Completed my HTPC Build and an unRaid server (with Pictures) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 05-22-2012, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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I have been helped so much by others with more experience that I wanted to share my build since it may help others in the decision to build one of their own.

After much researching, I finally completed my HTPC as well as an unRaid Server. Thanks to all who gave comments on their systems and helped me decide on this system. All the parts are solid and this runs silent.

Here are the parts:

[CASE]
SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (Black) $59.99
[Power Supply]
SilverStone Strider 400W, 80 PLUS, Active PFC Power Supply ST40F-ES (Black) $48.99
[CPU]
AMD A6-3500 APU with AMD Radeon 6530 HD Graphics 2.1/2.4GHz Socket FM1 65W Triple-Core Processor - Retail AD3500OJGXBOX $74.99
[CPU Cooler]
Scythe BIG SHURIKEN 2 Rev B. 5-Heatpipe Universal Low Profile CPU Cooler (SCBSK-2100) $47.95
[MOBO]
ASRock MB-A75M Socket FM1/ AMD A75 FCH/ SATA3&USB3.0/ A&GbE/ Micro ATX Motherboard $74.99
[RAM]
Kingston HyperX Genesis 4 GB Kit (2x2 GB Modules) 1866MHz DDR3 PC3-15000 240-Pin Non-ECC CL9 1.65V DIMM XMP Desktop Memory KHX1866C9D3K2/4GX $35.74
[SSD]
Crucial 64 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT064M4SSD2 $80.99
[BD-ROM]
LG UH12LS28K LightScribe 12x SATA Blu-Ray Combo Internal Drive, Bulk (Black) $57.39
[OS]
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit (Full) System Builder DVD 1 Pack $99.99
[Keyboard]
IOGEAR Multimedia Keyboard with Laser Trackball and Scroll Wheel, 2.4GHz Wireless GKM561R (Black) $39.08
[Remote]
Windows 7 Vista XP Media Center MCE PC Remote Control and Infrared Receiver for Home, Premium and Ultimate Edition $15.41
[HDD] (One for HTPC and one for unRaid server)
Western Digital Caviar Green 2 TB Desktop Hard Drive WD20EARX


and for the unRaid (I already have a motherboard and RAM):
[Case]
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $54.99
[Power Supply]
Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

Since I only have 4 internal sata on the mobo, and no PCI-E,..I needed a PCI solution to expand my sata connections. A co-worker highly recommended this card and said he uses it with great success,..and great price at: $10.07 (I'll probably buy another once I upgrade my unRaid license to a Pro Level)
PCI to SATA / IDE (2 SATA / 2 PATA) Combo RAID Controller Card - VT6421A (Manufacturer Part # SY-VIA-150R)

I have an external Western Digital HDD with an ESATA connection. Never had the cable, so picking this one up for: $8.01 with Free Shipping
Cables To Go 10221 External Serial ATA Cable (2 Meters, Black)

Since I don't want to run CAT cables through my walls,...the same coworker Highly Recommended these and said he uses them flawlessly with his HTPC. Price: $72.62
ZyXEL PLA401v3 HomePlug AV 200 Mbps Powerline Wall-plug Adapter (Starter Kit - 2 units)

AND, can't go wrong with this price on 2 sata cables: $0.97 with Free Shipping!!!!! (Buying 5 sets of these)
SATA Data Cable (2pk.)

Overall, I am TOTALLY pleased over this build. I can't get my family off of it.
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post #2 of 25 Old 05-23-2012, 04:56 AM - Thread Starter
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So here are the pictures of my HTPC and unRaid builds:

I started to put this together and in my excitement,..I realized that I need to take pictures.
So as you can see I've got the case apart, the RAM in, the PSU in, and the CPU cooler temporarily sitting on the PSU.


Another view


and another


That keyboard is awesome!


Now the CPU Cooler is finally installed. That thing is amazing! and HUGE!! But it fits perfectly.


Side view


[hr]
and more........


Lower now


without flash


back view


Figuring out the wiring and getting ready to pop in the MOBO.
Notice where I installed the SSD and see that the HDD is under the BDROM drive.
There was space to install another drive next to the HDD.


And, here's everything installed and the bracket back on the case.
Wiring could be better, but I found this to be really easy and I was extremely happy.
You should see the mess I made of the unRaid server. That case is huge, but the wiring is a mess.
Need to take a class on wiring.


