A HTPC/gaming hybrid

Hello and good evening.

I've been thinking lately about building a new computer and I like the idea of having a nice, small computer, with a micro-atx, mini-Itx, under my tv in the livingroom through which I could play blurays and other HD stuff and also play the occasional game (I've been itching to get my hands on the new Shogun).

I've thought about building this thing around eighter of these two.


The 2100T fascinates me because of it's low power consumption and it's still got some power to bear. I haven't studied the Amd's E350 fusion that much, I know it's also a low energy consumption but I doubt it's capabilities if I want to play something. Also, I'm bit of a intel fanboy and I've always preferred intel over amd but let's not dwell on that, it's just a preference.

But the main thing that I'd like to concentrate on is keeping the thing cool and silent as it can be. I was thinking about passive cooling both the processor and the graphics card, what ever it's going to be.

So, after a rather long buildup, I'd like to start figuring out what to put in this. I'm not really on the map on what's what with current components and particulary on the low power ones. I'm going to be building this during july or august, but I'd like some hints on what to buy. It's been a while since I have been in the computer building business, not to mention about HTPCs.

So. Help, please?
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More about htpc gaming hybrid
  1. HTPC and gaming do not belong in the same sentence.

    Either you want to build a HTPC, OR, you want to build a SFF (small form factor) gaming machine, which would be more than capable of Blue Ray playback.

    New games are going to require more power than a 2.5ghz dual core cpu and the 3.1ghz model is going to run too hot for passive cooling, especially in a small case with a passive gpu and probably very little cooling. Even with the stock 2100 cooler, it will likely run very hot in that scenario, but likely it will be able to handle the heat.
  2. So there's no viable and efficient means of making a proper htpc with gaming capabilities?

    Change of plans then. If I were to keep to the original plan of building a computer to stash under/next to the tv, ( say in to one of these http://www.justechn.com/2009/01/02/review-antec-fusion-remote-case ) to watch movies and play on the occasion. I'm not that much of a gamer, casual really, and all I really need is a computer that can run modern games even with medium settings although I fear the new Battlefield is going to be a bit of a resource hog...

    So what would I be looking at if I were to build a moderatly silent multimedia/gamig pc inside a box like the antec? I'd like it to silent enough when watching blurays not to disturb the movies but if it were to keep a bit of noice when playing, that wouldn't be that much of a trouble.

    Are the cpus of the i3-family enough for what I need or would it be better if I were to go with the i5s? I think I would prefer the 3-series as they wouldn't be eating electricity as much as the 5-series...
  3. So now after telling you the i3-2100 will run too hot passively, now your considering an i5............????

    So you think a i5 with passive cooling will run cooler than a i3 with passive cooling? lol

    I guess since you don't game much, if at all, just stick with your original idea of the i3-2100T. Depending on what resolution you run, if it's high, then most of the load will be on the graphics card. So it really depends on what graphics card you pair it with.

    Another idea would be to consider water cooling.
  4. I kinda know what you are looking at building,, personally I have a mATX case housing a 550 W p/s, 4 hard drives, 445 X3 & evo board, & 460GTX

    I would recommend moving ahead with the 2100T looks to be a good choice as it would be more powerful than what I have and use less power
    as for a motherboard, I think that maybe even the one from Tom's June 500$ machine should be good enough unless your TV does not do pass through DTS on the HDMI input to the Optical output,, then you would need to find a MB that has onboard optical output to send to your stereo
    as for a case,, I don't know where you would want to put your PC, but you can place it just about anywhere if you have long enough cables and a remote control,, so i would say an ANTEC 300 would work, lots of room for hard drives, etc, or look for something smaller,,, I use a scythe katana for cooling and it works great, just have to make sure you don't use a slim case.
    rest of system would depend on your budget, but I would say antec earthwatts 380 for p/s, 460GTX/560GTX/6850 would probably all work well and have acceptable volume levels & power draws
    would go with an SSD for main drive and WD greens for the storage
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