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Mini-ITX HTPC/LAN Box Build

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February 21, 2013 5:29:20 PM

So I've been looking into building my own HTPC/LAN Box for awhile now and with the mini-ITX form factor I think that the time is ripe for starting a build. I'm planning on building completely from scratch as I don't really have any spare components (except for an older Core2Duo), but I wanted any advice or opinions you all might have about how I can mod the build or make it better.

My budget is a bit flexible, but I would definitely like to keep the costs below ~$800.

Main use for the build would be to connect to my HDTV to watch movies, stream and play controller supported games (such as Dead Space 3). I also want to have it fairly portable so I can pick it up quickly and run out the door.
I'm not looking for getting amazing graphics or top-notch hardware, but something that can run fairly decently.
If you all think you need more information let me know and I'll post it up here.

Here's the build I'm looking at:

Case: BitFenix Prodigy
Mobo: ASRock H77m Mini-ITX
CPU: Intel Core i3 3220
GPU: MSI Radeon HD 7770
RAM: 2x4GB DDR3 1600 G.Skill Ripjaws
PSU: Corsair CX430M 430W PSU
HDD: 500 GB Seagate 7200rpm
SSD: 60 GB OCZ Vertex 3

I ran all those components real quickly and it all comes out to about $650 w/o rebates.

Any thoughts of things I should change or remove from this list? Also, if anyone knows of a good Mini-ITX case that is decently small, has good cooling and can handle a dedicated GPU, please let me know.
Thanks!
February 21, 2013 5:40:52 PM

I built a very similar thing. Difference is I had a 7750 that didn't do well enough for me at 1080p (I also have a 3570k). So I upgraded to a 7870. The pricing difference between the 7770 and the 7850 isn't to great and worth a look. It'll to great maxing @ 1080p.

I would also go with more ram if you can as they have a really nice Ramdisk software with the ASRock (Z77 at least, not sure on the H77) to automatically move paging files / temp files etc over. Might as well get the 16 GB now and map 8gb for speeding up other things than want for it later. Overall, I like the build. But give some thought to the GPU, also an aftermarket CPU cooler could be handy as it's a pain later one to swap.
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February 21, 2013 11:41:14 PM

Got an Prodigy case myself and its a great looker but I'm not sure I could wholeheartedly recommend one to anyone.
It's too big for an ITX case, wobbles too readily, has a few quality issues on the handles and requires clearance on almost every side (vents in most sides, power button/jacks on one side) which further limits it's practicality as a small case. Also cable management is horrific.
On the plus side, it's a nice case to work with, looks great and if you want to fit water cooling radiators it is very flexible. Also it fits most standard PSUs, pretty much all graphics cards and has several clever mounting points for SSDs.

You can find similarly sized cases capable of fitting mATX boards and unless you are trying to fit a 240mm rad, it doesn't really give you much in return. If I were doing it again I'd either go fully into ITX and get a nice small case which could sit anywhere without issues or get a compact mATX tower etc. I'd definitely consider the Silverstone FT-03 or FT-03mini, but they aren't cheap.

Your build is fine but like bak0n said if you are aiming for 1080P gaming, I'd step up the graphics card a bit. Also, stepping up to an i5 (any really) will probably give you a significant boost in terms of gaming life expectancy.
February 22, 2013 2:49:21 PM

Awesome. Thanks for all the replies.
I'm thinking, like bak0n said, on upgrading the graphics to at least a 7850 now or maybe slightly higher. I'm also going to up the PSU to 500W, which I think will be good for the selections then.

I'll also look into a couple of other cases. I really like the Silverstone FT-03mini, so I'm considering that.
!