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Assassin's Simple/Beginner HTPC Buying Guide - Page 8

post #211 of 15907
If they're like mine, they will come with a "blank" installed that covers the opening. It needs to be removed to install a drive.
post #212 of 15907
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tehowell View Post

If they're like mine, they will come with a "blank" installed that covers the opening. It needs to be removed to install a drive.

That's been my experience as well.
post #213 of 15907
Thread Starter 
I have added my Shark007 settings to post #2.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0#post19735070

post #214 of 15907
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I've been looking the past few days for a good illustrated step-by-step building guide until I get mine up and running.

After much searching I have found one that I would have been proud to call my own. It is very good.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/27...guide-building

Please use this as a reference till I get ours up and running. I am still waiting on some build pictures using some of the parts that I recommended.

I will also reference this link on post 2 of this thread for now...


Thanks for posting this link assassin. Definitely will help a first timer like me. Also look forward to build guides using components included in your build recommendations.
post #215 of 15907
With the I3's stock cooler is the thermal paste provided sufficient? Some of the reviews I'm reading say its not.
post #216 of 15907
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwill2480 View Post

With the I3's stock cooler is the thermal paste provided sufficient? Some of the reviews I'm reading say its not.

Yes the stock cooler is sufficient. Like I said before --- is it the best cooler out there? No. does it get the job done? In my opinion it does.

Try it out first. You can always add a different cooler later if you disagree.

You may want to get some thermal paste. I usually just use arctic silver.
post #217 of 15907
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Yes the stock cooler is sufficient. Like I said before --- is it the best cooler out there? No. does it get the job done? In my opinion it does.

Try it out first. You can always add a different cooler later if you disagree.

You may want to get some thermal paste. I usually just use arctic silver.

Yeah definitely going with the stock cooler, just was wondering if I would need to get some additional thermal paste as a few of the reviews said it was insufficient. Thanks for confirming. Do you scrape off the provided thermal paste first, or just add additional?
post #218 of 15907
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwill2480 View Post

Yeah definitely going with the stock cooler, just was wondering if I would need to get some additional thermal paste as a few of the reviews said it was insufficient. Thanks for confirming. Do you scrape off the provided thermal paste first, or just add additional?

I have done both. The last one I built I didn't scrape off the provided thermal paste (just added extra) and haven't had any issues with that build. The i3 runs extremely cool so I think either would work. That's also why I think as long as you don't overclock and have decent ventilation the stock cpu fan can be sufficient.
post #219 of 15907
Quote:
Originally Posted by bswiz View Post

I'm really liking the look of the nMediaPC 5000B (as recommended in the OP) and the Silverstone GD04B (as recommended by someone else in this thread).

However, initially I was planning on not installing any optical drive. Does that mean I would have a gaping hole in the case? Or can that little cover be installed somehow without the drive? I do have a extra DVD burner I could install I suppose. Does that cover just attach to the optical drive with double-sided tape or what? So if I added a BD drive later I could just swap the cover onto it?

I think the DVD drive I have is an old IDE, not even sure if it would hook up to these newer motherboards!

Ok first off the nmedia one linked in the buying guide has a flip down cover for the dvd drive. Basically you plop your drive behind this "door" and when you hit the button it flips down from the pressure of the drive bay sliding open. Also of note is to open/close there is a "extender" of a open/close button that hits the actual open/close button on the drive. The actual drive is probably ~1/4 inch or so from the door.

The gigabyte drive has one ide connection so you could hook up two devices. I use it for my main hard drive actually.
post #220 of 15907
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I have added my Shark007 settings to post #2.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0#post19735070

Hey Assassin,

I am new to the thread but many thanks for your work on this. I am getting ready to build my 1st HTPC and the advice and discussion is VERY helpful!

One quick comment regarding your posting of your Shark codec config. I downloaded the latest version today (2.7.3) and there seems to be some additions / changes to the interface that differ from your screenshots (ver 2.6.9). I am not qualified to offer up an opinion as to what if any difference it might make, but thought readers should be aware.

Again many thanks for your time and effort to date.

