NAS/ HTPC combo?

Hi everyone,

Im quite new to building PC's and would really appreciate some advice on my second ground up build... just so you understand some context of the situation im a fulltime college student and living with my family and to date i havent had the "authority" in the past to play with/ optimize my fathers machines and unfortunately his pc knowledge is very limited to the old school. pata cables/drives, ddr2 ram, d805 cpu's and dare a say... a floppy drive lol (doesnt get use tho)

... with that said im currently working on a networking project in my house. so far i have been able to install gigabit connections in 3 rooms aside from the office where the modem/router is. my master plan is to be able to 1) eliminate our cable set top box for digital cable 2) be able to record live tv and strem DIGITAL cable/media to other rooms in the house 3) to rip dvd/BD to my soon to be built htpc and archive them there 4) and be able to backup my newly built main rig and other systems around the house there.

here is the components im looking at for this project, let me know what you think or ESPECIALLY if you would forsee any clearance/ heat issues as im using a very tight case.

case- moneual monCaso 312b

motherboard- asus f1a75-m PRO

cpu- llano A8-3820
(i chose this processor because of the low TDP and im definitely going to try to go as low power consumption as possible.... originally had settled on the a8-3870k because hell its only like 30 bucks to have the unclocked version. would it be viable to choose this cpu and undervolt it to achieve similar power draw with better performace)

heatsink- coolermaster gemimII

tv tuner- ceton infinitv4

graphics card (optional at this point, dont see myself gaming on this, but im interested in trying the hybrid crossfire)-
Radeon HD 6670 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 - low profile version by sapphire

storage- one ssd for the OS, 2x 2tb barracuda for the rest

PSU- KINGWIN Lazer Platinum Series LZP-550 550W ATX

ram- corsair vengence 1600 8gb dual channel (the white low profile ones) which are 1.35 TDP vs 1.5 or 1.6 on others

i apologize about my ghetto links but this is my first time in these forums.

ANYWAY, now that you know the hardware i have (so far) had my heart set on what do you guys think? im really going for aesthetics and functionality over budget friendly as i want this to last a minimum of 3 years...

now i want to attempt to reduce the total amount of machines in my house by intagrating this HTPC design with my server/nas idea so that anyone in the house from anywhere can access their files... or should i separate the two?

finally.... if i were to integrate the two what OS would be appropiate? or if i separate them which OS on each.

any and all suggestions or comments at all would be greatly appreciated
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  1. I don't think that case is going to work for you. Both the Ceton card and your selected graphics card are about 7 1/2" in length. It appears the Optical drive bay would be in the way. I don't think the CPU Heatsink/Fan assembly you've chosen would fit in that case either (I may be wrong on this one). And finally, the motherboard you've selected has front facing SATA ports. These would actually be beneath your drive bays.

    I can say the Ceton card does get fairly hot when in use. You're definitely going to want a case that provides some air flow through it.

    -Wolf sends
  2. okay i think i found a better solution for the heatsink/fan...

    Scythe Big Shuriken..... ONLY LESS THAN 60mm TALL!! thats pretty damn low profile if you ask me, and the ram shouldnt have any clearance problems, im only slightly concerned with the larger diameter interfering with my pcie slots.

    .... so if i have a downward flowing cpucooler with intake venting literally right above and a psu with a fan (albeit i chose one which rarely spools up or moves much air because of its high efficientcy ) it still will likely get hot? i mean like i would def not want to run this configuration? cuz i mean my POS cable set top box feels like its on fire sometimes not just 'warm'. just definitely dont want to risk harm to the other components or drives.

    about the case.... im really sold on it. i mean i did look at a few others for comparison but im seeing that others dont have really more drive bay space for added functionality, just larger....

    i did however kind of like the silverstone one with 3 fans, but honestly 3 fans a cpu cooler and the psu... am i listening to the movie or the tornado in my case?

    this one is almost just as small and sleek, but no media center remote, which i guess isnt too much of a big deal, i just liked the inteagrated volume nob and form fsctor...

    also keep in mind i need this to be idiot proof for my parents and other family to be able to pick up the remote and be able to just watch some tv

    also when it comes to heat and heat generation/dissapation what do you all think of going with the low tdp llano vs the unclocked? should i just get the better performing one and undervolt it so it can viable and give me more flexability.

