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Ultra Slim HTPC Build (Mac Mini Alternative)

post #1 of 127
Thread Starter 
Updates
12/2: The 120mm is installed and I have pictures of it on post #85 and temperature testing on post #87. I had to remove the 50mm fan since the motherboard refuses to slow down non-PWM fans unless it's plugged into the single 3-pin fan header. Overall the temperatures are generally lower than before even without the 50mm exhaust fan that I used with the 80mm CPU fan. Final touches to the build that I'm planning to buy soon include a higher watt AC adapter and PowerDVD 11 or some other Blu-Ray player software

11/23: I got the slot load Blu-Ray drive installed. I had a slight snag that I had to figure out, the drive when ejecting a disc would literally shoot it out. I fixed that by inserting some soft foam on the plastic cover to slow the disc down enough so it wouldn't shoot out. It's working really great. I haven't tested a Blu-Ray movie since I don't have the software to play one yet, but DVDs play great. There are some pictures of the Blu-Ray drive on post #73.

11/20: I received and installed the Silverstone NT07-AM2 cooler. I've run into some problems with heat and power consumption. For a plethora of pictures and more info on the heat/power problem see post #66. Temperature testing done on post #70 and #72.

11/16: Slot load Blu-Ray drive for $44.95 shipped and slimline SATA adapter cable for $3.49 shipped have been ordered.

11/14: I finally decided to order the SilverStone NT07-AM2 cooler. While I was at it I ordered a Habey EMC-600B case for my E-350 server, I got both from Directron.

11/12: The A8-3850 arrived today. I got right to work undervolting and underclocking it and am still stability testing. My preliminary settings are 1.6GHz 0.875v. With these settings the system idles at 25W and loads at 44W (CPU load via OCCT). The wattage readings were taken with a P3 P4400 monitor. With OCCT and Furmark running at the same time it was pulling about 75W which is the worst case scenario and not real world. When playing a 1080P Youtube video it was pulling a very low 34W. I am currently using the heatpipe stock cooler from my 1055T with the top of the Habey case off. Unfortunately this cooler won't work long term since the case having no airflow makes passive cooling not viable and the retention clamp sticks up too much anyway. So I don't have final temperature readings to report just yet, not until I buy and receive a slimline cooler.

11/6:
I snagged an A8-3850 off eBay for $99.95 shipped. I was originally going to get an A6-3500 since it has a lower 65W TDP versus 100W for the A8-3850, but I thought if I could get a good deal on a A8-3850 the extra core, 80 shaders, and greater multiplier flexibility would be nice to have. I'll probably clock it down to 2GHz and do some major undervolting (using a full ATX PSU and case of course, then transfer it into the Habey). I hit a snag with the power supply. The internal circuitry is 120W PSU but the AC adapter can only provide 60W. So this is going to be tough but I think it's still doable. I guess I'll find out once I get the APU and undervolt it. I received the motherboard Friday so all I need is the APU (ordered) and a low-profile cooler (still deciding).

11/3:
I love Newegg, the case arrived already and it is gorgeous. I took some pictures for you guys to enjoy: link.

11/1:
I've ordered the Habey EMC-800S case and Asrock FM1 ITX Mobo.


Background
I am building a new HTPC. I have always liked the look of the Mac Mini but didn't like its price or that the new version has no optical drive (let alone no Blu-Ray). Plus to get decent graphics you have to get the $800 one with the HD6630. I can have nice graphics with Llano and a close to Mac Mini look and slim profile with the Habey EMC-800S aluminum ITX case. So here is my build and I what parts I've bought and have on hand:

Ordered Parts
  • CPU: A8-3850 2.9GHz 100W Quad Llano: $99.95 shipped (Ordered 11/6)
    Underclock/Undervolt: 1.6GHz 0.875v
  • Cooler: SilverStone NT07-AM2 (36.5mm height): $17.99 (Ordered 11/14)
  • Mobo: ASRock A75M-ITX FM1 Mini ITX: $75.64 shipped after code SPOOKY (Ordered 10/31)
  • Case: Habey EMC-800S Aluminum ITX + 60W/120W PSU: $71.19 shipped after code NEWCUSTMER10 (Ordered 11/1)
    Habey EMC-800S Dimensions: 8.0" x 9.0" x 3.0" (W x D x H)
    Apple Mac Mini Dimensions: 7.7" x 7.7" x 1.4" (W x D x H)
  • Optical Drive: Hitachi CA10N Slot Load Blu-Ray Drive: $44.95 shipped (ordered 11/16)
  • Adapter Cable: Slimline SATA Power to 4-pin Molex Power with Integrated SATA Cable: $3.49 shipped via HDE (ordered 11/16)
  • Fans (Ordered 11/20):
    Scythe Slim 120mm Fan: $9.74 + shipping after code BTEJJJF22
    Evercool 50mm Fan: $3.74 + shipping after code BTEJJJF22