Cheers
post #221 of 15907
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hard2Port View Post

Hey Assassin,

I am new to the thread but many thanks for your work on this. I am getting ready to build my 1st HTPC and the advice and discussion is VERY helpful!

One quick comment regarding your posting of your Shark codec config. I downloaded the latest version today (2.7.3) and there seems to be some additions / changes to the interface that differ from your screenshots (ver 2.6.9). I am not qualified to offer up an opinion as to what if any difference it might make, but thought readers should be aware.

Again many thanks for your time and effort to date.

Cheers

Yeah, they are constantly upgrading and tweaking the codecs and the interface.

I will download and install the new Shark007 codecs in the next few days and re-post the settings and pictures.

I haven't upgraded in a few months because everything is working really well.
post #222 of 15907
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I haven't upgraded in a few months because everything is working really well.

Yea, hardest thing for me is to leave it well enough alone. LOL. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

A quick tip on upgrading Shark: Before I do it I write down every setting I have checked on each tab. Then when I install the new version first thing I do is click recommended settings and then go tab by tab making sure what I had before is checked and if anything new pops up to check into it. Shark does have a "save settings" option which you can then bring those settings into the new version but that function isn't working properly right now last I read on the Shark forums.

I've got Shark down to the point where after clicking recommended settings I only have 3 things I need to change. But I always check and make sure.

BIG TIP: I never chose it before but there is a setting to choose either "Monitor" or "TV/Flat Panel" (or something similar). It defaults to Monitor. This last upgrade I tried the TV option and wow did my picture go from awesome to super awesome. The difference is explained in the wiki but the basics is that most HDTVs don't have as great a color space as do regular computer monitors. If your TV is that then the TV option will match the colorspace output by the codecs to match your TV. I mean I didn't feel I had a problem before, everything looked fine. But man, I made that option and I get the best HD picture I have ever gotten and the blacks aren't as crushed as they were before. I thought it was just my Plasma but this option really helps. Try it.
post #223 of 15907
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwill2480 View Post

Do you scrape off the provided thermal paste first, or just add additional?

You want the thermal paste to be a very thin layer between the surface of the processor and the base of the heatsink. And you want to cover as much surface area as possible.

The stock heatsink comes with plenty of thermal paste. But it's usually applied in stripes. Don't add more. Just take something hard, like a razor blade, and spread what's supplied into a very thin layer that covers the entire surface.
post #224 of 15907
Quote:
Originally Posted by tehowell View Post

You want the thermal paste to be a very thin layer between the surface of the processor and the base of the heatsink. And you want to cover as much surface area as possible.

The stock heatsink comes with plenty of thermal paste. But it's usually applied in stripes. Don't add more. Just take something hard, like a razor blade, and spread what's supplied into a very thin layer that covers the entire surface.

actually the strips are like that for a reason. Spreading it over the entire surface will likely cause air bubbles - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyXLu1Ms-q4
post #225 of 15907
Thread Starter 
Really this is most likely a moot point since the i3 runs so cool.

I think as long as you have some sort of compound on there you should be fine. Don't sweat it.
post #226 of 15907
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Really this is most likely a moot point since the i3 runs so cool.

I think as long as you have some sort of compound on there you should be fine. Don't sweat it.

Noob question here: What is the easiest way for a first-timer to do this correctly? Is the paste already on there, or do I have to add paste? As I consider building an HTPC, this is the part that I'm most nervous about.

Thanks, assassin for creating this thread!
post #227 of 15907
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpmartin1968 View Post

Noob question here: What is the easiest way for a first-timer to do this correctly? Is the paste already on there, or do I have to add paste? As I consider building an HTPC, this is the part that I'm most nervous about.

Thanks, assassin for creating this thread!

You really shouldn't be nervous about this part. This is very simple.

And as I have stated numerous time this is not that important with the i3 since it runs so cool.

Here is a picture of the stock intel fan with the "thermal paste".



You have a few choices --- all of which I think are completely fine.

