Preparing for a Haswell build... (deal hunting now)... questions! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-03-2012, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I've wanted to build an HTPC for a long time. The new Haswell chips coming out Q2 of next year seem to finally meet the balance of low power usage and good integrated video performance that I'll finally bite. (Though the i3-3225 seems decent now).

Main goal:
- Have a system that can play 1080p absolutely perfectly with no stuttering
- Should integrate seamlessly with a typical home audio surround receiver and system (I have no idea what the latest on this is - maybe 7.1 with DTS/etc? Is SPDIF out enough?)
- Keep this very low budget (let's say around $400 or less)
- Possibly combine this with some sort of NAS setup

Do not need:
- Bluray support. I probably won't use this often, and if I did I heard that standalone bluray players just have far less problems

Main Questions:

1. Suggestions for a case? I'm totally overwhelmed by the number of options. I'm looking for something fairly sleek looking, inexpensive, and QUIET. I'm guessing I need to find something that can fit a micro-ATX motherboard and 120mm fan on the back? Anything else I should really focus on with the case? (USB3 compatible ports, etc)

2. Along with the case: What's the shortest cpu cooler that's quiet and efficient? I'll have to make sure it fits vertically in the case. Anyone think a heatsink alone could work for Haswell?

3. Thoughts on regular power supplies vs. the small form factor modular ones?

4. How do most people handle remote controls / keyboards? Any need for a remote at all, or just go with a wireless keyboard?

5. What are your thoughts on storage? I currently have a WDTV live connected to a 1.5TB USB hard drive that I use as my NAS. Should I just load up the HTPC with 1 or 2 large drives, or should I keep some sort of NAS device separate on the network? If so, what are my best options?

Overall, please keep a LOW budget in mind. I'd like to do this as inexpensively as possible.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 13 Old 12-03-2012, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ls1dreams View Post

Thoughts on regular power supplies vs. the small form factor modular ones?

Mostly the ATX power supplies are good quality power conversion and efficient if your system fits the mold. With sandy bridge, ivy bridge, or haswell, RAM, and an SSD you just don't spend enough time in the minimum threshold for efficiency in ATX PSUs. This is why the PicoPSU is popular for these systems

For remotes, it's your choice. My wife likes remotes and so does her family as well as mine. They are simple, and I really like to pair a universal learning remote with a flirc dongle. Usually the only things you need from a remote are Power ON for TV and Volume for TV or receiver. Every other button on the remote can be mapped to a usb key press using flirc. You have to hide the dongle somewhere, but that's pretty easy to do for me. For me, the less buttons on a remote the better. Up, down, left, right, enter, and back will get you 80% of the way there, and the rest depends on your frontend

For Haswell, if Intel follows the model they've been sticking to then the i3 equivalents won't be released until mid Q3

They seem like they are trying to rush full blast towards the laptop ultrabook tablet market first. Then they hit the enthusiast segment with i7/i5 boxes, and round it out with i3 then pentium/celeron late in the year. It probably fits their potential sales in each market, largest to smallest. Obviously just a guess, but they've done it this way for a few generations. Probably retiring the core-i naming scheme as well
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-03-2012, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply.

It looks like the PicoPSU only goes up to 160w or so?

Is that enough to power a low-end haswell chip + SSD? Seems on the extreme low side.
From PCPartpicker.com, an i3-3225 + cpu cooler + 3.5" 5400rpm drive is at 149W, and that doesn't include a case fan, extra USB accessories, or addon cards like a TV tuner. Dropping to an SSD from a 5400rpm only saves 10 more watts.

Will Haswell really be in the 15-25w range? That would be a great drop from the 55w of ivy bridge right now and might buy me some padding.

BTW, Q3 2013 is fine for me, I'm in no major rush.
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-03-2012, 01:39 PM
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post #5 of 13 Old 12-03-2012, 01:42 PM
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Ivy Bridge's i3 3225 can play back everything 1080p, 2D and 3D flawlessly with EVR-CP, madVR needs to be adjusted (they are different renderers).

The shortest and cheapest CPU cooler would be the stock one that comes with that i3.