Front view
[hr]
and still more..............


Another view


Side view


Now installing Windows 7.
Notice the adapter cable sitting in front of the monitor.
Only later did I realize what it was for.....
I have to learn to read the manuals!!!


Stole my son's keyboard temporarily.




AND Here my unRaid server. It's in a temporary home,...which may end up to be a permanent home.
Where? The laundry room. The furnace is also in there,..and I was worried about heat, but temps have been fine.


Blue Fans


[hr]
and the last set:

Lights out!


Closer view.




Well I hope these pictures help someone!!! I know that I've been helped by others who posted comments, pictures, and videos.
Thanks to all who assisted!
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post #3 of 25 Old 05-24-2012, 04:52 AM - Thread Starter
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While I have been able to watch movies over my wireless. (Although I will get stutters sometimes which can get pretty aggravating)

I decided to take the plunge and purchase this PowerLine solution. Since I didn't want to run CAT cables through my walls,...a few coworkers Highly Recommended these and said they use them flawlessly with their HTPC.
ZyXEL PLA401v3 HomePlug AV 200 Mbps Powerline Wall-plug Adapter (Starter Kit - 2 units)


Well, the units arrived yesterday.
I got home from work, unwrapped them, plugged them in,..and instantly had network connections.
I then pushed the button on the sides of the devices to set the encryption for both devices and again,...no problems.
But the big test was the family. They had noticed that a few of the movies that were being streamed via wifi were stuttering.

We played 3-4 of the movies and no stuttering, instant playing,..and the fast forward, chapter skipping, stopping, starting were smooth!
I am SO glad I brought the ZyXEL PLA401v3 HomePlug AV 200 Mbps Powerline Wall-plug Adapter (Starter Kit - 2 units)
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post #4 of 25 Old 05-24-2012, 04:13 PM
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nice htpc
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post #5 of 25 Old 05-25-2012, 04:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by femi View Post

nice htpc

Thanks!
This was so easy to build. I was a little intimidated, but manufacturers have come a long way to make sure you can't (or at least it's harder_ screw it up.

Years ago,..I built a computer and you'd literally have to push the CPU into the mobo so that all the pins made it in properly. There was no drop and lock like today. I must have bent every pin on my first build years ago.

If you're thinking about a HTPC,..build this one. The case is awesome, the whole build is FAST, the movies play in 1080p, the sound is awesome out of my surround sound system.

Can you tell that I'm happy!
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post #6 of 25 Old 05-25-2012, 07:56 AM
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i will build my own htpc real soon. i am nervous cause i never build a pc from scratch before.
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post #7 of 25 Old 05-25-2012, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by femi View Post

i will build my own htpc real soon. i am nervous cause i never build a pc from scratch before.


Take a look at the parts I used. These were picked because I followed the advice of a bunch off guys who build system with the exact same parts. Yeah, I could have customized some things,..but for my first HTPC, I didn't want to screw anything up.

Don't be nervous. It really isn't that difficult to build. I think the hardest part is plugging the power switch cable from the case to the motherboard. It's only hard because I need new glasses.

If you do decide to build one,..make sure you post your questions on this forum and you'll get plenty of support. People are more than willing to help out. Good Luck!
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post #8 of 25 Old 05-30-2012, 02:09 PM
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Hey Gort, this is EXACTLY what I want to do. I have 0 experience in building computers/servers etc. The only Raid I know if the bug spray, lol. Anyways, could you offer any insight as to where you learned how to build your system? Also, how exactly do the powerline adapters work?
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post #9 of 25 Old 05-30-2012, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azula View Post

Hey Gort, this is EXACTLY what I want to do. I have 0 experience in building computers/servers etc. The only Raid I know if the bug spray, lol. Anyways, could you offer any insight as to where you learned how to build your system? Also, how exactly do the powerline adapters work?

Go to the HTPC forum. There is a ton of info there. I particularly recommend signing up for Assassin's guide. I built a HTPC using it and the thing is a beast, does everything. He also just made a guide for servers, I haven't built one yet but plan to do so in the future.
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post #10 of 25 Old 05-30-2012, 07:25 PM
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Thanks Jack, I have been doing research on that side too! I'm interested from hearing from Gort as well because my setup will potentially be identical. Even down to the power line adapters.
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post #11 of 25 Old 05-31-2012, 06:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by azula View Post

Thanks Jack, I have been doing research on that side too! I'm interested from hearing from Gort as well because my setup will potentially be identical. Even down to the power line adapters.