1. Leave the thermal paste "as is" and just attach the fan to the CPU (this is the easiest and what I recommend overall if you feel uncomfortable with the other 2 choices. Also, it is cheaper and you save $10)

2. Scrape off the stock thermal paste with a razor blade and use rubbing alcohol to clean the surface. Then use an aftermarket paste such as arctic silver. To apply this I usually put a dot about the size of a pea in the center of the CPU and then just put the fan on top and secure it. The pressure of the fan being secured spreads out the paste underneath it. There is no real reason to "spread it out", imo.
3. Add additional paste to the stock paste. I have done this as well and haven't had any issues.

Here is a link to arctic silver should you go that route ($10)...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-007-_-Product
post #228 of 15907
Assassin:Alternatively a second SSD for your OS makes a great option. If you go this route make sure to get at least 32GB of storage for your OS . You will still need a second drive for storage and the above Samsung 2TB is a great option.

Any SSD drive recommendations or suggestions (eg, ntel X25-V SSDSA2MP040G2K5 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD); ~$95)?

SteveMA
post #229 of 15907
You generally don't need to ever use a razor blade to get the old compound off. Rubbing alcohol and a lint free cloth do the trick just fine.

I have even used unflavored vodka in a pinch. It worked... But if at all possible use 91% or higher rubbing alcohol.

If you have some AS3 or what not then go ahead and use it. If your just going stock and don't want to deal with the aggravation and uncertainty, then just leave the stock compound on the heat sinks.

When you come to applying the thermal compound, just place a dot the size of two grains of rice in the center of the CPU.
Install the heat sink. Keep it flat and ratchet it down. When you've got it secure, give it a slight 1degree twist each way and you should be good to go.

When you power up your computer go into the bios and let it idle on the CPU info tab for 15 or so minutes. In this tab should be the speed of your fans and the temperature of your CPU.

If you did it correctly, the temp should be fairly constant. (not sure what the stock temps for i3's are)

When you get into windows go grab Core Temp. (http://www.alcpu.com/CoreTemp/)
Use your PC and check the temps after a good CPU Beating. Thermal Grease takes about 20 days or so of heating/cooling to break in. So power down the system in the beginning as much as ya want.

I have had systems drop 20deg after reapplying thermal compound because I didn't get a good smear of it.
post #230 of 15907
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpmartin1968 View Post

Noob question here: What is the easiest way for a first-timer to do this correctly? Is the paste already on there, or do I have to add paste? As I consider building an HTPC, this is the part that I'm most nervous about.

Thanks, assassin for creating this thread!

I've built PC's for the better part of 15 years and I have *never* added any extra thermal paste and just used the strips that are already included in the stock heatsink. Then again I've never used an aftermarket cooler either and just used what comes with the processor as there is just no need (I don't overclock).

For an HTPC the stock heatsink you get with the i3 is more then enough to cool and it's quiet as well. Just slap it on and don't worry about any extra paste or anything, it includes enough in the strips that are on it.

My opinion of course.
post #231 of 15907
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMA View Post

Assassin:Alternatively a second SSD for your OS makes a great option. If you go this route make sure to get at least 32GB of storage for your OS . You will still need a second drive for storage and the above Samsung 2TB is a great option.

Any SSD drive recommendations or suggestions (eg, ntel X25-V SSDSA2MP040G2K5 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD); ~$95)?

SteveMA

Just an FYI, but back around November, I got an email newsletter from Crucial for SSD's.

They were offering refurbished SSD's for $1 per GB...

I didn't have the money or want to buy then, but that's about the best deal you can get. They sold out in hours.

While they have not done another sale like this again since, I would really recommend applying to as many manufactures email newsletters as possible.
The deals are out there.
LL
post #232 of 15907
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMA View Post

Assassin:Alternatively a second SSD for your OS makes a great option. If you go this route make sure to get at least 32GB of storage for your OS . You will still need a second drive for storage and the above Samsung 2TB is a great option.

Any SSD drive recommendations or suggestions (eg, ntel X25-V SSDSA2MP040G2K5 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD); ~$95)?

SteveMA

Ideally you are going to want 60-64GB of storage. You can get by with 32GB of storage but Win7 will take up almost the entire drive by itself once all the updates are downloaded and installed.

