072-_-Product

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Planned to purchase:

ASUS P8P67 EVO (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131704&Tpk=P8P67%20EVO

Thermalright AXP-140 RT Low Profile HeatSink/CPU Cooler
http://cgi.ebay.com/Thermalright-AXP-140-RT-Low-Profile-HeatSink-CPU-Cooler-/250826482509?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a666c634d

Corsair Vengence Blue CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B DDR3 1600 8GB (x2 (for 4 sticks total))
http://cgi.ebay.com/Corsair-Vengence-Blue-CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B-DDR3-1600-8GB-/190527098572?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c5c4ccecc

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Still haven't decided on the PSU but planning on at least a 1000 or 1200w unit to power 5 hard drives and SLI setup and overclocking the CPU to (hopefully) 5GHz.
Also haven't decided on what video cards to go with but want something good enough to play the most demanding games and best HD video output for movies.

From my research so far it seems like it's gonna be a tight fit between the CPU cooler and RAM sticks...Just want to be sure they will fit together.

Yes I know this is way overkill for an HTPC but I like to know I have the power to do anything I want with my system.
Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks.
11 answers Last reply
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  1. I don't like the idea. Five hard drives (your case only has four internal 3.5" drive bays, btw), an overclocked CPU, two graphic cards in SLI, and the only system cooling you have is two rear 80mm fans. I can see this system cooking itself to death.

    -Wolf sends
  2. Phlex420 said:

    System Usage from Most to Least Important: Home Theater (BluRay/DVD movies, Moderate gaming)

    ...


    Still haven't decided on the PSU but planning on at least a 1000 or 1200w unit to power 5 hard drives and SLI setup and overclocking the CPU to (hopefully) 5GHz.
    Also haven't decided on what video cards to go with but want something good enough to play the most demanding games and best HD video output for movies.


    Well, which is it? If your primary purpose is HTPC, you do not need the OC'd CPU, SLI'd video cards, 5 hard drives, big powerful PSU, or all that noise setting right beside your television.

    If your goal is to play demanding games, you certainly need to forget the Zalman HTPC case.
  3. Thanks for your input, however you are mistaken. The case has a 4 hard disk cage and a slot under the DVD drive for another hard drive. Fan-wise there are the 2 rear fans you mentioned, a fan on the bottom and a fan next to the HDD cage, plus 2 side vents where I (could) put more fans to cool the cards and RAM, and a top vent for the CPU. I think that will be sufficient cooling.
  4. Yea the primary use will be to play DVDs/BDs and stream video but I will also be playing games like Crysis, COD, etc so it has to be able to handle it. You guys are obviously missing the point of my question. Thanks though.
  5. Phlex420 said:
    Thanks for your input, however you are mistaken. The case has a 4 hard disk cage and a slot under the DVD drive for another hard drive. Fan-wise there are the 2 rear fans you mentioned, a fan on the bottom and a fan next to the HDD cage, plus 2 side vents where I (could) put more fans to cool the cards and RAM, and a top vent for the CPU. I think that will be sufficient cooling.


    Well, you have the case. I can only go by what's shown in images on Newegg.
    1) It specifically states the drive cage is for three hard drives; not four.
    2) According to the images I see on Newegg, there are no fans other than the two rear fans. There are no fans on the bottom of the case or next to the HDD cage. Only air vents (inlets). There don't appear to be any screw holes, so unless you intend to drill your own, there's no way to place fans there.
    3) The two side vents are no different in operation than the other air inlets. Again, no screw holes for adding fans unless you intend to drill your own.
    4) Check your case cover and see if there is a shroud that funnels air directly to your CPU. Adding a third party CPU Heatsink/fan will probably mean you'll need to remove that shroud.

