Is a silent HTPC a realistic aim? - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 32 Old 08-31-2012, 05:04 PM
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I would agree with the comments that going for quiet rather than totally fanless is a more sensible aim given the budget and requirements for this build.

WMC is annoying in it's refusal to record to a networked drive, but this is not a deal breaker, it just needs a little original thought.

I would go with one of the new i3 processors, they are powerful, but in a HTPC they use so little power that they can be cooled very easily. Something like a Silverstone NTE-06 CPU cooler with a Sharkoon 120MM Silent Eagle 1000 keeps the 1st gen i3 in my HTPC cool during 1080p MKV playback and the fan is inaudible. I use a couple of 60mm case fans (not ideal but the size is dictated by the Silverstone case I use) from Fractal Design then attach those to a fan speed controller and slow them down to the point where I cannot hear them standing next to the case, you can let them run surprisingly fast and they still remain silent, but I would prefer to use a case with 80MM fans as I can then use Sharkoon 80mm Silent Eagle fans which can run almost full speed and remain silent.

Storage wise, I'd use a combo of a Samsung 128GB SSD (830 Series) with a 1TB 2.5" HDD (Samsung Spinpoint M8 for example), the M8 is almost silent yet has more than enough bandwidth to record HD broadcasts. This also runs cool so it means less work for your case fans. Graphics is easy, a passive Radeon HD5450, cheap, cool and can handle 1080P Blu-Ray with lossless audio. Power supply is the expensive item, a truly fanless PSU from Seasonic will cost around 100 UKP, but the Be Quiet series is also well thought of for around half the price. I use Silverstone Nightjar myself, good but not cheap. Now add 4 GB RAM and a solid, basic Gigabyte motherboard and you're there.

In terms of bulk storage, I'd use a NAS with 2 X 2TB HDD in another room, mount the drives over your network to the HTPC, put a Recorded TV folder on eash drive, and set WMC to scan those drives for programming. Now once a week copy the program you want to keep off your internal 1TB HDD and onto the network drives, WMC will still display them in the front end as though they're local storage, whilst keeping the local HDD free for recording.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,

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post #32 of 32 Old 08-31-2012, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

My satellite DVR is much much louder than my HTPC.
And I have never heard of anyone complaining about a cable/satellite box. Don't know why HTPCs are held to a different standard and need to be "completely silent" even at 6 inches.

Yep, my satellite DVR can be heard 10 feet away.

That being said, how noisy do you think this video card will be?

From what I've read it appears smaller fans run faster & therefore are usually louder than big fans, but how big can fans get on a video card? I'm experiencing the 29/59 bug with my G620 using integrated graphics when watching some older SD OTA programs. I just don't want the HTPC to become louder than the Dish DVR.

Or should I wait for a good sale on a GT430?
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