Mini-Box M350 mITX HTPC Build under $350 - OpenELEC XBMC - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 11 Old 09-25-2013, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
DylanFromCanada's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 13
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10

[Image: efilliate-P55700a.jpg]Well I'm under $350 (Cdn) and that was because I salvaged an SSD drive from my old PC. But I also really could have gone with 4GB of RAM instead of 8 and saved $25 and there were cheaper mITX motherboards so it wasn't really my goal to make the cheapest HTPC possible but rather a small, quite and powerful HTPC on a reasonable budget.

I'm replacing my old AMD HTPC that I've been using for quite a few years now. I decided to go with the smaller mini-ITX format and the Mini-Box M350 which measures at 192 x 210 x 62mm... about 1/3 the size of my current HTPC.

http://www.mini-box.com/M350-universal-m...-enclosure

My Part List
 

  • Mini-Box M350 Universal mITX Computer Case Black 1X2.5INT Works With Pico PSU - Black
  • PICOPSU-150-XT With 102W Power Kit Includes Pico PSU 150W DC-DC ATX PSU & AC-DC Power Brick
  • ASUS P8H77-I mITX LGA1155 H77 DDR3 1PCI-E16 SATA3 DVI HDMI D-Sub USB3.0 Motherboard
  • Intel Pentium G2120 Dual Core Processor LGA1155 3.1GHZ Ivy Bridge 3MB Retail Box
  • Corsair 2x4 GB 1333 Mhz PC3-10666 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit CMV4GX3M1A1333C9 (8GB Total)
  • OCZ Vertex 2 60GB SATA3 - salvaged from my old PC


While the M350 case was on backorder last week I attached all the components on my desk and installed openELEC (which was a very simple install) and started pre-configering XBMC.

Yesterday the M350 case arrived and I install all the motherboard/CPU/heatsink/fan with no issues but when it came time to install SSD hard drive I ran into some issues with it fitting using retail intel heatsink & fan.... I was eventually able to make it all fit with some modifications which I will be posting later with photos of the build on my website.

1st Impressions & Observations

 

  • Took me an hour to figure out why the M350 case wasn't powering up the motherboard when I was pushing the power button. I had the "Power SW" connectors attached to motherboard but there is a 2 pin jumper on on the inside near the power switch that needed to be connected. You would think by default it would have a jumper on it already... but it didn't thus the power switch was disabled.
  • Fast boot-up into XBMC, about 15 seconds and most of the time is from motherboard power cycle and bios just a few seconds from bios to XBMC. Much faster than my Windows 7 HTPC w/ XBMC
  • No hardware or display issues, recognized bluetooth keyboard with no issues
  • After 10-15 mins of running the temp was 113F / 45C
  • Watching a HD movie (.h264) was using about 10% CPU (on both cores)
  • Found and scanned my movie/tv collection on my media server with no issues
  • The internal USB 2.0 cable that goes from front USB port to motherboard wasn't long enough for my motherboard. Also the pins on the case are very close to where the PICO power supply plugs into motherboard. Might be some space issues


To Dos

 

  • Move IR receiver from old HTPC to new M350 HTPC. There is no IR window like my old case so I will need to drill a hole to allow IR receiver to be held inside the case.
  • Looking into the ability to setup IR receiver so it can power on HTPC with IR remote
  • Program Harmony ONE to work with new HTPC
  • Possibly make a smaller custom HDD bracket if heat is an issue. Current one blocks part of the CPU fan
  • Get internal USB extension cable (9 pin, I think) in order to use front USB ports (2 that are internal at the front of case meant for USB WiFi antenna or IR or bluetooth receiver.
  • Customize XBMC (addons, skins, etc)
  • Test audio once it's connected to my HDTV
  • Setup VPN connection for XBMC/OpenELEC


If anyone has some suggestions or comments for my to do list please pass them along. Photos of build and updates to follow...