On Hand Parts
  • RAM: G.SKILL Eco 4GB DDR3-1600 Kit
  • HDD: Corsair Nova 32GB SSD
  • Wi-Fi: Edimax 802.11b/g/n Nano USB Adapter
  • OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Remote: Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard (N5901)

Select System Pictures (see Updates at the top of the thread for links to more)
img4752o.jpg
img4717n.jpg
img4756ad.jpg
img4763f.jpg
Edited by Ben the OCer - 12/7/11 at 6:47pm
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Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Viewsonic 27" 720P TV Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard (N5902) Corsair CX430M 
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Silverstone GD05B-USB3.0 Micro ATX Logitech Harmony 300i + HP 5070-2584 IR Receiver Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX Speaker System Hauppauge 1229 WinTV-HVR-2250 TV Tuner 
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post #2 of 127
I think it looks good, but I'm still sort of a newbie...and I'm not very confident about what knowledge I have.

Free bump to good home. tongue.gif
 
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post #3 of 127
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai Batgirl;15513815 
I think it looks good, but I'm still sort of a newbie...and I'm not very confident about what knowledge I have.

Free bump to good home. tongue.gif
I appreciate your input none the less. I found out what the inside of these cases look like here (see one of those pictures below). This is different version than I chose, it's slimmer with no room for an optical drive at only 2.25" tall. Obviously since this is an HTPC I want room to add an optical drive and it's still only 3" tall. They also come in two colors Silver (natural aluminum) and Black. The aluminum is 3mm thick and it's meant to be a server chassis so it's very heavy duty.
image00006l.jpg

I went with Llano since it's a great HTPC chip. Plus the case has no room for a video card so Llano gives me the best performing graphics possible. The A6-3500 is lower power and cheaper than the quad Llano chips. With only a 120W PSU I need to keep the power low. I will probably also try to undervolt the CPU to lower the power consumption even more.
Edited by Ben the OCer - 12/10/11 at 10:05pm
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Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
OCZ Agility 3 120GB WD Green 2.5TB Samsung Blu-Ray Drive Intel Stock Cooler 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Viewsonic 27" 720P TV Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard (N5902) Corsair CX430M 
CaseMouseAudioOther
Silverstone GD05B-USB3.0 Micro ATX Logitech Harmony 300i + HP 5070-2584 IR Receiver Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX Speaker System Hauppauge 1229 WinTV-HVR-2250 TV Tuner 
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post #4 of 127
Sorry, but that case is ugly as hell.
Specs are decent, look @ my HTPC (in my sig). Maybe look at something like that?
    
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post #5 of 127
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iCrap;15514276 
Sorry, but that case is ugly as hell.
Specs are decent, look @ my HTPC (in my sig). Maybe look at something like that?
I think this case is awesome and that's the whole point of this project, to make a Mac Mini like HTPC computer on the cheap. Your HTPC is major overkill for what I need. Basically I just need something to watch movies and TV shows on (DVD/Blu-Ray/online). I have a slight fascination with really small computers and I love the unibody aluminum Mac look. That's probably why I like the Mac Mini and these Habey slim cases.
Edited by Ben the OCer - 10/30/11 at 9:29pm
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OCZ Agility 3 120GB WD Green 2.5TB Samsung Blu-Ray Drive Intel Stock Cooler 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Viewsonic 27" 720P TV Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard (N5902) Corsair CX430M 
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Silverstone GD05B-USB3.0 Micro ATX Logitech Harmony 300i + HP 5070-2584 IR Receiver Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX Speaker System Hauppauge 1229 WinTV-HVR-2250 TV Tuner 
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Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
OCZ Agility 3 120GB WD Green 2.5TB Samsung Blu-Ray Drive Intel Stock Cooler 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Viewsonic 27" 720P TV Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard (N5902) Corsair CX430M 
CaseMouseAudioOther
Silverstone GD05B-USB3.0 Micro ATX Logitech Harmony 300i + HP 5070-2584 IR Receiver Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX Speaker System Hauppauge 1229 WinTV-HVR-2250 TV Tuner 
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post #6 of 127
i3-2100

OR

Pentium G850


Trust me on this one. The integrated graphics on my G620 kick BUTT! So, you're stepping up to a G850, which is even more powerful that....

