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~1500 HTPC/SFF build need some reccomendations

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February 27, 2012 7:11:36 PM

Hey guys,

Well tax season has come around, and the fairy tax mother is almost upon me!

Anyways I am looking towards building myself an HTPC/SFF/smallish computer and hopefully somewhat quiet.

Previously, I was going to go with an 8150 for a CPU, but have changed my mind and now looking towards an I5 2550K (I know this has no IGPU, however this is why I want it, as I will be using a PCI-E card).

Any reason not to go over the 2500K instead of the 2550k? I would like to do some mild OC'ing possibly.

Hopefully maybe someone else has a similar build for what i'm looking for. I swear I saw someone on this forum that built a SFF computer with a radeon 7950 in it as well (cant find it though).

Approximate Purchase Date: ~week (7 days)

Budget Range: ~$1500 (flexible)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Movies (blu ray), Tomshardware.com ( :D  ), websurfing, possibly data crunching.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, LCD TV.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.ca - I know of some other canadian websites, but I want a complete system from them (newegg).

Country: Ca

Parts Preferences: No real preference ATM, however, I would like to get a Radeon 7950. I5 2550K. No Asrock. Seasonic /antec gold or platinum is a must.

Overclocking: Possibly - but nothing that requires watercooling.

SLI or Crossfire: Neither - I don't like either.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080p

Additional Comments:

Well i'm looking for a good small case that would fit a Radeon 7950 (hopefully), maybe some built in dust filters for the fans.

Also looking towards getting an 128GB SSD.

Note 1: Looking for the most reliable SSD drive vs speed.



Note 2: I would also like a (hopefully small) case that will fit an SSD and maybe 1-2 extra HDD's for storage. This is one of the more important ones, as there are so many cases i'm not sure what to go with - as I don't want something that looks too gaudy (showy). I like sleek/sharp looking cases. I don't care much for LED fan lights.



Note 3: Looking for at least a 2TB HDD (again most reliable).

Note 4: Looking towards 8GB of ram - however I could get 16GB.

Note 5: I will need windows 7 Home premium (no need for anything above that).

Here are some examples of what i'm looking for:

Seagate Barracuda 2TB $159.99

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

I5 2550K 239.99

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Blu ray LG 64.99

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...


Basically I need everything, top to bottom from OS to HDD to the quiet fans that I may need to purchase extra. I want this to be a quiet build as well. I don't have any local tech stores so everything will have to be bought online.

Well thanks for taking your time to read this! I really look forward to seeing anyones reply to this. Appreciate it.

Edit: Looking for a good case with USB 3 headers as well.

Edit 2: A fully modular or even a semi modular PSU is also what I require.


Chainzsaw
February 27, 2012 7:42:19 PM

Quote:
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.ca - I know of some other canadian websites, but I want a complete system from them (newegg).


I always try to get everything from the same seller - it helps to avoid confusion and RMA issues should something go wrong.

Quote:
Hopefully maybe someone else has a similar build for what i'm looking for. I swear I saw someone on this forum that built a SFF computer with a radeon 7950 in it as well (cant find it though).


That might have been my build. :lol: 

Here you go:

Case: Fractal Design Arc MIDI - $99.99
PSU: Corsair Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 - $109.99 ($15.00 MIR)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3H - $159.99
CPU: 3.30GHz Intel Core i5-2500K - $224.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $36.99
RAM: 8GB G.Skill Ripjaw X 1600MHz 1.5V - $46.99
SSD: 64GB Crucial M4 - $109.99
HD: Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5TB - $139.99
Optical: Lite On BD-R Burner - $79.99
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7950 - $459.99

Total: $1493.90
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February 27, 2012 8:23:12 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Quote:
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.ca - I know of some other canadian websites, but I want a complete system from them (newegg).


I always try to get everything from the same seller - it helps to avoid confusion and RMA issues should something go wrong.

Quote:
Hopefully maybe someone else has a similar build for what i'm looking for. I swear I saw someone on this forum that built a SFF computer with a radeon 7950 in it as well (cant find it though).


That might have been my build. :lol: 

Here you go:

Case: Fractal Design Arc MIDI - $99.99
PSU: Corsair Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 - $109.99 ($15.00 MIR)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3H - $159.99
CPU: 3.30GHz Intel Core i5-2500K - $224.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $36.99
RAM: 8GB G.Skill Ripjaw X 1600MHz 1.5V - $46.99
SSD: 64GB Crucial M4 - $109.99
HD: Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5TB - $139.99
Optical: Lite On BD-R Burner - $79.99
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7950 - $459.99

Total: $1493.90


Alright - I took a look at those parts:

The case: I don't really like the look of the case. Looking for something a bit smaller, pretty much the smallest/best looking case that could fit a Radeon 7950.

