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My Sandy Bridge Gaming/HTPC Build

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I built this system last weekend, right before Intel announced the chipset recall.
It has three SATA devices, so I'll use the SATA 6Gbps ports until Asus has replacements available.

Components:

Lian Li PC-C50 (microATX, 1x5.25, 3x3.5, 3x2.5 bays, incl. two 120x25 3-pin case fans)

Seasonic M12II 620W 80Plus Bronze

Intel i5-2500K

Cooler Master GeminII S CPU Cooler

G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2GB

Asus P8P67-M Pro

Asus HD6850 1GB

Avermedia HD Duet Tuner Card OEM

OCZ Vertex2 60GB SSD

Samsung Spinpoint F4EG 2TB Hard Drive HD204UI/Z4

Samsung SH-B123L Blu-Ray Drive OEM

Logitech Wireless Illuminated Keyboard K800

Logitech Wireless Anywhere Mouse MX

MCE Remote and IR Receiver

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit for System Builders

Scythe Arctic MX-3 thermal compound

Cooler Master SickleFlow 120x25 case fan (MicroCenter)

Kingwin CF-08LB 80x25 case fan (Microcenter)


Lian Li is well-known for their high quality aluminum cases, and this is my first experience building with one from them. It was a close decision between this and the Silverstone GD05B, but the inclusion of the front USB3 ports, the eSATA port, and the SD card reader swayed me.

This is also my first experience using an SSD. I had read about their blazing performance, and this one was amazing from the instant I started installing Windows 7.

Here, the drive cages and mid-beam are removed. The cables for the front ports are very long, so they can reach the motherboard's rear panel, if necessary.

Naturally, I plan to overclock, so I looked for a larger CPU cooler that would still fit within the case height. It towers over the stock cooler, but it has room to spare so air can flow into the fan.
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post #2 of 27
Thread Starter 
I took a risk choosing this heat sink and RAM combination, but they manage to fit next to each other. The last heat sink fin barely grazes the Ripjaws heat spreader. This picture was for test-fitting. Don't worry, afterwards I moved the second RAM module to the third slot for dual channel functionality.

Everything but the drives are in. In this Lian Li case, the Asus 6850 fits only in the #1 PCI-e x16 slot. FYI, Crossfire is not possible (nor did I need it), because a dual-slot card in the #2 PCI-e x16 slot interferes with the optical drive bay. The Avermedia tuner card is in the #3 PCI-e x16 slot.

I used tie-wraps and cable tie-downs to route cables securely and along the sides of the case as much as possible, out of the airflow. Two of the front USB3 ports are connected to a Type A to USB header Y-cable, going to one of the four USB2 motherboard headers; the extra cable lengths are stowed inside the front of the case. Keeping cables out of airflow paths was a high priority for me.

The SD card reader goes to a second USB2 header, and the cables for the third front USB3 port and the eSATA port are hanging out of the case in this pic, but they will travel out the rear panel to the motherboard's ports.

Both 120mm case fans on the right side push air into the case. The 80mm case fan is mounted to the rear panel to exhaust air.
The additional 120mm case fan exhausts air, along with the power supply fan. The case is vented next to the power supply, but it's impossible to mount a fan on the inside.

The 8-pin EATX12V motherboard power cable was barely long enough to reach over the video card to the connector.
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post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
The first major issue I encountered was with the optical drive bay's button. The Samsung BD drive has an eject button that might be positioned higher than most other drives. The drive bay's button did not manage to make contact. I solved this issue by cutting a cable tie-down square in half, whittling it as flat as possible, and adhering it to the back of the bay's button to make it larger so it hits the Samsung's eject button.

Another important issue, this specific Asus video card has heat pipes that extend significantly above the top edge of the PCB. I thought I might need to return it, because it interferes with the case's support beam that spans the middle, front to back. I managed to get the card and beam installed, but the heat pipes are wedged against the beam.

If you're going to use a large video card with this case, get one that doesn't have pipes sticking much higher than the card edge. It didn't cross my mind when I was ordering the card that this could possibly be an issue. Asus and many others sell various 6850s that would fit better.

Here's a picture showing the length of the video card installed in the case. The video card forms a wall across the middle of the case, and cables pass through the gap still left. You might be able to jam a 10.5" video card in there, but I wouldn't recommend it.

The drive bays are installed. The SSD sits above the BD drive, and the Hard Disk is above the power supply. Two 2.5" bays and one 3.5" bay are still available.