I'd get Silverstone's GD05B or GD06 for the case, great cooling, fits in well with the rest of your stuff and is quite roomy.

For the PSU, I'd get one that fits in that case, so something from Seasonic's G or X lines would be ideal.

Storage, a NAS is best unless you want to build your own server.

Keyboards are up to you, I use a $15 bluetooth keyboard from Amazon that does the job.
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post #6 of 13 Old 12-03-2012, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiddles88 View Post

Ivy Bridge's i3 3225 can play back everything 1080p, 2D and 3D flawlessly with EVR-CP, madVR needs to be adjusted (they are different renderers).
The shortest and cheapest CPU cooler would be the stock one that comes with that i3.
I'd get Silverstone's GD05B or GD06 for the case, great cooling, fits in well with the rest of your stuff and is quite roomy.
For the PSU, I'd get one that fits in that case, so something from Seasonic's G or X lines would be ideal.
Storage, a NAS is best unless you want to build your own server.
Keyboards are up to you, I use a $15 bluetooth keyboard from Amazon that does the job.

Aren't the T/S series processors low profile?

G620T, 2100T, 3570s

I think their height is 30mm, which is why people buy them for ITX projects.

Alternatively, you can just get one like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835426028 (28mm height)
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post #7 of 13 Old 12-03-2012, 08:58 PM
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If you are waiting for haswell I wouldn't buy anything except the case and psu for now. Prices will probably drop on almost everything else.
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-03-2012, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Aren't the T/S series processors low profile?
G620T, 2100T, 3570s
I think their height is 30mm, which is why people buy them for ITX projects.
Alternatively, you can just get one like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835426028 (28mm height)

The 'T' HSF is 36.5mm.

Not sure if the 'S' is the same.

 

 

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post #9 of 13 Old 12-03-2012, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

The 'T' HSF is 36.5mm.

Which T processors are you talking about? The height of the coolers (the distance between the bottom surface and the top end of the fan) that came with Core i3-2100T and Pentium G620T is 30.0mm.
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-03-2012, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Which T processors are you talking about? The height of the coolers (the distance between the bottom surface and the top end of the fan) that came with Core i3-2100T and Pentium G620T is 30.0mm.

Have they gotten smaller recently?

http://www.missingremote.com/blog/intel-i3-2100t-and-i3-2100-heatsink-and-fan-differences

"The measured height from the top of the board to the top of the HSF is 1-7/16" for the i3-2100T whereas the i3-2100 is 2-1/8"."

1-7/16" = 36.5mm
2-1/8" = 54mm

If they're now 30mm that's good to know.

 

 

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post #11 of 13 Old 12-03-2012, 09:55 PM
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I got both of them in June 2011 when I wrote this post. The blog was written in August 2011. So there shouldn't be a difference.
Quote:
The measured height from the top of the board to the top of the HSF is 1-7/16" for the i3-2100T

That's the point. You forgot to subtract the thickness of the socket and the heatspreader (~6.5mm in total).
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post #12 of 13 Old 12-03-2012, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by renethx View Post

I got both of them in June 2011 when I wrote this post. The blog was written in August 2011. So there shouldn't be a difference.
That's the point. You forgot to subtract the thickness of the socket and the heatspreader (~6.5mm in total).

Ah, ok -- makes sense.

I've been really liking the Dynatron T459. It's got the best fan of the many I've tried -- very smooth.

 

 

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post #13 of 13 Old 12-03-2012, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ls1dreams View Post

Thanks for the reply.
It looks like the PicoPSU only goes up to 160w or so?
Is that enough to power a low-end haswell chip + SSD? Seems on the extreme low side.
From PCPartpicker.com, an i3-3225 + cpu cooler + 3.5" 5400rpm drive is at 149W, and that doesn't include a case fan, extra USB accessories, or addon cards like a TV tuner. Dropping to an SSD from a 5400rpm only saves 10 more watts.
Will Haswell really be in the 15-25w range? That would be a great drop from the 55w of ivy bridge right now and might buy me some padding.
BTW, Q3 2013 is fine for me, I'm in no major rush.

I have a i5-2400S (65W TDP) + intel SSD running on a 72W Thinkpad brick.
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