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Travelling HTPC/Server

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm working on a build that would primarily be HTPC, but would also be local storage for most of my pics/music/videos/documents. Right now my wife and I have laptops, and one of us has to go without when my daughter wants to watch cartoons.

I did end up moving to Morocco, as I mentioned in a post that got no traction, and we now travel out of the country at least every 8 weeks, and we spend most weekends with friends or in a hotel somewhere. So the build I'm considering needs to be small and light enough to go with me regularly, and have just enough space for both ssd and 3.5 inch hard drive. I really want the internal hdd option rather than external, so it will be able to catch all the pictures and videos we take on vacations, and so we have less stuff to carry around.

I would plan on packing some sort of foam or making brackets to hold everything in transit, and probably not leave the HDD in when travelling.

Right now I've been focusing on minimal moving parts to get jostled, small size, and plenty of ports. I would appreciate feedback on the following parts list:

Mobo - Gigabyte GA-H77N-Wifi
CPU - i3 3225
Ram - 8gb of whatever Newegg has for about $50, DDR3 1600
SSD - Samsung or Crucial or OCZ, 128gb in case I end up without the mech HDD in there all the time and want some smaller movie library

All of these are fairly mainstream, and I believe this is about the lightest I can put a real computer together for (yes I have a raspi and it's not a real computer).

As to case and PSU, I need a little more advice. I'm looking at:

Antec ISK 310-150, which I understand does not accommodate the 3.5, but I will try to find out if I could sacrifice the ODD space for it

Minibox M350, same HDD question

Sugo SG05, which would have space for everything, but it's getting a little bigger than I would want to put in carry on

Lian Li PC-Q07, which with a full size ODD space could certainly hold the 3.5, also getting a little bigger than I want

Bitfenix Prodigy and Fractal 304 are definitely awesome, but also big enough I think I would end up leaving it at home more often than taking it along.

Regarding the PSU, I've very tempted to go picopsu, if it means a smaller case and fitting what I want in there.

So, can you guys suggest small case, just big enough to hold the parts I've listed?
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post #2 of 11
ummm.... sorry if this is not what you want, but why not get your daughter a small netbook or tablet so she can watch cartoons on? You could get any decent tablet and an external battery pack for more juice.
If your laptop is already functional enough to be the HTPC -movie playback- you could just get an external 2.5 1tb hdd.

Something like:
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 = $329
Anker® Astro 5600mAh External Battery Pack = $29.99
WD My Passport 1TB = $79.99
Total = $439.98
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply. I'm looking for the desktop htpc box for me as well, so I'm not keeping a laptop tied up when I'm watching movies, and I take that laptop to work some times.

It will also be a torrent box and a file server.
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post #4 of 11
I still think that a laptop with an external hard disk is better despite your dislike for them. Also, what about the monitor for your box? That's going to add on to the weight. Maybe there's a laptop with msata for the OS and 1x 2.5" HDD, 1x2.5"HDD in the ODD bay replaced with a HDD caddy so you have 2TB of space in a laptop.
Edited by cowsgomoo - 5/30/13 at 12:57am
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2 x SSD 1 x 3.5" HDD 3 x 2.5" HDD SilverStone NT06-PRO 
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2 x SSD 1 x 3.5" HDD 3 x 2.5" HDD SilverStone NT06-PRO 
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Since this would be HTPC/server, it would either be plugged in to a tv over HDMI, or just managed from the laptop over the network.

I'm starting to think I need two new devices rather than just one, a server/NAS type thing (which could be as simple as external drive attached to my router) and a raspi or similar on the back of the TV. This would be much cheaper, but I can't help thinking I'd be missing out on...something.
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post #6 of 11
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post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotcha640 View Post

Antec ISK 310-150, which I understand does not accommodate the 3.5, but I will try to find out if I could sacrifice the ODD space for it
...
Minibox M350, same HDD question
...
Regarding the PSU, I've very tempted to go picopsu, if it means a smaller case and fitting what I want in there.

M350 only fits two 2.5" drives, and that's with a super low profile CPU cooler. Stock i3-3225 cooler will not fit with drives. If you want a similar form factor, consider the Antec ISK 110 which will fit two drives plus stock cooler, plus has better ventilation (mesh side instead of just holes punched in aluminum) and comes with the PSU, plus has a 3 year warranty on everything.

Speaking of Pico PSU (or the Antec ISK 110 PSU as well) consider that it is another power brick you need to keep track of. Most of these use 12v, which is not normal laptop voltage (mostly around 19v or so, as well as being much lower wattage) and if you lose/forget the brick, may not be able to source one quickly. Also, for traveling you need to consider the size of the brick as being part of the size of the computer, since it has to come along.

