HTPC Fanless Build with HDPLEX S3 case - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-27-2012, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

Here is my HTPC build, decided this route based on Kuky's post. My build looks very similar, but with slightly different components and the need for a Cable Card installation. Tuner is external and sits on top of the HTPC chassis.







Components:

HDPLEX H3.SODD Fanless HTPC Case ($324)
w/ 80W open-frame Pwr Supply & IR MCE remote
ASRock H67M-ITX LGA 1155 Intel Mini ITX Intel Motherboard ($87)
Intel Core i3 2120T 2x 2.60GHz Processor ($147)
Hauppage WinTV DCR-2650 CableCard External Tuner ($128)
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB RAM F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL ($42)
Sony Optiarc 12.7MM Slot Blu-ray Combo SATA BC5650H-01 ($135)
Samsung Spinpoint M8 HN-M101MBB 1TB 5400 RPM 2.5" SATA ($110)
Microsoft Win7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM ($97)

A bit pricey but this works better than the cable company's DVR and cable card is free on my system. Also, Internet TV is better supported.

With a fanless chassis using heatpipes to cool the CPU and the only mechanical devices being a low-RPM SATA and the Blu-ray drive (when watching DVD/Blu-ray movies), the unit is essentially noiseless. The SATA drive is isolated from the chassis with rubber grommets.

Just a few comments about the components:
1. No problems with heat. The heatpipe keeps the CPU at 100-degrees F or less watching/recording TV
2. For totally quiet, you could go SSD, but expensive to have room for HD recorded content. Low RPM SATA is fine.
3. ASRock's Fast boot feature allows quick boot when you turn on the unit via the MCE remote.
4. I bought the MCE remote kit for the HDPLEX, but really only use the MCE remote, as it works with the Hauppage's built-in IR. Just buy an MCE remote.
5. Power switch on the HDPLEX is a little wobbly and needs a small adhesive shim to tighten it up.
6. Will need to get Blu-ray software (e. g., PowerDVD) since MS Win7 does not support Blu-ray natively.
7. Can add TV Extender software for Hauppage to allow remote use of the system via iPad or iPhone for $10!

As for the assembly:
1. HDPLEX instructions are fairly good, just a little confusion due to the printed and on-line versions being a bit different. My advice is to use the online version.
2. Installing the 3-PIN cable into the power supply is very difficult, I needed to shave the outside of the connector a bit to let it fit into the tight quarters.
3. The faceplate was already installed on the chassis, so although it was still possible to assemble everything, the optical disc drive (ODD) rack should be installed last for easier assembly.
4. I have not needed the drive eject button driver, since Win7 has an eject button in Media Center. But it is there if you need a manual button.

Best regards,
KVnDC
LL
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-27-2012, 07:54 PM
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Very nice setup.
Since you want a tv tuner why didn't you bought one case like HDPLEX H5.ODD or Streacom FC8 or FC5 OD with an internal tuner?
Hey, and show some pics of the setup
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-03-2012, 06:36 AM
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Thanks for the compliment, Emaster! I did finally get a couple of photos posted. The reason I went with the external tuner is really because I've always had pretty good success with Hauppage products and so I figured the smaller case is fine.

There is one other unexpected benefit to external in having the LEDs to monitor tuner status. These are behind a smoked glass door, so not bright or obtrusive.

KVnDC
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post #4 of 12 Old 04-04-2012, 05:10 AM
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Good job. For some reason these ITX setups intrigue me, I'll have to build one someday. Have you measured power consumption of your HTPC?
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-29-2012, 12:44 AM
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I built a very similar setup. Here is my list:

Components:

HDPLEX H3.SODD Fanless HTPC Case (silver)
w/ 80W open-frame Pwr Supply
ASRock H67M-ITX LGA 1155 Intel Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core i3 2100T 35W
G.SKILL 4GB RAM
Hitach LG Blue-ray ROM slot drive
intel 80GB SSD
Microsoft Win7 Ultimate 64-bit
Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard N5902

Comments:
1. This case was purchased with MCE remote but I opt for the Lenovo remote.
2. It was initially built with a 73W Clarkdale i3-540 on a Zotac H55ITX. But it consistently ran above 70 deg C. The manufacturer rated the case for 65W CPU.
3. With a 35W Sandy Bridge i3-2100T on ASRock H67M-ITX, it ran around 40 deg C.
4. Although this is one of the lowest price passive cooling case, fit and finish is pretty good with only a few minor issues. The seller was very responsive.