-DylanFromCanada


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

 

My HTPC: Mini-Box M350 w/ 150W PICOPSU • ASUS P8H77-I mITX • Intel G2120 Dual Core 3.1GHz Ivy Bridge • Corsair DDR3 1333 Value 2x4GB • OCZ Vertex II 60GB SSD • Logitech Wireless K400 Keyboard • Logitech Harmony One • OpenELEC/XBMC

DylanFromCanada is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 11 Old 09-26-2013, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
DylanFromCanada's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 13
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10

Motherboard & CPU

Motherboard, CPU & PicoPSU Power adapter

Motherboard interfaces

M350 case, USB cable was to short my motherboard

 

Motherboard, CPU, Heatsink/Fan & RAM installed into case

Front of case, tight fit with PicoPSU & pins for front USB ports

SSD drive won't fit with stock intel fan

Drilled new holes in HDD mount to make drive fit, but the fan blades were still hitting the SSD

Not pretty but I ended up using clear duct tape to fasten SSD to case

Boots into XBMC in about 15 seconds (half of that is motherboard power up & BIOS)

USB bluetooth receiver in front port. Won't be able to use here until I get extension cable from port to motherboard

 

Install complete, cover put back on

 

DVI to my monitor during test, Cat cable to my home network

Booted and running at 131 F


-DylanFromCanada


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

 

My HTPC: Mini-Box M350 w/ 150W PICOPSU • ASUS P8H77-I mITX • Intel G2120 Dual Core 3.1GHz Ivy Bridge • Corsair DDR3 1333 Value 2x4GB • OCZ Vertex II 60GB SSD • Logitech Wireless K400 Keyboard • Logitech Harmony One • OpenELEC/XBMC

DylanFromCanada is offline  
post #3 of 11 Old 09-29-2013, 12:36 AM
Member
 
puzzledshrug's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 32
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Nice Build
But temperatures seem excessive.

? no fans other than cpu cooler.
? only SSD should not effect temps.
? case looks well ventilated so as you mentioned may be air flow issue.
? with no internal PSU there should be very little heat generated
? just need to work on lowering heat inside case all else is OK
puzzledshrug is offline  
post #4 of 11 Old 09-30-2013, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
DylanFromCanada's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 13
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10

Update

 

To Dos

 

  • Move IR receiver from old HTPC to new M350 HTPC. There is no IR window like my old case so I will need to drill a hole to allow IR receiver to be held inside the case.

 

Removed the Microsoft IR receiver from old HTPC but the circuit board is a little big to fit in the front section of the M350 case. Put the IR receiver back into it's external cover and have it setup outside of the HTPC for now. Remote works great, worst case I leave it as an external IR receiver.

 

  • Looking into the ability to setup IR receiver so it can power on HTPC with IR remote

 

I've done a bit of reading about a few soldering options.

 

  • Program Harmony ONE to work with new HTPC

 

Done for the most part as the Harmony One was already setup for my previous HTPC I just had to use an 3rd party XBMC app addon to link some of the buttons to XBMC commands.

 

  • Possibly make a smaller custom HDD bracket if heat is an issue. Current one blocks part of the CPU fan

 

CPU Core temp usually sits around 53 C / 127 F. Have another option of small case fan sucking air in from front right.

 

  • Get internal USB extension cable (9 pin, I think) in order to use front USB ports (2 that are internal at the front of case meant for USB WiFi antenna or IR or bluetooth receiver.

 

Ordered on ebay. Will move USB wireless keyboard receiver from back USB to inside case once I have extension cable.

 

  • Customize XBMC (addons, skins, etc)

 

Switched skin to Aeon Nox (graphically pleasing, very customizable & has mouse support)

 

  • Test audio once it's connected to my HDTV

 

Audio & video via HDMI to Sony Sound Bar to Philips LCD HDTV - no issues, everything works great

 

I decided to simplify and create a simple clean setup for my home theatre. So far I've removed my PS3, PVR cable box and large HTPC. Removed all unused cables, moved surge protector/power filter from shelve to back (out of sight), built a frame above TV to hold the HT-CT100 Sony sound bar (was previously hanging below TV, moved sub box from the side of TV stand to middle (after removing 2 shelves), placed new HTPC, IR receiver & Harmony One charging station to top shelve and finally hooked up Logitech bluetooth wireless speaker adapter at the back (out of sight).

 

Nice simple, clean layout.