If you are choosing the SSD route its because you want even better performance and don't mind paying extra for it. With that being said here are my 2 favorite SSDs...

1a. OCZ Vertex 2 2.5" 60GB - $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820227550


1b. Corsair Force 2.5" 60GB - $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820233124


I will also add this to the bottom of my first post with the rec parts as an option because I have received multiple questions about it.
post #233 of 15907
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hard2Port View Post

Hey Assassin,

I am new to the thread but many thanks for your work on this. I am getting ready to build my 1st HTPC and the advice and discussion is VERY helpful!

One quick comment regarding your posting of your Shark codec config. I downloaded the latest version today (2.7.3) and there seems to be some additions / changes to the interface that differ from your screenshots (ver 2.6.9). I am not qualified to offer up an opinion as to what if any difference it might make, but thought readers should be aware.

Again many thanks for your time and effort to date.

Cheers

I have updated the shark007 settings on page 1.
post #234 of 15907
Thanks guys for the thermal paste explanations. Like mpmartin1968, that was one of the things I was wondering about the most. Sounds like I can just go with the I3 stock paste with no worry.

This thread is great!
post #235 of 15907
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwill2480 View Post

Thanks guys for the thermal paste explanations. Like mpmartin1968, that was one of the things I was wondering about the most. Sounds like I can just go with the I3 stock paste with no worry.

This thread is great!

Thanks! Glad it is helping some people.
post #236 of 15907
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post


Thanks! Glad it is helping some people.

Helped more than you know. I hesitated. Pulled the trigger last week on parts. I assembled in 2 days . Only about 2 hours of actual work---new baby at home. First pc build ever. Hardest part was wires and cables and trying to organize within the case. But not really a big deal.

On the software now.

I plan on this being my main htpc. I have 3 2tb HDDs in this build. Always on. I would like to build at least 2 more that only play/stream media from the main and Internet... Maybe an ssd, no optical drive. My needs would be small, hdmi out and audio out for stereo or 5.1 from pc. No room for separate receiver.
Not to change the thread but any thoughts?

Thanks again
post #237 of 15907
Ok well my HTPC build. it is up and running. nothing much to say that i wont comment on in the main body of my thingy.


First up the components

Purchased-
CPU - Intel i3-540
Mobo- GIGABYTE GA-H55M-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
RAM - G.Skill 2x2GB DDR3
PSU- CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W
CASE - nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum / Acrylic / Steel HTPC 5000B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
OS Windows 7 Home premium 64 bit

also bought
Lenovo RF Keyboard and Mouse
Rosewill Windows Media Center Remote

Items on hand
320gb Maxtor IDE HDD
1TB WD Green HDD
2TB Samsung "green" HDD
linksys wireless G with speedbooster PCI adapter


Comments on the components

The Case
Here is the only real "downfall". The case is great for the money but lacks quite a bit. i would still recommend it but it does have its issues. None are super major but rather annoying to me. First off i sthe dvd drive "door". The actual drive sits ~1/4" behind the door and opening the drive pops the cover open. Not a bad design but the open/close button feels flimsy to me. The second real issue i had was with mounting 3 or 4 hard drives. I know the case isnt design to really hold that many. Well it is but most people dont i am sure. You actually have to mount your drives going front to back first as using the bottom two block the holes for those. The disadvantage to using those first two slots is it the drives overhang the motherboard. Didnt block anything for me but was annoying. I used the two bottom slots for my WD and samsung drive and mounted only my 320gb drive in the upper slots (you can see it in pictures). Just something people with 3+ drives should take into account. Also the front flip down thingy for the front ports is sort of flimsy in my mind. But o well get what you pay for. It works just fine just feels like cheaper plastic.

Second thing is just the mobo. It is great but only comes with two sata cables and one ide cable. My previous motherboard included 2 ide and like 10 sata cables and tons of other options. Suppose its just a difference in options. But just a not for those who have a sata bluray drive and sata HDD or two that you might need to pick up additional ones.

Thirdly the PSU. I just wanted headroom so i went with the more powerful model. I might want to add a powerful gpu for 3d or something down the road and just like having the option to. Im sure the cheaper model suggested would work for that but for ~20 bucks more i just went with this one.