PSU : I won't go with corsair, I want an Antec or Seasonic PSU

Cooler: Not sure if that cooler would fit in a smaller case

RAM: Need some ram that doesn't have a large heat spreader attached to it.

SSD: A bit small - looking at the 128GB range - as per my original post.

HDD: I won't go with a green drive - I just don't like the 5900RPM/variable speed.

As for the case - looking for something with USB3 headers. I will amend my original post.

For a case i'm looking into something like this:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

I like that type of look.


This one is very nice but I find the price a bit on the high end:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
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Related resources
February 27, 2012 8:50:07 PM

Quote:
The case: I don't really like the look of the case. Looking for something a bit smaller, pretty much the smallest/best looking case that could fit a Radeon 7950.


Why would you go with a Lanbox though? I don't really get that one - you should stick with a full or mid tower ATX build. That Lian Li case is way better but it is significantly more expensive.

Maybe try this instead: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Quote:
PSU : I won't go with corsair, I want an Antec or Seasonic PSU


Really? Just bad experiences with Corsair or do you not like the brand?

Anyway try this instead:

- Antec Current High Gamer Series 750W: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
- Seasonic M12 II 620W: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Quote:
Cooler: Not sure if that cooler would fit in a smaller case


OK try this instead as it's a top-down design meant for smaller cases: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Quote:
RAM: Need some ram that doesn't have a large heat spreader attached to it.


Try this: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Quote:

SSD: A bit small - looking at the 128GB range - as per my original post.

HDD: I won't go with a green drive - I just don't like the 5900RPM/variable speed.


What I do is I get the 64GB drives and use boot and everything else on the secondary. You won't really notice by going with a 5900 RPM or 7200RPM as your secondary. If you must try this instead: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Then for your primary SSD something like this: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
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February 27, 2012 10:53:30 PM

Quote:
Why would you go with a Lanbox though? I don't really get that one - you should stick with a full or mid tower ATX build. That Lian Li case is way better but it is significantly more expensive.


I don't want a regular "tower" build - I want my PC sitting on top of a box I have. So that's the reason for a "lanbox". Don't really want a tower in my living room.

Quote:
Really? Just bad experiences with Corsair or do you not like the brand?


Nope, just always reccomended seasonic or antec - but never actually bought them! Kind of funny. So I just want to reap what I sow.

I was thinking of this for a PSU, seems like a steal, but offers ends in 2 days:

SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold 129.99

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Quote:
OK try this instead as it's a top-down design meant for smaller cases: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6811163117


Ok I like that case! It's nice. It appears to have both USB 3 and 2 headers according to the specifications of the mfg.s website, which is good. However, it seems rather largish. I'm trying to look for something smaller possibly.

Quote:
Try this: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820104231


Ok those don't look too bad, spec wise and visually.

Quote:
Then for your primary SSD something like this: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820148442


Alright, the M4 128 looks good.



A bit smallish - I need at least a 2TB HDD. Well no more than 2TB due to prices.


---------------------------------------------------------


Ok after going through with everything, here is what I come up with:

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 $179.99

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Has the USB 3 headers I would like

HTPC Case SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / 0.8mm SECC Grandia Series GD05B micro-ATX $119.99

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

- Says it supports up to 11" video cards, which im sure the 7950 is just at that, or a bit smaller.

Ram Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 $44.99 (unsure of compatibility tho)

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

SSD drive Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC $184.99

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold $129.99

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

I5 2550K 239.99 (any reason to go with the 2500K over this?) I dont really care for the gpu on the 2500k.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

GPU XFX FX-795A-TNFC Radeon HD 7950 Core Edition $469.99

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

CPU: 239.99
RAM:44.99
MB: 179.99
PSU: 129.99
GPU: 469.99
SSD: 184.99
HDD: ????
OS: 114.99
case: 119.99

= $1484.92 (not including extra HDD). What do you think?

Phew. Long post lol.

Basically: A decently smallish computer/HTPC (mATX) with 1 GPU to run most games/everything on high/ultra at 1080P res.

Edit: Out of all the 7950 GPUs, which one is the quietest? I'm willing to pay a little extra for a quieter card. I've read that the PowerColor ones are one the quietest - is this true? Also I have no problem with PowerColor - had an old video card from them back in the day, and it was solid.
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February 27, 2012 11:08:35 PM

Quote:
I5 2550K 239.99 (any reason to go with the 2500K over this?) I dont really care for the gpu on the 2500k.


http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] I5%202550K


Only difference would be if you need use of onboard video or not but since you're using a GPU anyways I'm guessing not.

