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[Build log/summary] Custom case HTPC "the Hotbox"

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I put this build together a few months ago, just felt the urge to show it off here now biggrin.gif (this isn't really a build log more of a summary and isn't incredibly detailed)
The case is incredibly simple in design and there are many things I’d improve if I were to do it again but all in all I’m relatively happy with how it turned out. I wanted a HTPC to store movies on but also be able to play games on the TV. Initially I was hoping to build something 100% passive cooled but soon found out it would cost way, way too much. Instead I ended up stripping the GPU and CPU of their fans and just leaving the heatsinks on to allow the case fans to cool everything in a semi-passive sort of fashion.
The case is made of 1mm thick aluminum, I had a place make the bends for me and I drilled all the holes for everything and painted the top half white while trying to leave the bottom half with a brushed-aluminum sort of look.

Here it is finished...


Specs:
Gigabyte H97N
Intel Pentium G3260 3.3GHz
Gainward GTX 750 2GB 1281/2800MHz, 1.168v
Corsair Vengence 1x4GB DDR3 1333MHz CL9 1.35v
OCZ Vertex III 60GB
Seagate Barracuda 4TB
x2 HGST Travelstar 1TB
Silverstone slim, slot-loaded blu-ray burner
Silverstone SFX ST45SF-G 450W
Bluetooth 4.0 and Wifi
Wireless keyboard & touchpad combo controller

Case dimensions:
262 x 132 x 220 mm (W x H x D)

All that dwells within...





^The slit for the blu-ray drive has been fixed up since that photo was taken.

Cooling
There are 4 fans in this HTPC, all Noctua. At the front there is a 90mm intake, blowing cool air across the GPU heatsink and also supplying some air to the motherboard and CPU. On the left side there is a 120mm blowing air directly onto the GPU heatsink. Holes located above the GPU, in addition to the PCI brackets at the rear, exhaust hot air.
On the right side there is a 80mm fan blowing cool air onto the CPU heatsink from the side, and an 80mm fan on the PSU draws air from in the case, in particular from around the CPU heatsink, and exhausts out the back. The PSU is literally sitting on top of the CPU heatsink.
As far as temperatures go… I haven’t seen the CPU go above 72c even after long gaming periods, and usually it’s in the 60s. Right now, idle, it is 36 – 38c with ambient temp of 20c. The GTX 750 often runs hotter, the max I’ve noticed was 92c! Again, usually it’s a little lower and in the 70s or 80s depending on the game. Idle is 30c.




Movies
I’ve got a collection of large x265 blu-ray files and the g3260 is just enough to be able to play them smoothly. I’ve optimized VLC as well as the TV settings to try and achieve the best possible image quality and I’ve connected an old Sony 5:0 speaker system which does a decent job. There's also the blu-ray drive.

Gaming
I am astounded at the gaming performance of this rig considering it only has a dual core Pentium and an aging GTX 750. The GPU has been BIOS modified to run at a higher voltage and speed. The original boost clock of 1085MHz was increased to 1281MHz base clock, and the memory clock of 2505MHz was increased to 2800MHz.
I was expecting to have to turn games to minimum settings but it turns out a lot of games run quite well at 1920x1080 and not even on the lowest of low settings. It depends on the game of course because City Skylines I’m running on 1600x900, low but not minimum settings and getting 25-40 fps (enough for this game). But on the other hand Black Ops 1 runs on ultra and get’s 60+fps easily. A game such as Assetto Corsa or Metro 2033 is a struggle to play, but 60fps is achievable at 1920x1080 and low-medium settings (for example I have world detail and post processing settings set to high, but then smoke generation and reflections turned almost to the lowest setting – this is in AC). I will be trying out GTA very soon.
I’ve also connected a ps3 controller to the PC via Bluetooth so that I can enjoy racing games a bit more. I physically turn the controller rather than use the thumbsticks for turning and it's really fun haha.




Storage
The ssd does a nice job of booting the PC quickly and running everything smooth. I’ve got the OS and programs installed here. There’s a 4TB HDD for my high quality movie collection plus an additional 2TB on a couple 2.5” HDDs for games, photos and music. They all spin at 7200rpm but luckily are almost silent. Finally there is a slim, slot-loaded blu-ray burner with easy access on the front side.





Final thoughts
I’m really happy I was able to fit all that in a shoe-box sized case, AND make it run extremely quiet. It’s just so nice and small and portable, I like it so much I’ve taken it from the TV room and I'm just using it as a normal PC for everything in my bedroom for now. Please leave some feedback of what you think (feel free to criticize), it’s not meant to be a thing of beauty nor power, more functionality as a HTPC and portable gaming PC.
The negatives are: No front IO with power button, USBs and headphone jack, no cable management and the GPU runs a bit too hot (at the moment).



Edited by Aleckazee - 8/29/16 at 10:01pm
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k  Asus P8z77-I Deluxe/wd EVGA GTX 770 4GB SC G.Skill 8GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucual M500 120GB Crucial MX100 250GB ex120+st30 280 w/ noctua LNA Windows 8.1 Pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dell U2713hm  Microsoft POS SilverStone SFX 450w-G Custom 
MouseAudio
TT eSports Black 4000DPI Audio-technica ATH-A900X 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k  Asus P8z77-I Deluxe/wd EVGA GTX 770 4GB SC G.Skill 8GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucual M500 120GB Crucial MX100 250GB ex120+st30 280 w/ noctua LNA Windows 8.1 Pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dell U2713hm  Microsoft POS SilverStone SFX 450w-G Custom 
MouseAudio
TT eSports Black 4000DPI Audio-technica ATH-A900X 
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post #2 of 5
I like the case design and the fan grills. I'll probably use this idea of drilling different sized holes in a pattern if I ever do something similar.