Left is the MCE remote IR receiver, center is the USB DVD eject board allowing pretty much any slot drives, right is the power switch mounted on top of the case.

A small piece of foam added to hold up the power switch cap.

The ASRock H67M-ITX has the case header in the far corner and the wires in the case kit can barely reach. This case likes the CPU socket on the left such as ASRock H67M-ITX, Zotac H67ITX, intel DH61AG, Asus P8H61-I but not Foxconn H67S.

Here it is on the shelf next to the AT&T Uverse box and Samsung Blue-ray player. The vertical piece in the back is a Cisco dual band WiFi dongle.
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-07-2012, 01:09 AM
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I changed this setup to 65W i5-2400S and ASUS P8H61-I. It is now running at 55 deg C. The external heatsink feels warm to the touch but it is running nicely. The PSU mount to the right side feels a bit warm also.

I tried a 73W i3-540 Clarkdale and Zotac H55ITX in it and it ran at about 75 deg C.
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-25-2012, 06:29 AM
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I just got around to measuring the power of the original system shown in the post with a Kill-a-Watt meter, these measurements include the power consumption of the external DTV tuner:

Live HD TV--33 to 34 watts
DVD--28-30 watts
IE Browsing--24 watts
ASRock's Standby Mode--5 watts

The processor is spec'd at 34W and the power supply is 60W, so I imagine it could go up somewhat if used for gaming.

Some other interesting measurements from the ASRock Extreme Tuning Utility:

CPU Temperature--107-109 degrees F
Motherboard Temp--107 degrees F
CPU Fan--0 RPM

KVnDC
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-28-2012, 07:19 AM
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As a quick FYI:

An alternative way of getting digital cable is via the SiliconDust HD HomeRun Prime networked tuner. Setup is a bit time-consuming but once working it serves up perfect HD to any attached PCs. There's a companion app for the iPad but I haven't tried that.

I'm intrigued by the remote control in the photos above...anyone know what it is and if it's recommended??
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-07-2012, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prabbit View Post

I'm intrigued by the remote control in the photos above...anyone know what it is and if it's recommended??

Lenovo, it's the best htpc remote IMO. Goes on sale for $30-40 regularly.

http://shop.lenovo.com/us/itemdetails/57Y6678/460/4C2830F486C64CF7A8A1E619AB6729AA
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-08-2012, 08:27 AM
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There are a few other all-in-one input device solutions:

Gmyle Wireless Mini Keyboard With Smart Pad
http://www.gmyle.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=2898
This one works like a Blackberry Bold. If you are used to a BB, this is a good choice.

HP Wireless Mini Keyboard
http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/ca/en/ho/WF06c/A1-329290-69998-329254-329254-4276118-4276269.html
The two dots in the upper corners are an optical pointing device and the left and right click buttons. This device gives you type-able keyboard without the need for a separate mouse.
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post #11 of 12 Old 07-08-2012, 02:08 PM
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Thanks very much to the last two posters for recommending mini-keyboards. I currently use a diNovo mini from Logitech which is sexy looking but frequently disconnects from the PC, to the point where the only way to reset it is to remove and replace the battery. This does nothing for the WAF.

I'm liking the HP mini keyboard...almost looks like you could do real typing on it.

Cheers

Peter
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post #12 of 12 Old 07-08-2012, 05:08 PM
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Take a look at the Logitech K400 keyboard with touchpad. It is larger than the minis but smaller than a normal keyboard, and has a touchpad. The range on mine is at least 20 feet. List price is $39.99 and sometimes on sale at Amazon for $29.99.
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