Azula: The Powerline Adapters I used work perfectly.

I had heard bad things about throughput and such or read posts that said "such and such" a bandwidth won't cut it. All I can say is,..I AM GLAD I ignored these posts. My Powerline adapters work PERFECTLY. No stuttering, no jumps, no pauses,..perfect streaming of movies from my unRaid Server.

Now I'm sure what works for one person, won't for another,....it just bothers me that negative posts where people "split hairs" keep inexperienced people from building or trying things that might work perfectly for them.

I could care less what my bandwidth is, as long as I can watch movies,...and I can.

At the worst, if a device doesn't work for you,..return it. Amazon has an extremely generous return policy,..and NewEgg is also pretty reasonable.

I keep on saying,..you don't need a BEAST of a machine to use XBMC to watch movies at 1080p, and get great surround sound. My system can even supports 3D.

You don't need 64G of RAM, nor do you need Gigabit throughput,....nor the latest CPU, nor a beefy Graphics card. All these things just keep newbie's fearful that their system won't work without them,..and it makes it more expensive than it needs to be.

The two things I went over the top on,,,was the aftermarket Scythe BIG SHURIKEN 2 Rev B. 5-Heatpipe Universal Low Profile CPU Cooler (SCBSK-2100), $40 bucks,...and the Crucial 64 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT064M4SSD2 $80. Did I need these 2 extra items,..Nope, I just thought they were cool, and I could afford to buy them.
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post #12 of 25 Old 05-31-2012, 06:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nitro67 View Post

Well, it looks good. Although, from this photo it looks like the PC is under the hot water line. You might want to relocate it away from any water lines.

Not sure why you are afraid to run CAT cable in your walls. I done it several times. Just get an Electrician's fish tape, they are around $15. I usually buy bulk cable from newegg. Depends on the length you need though. 50 foot of CAT 6 would be around $5. I take some duct tape and tape it to the CAT cable, just takes a few times. Rather easy.

Thanks for seeing the water line,...guess you're right about that. I'll have to think about that one.

Regarding the running of cables. I realize it's not hard at all,...but I have several reasons why I either don't want to, or simply can't. The GREAT thing is that I brought the Powerline devices,..plugged them in,..and immediately,...I could watch perfectly streaming movies with no stuttering, pauses, or delays. MY family is happy,..I'm happy.
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post #13 of 25 Old 05-31-2012, 07:18 AM
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I will probably have to use (or at least try out) powerline adapters as well. My main PC is downstairs in the den, which is also probably where my server will go, and my HTPC is upstairs in a bed room which makes it even harder to run a line between the two.

Now on to the meat of the matter. I did a search on youtube and found this video
It's a video review and build in the ML03 case. Looks like it would be pretty hard to mess that up. The server also seems simple enough too.

My question for you is what software are you using for your HTPC? (windows 7, xmbc, wmc/mb?) Also why did you install one HDD in your HTPC as opposed to putting both in your server? Another question is how exactly do you have everything networked? Is your server connected to your router which communicates with your HTPC via the powerline adapters? Excuse the 1000 questions but I have HUGE learning curve to overcome. Thanks Gort!
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post #14 of 25 Old 05-31-2012, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azula View Post

I will probably have to use (or at least try out) powerline adapters as well. My main PC is downstairs in the den, which is also probably where my server will go, and my HTPC is upstairs in a bed room which makes it even harder to run a line between the two.

Now on to the meat of the matter. I did a search on youtube and found this video
It's a video review and build in the ML03 case. Looks like it would be pretty hard to mess that up. The server also seems simple enough too.

My question for you is what software are you using for your HTPC? (windows 7, xmbc, wmc/mb?) Also why did you install one HDD in your HTPC as opposed to putting both in your server? Another question is how exactly do you have everything networked? Is your server connected to your router which communicates with your HTPC via the powerline adapters? Excuse the 1000 questions but I have HUGE learning curve to overcome. Thanks Gort!

Yeah, I watched that video and it's what sold me on the case! I love the case.