Quote:
Ram Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 $44.99 (unsure of compatibility tho)


http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820104231


As long as it's 1.5V you're good.

Quote:
I was thinking of this for a PSU, seems like a steal, but offers ends in 2 days:


SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold 129.99


Good choice.

Quote:
I don't want a regular "tower" build - I want my PC sitting on top of a box I have. So that's the reason for a "lanbox". Don't really want a tower in my living room.


Go with the Silverstone over the Lanbox - with the Lanbox all you can use is mATX hardware and a 7950 won't fit.
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February 28, 2012 4:06:00 AM

Was thinking of heatsinks as well and looked at this:

Scytche BIG Shuriken 2 47.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

The HTPC case I selected apparently is very iffy about coolers as per the pics found here:

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1348/5/

Im also looking for some good thermal paste, or whatever it's called these days (lol). I've AS5 previously and had no issues with it. However willing to try other thermal compounds.

The case I selected - SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / 0.8mm SECC Grandia Series GD05B micro-ATX appears to be able to fit a 7950 in it - according to the dimensions of the 7950 itself and the HTPC case, can anyone confirm this?

So here's the short list of what I want:

CPU: 239.99 I5 2550K
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Scytche BIG Shuriken 2 47.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound 11.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

RAM: 119.99 Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 16GB
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

MB: 179.99 ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

PSU: 129.99 Seasonic Gold x650
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

GPU: 469.99 XFX FX-795A-TNFC Radeon HD 7950 Core Edition 3GB
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

GPU Note: I heard the Powercolor 7950 is one of the quietest 7950 - and if so would it be worth it to go for that instead? I have no problems with PowerColor - had an old GPU back in the day from them and it was rock solid.

SSD: 184.99 Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

HDD:Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 209.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

ODD:79.99 lite on BDRE:
www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106369

OS: 114.99 7 Home Premium

case: 119.99 Silverstone Grandia Series GD05B micro-ATX

Total: 1909.88

Ok a 1500 build turned into a 1900 build.

I'm pretty much locked down on the CPU, GPU, RAM, and Case. However if for some reason there's a better deal for something similar im willing to budge a little.

Looks like my build is nearly complete. Any refinements? Anybody want to give some input on the parts? Is the XFX 7950 a good GPU to choose (I will need the gpu to expel the hot air out, rather than in)?

Random thoughts of interest? Incompatibility problems? Price check? HTPC's owners experience?

Thoughts on the 7950? Anyone who owns it - do you have any issues?

If you've come this far...well thanks for reading!
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February 28, 2012 1:58:23 PM

Alright thanks for your help g-unit1111 on some of the parts.

I would really actually like to order today before the promo's end for certain items (W7HP , seasonic gold) - if anyone could go over my build?

Do I need anything extra? Am I missing anything important? I'm about to pull the trigger! I want to make sure everything will fit together once I get them - and I dont want to have to order extra parts down the road - as that could take an extra week.
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February 28, 2012 4:53:17 PM

Quote:
Im also looking for some good thermal paste, or whatever it's called these days (lol). I've AS5 previously and had no issues with it. However willing to try other thermal compounds.


You really don't actually need extra thermal compound since your cooler will come with some but if you want to I'm not stopping you.

Quote:
The case I selected - SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / 0.8mm SECC Grandia Series GD05B micro-ATX appears to be able to fit a 7950 in it - according to the dimensions of the 7950 itself and the HTPC case, can anyone confirm this?


I don't think it will - the hard part about that case you selected is finding a good PSU for it. You might want to get the full ATX version just to be on the safe side: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The dimensions on this case are:

Height
5.91"

Width
17.32"

Depth
12.72"

Weight
12.21 lbs.

And the dimension of a Radeon 7950 is (using XFX's variant) : 10.5" x 4.4" x 1.5"

Looks like a Radeon 7950 will more than fit in the full ATX case in which case I'd swap out the Maximus IV for a full size motherboard, something like the Gigabyte one I linked to earlier.

Quote:

GPU Note: I heard the Powercolor 7950 is one of the quietest 7950 - and if so would it be worth it to go for that instead? I have no problems with PowerColor - had an old GPU back in the day from them and it was rock solid.