I had to remove the third 3.5" drive bay because it would interfere with this CPU cooler.

I haven't done anything strenuous with the PC yet, as I'm still installing things and setting up the HTPC functionality. Please comment, and ask questions regarding any of the components.

Note: the optical drive extends over the power supply a little, so the right angle SATA data cable is a tight fit, along with the power cable (if using a connector that is mid-cable, not at the end). A straight SATA data cable would fit a bit nicer.
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post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
The new PC fits nicely next to the receiver in the entertainment center.
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post #5 of 27
I love the look of that case. There is a mini-ITX version that look similar. If I were building one from scratch today that's the one I'd choose.

One thing that seemed funny to be in the pix was the memory being installed in 2 different color slots. So I looked at the manual and it contradicts itself. Did you notice that? In the install chapter for the memory it says channel 1 is the first 2 banks and channel 2 is the second 2 banks. But then in the memory QVL section, it says for dual-channel operation install in either the blue banks or the black banks (the columns A,B & C in the chart). Strange.
post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
Now that you mention the dual channel memory configuration, yes, the manual was a bit confusing.
I did some testing.
I had the DIMMs in the light blue slots, and CPU-Z is grayed-out on the right side. It doesn't report single or dual channel.
I put the DIMMS in the black slots, CPU-Z looks the same.
I underclocked the RAM to 1333MHz, still grayed-out.
I put the DIMMs in A1 and A2 (presumably single-channel), same thing.

I think CPU-Z needs to be fixed. I have the latest v1.56 (Oct 2010) 64-bit version.
LL
post #7 of 27
Looks great! Thanks for posting all the pictures. That heatsink is enormous. Any problems with Bios or startup so far?
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newyorker View Post

Looks great! Thanks for posting all the pictures. That heatsink is enormous. Any problems with Bios or startup so far?

The geminii is awesome.
post #9 of 27
nice setup! i got the ripjaws also but i havent completed my yet but now im worried about the cpu heat. im debating on the Cooler Master GeminII S or the Scythe Big Shuriken.
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newyorker View Post

Looks great! Thanks for posting all the pictures. That heatsink is enormous. Any problems with Bios or startup so far?

Sorry I didn't reply sooner, I went to see "Black Swan" today. That was intense!

The Asus EFI BIOS has given me no problems at all from the initial Windows installation to doing a conservative overclock. It's a learning experience if you like to tinker around with all the settings. It even has USB mouse support.
The motherboard drivers cleared up any unrecognized devices in Device Manager. The SD card reader wasn't showing up in My Computer, but I just had to re-connect the cable to the internal USB header; it had come loose when I buttoned up the system.
post #11 of 27
Hi ru4real,

Thanks for letting me know about your setup! Very interesting.

I'm going to go with something similar.

So far I have on my list:
- Lian Li PC-C50 Black
- Asus P8P67-M Pro ( hope I won't have to wait too long )
- i5-2400s

I now have to decide about the rest.

About the graphic card, I'm thinking about the XFX HD-685X-ZNFC. This card dimension is 9.25 x 4.4 x 1.5 and doesn't have pipe. Do you think I'll be safe about height?

I also want a PSU with large fan ( silent ) and modular cables. I was thinking about the Silent Pro M600 from CoolerMaster because the fan speed is dynamic, you just can't hear it. Anything special about the one you have selected?

I'll be more with more questions later

Thanks!
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepWalker2 View Post

Hi ru4real,

Thanks for letting me know about your setup! Very interesting.

I'm going to go with something similar.

So far I have on my list:
- Lian Li PC-C50 Black
- Asus P8P67-M Pro ( hope I won't have to wait too long )
- i5-2400s

I now have to decide about the rest.

About the graphic card, I'm thinking about the XFX HD-685X-ZNFC. This card dimension is 9.25 x 4.4 x 1.5 and doesn't have pipe. Do you think I'll be safe about height?

I also want a PSU with large fan ( silent ) and modular cables. I was thinking about the Silent Pro M600 from CoolerMaster because the fan speed is dynamic, you just can't hear it. Anything special about the one you have selected?

I'll be more with more questions later

Thanks!

Yes, it looks like that XFX graphics card would fit perfectly.

I chose the Seasonic M12II 620W power supply because of its modularity, efficiency rating, noise level, and brand reputation. I also got a good price on it at the time. It has more than enough power for this system, including any future additions.

