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The Unsuspecting HTPC: Slim, Classy, DIY and with Front LCD!

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
Removed the "build log" from title, since it's a completed system since 2012 biggrin.gif





For everyone interested in my former HTPC setup, go here: HTPC V7.0

I finally decided to buy the larger version of the 1U case I am currently using (415x280x40 mm internal space). The new model is the largest 1U case they make at Hi-Fi2000: 415x350x40 mm, just 70 mm deeper but that opens a lot of DIY possibilities biggrin.gif
Since this thing (name: SLIM LINE 1U) is available in three different material set-ups, I chose the fully-aluminum version: top, bottom and rear 3mm thick, front a hefty 10mm thick black with hidden bolting system biggrin.gif
As spares, I have the usual 1U rackmount black or silver front panel, I'll see if I can manage to use the 10mm (3/8") thick panel, since drilling and cutting all that aluminum on a home-based DIY facility is truly a PITA...

System configuration. (8/23/2013)
Intel Core i3-3220 Ivy Bridge forced to 1.6GHz
CoolJAG modified DEN-7 heatsink
1x4096MB Kingston KVR1333D3N9/4G
Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H V1.1
Intel SSD 330series 180GB
Seagate ST9750420AS
WDC WD10JPVT
WDC WD20EARX
Optiarc BD-ROM BC-5500A
ESI Waveterminal 192X
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-4400
Seasonic modified SS-350M1U

Once the courier dropped the package at the door, this is the classy all-black case once assembled:


On the back it has a pre-drilled hole for a standard IEC/VDE power socket, but I have the hole-less panel if needed wink.gif here you can see the first DIY mod I already made: drilling the backing steel front plate to mount the 10mm-thick panel, since to achieve hidden bolting it uses L-shaped mounts that would render the backing plate unusable, but I plan on using it to affix front USB ports and 2.5" hard drives. smile.gif


With the top cover removed (this deeper model has 6 covers fixing screws compared to the 4 of the shorter ones), you can get a glimpse on the space available inside: that's a Full-ATX motherboard, a 350W 1U server PSU, a slim-line ODD and a 3.5" hard drive, which can be mounted in front of the mobo... biggrin.gif


Now the DIY works begin, since to turn this box into a HTPC I have to design and build everything my own thumb.gif

Any advice or suggestions are welcome since I still have to think where to place all the components inside. This time I would try to turn this box in a truly Hi-Fi grade HTPC, i.e. power button and LED on the left near the ODD in central vertical position, along with USB ports and maybe a card reader (but with that 10mm-thick panel it'll be challenging to drill a thin slot - unfortunately I don't have a metal plunge router frown.gif ). As an alternative to the Seasonic GOLD 350W PSU (which is a bit long and with that modular connectors tends to interfere with an ODD placed there), I have a 150W fanless 1U Fortron PSU which could be placed anywhere inside since it has no fans and it is ITX/SFF compatible (shorter), i.e. in front of the mobo, making use of the rear IEC socket, but it is not 80+ certified. Of course I could recycle the PicoPSU biggrin.gif but having more space I would try avoiding the external brick.
Edited by pm40elys40 - 3/8/14 at 5:20am
    
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post #2 of 42
This looks like a very interesting project, Ill be following thumb.gif
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post #3 of 42
Thread Starter 
Thought about some first works on this while I finish setting up my 20-HDD beast wink.gif I'll have to file internally one of the covers, since this cases have 40mm (1 9/16") internal height, while standard F-ATX/1U power supplies are ~41.2mm (1 2/3") high, luckily covers are 3mm (1/8") thick and allow for some sanding/filing/routing. smile.gif
    
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post #4 of 42
great work mate lookin good! smile.gif
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post #5 of 42
Thread Starter 
Almost finished on my Elysium beast, might start to build some pieces soon. smile.gif

EDIT: I might try a totally atypical motherboard solution for this new HTPC: Asus P8B-C/4L, server-class with a particular component layout that would allow placing a graphics card facing up in front of the CPU socket and cool everything with one fan, rear ports are low in height (like Intel Slim ITX series). It supports E3v1/v2 Xeons and i3-2100 series, so I can recycle my 2120T thumb.gif
Only problem it is Full ATX and no onboard devices, no USB3.0/iGPU/Audio, just 4x Intel 82574L GigaLAN chips biggrin.giftongue.gif
Edited by pm40elys40 - 10/23/12 at 7:49am
    
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post #6 of 42
Thread Starter 
Made some test fittings with a broken ATX mobo last night, swapping PSU to the left (looking from rear) allows for usage of short-cabled PSUs since mobo connectors are usually on the top-right corner. The 350mm available internal depth opens up for a nasty 2x3.5"+2x2.5"+2xODD setup on front biggrin.gif. Will try sketching-up something and asking for advice wink.gif
    
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post #7 of 42
Thread Starter 
Tonight tried making room for the PSU on the top cover but to no avail, since I don't have a CNC routing machine, I will have to do it old style biggrin.gif something like a PSU well to lower it down just 1.5 mm, since 1U PSUs are 41.5mm high and my case has 40mm internal available height. I could just cut out a square hole on the bottom panel but that wouldn't be classy enough tongue.gif will think something...
    
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post #8 of 42
Thread Starter 
Just started skecthing up something. smile.gif
    
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post #9 of 42
Thread Starter 
While sketching up I came up with a mobo solution: ASRock Fatal1ty Pro Z68 Gen3... Talk about unsuspecting tongue.gif
    
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post #10 of 42
Thread Starter 
Here's sketch, AsROck Fatal1ty Z68 Pro Gen3 with current components and space for cable management. I chose that board because it has the ATX connector on the bottom right corner, so it is not covered by the center-mount ODD, and secondarily it has 2x HDMI connectors. Only drawback of this ATX solution is I have to use the low-profile Asus Xonar D1 audio card, the ESI Julia won't fit.



This same setup would fit an Asus P8B-C/SAS/4L serverboard too, since it has the SATA ports recessed in the same position than the Asrock, advantage having little rear ports and no graphics I can place a HD6450 card facing up over the LAN ports, move it as far as it can go towards the PSU, and then I can use both DVB-S2 and Julia cards. Disadvantages, having no graphics but no onboard audio neither, I don't know if the HD6450 can switch HD audio between HDMI and DVI ports to feed my TV (now connected via DVI+onboard audio)
Edited by pm40elys40 - 8/25/13 at 3:44am
    
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WDC WD10EFRX-68PJCN0 Hitachi HTS547564A9E384 HL-DT-ST BD-ROM GGC-H20L HL-DT-ST BD-RE GGW-H20L 
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Optical DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
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