    Additionally:

    1) The CPU Heatsink/Fan you linked doesn't appear to be compatible with your motherboard. Specifications for that HSF do not list socket 1155 motherboards/cpus. It only lists Socket 775 / 1366 / 1156 and AMD Socket AM2 / AM3. I'm not much for overclocking, so I won't bother trying to suggest a new heatsink/fan.
    2) The heatsinks on your memory may be too tall and interfere with the placement of the hard drive beneath the optical drive bay. I'd probably go with memory sticks without raised heatsinks. Note the first image under the Optimized Ventilation and Cooling images. See how close it is to the bottom of the optical drive?
    3) The motherboard you listed shows that using two gpus in SLI drops the throughput for each slot to x8. Shouldn't be an issue, but you should be aware of it.

    Now as far as which power supply to go with, I can only think that you should at least go with a modular power supply so you don't have any unnecessary power cables restricting air flow. Either this Corsair HX Series CMPSU-1000HX 1000W or CORSAIR Professional Series AX1200 1200W should suit your purposes. If I read the alignment correctly, the power supply's fan should face the air inlet of your case.

    With either of those two power supplies, you should be able to power just about any graphic card configuration you want. Your only concern now would be the length of the cards. As you can see from the image I pointed out earlier, the HDD cage sits directly behind where the graphic cards would connect to your motherboard. You should probably measure that distance and make sure the cards you select will fit.

    -Wolf sends
  6. Wolfshadw said:
    Additionally:

    1) The CPU Heatsink/Fan you linked doesn't appear to be compatible with your motherboard. Specifications for that HSF do not list socket 1155 motherboards/cpus. It only lists Socket 775 / 1366 / 1156 and AMD Socket AM2 / AM3. I'm not much for overclocking, so I won't bother trying to suggest a new heatsink/fan.
    Intel actually did something right this time around... they left the hole pattern unchanged with the new socket. 1155 and 1156 use the same mount. I just discovered that on my last build.
  7. I wasn't sure about that, rwpritchett. Thanks for the clarification. Even so, Phlex420 does have a valid concern with the heatsink/fan assembly interfering with the RAM modules. Any thoughts on a different HSF for overclocking?

    -Wolf sends
  8. Those components are the farthest thing from an HTPC you could possibly imagine.

    HTPC screams, small, cool, low power, quiet and energy efficient.

    That build is pure SFF gaming computer. The only thing HTPC like is the case.
  9. First I would like to thank everyone for your feedback so far...

    Quote:
    1) It specifically states the drive cage is for three hard drives; not four.
    2) According to the images I see on Newegg, there are no fans other than the two rear fans. There are no fans on the bottom of the case or next to the HDD cage. Only air vents (inlets). There don't appear to be any screw holes, so unless you intend to drill your own, there's no way to place fans there.
    3) The two side vents are no different in operation than the other air inlets. Again, no screw holes for adding fans unless you intend to drill your own.
    4) Check your case cover and see if there is a shroud that funnels air directly to your CPU. Adding a third party CPU Heatsink/fan will probably mean you'll need to remove that shroud.


    To clarify the accommodations offered by the HD160XT:

    The model shown on NewEgg is the 2nd revision I believe, mine is the new Revision 3 so that may explain the differences. Then again NewEgg may have their info wrong.

    1) There are clearly (4) slots to install hard disks in my cage:
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/88/pic0530001.jpg

    Although I know that even though it's possible it may not be a good idea to fill every slot, but I want the most storage I can get for Media and Games.

    2 & 3) These pictures I took clearly (I hope) show the fans that are currently installed:

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/27/pic0530002.jpg
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/24/pic0530003.jpg
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/121/pic0530004h.jpg
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/710/pic0530005.jpg

    And yes I would have to drill holes in the remaining vents to install additional fans. Not a problem.

    4) the case cover doesn't have a shroud, but it does have a sliding vent closing mechanism which would not interfere with the HSF since there is almost 6" clearance from tip of standoff to top of the case .

    Quote:
    Additionally:

    1) The CPU Heatsink/Fan you linked doesn't appear to be compatible with your motherboard. Specifications for that HSF do not list socket 1155 motherboards/cpus. It only lists Socket 775 / 1366 / 1156 and AMD Socket AM2 / AM3. I'm not much for overclocking, so I won't bother trying to suggest a new heatsink/fan.
    2) The heatsinks on your memory may be too tall and interfere with the placement of the hard drive beneath the optical drive bay. I'd probably go with memory sticks without raised heatsinks. Note the first image under the Optimized Ventilation and Cooling images. See how close it is to the bottom of the optical drive?
    3) The motherboard you listed shows that using two gpus in SLI drops the throughput for each slot to x8. Shouldn't be an issue, but you should be aware of it.