Or just go for it and get the i3.
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post #7 of 127
I like it! I made an HTPC as well and also went the AMD route but I built in an Antec NSK2480 as I wanted it to match my AV sets. Also managed to fit quite the powerful graphics card in there for 3D gaming on the big TV wink.gif
    
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post #8 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben the OCer;15514399 
I think this case is awesome and that's the whole point of this project, to make a Mac Mini like HTPC computer on the cheap. Your HTPC is major overkill for what I need. Basically I just need something to watch movies and TV shows on (DVD/Blu-Ray/online). I have a slight fascination with really small computers and I love the unibody aluminum Mac look. That's probably why I like the Mac Mini.

Are you getting the black one? i just saw that and it looks much nicer.

And my HTPC is overkill for what i need. It just plays netflix. eek.gif
I have no idea why i put a 2500k in it.
    
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post #9 of 127
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by coachmark2;15514432 
i3-2100

OR

Pentium G850


Trust me on this one. The integrated graphics on my G620 kick BUTT! So, you're stepping up to a G850, which is even more powerful that....

Or just go for it and get the i3.
Thanks for the input. I actually have thought about going G620 and an Asus ITX Mobo. It would be a little cheaper than the Llano build. The reason I'm thinking of going with Llano is because my needs are pretty modest CPU wise and graphics performance is more important to me (given the space constraints of the Habey case). Almost anything non-Atom or Bobcat would be fine for my uses in the CPU department.
Quote:
Originally Posted by iCrap;15514467 
Are you getting the black one? i just saw that and it looks much nicer.

And my HTPC is overkill for what i need. It just plays netflix. eek.gif
I have no idea why i put a 2500k in it.
I'm really undecided at this point. The reason I'm thinking silver is because I want it to look like a Mac Mini. The black one does look very nice though so I'm not sure:
1290512418_31.jpg
1317189363_59.jpg
Edited by Ben the OCer - 10/30/11 at 7:54pm
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Celeron G540 2.5GHz Intel DZ68AF Micro ATX Asus HD7750 G.SKILL Eco 4GB DDR3-1600 Kit 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
OCZ Agility 3 120GB WD Green 2.5TB Samsung Blu-Ray Drive Intel Stock Cooler 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Viewsonic 27" 720P TV Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard (N5902) Corsair CX430M 
CaseMouseAudioOther
Silverstone GD05B-USB3.0 Micro ATX Logitech Harmony 300i + HP 5070-2584 IR Receiver Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX Speaker System Hauppauge 1229 WinTV-HVR-2250 TV Tuner 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Celeron G540 2.5GHz Intel DZ68AF Micro ATX Asus HD7750 G.SKILL Eco 4GB DDR3-1600 Kit 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
OCZ Agility 3 120GB WD Green 2.5TB Samsung Blu-Ray Drive Intel Stock Cooler 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Viewsonic 27" 720P TV Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard (N5902) Corsair CX430M 
CaseMouseAudioOther
Silverstone GD05B-USB3.0 Micro ATX Logitech Harmony 300i + HP 5070-2584 IR Receiver Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX Speaker System Hauppauge 1229 WinTV-HVR-2250 TV Tuner 
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post #10 of 127
It's out of stock and a bit expensive for what it is, but you could get this to save room.

Some other options for cases, as well.

(Sorry I'm so terrible at help tonight. My brain died I think doh.gif)
 
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COOLER MASTER HAF X RC-942-KKN1 Black Steel/ Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
 
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3770k ASRock Z77 Pro3 XFX R9 290 Crucial Ballistix 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Crucial M4 Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 LG GH20NS15 Prolimatech PRO-GNSS-BK 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
BitFenix Spectre PWM Windows 7 Home 64-bit Dell SE178WFP Dell U2410 
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Logitech G110 Seasonic X-850 Gold Cooler Master HAF-X Logitech G700 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Razer Kabuto Sennheiser PC350 HT|Omega Claro Plus+ 
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I Like This Case
COOLER MASTER HAF X RC-942-KKN1 Black Steel/ Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
3770k ASRock Z77 Pro3 XFX R9 290 Crucial Ballistix 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Crucial M4 Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 LG GH20NS15 Prolimatech PRO-GNSS-BK 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
BitFenix Spectre PWM Windows 7 Home 64-bit Dell SE178WFP Dell U2410 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitech G110 Seasonic X-850 Gold Cooler Master HAF-X Logitech G700 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Razer Kabuto Sennheiser PC350 HT|Omega Claro Plus+ 
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