That should be fine - I personally use have used several Sapphire cards and they've all been rock solid and last forever but Powercolor should be a fine brand as well.
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February 28, 2012 5:16:22 PM

Quote:

You really don't actually need extra thermal compound since your cooler will come with some but if you want to I'm not stopping you.


Alright thanks, i'll take the thermal compound off my buy list and just go with the cooler version.

Quote:
I don't think it will - the hard part about that case you selected is finding a good PSU for it. You might want to get the full ATX version just to be on the safe side: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811163158


This seems to be exactly the same case - except 1 model behind and it appears to have USB2 headers which I don't want, I need the USB3 for my USB 3 key (which can R/W around 100MB/s).

Also according to the dimensions of the Video card and case - the video card should fit in the case as it is 10.5"(long) and the case accepts up to 11"(long) cards.

Alright looks like they don't have the "quiet" running PowerColor version - I believe it was called the PCS+ 7950 but its out of stock. I will just go with the XFX 7950.

I still want this "small" case though - I dont' really want a large case sitting around.

I think the only problem I will run into is connecting the 2+6 pin power connectors for the video card...I guess it would be preferable if the connectors don't point up - but maybe to the right (when looking at the GPU from top down if it's already connected to the motherboard).

Ok after looking at all the 7950's it appears the GPU's power connectors are ALL on the top. I wonder if I would have enough clearance to plug in the power connector with the case side closed? Are there any flat cables I could purchase to extend these plugs? I would rather not go lower than a 7950.

After doing some more research this is what I came up with:

The radeon 5870 supposedly fits in the silverstone case I want as per:
http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=241&area=...

and the 5870
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

It also appears to have the 2 power cables at the top as well so I should be good to go right?

Edit: Thanks for all the help Gunit1111 and for reading all my junk, I thought I would get more replies on this thread, haha.
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February 28, 2012 6:48:34 PM

Alright this is what I plan on getting:

Rosewill RNX-N250PCe (RNWD-11005) PCI Express 150/300Mbps 2T2R Wireless $29.99

SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold ((SS-650KM Active PFC F3)) 650W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD ... 129.99

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard 179.99


Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM 114.99

Western Digital Caviar Black WD2002FAEX 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive 209.99

XFX FX-795A-TNFC Radeon HD 7950 Core Edition 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video 469.99

Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model 997018 119.99

Intel Core i5-2550K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Without IGP BX80623i52550K 239.99

Scythe SCBSK-2100 120mm Sleeve BIG Shuriken 2 Rev. B CPU Cooler 47.99

LITE-ON Black 12X Blu-ray Burner with Blu Ray 3D Feature SATA IHBS112-04 - OEM 79.99

Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD1CCA 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC 7mm Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) with Data Transfer Kit 199.99

SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / 0.8mm SECC Grandia Series GD05B micro-ATX / Mini-DTX / Mini-ITX MB, 1x5.25", 2x3.5"+1x2.5"HDD ... 119.99

Total $1942.88. A bit over what I wanted but I also mentioned I was flexible :) 

Last thoughts gunit1111? Anyone else? About to pull the trigger now.... I said maybe a week, but I want to buy the stuff before the sales ends for a couple of items.

Note 1: Looks like the GPU will just barely fit my case I want.
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Best solution

February 28, 2012 7:34:35 PM

I cant see anything - looks pretty good to me, that should be a really killer system when you get it all put together.

The only thing I'd really look at is getting the 2550K - go with the standard 2500K - you'll get onboard video and you won't notice the +-.1GHz speed decrease.

You might want to change your PCI wifi adapter to the USB version - that will free up your extra expansion slot in case you want to Crossfire your system.
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February 28, 2012 7:48:07 PM

g-unit1111 said:
I cant see anything - looks pretty good to me, that should be a really killer system when you get it all put together.

The only thing I'd really look at is getting the 2550K - go with the standard 2500K - you'll get onboard video and you won't notice the +-.1GHz speed decrease.

You might want to change your PCI wifi adapter to the USB version - that will free up your extra expansion slot in case you want to Crossfire your system.




My finger was just itching so much I just went ahead and ordered everything! I won't be doing any Xfire/sli so no need to worry about that.

Thanks for your Help GUNIT1111 your the man, especially with the thermal compound, the video card and the SSD! I'm glad someone replied to my post...I was feeling a little let down this thread didn't turn into a "storm" of posts lol :p  .


Once I get all the parts....I will do another thread with the build + pictures! I think there are quite a few people interested in knowing whether or not the 7950 will fit in the mATX case - which i'm almost 100% it will.
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February 28, 2012 7:50:47 PM

Best answer selected by Chainzsaw.
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