    1) Yes, I have done alot of research on choosing the right HSF for the job. As rwpritchett stated, the mounts are the same for both 1155 & 1156 sockets.
    2) The heat spreaders are too tall according to specs I found during my research:

    The Vengeance are 2.07in/52.5mm tall. The heatsink has 40mm of clearance to the bottom of the fins. Clearly won't fit according to those figures, but again, they could be wrong.

    Cooler Dimensions:

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/204/axpdw.jpg

    RAM Heights:

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/51/corsairramheight.png

    My question is will the RAM stick in the first slot actually clear the HSF altogether. Doubtful but from this pic looks maybe possible although it's installed on a Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R socket 1366 X58 ATX motherboard:

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/849/14full.jpg

    Not sure of the spacing between the CPU socket and RAM slots on the ASUS P8P67 EVO.

    3) I am aware of the x8/x8 limitation of the board. I would have to step up to the MAXIMUS IV to get full x16/x16. Don't wanna spend that much money on just a board plus I prefer the blue of the PRO/EVO/DELUXE over red.

    Quote:
    Now as far as which power supply to go with, I can only think that you should at least go with a modular power supply so you don't have any unnecessary power cables restricting air flow. Either this Corsair HX Series CMPSU-1000HX 1000W or CORSAIR Professional Series AX1200 1200W should suit your purposes. If I read the alignment correctly, the power supply's fan should face the air inlet of your case.

    With either of those two power supplies, you should be able to power just about any graphic card configuration you want. Your only concern now would be the length of the cards. As you can see from the image I pointed out earlier, the HDD cage sits directly behind where the graphic cards would connect to your motherboard. You should probably measure that distance and make sure the cards you select will fit.


    I was actually looking at the CORSAIR Professional Series AX1200 1200W. I may just end up going with that one unless I can't fit the Vengeance sticks in. Then I'll go with OCZ RAM and PSU maybe.

    The HDD cage won't be a problem. There is about 10.5" of clearance between it and the card slots and the drives go in sideways so no problems putting them in or taking them out.

    Quote:
    Those components are the farthest thing from an HTPC you could possibly imagine.


    HTPC screams, small, cool, low power, quiet and energy efficient.


    That build is pure SFF gaming computer. The only thing HTPC like is the case.

    Haha yea...So I guess I should call it a XHTPC or HEXPC since it doesn't quite fit in with the "small form factor" or strictly "gaming" distinction by any means.

    (Hopefully the pictures come out right as they are not showing in the preview.)

    Again thanks.
  10. Ok. Definitely a different case. Yes, I see the fans and yes, I see the HDD cage and all four slots for hard drives. Thanks for posting the images. I'm glad we got that cleared up.

    As far as the memory is concerned, I really don't think any memory module with a raised heat sink is going to fit under that HSF assembly and yes, I believe the HSF will extend over the first memory slot. Just looking at the images of the two motherboards, it appears to me that the space between the CPU socket and the first memory slot is about the same.

    -Wolf sends
  11. Eh. I just realized that I posted the wrong link for the case. That is the HD160 not the HD160XT that I have. Sorry about that. Correct link:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811235008

    I agree the RAM and CPU cooler will not play nice together, forcing me to probably leave the first slot empty.

    So the solution then is a different HSF. Enter the Noctua NH-C14.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835608020&Tpk=Noctua%20NH-C14

    It is low-profile at 130mm tall, allows the bottom fan to be removed so it will clear the RAM, also cools the RAM and other surrounding components with the top down airflow, and place first in FrostyTech's testing for it's category.
    http://www.frostytech.com/top5_lowprofile_heatsinks.cfm

    I just need to get different fans or paint the ones it comes with because they are an ugly color, not that they will be seen inside the closed case but still, would stick out like a sore thumb.
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