Take a look at my first post of this thread and you'll find all the parts I used.
But, I used Win7 and XBMC 11.0

I installed a SSD for the fast boot time,..just about 15 sec, although it's instant if I put it to sleep. I installed a second HD just in case I wanted to install a game, or a family member wanted to install something. It's more of a "just in case" thing.

I have a wireless router connected to DSL. I use wireless for the 2 family PC's upstairs,...and my workstation and unRaid Media Server are connected to the back of the Router. For the powerline adapters, one is connected to the back of the router,..and the other is connected to the HTPC.
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post #15 of 25 Old 05-31-2012, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GortWillSaveUs View Post

Yeah, I watched that video and it's what sold me on the case! I love the case.

Take a look at my first post of this thread and you'll find all the parts I used.
But, I used Win7 and XBMC 11.0

I installed a SSD for the fast boot time,..just about 15 sec, although it's instant if I put it to sleep. I installed a second HD just in case I wanted to install a game, or a family member wanted to install something. It's more of a "just in case" thing.

I have a wireless router connected to DSL. I use wireless for the 2 family PC's upstairs,...and my workstation and unRaid Media Server are connected to the back of the Router. For the powerline adapters, one is connected to the back of the router,..and the other is connected to the HTPC.

Do you rip the blu-ray's from your workstation or the HTPC? After more research, I realized that the unRAID server is headless and it's accessed through a different computer i.e. (HTPC or regular PC). Also, did you follow a step by step guide to setting all of this up that you could share with a noob?
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post #16 of 25 Old 05-31-2012, 06:47 PM
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Nice build.

I went RAID 0 with my recent rebuild for my gaming/htpc and I love it. Using 2 Agility 3 120s for the OS and a few Steam games so if anything happens I won't be up a creek with regards to data loss. Games run super fast as does WMC. I love new builds, thanks for sharing.
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post #17 of 25 Old 06-01-2012, 05:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nitro67 View Post

Newegg policy on hard drive is 30 days, but it depends on the drive. You pay shipping. I am all for everyone building an HTPC. XMBC works ok, but it has problems with the audio and video quality. I tried it over a year, but has problems with the video quality. Well, DVD's looked choppy on my 70" tv. I recommend J River Media Center 17, and it is listed on several sites as the best around. Listed in HDtracks.com as recommended software. 30 Day free trial, but then it is only $50 to buy. Works great with all systems, and is highly configurable. Audio/video is the best that I tested. Here is one of the Ipad/Iphone apps. http://www.jremote.net/

The main reason that I recommend a person upgrade their connection to a wired ethernet is their internet security. i do use wireless router, but that is for the control of my HTPC.


You should try the latest XBMC release v11.0 Eden, it may surprise you.
I don't experience any of the issues you describe. I hate to keep using the same word,..but "flawless" IS my experience with XBMC v11.0

Wow 70"!!! Where do you live,...I'll bring popcorn. Ha
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post #18 of 25 Old 06-01-2012, 05:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azula View Post

Do you rip the blu-ray's from your workstation or the HTPC? After more research, I realized that the unRAID server is headless and it's accessed through a different computer i.e. (HTPC or regular PC). Also, did you follow a step by step guide to setting all of this up that you could share with a noob?

I haven't rip any blu-rays yet,..as I don't own any at this time.
I have a son in college,..so my finances are sometimes pretty slim.

Take a look-see at this forum: http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=104489

The poster "Eskro" has some pretty detailed descriptions on buildign an unRaid server.

Also check out the creator of unRaid's forum:
http://lime-technology.com/forum/

As or me,..I found an awesome case and power supply (see my first post), and I already had a mobo, ram, video card, cpu, and a few hard drives. Then I read the forum at XBMC.org

I am now looking to upgrade my mobo, cpu, and ram,..since my current mobo is from 2003,..and it only has 4 sata connections. Not enough. I need at least 6,...and also PCI-e slots,..my mobo has no PCI-e slots.
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post #19 of 25 Old 06-01-2012, 05:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pcweber111 View Post

Nice build.

I went RAID 0 with my recent rebuild for my gaming/htpc and I love it. Using 2 Agility 3 120s for the OS and a few Steam games so if anything happens I won't be up a creek with regards to data loss. Games run super fast as does WMC. I love new builds, thanks for sharing.

You're welcome! I love building these too,..however, my wallet doesn't like it one bit. if anything,..I hope the pictures encourage someone who's never built one to give it a try,..it's really not as hard as it looks.
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post #20 of 25 Old 06-19-2012, 09:20 PM
 
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You should try the latest XBMC release v11.0 Eden, it may surprise you.