    FINALLYY... is it worth it to maybe do the HTPC with my original case but utilizing laptop hdd's for a little more room to work with then maybe just invest in a usb3.0 external powered drive for backing up?

    thanks for all your help!
  3. I guess my question would be what is the point of a volume control knob if you're (or your parents are) going to be controlling the system from the couch with a remote control? While low-profile cases are certainly sleek and have fine aesthetics, what's the point if your system burns up? Additionally, you have to keep in mind where the power supply cabling will be stored. While my HTPC uses a full height case, I do not have a modular power supply installed. I fried my first optical drive because I stored all the extra cables beneath it.

    With the Moneual low-profile case, the PCB of the Ceton card would block any air flow from the CPU cooler (by the way, I'd pass on the graphics card). If anything, you'd want the heat sink fan in an up flow configuration to draw cool air in from the side vents. This should cause some air flow over the chipset of the Ceton card, helping to keep it cool.

    With the Silverstone normal profile case, you don't run into any of these issues. Plenty of space for cable management and more than sufficient air flow. I wouldn't worry too much about noise levels. My HTPC has the PSU fan, CPU fan, GPU fan and two rear 80mm case fans. Yes, I do hear it (even more now that it needs cleaning), but not over the sound of movies/music/TV.

    I do like the low-profile Silverstone case as well, provided you add the case fans. Again, you run into the issue of cable management, but that should be mitigated somewhat by the modular power supply. Four exhaust fans should draw in more than enough cool air to keep the system from over-heating. An HTPC Remote Control can easily be added to the system or if you already have a Logitech Harmony remote, you may be able to program it for your HTPC.

    Concerning which CPU to go with, I don't think you could go wrong with the Llano A8-3820. The Athlon II X2-240 in my system also has a 65watt TDP any my system generally stays around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Provided you have sufficient cooling for your system, you should be good to go with any processor you want.

    -Wolf sends
  4. Thanks alot for all your guidance wolf. I think I will get the low profile from silver stone. I'm pretty good at cable management and ill just pocket an extra 200 to put toward some super quiet noctuas or something.

    Am still curious of 3 things on your rig...

    Have you ever measured power draw at the wall?

    And with soooo much venting how do you deal with dust? I live in AZ and we get straight dust storms here. You think that will be an issue or maybe I can try and modd it to for one.

    Finally does anyone have input as to using high capacity 3.5 hdd or 4 2.5.s in raid for safe storage to back up other machines on, load family pic library, And also be able to use it as a dvr. I don't need overkill storage but something quiet is better than high capacity for now. Can always upgrade later.

    And should I just go with media center? Or does anyone recommend an OS?

    Anyone else with an htpc or experience feel free to chime in if you like.
  5. Quote:
    Have you ever measured power draw at the wall?

    No. I knew going in it would be on 24/7. I accepted this regardless of my utility bill. Besides. I live on the top floor in the Southwest corner of my apartment building with only window air conditioning. In the middle of summer (Minnesota), my utility bill often rivals my cable bill!

    And with soooo much venting how do you deal with dust?

    Compressed air and a soft bristle toothbrush. I should do it every couple of months, but I'm also lazy. I'm sure you could tack some filters on the in-flow vents to lessen the amount of dust that gets into your system.

    Finally does anyone have input as to using high capacity 3.5 hdd or 4 2.5.s in raid for safe storage to back up other machines on, load family pic library, And also be able to use it as a dvr.

    Given the Silverstone case with 1 2.5" drive bay and two 3.5" drive bays, I'd be looking at one 2.5" 60GB SSD for the OS and two 3.5" 2TB green drives; one for DVR capabilities and the other for individual storage. Another option would be to go with the the SSD and one 2TB drive in your HTPC, and set up a larger backup/storage RAID array in one of the other systems.

    And should I just go with media center? Or does anyone recommend an OS?

    I'd just stick with Windows 7 and Media Center. It does what I need it to do.

    -Wolf sends
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