ISK 300 or 310 cannot fit a 3.5" drive even in the ODD bay. It could if you do some major modding. Consider this, however... it can fit four 2.5" drives if you put one in the ODD bay and another between the existing HDD bays and the PSU (there is sufficient space). Also, only one of the drive bays are limited to 9.5mm height (which can be modded). You might be able to fit 15mm drives in the ODD bay or the PSU area. This means you can go as high as 2TB per HDD. Now notebook HDDs cost more for less capacity, but they are more shock resistant and take to traveling better.

Oh yeah, one more thing to consider is the CPU cooler. For traveling, you may want to invest in a bolt-through kit (four screws with springs and a backplate) for use with the stock cooler, or an aftermarket low profile cooler that comes with one.
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Intel 330 240GB SSD, Crucial M4 256GB mSATA SSD... Samsung DVDRW CoolIt Eco Windows 7 Home Premium x64 
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Samsung 305T Plus, Dell 2005FPW Cooler Master QuickFire Pro mechanical keyboard Rosewill Capstone 450W Lian Li PC-Q11B 
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post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Excellent reply, thanks very much. I was not aware bolt through kits were available for stock coolers, and I'll look at low profiles.
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k AsRock P67 Extreme4 EVGA GTX460SE 4gb 
Hard DriveCase
Agility 3 HAF 912 
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My System
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k AsRock P67 Extreme4 EVGA GTX460SE 4gb 
Hard DriveCase
Agility 3 HAF 912 
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post #9 of 11
Gelid Slim Silence are the lowest profile I've found that aren't super loud. Only 28mm thick and around $30.

I agree w/Zap that 2.5in drives are the way to go for your build. With the right mobo you'll get mSata, allowing for a teeny boot drive. Paired with a 1-2tb notebook drive your storage could be covered, all in a lot less size & weight than a typical HDD.

Whats your budget? Based on your requirements so far a laptop does seem sensible but you could also pretty easily build a sub-5lb htpc if you ditch the PSU and go pico or NUC or Thin-MITX.
 
Compact Splash
(16 items)
 
 
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Intel 3220 Intel DQ77KB Integrated. What. Corsair 1x8GB Laptop Memory 
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Plextor 128GB mSata SSD Ubuntu Delta PA-5M10 None. 
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Intel i7-3770k @ 4.7GHz ASRock Z77E MITX EVGA GTX 570 HD 2.5GB G.Skill Ripjaws X 2133MHz 
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Samsung 830 128GB SSD XSPC EX120 + EX240 XSPC Raystorm Copper EK FC570 GTX SE (rev. 1.1) 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Swiftech MCP35X pump 3x GT AP-15 fans Tecnofront nano res one million bitspower fittings 
OSMonitorPowerCase
Windows 7 Dell U2410 Silverstone ST45SF-G Scratch built 14.75L prototype 
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Intel i7-3770k @ 4.8GHz [DELIDDED] ASRock Z77E Samsung Low Voltage 2x4GB Crucial M4 128GB 
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Intel 3220 Intel DQ77KB Integrated. What. Corsair 1x8GB Laptop Memory 
Hard DriveOSPowerCase
Plextor 128GB mSata SSD Ubuntu Delta PA-5M10 None. 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-3770k @ 4.7GHz ASRock Z77E MITX EVGA GTX 570 HD 2.5GB G.Skill Ripjaws X 2133MHz 
Hard DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Samsung 830 128GB SSD XSPC EX120 + EX240 XSPC Raystorm Copper EK FC570 GTX SE (rev. 1.1) 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Swiftech MCP35X pump 3x GT AP-15 fans Tecnofront nano res one million bitspower fittings 
OSMonitorPowerCase
Windows 7 Dell U2410 Silverstone ST45SF-G Scratch built 14.75L prototype 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Intel i7-3770k @ 4.8GHz [DELIDDED] ASRock Z77E Samsung Low Voltage 2x4GB Crucial M4 128GB 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
WD 80GB 5400RPM Corsair H100i ubuntu 13.10 18" Dell Ultrasharp (4:3 Free Oldskool Edition) 
PowerCase
Silverstone ST45SF Compact Splash Prototype 
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post #10 of 11
There's also the Thermaltake SD101, which includes the 80-plus PSU and can accommodate both the ODD as well as a 2.5" and 3.5" HDD.
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