Just signed up to see I could get any feedback or improvements on a proposed HTPC build.
For the living room so requirements are:
1. Quiet! And quick.
2. Fit in an existing AV rack so amp sized case. AV rack shelf it will be going on is: Height 17cm, Width 46cm, Depth 40cm. There is also a couple of inches gap behind the unit for cabling.
3. Primary use is media playback. Audio & video (HD obviously). Light gaming is secondary but nice to have.
4. Most media will be stored on board (or from external drives which already live in the AV rack). Will be on wifi. Not really planning for any streaming (has to be wireless - wired internet is not an option) other than for background file transfers.
5. Optical drive is required. Both BD and DVD. Not sure about HDCP? Is that hardware or software requirement?
6. Will be connected to an Onkyo TX-SR577 amp. The amp is connected to a Panasonic Plasma TV via HDMI. No 3D required currently. Realise updates will be required if I want to go 3D with this setup in future. Would prefer to route everything through a single HDMI cable but optical S/PDIF is also available.
7. The touchscreen on the case is a very nice to have. Some visual control without the TV on would be very useful in audio jukebox mode. But I don't expect miracles from it. Very much an occasional use thing.
8. Would be nice if I could at least power it up from a Logitech Harmony remote. Should be OK as my chosen case has IR.
Already have wireless keyboard mouse combo and an airmouse. Will worry about OS & software separately but I already have a fair idea what I'll be doing with most of that. Just asking about the hardware side here. Quick online costing brings the system out at around £730. Budget is around the £750 mark.
From what I know of the case, the fans it comes with are decent so not planning to add any extra fans or cooling over and above what it ships with. However, if the addition of any extra cooling would get me close so silence I'm willing to look into it. Off the shelf parts only though. I don't plan on investing in a soldering iron. Thats not my thing!
I'm no expert in these kind of build (small factor), but one thing i can tell you for sure, pairing i3 with Z77 mobo is overkill. The primary for that mobo is using 'k' model cpu, which i3 is not. For your build you're just fine with B75 chipset mobo.
Although I would only have 1 6gb SATA connection on that one. In real world use that probably won't matter (SSD will be the system drive and will obviously be using the faster SATA connection. The HDD would have to make do with a 3gb one).
As i s said i'm no expert. Theres are alot of manufacturers making B75, kinda hard to believe you can't find one that will suit you. But yeah, H77 chipset also works, if you can find one with all the featurs you need.