 

HTPC ---hdmi---> Sony Sound Bar ---hdmi---> Philips LCD TV

Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter ---RCA Stereo---> Sony Sound Bar

Philips LCD TV ---hdmi---> spare cord to hook up iPad/iPhone

 

  • Setup VPN connection for XBMC/OpenELEC

 

Setup my PureVPN account (via PPTP) using the OpenELEC VPN config menu in XBMC. It connects and generates an IP address but it doesn't seem to be working when I try some region specific services. Will investigate further when I get a chance.

 

If anyone has some experience setting up VPN on OpenELEC/XBMC please let me know. I would like to setup but have the option of enabling or disabling VPN as needed.


-DylanFromCanada


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

 

My HTPC: Mini-Box M350 w/ 150W PICOPSU • ASUS P8H77-I mITX • Intel G2120 Dual Core 3.1GHz Ivy Bridge • Corsair DDR3 1333 Value 2x4GB • OCZ Vertex II 60GB SSD • Logitech Wireless K400 Keyboard • Logitech Harmony One • OpenELEC/XBMC

DylanFromCanada is offline  
post #5 of 11 Old 09-30-2013, 06:05 PM
AVS Special Member
 
MichaelZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1,480
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 13
What I do for powering on my htpc box is plug it into the on/off switch on the back of my receiver and then setup the bios in the htpc to "always on" after loss of power. So when I power up the receiver the htpc gets turned on automatically. Also, when turning off the receiver the htpc also gets shut-off so saves money on any soft-power on or unit sleeping. Of course I normally start shutting down the htpc before the receiver turn-off.cool.gif
MichaelZ is online now  
post #6 of 11 Old 10-01-2013, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
DylanFromCanada's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 13
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelZ View Post

What I do for powering on my htpc box is plug it into the on/off switch on the back of my receiver and then setup the bios in the htpc to "always on" after loss of power. So when I power up the receiver the htpc gets turned on automatically. Also, when turning off the receiver the htpc also gets shut-off so saves money on any soft-power on or unit sleeping. Of course I normally start shutting down the htpc before the receiver turn-off.cool.gif

 

So to shutdown it's just cutting the power from the HTPC? Sounds like it could be potential for problems down the road software or even potentially hardware.


-DylanFromCanada


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

 

My HTPC: Mini-Box M350 w/ 150W PICOPSU • ASUS P8H77-I mITX • Intel G2120 Dual Core 3.1GHz Ivy Bridge • Corsair DDR3 1333 Value 2x4GB • OCZ Vertex II 60GB SSD • Logitech Wireless K400 Keyboard • Logitech Harmony One • OpenELEC/XBMC

DylanFromCanada is offline  
post #7 of 11 Old 10-02-2013, 09:40 AM
Advanced Member
 
bac522's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 901
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 47 Post(s)
Liked: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by DylanFromCanada View Post

So to shutdown it's just cutting the power from the HTPC? Sounds like it could be potential for problems down the road software or even potentially hardware.

Yup...you'll eventually end up with a corrupt files system not to mention Linux needing to run file system checks upon startup when it sees an unexpected power loss...basically not a good idea, most OS's I know (including those on cell phones) are happiest with a controlled power shutdown.
bac522 is offline  
post #8 of 11 Old 10-02-2013, 02:16 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Dark_Slayer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 2,550
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 180 Post(s)
Liked: 304
I didn't originally see shutdown on your to-do list, but I use Pulse-eight's HDMI-CEC adapter. Support is builtin to either OE or XBMC (Can't recall or both). I changed the shutdown function in settings to suspend rather than shutdown. I also use the bundled tv remote for controlling OE. It feels nice, and the power off button from the remote sleeps the HTPC. Unfortunately, I have to hit the power button on the box to turn everything back on.

