Silent (as possible) Sandy bridge HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 05:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all, I intend to build a new HTPC over the next week or two, with the following objectives:

1. Silent as possible
2. Instant sleep/resume from sleep (or always on)
3. Fast operation with WMC/XBMC (including overlays)
4. Ability to record/watch live tv
5. Blu-ray playback
6. Vector-adaptive de-interlacing provided by the GPU
7. Low energy use

As such, my current parts list is:

CPU - Intel 2100T
Cooler - Silverstone NT01-E
RAM - 4GB Corsair
SSD - Intel 320 40GB
Motherboard - MSI H61-E33
ODD - Samsung SH-B123L
PSU - PicoPSU 120W
Case - Silverstone GD04
Case fan - Scythe Kaze Jyuni 500RPM

I intend to run the CPU cooler passively, with just the one case fan (the Scythe). As such, there will only be one fan in the case. Will this be sufficient cooling?

Are my parts fit for my intended purpose? Would I gain anything in picture quality by adding an ATI 6450?

Thanks for any help.
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 06:05 AM
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The iGPU of the i3 is more than capable and the SSD will make your system 'snappy'. I haven't tried passive, and no one can really tell you yes or no - every situation can be different. The only thing you really can do is just try it. Use Prime95 to load the CPU and see how hot it gets under the worse conditions. If it stays below 70C then you're OK.

Not all H61 MBs support the iGPU, so make sure that MSI does. Or go with a H67. Assassin's guide here has several mATX H67 boards to choose from. I went with ASUS P8H67-LE myself.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 07:31 AM
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If you go with the picoPSU in that case, you should check out a couple of the entries in my blog: http://outsidethestb.blogspot.com/

 

 

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post #4 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 08:41 AM
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I am planning on using the same case and CPU, but with a standard PSU, one 2TB Hitachi Coolspin hard disk in addition to the SSD, and a Hauppauge Colossus card.

My plan for cooling is to use the stock heatsink/fan, and replace the left and right forward 120mm fans with Noctua NF-S12B FLX fans set for either probably 600 or possibly 900 rpm, and a Scythe Kama Flex SA1225FDB12H-P PWM fan in the back right position controlled by the MB's PWM controller to provide some extra cooling just in case anything warms up ever. I'm hoping this will produce no discernable noise while keeping everything nice and cool.

In which of the fan locations are you planning on putting your one fan, and are you going to have it blow inward or exhaust? I would think adding the heat of a video card (and disrupting the air flow with that card) would change significantly the calculus of whether the single low-speed fan/passive cooling will be enough. Have you thought about using a i3-2100T? I would think that would further reduce your heat level.

I'd chosen the Noctua fans because they can be set at one of three speeds, as low as 600 RPM, but after seeing your post I noticed that the Scythe Kaze Jyuni can be set at 5 speeds, as low as 500rpm, and are less than half the price of the Noctuas, so I may change what I buy for those two fixed-speed fans.

My thinking was that having the one PWM controlled fan blowing over the motherboard in the right rear location would provide some extra cooling if things warm up (at the expense of extra noise) but I'm hoping it will run at a slow, silent speed most or all of the time. I was going to have all three fans blow inward as Silverstone designed it, with the exhaust passively out the back of the case. My expectation is that if the fixed fan speeds are low enough, and enough air is circulated to keep the temp down low enough so that the CPU and PWM fan don't speed up, then it should be essentially silent. Is this idea crazy? I probably won't know until I try it.

One other question - would using G.Skill Eco 1.35v instead of 1.5v Ripjaws X memory have any discernable impact on the heat?

My build looks like this:

Case - Silverstone GD04B
PSU - FSP Group Aurum Gold 400
MB - Intel DH67BLB3
CPU - Intel i3-2100
Cooler - stock
SDRAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series (2 x 2GB)
SSD - Samsung 470 Series 64GB SATA II
HD - Hitachi Deskstar Coolspin 2TB SATA III Hard Drive 0F12117
BD - LG WH12LS30 12x Blu Ray Burner
Fan 1- Scythe Kama Flex SA1225FDB12H-P
Fan 2&3 - Noctua NF-S12B FLX 120mm
Video Capture - Hauppauge Colossus
Keyboard - Lenovo N5901
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post
One other question - would using G.Skill Eco 1.35v instead of 1.5v Ripjaws X memory have any discernable impact on the heat?
At first glance maybe slightly, but most likely a negligible impact. Less power should mean less heat but the difference between 1.35 - 1.5 is not much, but I am sure it is at least a little bit. Depending on the price difference it is probably worth it as it take less voltage, which means less energy over the duration along with a possible heat difference. That is just my 2 cents.

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post #6 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 10:06 AM
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I have the 2100T with the stock intel HS. It runs pretty cool but does get fairly hot when being stressed by Prime95 or when transcoding content for other devices at home. I can get away with idling with the CPU fan at the lowest setting (not audible at all) and having temps of around 42C. With Prime95 running, the CPU fan kicks in and is at full blast (annoying high pitched whine) and keeps temps to around 72C. I'm sure you can do better with your heatsink and some arctic silver.

Single casefan should also be fine (I have one in my Apex MI-008 case).
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 10:16 AM
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Vents on the top of the case are your friend for easy cooling. Best would be find a case where you can put that NT01 or similar horizontal cooler and a fan blowing right out the top, or taking air in right from the top cover and blowing it down over the cooler.

I don't think you'll get enough cooling with a single 500rpm 120mm fan blowing in from the side. It might work but I doubt it. That CPU cooler just won't be getting any airflow since the air is moving the wrong direction to pass over the fins.

Just to give you an idea, I'm running this case;

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811121115

and it worked fine with just a stock CPU cooler. I later cut the fan off the stock CPU cooler and screwed a 800rpm 120mm fan onto to the top cover blowing in (otherwise the blades would be passing right against the vent holes and making more noise). It runs nice and cool, even better than the temps with the stock cooler. Prime95 does run the CPU up to around 65-70C but I never load my CPU 100% under normal use.

I also dumped the power supply for a supply like a Pico and got rid of the little included side case fan plus the SSD means no other moving parts besides the one fan. It's pretty quiet but I can still hear the fan while seated if the room is otherwise silent. Very unobtrusive though.

Peter
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshDorhyke View Post

Vents on the top of the case are your friend for easy cooling. Best would be find a case where you can put that NT01 or similar horizontal cooler and a fan blowing right out the top, or taking air in right from the top cover and blowing it down over the cooler....

+1

I am running an i3 540 in a tiny case with the only fan being a single low speed (80mm 700rpm) case fan mounted directly above the CPU. Temp is 10C over room temperature.

So with a presumably much cooler running 2100T I would expect you to be fine IF your fan was blowing cool air straight into the CPU heatsink.
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by user4avsforum View Post

+1

I am running an i3 540 in a tiny case with the only fan being a single low speed (80mm 700rpm) case fan mounted directly above the CPU. Temp is 10C over room temperature.

So with a presumably much cooler running 2100T I would expect you to be fine IF your fan was blowing cool air straight into the CPU heatsink.

I had bought a cheap case early in my HTPC learning curve. The only good thing about that case was a lid mounted shroud that allowed outside air to be pulled in right to the CPU. Rather simple to build if you can use tin snips and drill holes. Use a Fan dust cover on top of the lid for looks and to keep the cooler fins from loading up with dust.
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