The build for my “silent” HTPC is underway and it’s easy to say it looks like an overbuild! However, the fundamental premise is to run Ultimate Equalizer 4
software which is real time music processing software. It provides digital signal processing using the M-Audio Delta 1010 sound card
. UE4 requires a quad core i7 CPU so the choice was either Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge. Since the IB runs with less power and hence lower heat, as well as being the latest thing, I went with an i-7 3770K.
Having chosen IB, it was then necessary to choose the MB. It needed to be a “7” series and have 2 PCI slots. For these and other reasons it was between the Asus P8Z77-V Pro and the AsRock z77 Extreme6. The Asus has WiFi and excellent fan controls while the AsRock has better sonics. Given I will be relying on the M-Audio for sound and the AsRock runs hotter, I went with the Asus.
The Silent Pro M 600 power supply has tested well and runs quiet to 300W so that more than covers expected demand. The RAM is twice what was needed but it seemed like a good idea to never have to upgrade. The SSD is more than big enough for the OS and all the applications I will be running (music & video player, audio measuring, processing). The new Pioneer BDR-2207 is the bees knees of Blu-Ray drives and 64 Bit Windows 7 is needed for the audio processing software.
I’m going to try out the 4000 GPU before buying a graphics card so this is left undecided at this stage. I’ve also heard that large graphics cards aren’t an easy fit in this case. The TV/FM tuner is the least expensive PCI-e option while I wait for the versions with DAB to appear next year.
The elephant in the room is whether I will be using this for gaming as well as films and music. I like the options from Wii and Kinect but haven’t taken to SPGs and the like. However, the over spec’ing, particularly the 3770K CPU and 16G RAM, was done with this as an option. So, I am figuring it might also become a silent gaming PC in the future.
The other challenge in this build is water cooling. I’ve never done it before but given the wish for a silent PC It was the direction from the outset. The Borg setup reportedly isn’t easy but it’s designed for this case and has an 1155 socket adaptor for the cooling block. There is a fan on the PSU which is controlled by power demand, aka heat generated, and a fan on the case that is fully controllable so it’s a good chance it will run silent.
However, it's only just started to come together so the proof will be in the listening.
Home Theatre PC.
Motherboard ASUS P8Z77-V Pro
CPU Ivy Bridge i-7 3770K
Case mCubed hFX Classic HTPC case
Cooling Borg water cooling CPU
Noctua fan (single)
Power Supply Cooler Master Silent Pro M 600
RAM 16G G Skill Rip-jaws X 1600
Hard Drive SSD Samsung SSD 830 Series (128GB)
Blu Ray drive 128GB BDXL Pioneer BDR-2207
OS MSW 7 Professional 64 bit
Graphics Card Wait and see!
Sound Card M-Audio Delta 1010 PCI
Keyboard Wireless keyboard / blue tooth
TV /FM Tuner Leadtek Winfast Hybrid TV Tuner PCI-e
PS. The NAS is a separate project and hence the lack of apparent storage