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Antec 300 v. Silverstone ML03b for HTPC

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December 17, 2012 9:31:52 AM

Hi all,

I'm currently in the process of building an HTPC and trying to figure out what case to get. I've narrowed it down to the Silverstone ML03b or the Antec Three Hundred. I like the Silverstone for it's size, but worry that it might be hard to fit everything in there. I like the Three Hundred because, while it's bigger, there's a lot of room for expansion.

Currently, here's what I have:

MotherBoard:
ASUS F1A75-M PRO R2.0 FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
AMD A6-3500 APU with AMD Radeon 6530 HD Graphics 2.1/2.4GHz Socket FM1 65W Triple-Core Processor
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005I2YL4G/ref=pe_175190_21431...

Memory:
G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD:
Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EZRX 1.50 TB 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Blu-Ray:
LG Black 10X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal 12X Blu-ray Combo Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:
Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


From what I've read, a modular PSU would work better in the Silverstone, but I can't really afford that right now. I plan to down the road to get a SSD to boot from (right now I'm going to use an old 2.5 320 GB laptop HDD). I also down the road plan to build a NAS (most likely using the 300 case). So would I best be served building the HTPC with the 300, and then down the road buying the Silverstone with a modular PSU when I can afford it? And also, would I need fans with the Silverstone, or would it likely self-cool enough (with the PSU fan)?
December 17, 2012 1:55:43 PM

I would go for the Silverstone personally. It fits Micro-ATX. I just built a HTPC in a slim case about that size and fitting stuff was not a problem.

This may be a stupid question, instead of getting a more expensive modular PSU can't you just clip the unused wires from a traditional one?

Not sure about the fan question, especially since AMD by reputation is supposed to run a bit hotter. You could always get a fan or two just in case. They are only about five bucks.
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December 17, 2012 2:14:27 PM

I use the Antec 300 case for my main gaming PC - plenty of ventilation, upgraded by adding a couple of fans. Everything runs cool. It has plenty of room for adding internal hard drives/SSD.

Don't skimp on the power supply - if you plan on adding hard drives, going with a 500-650W power supply would be a good strategy.
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December 17, 2012 2:21:03 PM

Aristoleian: Thanks with your comments regarding size. That's what I was more concerned about with the Silverstone. But cutting cables on a power supply seems like a VERY bad idea...you'd have electricity going everywhere.

RoninTexas: I think I'll be fine with a ~400 watt for now. I don't plan on having more than 2 or 3 HDDs running, plus the bluray. I ran a check here: http://www.thermaltake.outervision.com/Power and it says I only need about 200 watts.
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December 17, 2012 2:26:16 PM

I've read about several builds using the ML03B case when I was doing my own research, and one thing that stands out is that modular PSU's are not necessarily a good thing in that case. The hard plastic modular connectors that plug into the PSU will jut up against the optical drive.

Two popular non-modular PSU's that I've seen used in that case are the Antec Earthwatts 380W and the Silverstone SFX 450W. No clipping of cables required.

Here's a good example:
http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2165244&hi...
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December 17, 2012 3:03:02 PM

Buying a full tower like the Antec 300 for a media center does not seem like a great idea to me.
I would buy the smallest case that will do the job.
Yes, it takes a bit of care to do the build, but you do it only once.

I don't think I would try to use a laptop hard drive for the os. They are built for power savings, and are low performing.

Instead, why not use a SSD for the os, and use the laptop hard drive initially for storage.
Later, replace the laptop drive with a larger hard drive for storage when the 320gb drive fills up.

You might consider a ITX sized motherboard that does not cost any more like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It would give you more room inside the silverstone, but would also let you consider a wider range of small HTPC type cases.

And, for a HTPC, there is little need for 6 cores and a strong graphics capability.
Why not consider using an Ingel G series cpu like the G860?
The integrated graphics is still strong enough for HD movie playback and each of the two cores are faster than the A6 cores.
You will not be running multithreaded apps.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You can use an inexpensive H61 ITX motherboard like this for $35 after rebate:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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December 17, 2012 3:21:05 PM

rwpritchett: thanks for the link! That was very helpful to read.

Geofelt: I've already bought the motherboard, so I'm stuck with that. Came with a good deal for the RAM. Also, already have the AMD chip too, and don't like the cost of Intel. I know the laptop HDD isn't the best to boot off of, but it'll do for now. I do plan to put in an SSD, but can't afford that right now. I'm waiting on a good deal for a 60gb drive, hopefully after Xmas.
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Best solution

December 17, 2012 4:04:14 PM

Look at the Fractal Designs R4 or the Fractal Define mini. Both are $80 at Newegg with free shipping. They are both much easier to build in that either the Antec or Silverstone. Both also have noise damping already. A real plus for a htpc.
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December 17, 2012 4:29:22 PM

Aristotelian said:
I would go for the Silverstone personally. It fits Micro-ATX. I just built a HTPC in a slim case about that size and fitting stuff was not a problem.

This may be a stupid question, instead of getting a more expensive modular PSU can't you just clip the unused wires from a traditional one?

Not sure about the fan question, especially since AMD by reputation is supposed to run a bit hotter. You could always get a fan or two just in case. They are only about five bucks.



Can you clip.... NO! If you cut them you MUST terminate them with a wire nut, at bear minimum! You do understand that even though the wires are not plugged in, the PS still supplies them with VOLTAGE?!?

As for the case, check this bad boy out: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


If your going to spen 40-50 bucks for a air cooler, check out the corsair liquid CPU coolers: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 17, 2012 5:55:16 PM

Goodeggray said:
Look at the Fractal Designs R4 or the Fractal Define mini. Both are $80 at Newegg with free shipping. They are both much easier to build in that either the Antec or Silverstone. Both also have noise damping already. A real plus for a htpc.


I'll look more into the Fractals, but I'm not a big fan of the front door thing. They do look nice though.
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December 17, 2012 8:27:51 PM

Anyone know anything about the Fractal Design Core 1000? I know it's cheap, but it looks nice and should be able to handle all I need. For now that's x1 bluray and x2 HDD (320 GB laptop + 1.5 TB, later just an SSD).

Thoughts?
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December 17, 2012 8:50:22 PM

For your purposes, ANY motherboard that can hold your motherboard will do from a functional point of view.

From an aesthetic point of view though, I might enlist other users of the HTPC for their opinions.
The fractal 1000 looks to be a perfectly functional case, and cheap.
No doubt it will do the job of holding your parts, and has adequate ventilation(not that you need hardly any)
But, it looks like just another larger tower.

I would spend more for a case I truly liked the looks of.
It wiill be sitting in front of you for a long time.
Bust your budget a bit if you need to.

Actually, I liked the Silverstone ML03b you first posted a question about.
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December 19, 2012 12:32:42 AM

Best answer selected by gewbert3.
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