That's a lot of power for an HTPC! Looking at the first pic with the PS4 controller, I'm guessing it doubles as a gaming box?



edit: just read this line :
Quote:
it’s not meant to be a thing of beauty nor power, more functionality as a HTPC and portable gaming PC.

It is a thing of beauty! Don't sell yourself short.

It looks sellable. If you sorted out the heat issue you mentioned with the GPU, and added in a front USB port and a power switch you could engrave a logo on the top and open up shop tongue.gif
Ol'Faithful
(11 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Xeon x5660 P6X58D-E XFX AMD Radeon R9 280X Corsair Vengeance 24 GB Triple Chanel 6x4GB 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Lite-On DVD-RW Noctua DH-14 CPU Cooler Windows 7 Pro x64 Samsung 24" LED 1080p 5ms DVI (S23A300B) 
PowerMouseAudio
Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Gold Corsair M95 Onboard :S 
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Ol'Faithful
(11 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Xeon x5660 P6X58D-E XFX AMD Radeon R9 280X Corsair Vengeance 24 GB Triple Chanel 6x4GB 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Lite-On DVD-RW Noctua DH-14 CPU Cooler Windows 7 Pro x64 Samsung 24" LED 1080p 5ms DVI (S23A300B) 
PowerMouseAudio
Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Gold Corsair M95 Onboard :S 
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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks smile.gif I had a 300W and a 450W sfx psu lying around. I would of used the 300 but it didn't have modular cables and simply wouldn't fit. The only game I play using the controller at the moment is Assetto Corsa tongue.gif
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k  Asus P8z77-I Deluxe/wd EVGA GTX 770 4GB SC G.Skill 8GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucual M500 120GB Crucial MX100 250GB ex120+st30 280 w/ noctua LNA Windows 8.1 Pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dell U2713hm  Microsoft POS SilverStone SFX 450w-G Custom 
MouseAudio
TT eSports Black 4000DPI Audio-technica ATH-A900X 
  hide details  
Reply
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k  Asus P8z77-I Deluxe/wd EVGA GTX 770 4GB SC G.Skill 8GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucual M500 120GB Crucial MX100 250GB ex120+st30 280 w/ noctua LNA Windows 8.1 Pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dell U2713hm  Microsoft POS SilverStone SFX 450w-G Custom 
MouseAudio
TT eSports Black 4000DPI Audio-technica ATH-A900X 
  hide details  
Reply
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleckazee View Post

Thanks smile.gif I had a 300W and a 450W sfx psu lying around. I would of used the 300 but it didn't have modular cables and simply wouldn't fit. The only game I play using the controller at the moment is Assetto Corsa tongue.gif

Haha when I say power, I meant computing power tongue.gif
My HTPC is an ODROID-C2 Single Board Computer, it cost $40
http://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php
Ol'Faithful
(11 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Xeon x5660 P6X58D-E XFX AMD Radeon R9 280X Corsair Vengeance 24 GB Triple Chanel 6x4GB 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Lite-On DVD-RW Noctua DH-14 CPU Cooler Windows 7 Pro x64 Samsung 24" LED 1080p 5ms DVI (S23A300B) 
PowerMouseAudio
Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Gold Corsair M95 Onboard :S 
  hide details  
Reply
Ol'Faithful
(11 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Xeon x5660 P6X58D-E XFX AMD Radeon R9 280X Corsair Vengeance 24 GB Triple Chanel 6x4GB 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Lite-On DVD-RW Noctua DH-14 CPU Cooler Windows 7 Pro x64 Samsung 24" LED 1080p 5ms DVI (S23A300B) 
PowerMouseAudio
Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Gold Corsair M95 Onboard :S 
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Reply
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spinFX View Post

Haha when I say power, I meant computing power tongue.gif
My HTPC is an ODROID-C2 Single Board Computer, it cost $40
http://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php

my mistake tongue.gif

Oh wow that's cool/cute, looks great for movies I'll have to keep it in mind.
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k  Asus P8z77-I Deluxe/wd EVGA GTX 770 4GB SC G.Skill 8GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucual M500 120GB Crucial MX100 250GB ex120+st30 280 w/ noctua LNA Windows 8.1 Pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dell U2713hm  Microsoft POS SilverStone SFX 450w-G Custom 
MouseAudio
TT eSports Black 4000DPI Audio-technica ATH-A900X 
  hide details  
Reply
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k  Asus P8z77-I Deluxe/wd EVGA GTX 770 4GB SC G.Skill 8GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucual M500 120GB Crucial MX100 250GB ex120+st30 280 w/ noctua LNA Windows 8.1 Pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dell U2713hm  Microsoft POS SilverStone SFX 450w-G Custom 
MouseAudio
TT eSports Black 4000DPI Audio-technica ATH-A900X 
  hide details  
Reply
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