The Build

First up...all the parts! (sorry its sideways!)



Second is just opening the case. Plop the motherboard in. The gigabyte motherboard lined up perfect with the provided mount hole screw things so just screw it in.


Next up i went ahead and popped the "drive bay" attachment out and inserted my blu ray drive and all three hard drives.


Next (and i skipped a bit and a lot was done in this picture. Witht he attachment bay thingy out i went ahead and hooked up my front ports. I then zip tied them short so they were hidden under the attachment bay thingy. I then put the bay back into place. And here is an issue i talked about. The hard drive sticks out over the motherboard making it annoying to hook up the 24 pin power and the ide cable. Wasnt to hard just annoying. i do recommend attaching power and cable to the drives under. Its near impossible to do this with everything else installed. Just dont hook up the cables to the motherboard yet (as i explain later)



Next i went ahead and attached the PSU to the case. Didnt plug anything in yet though. I then went ahead and inserted the cpu. This part is easy and not picture worthy. The i3 has notches in a V and the socket has notches for those V's. just line them up and drop the cpu in. DONT FORCE ANYTHING. it takes zero pressure. Then flip the metal part over the cpu and lock it in. this part does take a bit of force. The stock heatsink then just pushes into the four holes around the cpu. Pretty simple. Just remember to hook the cpu fan to the header on the motherboard!




Second to lastly i go ahead and hook up the cd/dvd/bluray drive. The power to all the case fans. basically provide power to everything. Motherboard, al hdds, you get the point. I then hook up ONLY the HDD you want the OS installed to. This just prevents accidental overwriting or installing to the wrong disk. Espcially important to me if youre installing a disk with data on it already (as i was with my1tb and 2tb drives). I also added the PCI wireless card.




I then like to boot straight into bios. Check and make sure your blur ay drive is there, correct amount of ram, CPU temp isnt oddly high or anything (mine read ~20C). After that plop the windows 7 disk in and your on your own from there!
post #238 of 15907
I installed 3 HDDs. I was able to get my 1st further in than you did. Mine did not not extend over the mb. Were you able to screw all 4 screws in? I'll see if I can get pics later.
post #239 of 15907
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtrage View Post

I plan on this being my main htpc. I have 3 2tb HDDs in this build. Always on. I would like to build at least 2 more that only play/stream media from the main and Internet... Maybe an ssd, no optical drive. My needs would be small, hdmi out and audio out for stereo or 5.1 from pc. No room for separate receiver.
Not to change the thread but any thoughts?

Thanks again

Of course. If you want to a smaller HTPC I have just the parts for that as well.

Case: Antec ISK 300-150 - $80 (built in 150 watt PSU which is plenty)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-080-_-Product

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-H55N-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Mini ITX - $105
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-448-_-Product

CPU: Intel i3 with stock cooler - $115
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...SID=51gejqica3


Hard Drive: You have 2 choices here. Either use a 2.5" laptop drive or an SSD.
1. Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD1600BEVT 160GB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache 2.5" - $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136391

2. OCZ Vertex 2 2.5" SSD 60GB - $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...SID=5058nmgns3


RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666 - $43
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...SID=51gekashs4


You can do this for as low as $383. I think I may add this on to the front page as well.
post #240 of 15907
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the pictures! I'll add them to the front page under my building guide.

Quote:
Originally Posted by velillen View Post

The Case
Here is the only real "downfall". The case is great for the money but lacks quite a bit.

Completely agree. The case has it flaws but is still the best "HTPC" case for the money, imo. There are better cases out there but most cost about twice as much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by velillen View Post

Second thing is just the mobo. It is great but only comes with two sata cables and one ide cable. My previous motherboard included 2 ide and like 10 sata cables and tons of other options. Suppose its just a difference in options. But just a not for those who have a sata bluray drive and sata HDD or two that you might need to pick up additional ones.

Most motherboards I have worked with only come with 2 sata cables. I know this is true for gigabyte and ASUS. If you need extra just be sure to purchase them.
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