I used to have a better setup with the CEC adapter and an old ehome WMC remote and usb receiver. The CEC adapter turned the TV off when the OE box was put to sleep, and turned the tv on when OE was resumed from sleep. The ehome remote power button actually slept/resume OE just fine. Then OE 3.2 took away the plug n play ability to use both receivers (considers the CEC adapter a receiver - which it can be and I'm using it as currently) simultaneously in the remote.conf (I think). I haven't gone back and downgraded yet, but a lot of others noticed WMC remote issues with the 3.2 upgrade. It was total bliss from 3.0 to 3.2

I guess it sounds like a pain, but there is nothing more worthwhile to me than the simplicity of a single power button (single remote). It was worth the $50 for me
Dark_Slayer is offline  
post #9 of 11 Old 10-02-2013, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
DylanFromCanada's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 13
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

I didn't originally see shutdown on your to-do list, but I use Pulse-eight's HDMI-CEC adapter. Support is builtin to either OE or XBMC (Can't recall or both). I changed the shutdown function in settings to suspend rather than shutdown. I also use the bundled tv remote for controlling OE. It feels nice, and the power off button from the remote sleeps the HTPC. Unfortunately, I have to hit the power button on the box to turn everything back on....

 

I didn't mention the shutdown procedure because I figured I could program my Logitech Harmony One to shutdown (or suspend) HTPC, turn off TV & sound system with one button. I just haven't got around to that yet.

 

I never really thought about suspending my HTPC rather than shutdown, I might be able to wake my HTPC with a button press from IR remote if the USB port is powered on suspend. My old HTPC was XBMC running on Windows 7 and everything it would suspend or sleep I would loose the IR receiver for my remote and have to do a reboot to get it back.


-DylanFromCanada


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

 

My HTPC: Mini-Box M350 w/ 150W PICOPSU • ASUS P8H77-I mITX • Intel G2120 Dual Core 3.1GHz Ivy Bridge • Corsair DDR3 1333 Value 2x4GB • OCZ Vertex II 60GB SSD • Logitech Wireless K400 Keyboard • Logitech Harmony One • OpenELEC/XBMC

DylanFromCanada is offline  
post #10 of 11 Old 10-25-2013, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
DylanFromCanada's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 13
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10

UPDATE - To Dos

 

  • Move IR receiver from old HTPC to new M350 HTPC. There is no IR window like my old case so I will need to drill a hole to allow IR receiver to be held inside the case.

 

  • Looking into the ability to setup IR receiver so it can power on HTPC with IR remote

 

Still looking. For now I can get up and power on or use keyboard if XBMC is in suspend mode.

 

  • Program Harmony ONE to work with new HTPC

 

Done, but Harmony ONE has some lag that is annoying. Tried changing response times on remote with no luck.

 

  • Possibly make a smaller custom HDD bracket if heat is an issue. Current one blocks part of the CPU fan

 

Heat doesn't seem to be a major issue, although not ideal it's well within safe operating temps

 

  • Get internal USB extension cable (9 pin, I think) in order to use front USB ports (2 that are internal at the front of case meant for USB WiFi antenna or IR or bluetooth receiver.

 

Done and moved bluetooth keyboard receiver in front (internal) usb port.

 

  • Customize XBMC (addons, skins, etc)
  • Test audio once it's connected to my HDTV

 

  • Setup VPN connection for XBMC/OpenELEC

 

I haven't been able to get this to work properly using the OpenELEC app in XBMC or the butchered together solution on OpenELEC forum. I might go the hardware route and get a 2nd router (running DD-WRT) and setup VPN that way. You can see my post about that in the networking forum. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1496497/install-2nd-router-running-dd-wrt-for-vpn


-DylanFromCanada


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

 

My HTPC: Mini-Box M350 w/ 150W PICOPSU • ASUS P8H77-I mITX • Intel G2120 Dual Core 3.1GHz Ivy Bridge • Corsair DDR3 1333 Value 2x4GB • OCZ Vertex II 60GB SSD • Logitech Wireless K400 Keyboard • Logitech Harmony One • OpenELEC/XBMC

DylanFromCanada is offline  
post #11 of 11 Old 10-26-2013, 09:37 AM
AVS Special Member
 
MichaelZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1,480
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DylanFromCanada View Post

So to shutdown it's just cutting the power from the HTPC? Sounds like it could be potential for problems down the road software or even potentially hardware.

I want to point out that my remote shuts down the htpc then the projector (which takes a couple of seconds) then the receiver. It's programmed to do it in that order so my htpc is off before the receiver. I've been doing it this way for a long time and I have not had any corrupt disk problems - it is an ssd.
MichaelZ is online now  
Reply HTPC - Linux Chat

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off