I don't experience any of the issues you describe. I hate to keep using the same word,..but "flawless" IS my experience with XBMC v11.0


Wow 70"!!! Where do you live,...I'll bring popcorn. Ha

I tried XBMC Eden, the sound was like I was a hole. For audio CD's. It couldn't do bit streaming correctly through a Bluray. I tested J River out with 30 day free trial, and love it.
J River has 64 bit audio engine, and is listed in several magazines. Oh, J River also has the capability now to do SACD ISO's, they sound great.
If you have a netflix streaming account, you can set that up, Hulu, and Amazon. etc. J River is US based company, but you can read the reviews in stereophile or absolute sound.

I don't mind paying for a quality piece of software, that actually works.
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post #21 of 25 Old 06-20-2012, 05:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nitro67 View Post

I tried XBMC Eden, the sound was like I was a hole. For audio CD's. It couldn't do bit streaming correctly through a Bluray. I tested J River out with 30 day free trial, and love it.
J River has 64 bit audio engine, and is listed in several magazines. Oh, J River also has the capability now to do SACD ISO's, they sound great.
If you have a netflix streaming account, you can set that up, Hulu, and Amazon. etc. J River is US based company, but you can read the reviews in stereophile or absolute sound.
I don't mind paying for a quality piece of software, that actually works.

You might want to check out the xbmc.org's forum.
There are plenty of guys over there who are devout audiophiles like you.
There are guys over there who know all about configuring and optimizing XBMC for audiophiles.
For me,...I am completely happy with the XBMC experience!

However, I can appreciate there are people with better ears than I was born with that need to (and can) experience music at a higher level.

$49.99 seems reasonable for a software app,..but I like that XBMC is free, and getting better with each release.
But, to each their own.
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post #22 of 25 Old 07-03-2012, 06:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GortWillSaveUs View Post

You might want to check out the xbmc.org's forum.
There are plenty of guys over there who are devout audiophiles like you.
There are guys over there who know all about configuring and optimizing XBMC for audiophiles.
For me,...I am completely happy with the XBMC experience!
However, I can appreciate there are people with better ears than I was born with that need to (and can) experience music at a higher level.
$49.99 seems reasonable for a software app,..but I like that XBMC is free, and getting better with each release.
But, to each their own.


I have been there several times. The problem you will learn with XBMC is the software never seems to get out of beta. Eden went on for months, but it was still in beta.
The audio engine will become the same way, but soon they will have new version called XBMC Frodo 12.0 in December Yes, this happened in Dharma too, but you will learn the hard way.
Personally, I got tired of redoing my library on my server. It literally would change on updates. So, I tested several different software media apps and found J River. Yes, J river does updates, but you don't have to redo your library each time.
You can try J river for free, but it is a true 30 free trial. No annoying advertisements, no limits, etc.
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post #23 of 25 Old 07-03-2012, 07:43 PM
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This is a great system! My computer was a beast back in 2009, but has since aged (Tri-SLI GTX 285's don't have the same ring that they once did.) lol....your thread makes me want to start a new build.....

**Stares longingly into space** rolleyes.gif
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post #24 of 25 Old 07-09-2012, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrolicBeast View Post

This is a great system! My computer was a beast back in 2009, but has since aged (Tri-SLI GTX 285's don't have the same ring that they once did.) lol....your thread makes me want to start a new build.....
**Stares longingly into space** rolleyes.gif

I'm glad you like it. I find that pictures always help me and give me an idea what I'll be working with.

I totally understand what you mean when you say that your system has aged..
I had (and still have) 3 workstations that were all 10 years old. They were begging to be replaced.

When I thought about building a HTPC,..I didn't want to build a BEAST, but I did want it to be able to run anything I threw at it.
Not only am I pleased with this build,..my family will use it to jump on the web,..and I will use it occasionally to play a PC game.

I have also build another system using the same components for 2 other people.
They are also very happy HTPC owners.
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post #25 of 25 Old 08-10-2012, 01:14 AM
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Thanks for this guide - I'm building almost the same HTPC.
Did you use thermal material for the CPU fan?

I'm planning to buy Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B + AMD A6-3500.

Is Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B pre applied with thermal material? or should I get one.

10x
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