I forgot to mention earlier in this thread that the depth of this power supply makes it wedge against the 80mm case fan that I added to exhaust air. Check the depth of your power supply so it doesn't exceed that.
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ru4real View Post

I chose the Seasonic M12II 620W power supply because of its modularity, efficiency rating, noise level, and brand reputation. I also got a good price on it at the time. It has more than enough power for this system, including any future additions.

Just like the one I plan to buy, your PSU has 24 + 4 pins. The board I think has 24 + 8. Are we missing anything by not using a 24 + 8 PSU? I'm not very familliar with this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ru4real View Post

I forgot to mention earlier in this thread that the depth of this power supply makes it wedge against the 80mm case fan that I added to exhaust air. Check the depth of your power supply so it doesn't exceed that.

I do not plan to add a fan to exhaust air but I was planning to replace the ones coming with the case with these Noctua fans running at only 500 rpm for close to 0 db. Is it a lost of time and money? could you connect those two fans to the board to get their speeds adjusted dynamically? Can you hear them?
post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepWalker2 View Post

Just like the one I plan to buy, your PSU has 24 + 4 pins. The board I think has 24 + 8. Are we missing anything by not using a 24 + 8 PSU? I'm not very familliar with this.

I do not plan to add a fan to exhaust air but I was planning to replace the ones coming with the case with these Noctua fans running at only 500 rpm for close to 0 db. Is it a lost of time and money? could you connect those two fans to the board to get their speeds adjusted dynamically? Can you hear them?

Both our PSUs work.
The ATX power cable is 24 pin (20+4). ATX power is 20-pin, with 4 additional pins for extra current on existing rails, which modern ATX requires.

The CPU +12V cable is 4+4, meaning two separate 4-pin connectors that combine for the 8-pin connector on the latest motherboards.

These cables are capable of working with older ATX motherboards that have ATX 20-pin and 4-pin 12V connectors.

See this reference:
More than you ever wanted to know about power supply cables

It is worth buying the Noctua fans if you want to dynamically control the speed. The ones that come with the Lian Li case are 3-pin, and the Asus P8P67-M Pro has 4-pin fan headers for PWM control.
post #15 of 27
Excellent, Thanks for the link.

I continued looking for about the case fans. I can see from your pictures they have only 3 pins so I'll replace them with 2 4 pins fans connected to CHA_Fan1 and CHA_Fan2 and they will run a very low speed unless it gets hot in there. Makes sense?
post #16 of 27
Hi,

I've started assembling my new HTPC, since we have many parts in common I was checking your pictures.

Now I noticed you have put the PSU with the fan facing up instead of down like it is supposed to be, any particular reason?

Thanks!
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepWalker2 View Post

Hi,

I've started assembling my new HTPC, since we have many parts in common I was checking your pictures.

Now I noticed you have put the PSU with the fan facing up instead of down like it is supposed to be, any particular reason?

Thanks!

Interesting, what's your parts list?

I'm using the PSU fan to help exhaust air from the inside of the case. I have an overclocked CPU and a discrete GPU, so every little bit helps.

The Lian Li PC-C50 case has a vent on the bottom face to allow the PSU to suck air from underneath, if you want to keep the PSU airflow separate from the rest of the case.

The hole patterns on the case's PSU mounting plate and on the PSU itself would not allow me to flip it over without modding.

I still have some work to do regarding case fans. The case came with two 3-pin fans, and they're slow and quiet, but my GPU is having thermal issues when gaming. It doesn't help that the GPU is acting like a wall between two halves of the case.

I'd rather not run the GPU fan above 50% because it becomes, by far, the loudest one in the system. What may allow this a higher overall flow of air through the case. I need to replace the two 120mm inlet fans with higher-performance 4-wire PWM versions, so I can tune the speed. I think I can bump up the the inlet fans and still keep the total system noise level down.
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ru4real View Post
Interesting, what's your parts list?
- Lian-Li PC-C50 mATX case
- Asus P8P67-M PRO ( P67 - mATX )
- Intel i5-2400s
- G.SKILL 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1600
- XFX HD-685X-ZNFC ( Radeon HD 6850 )
- Hauppage Colossus
- Crucial RealSSD C300 64GB
- Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB
- Lite-On iHOS 104 Blu-Ray drive
- Antec TruePower 550W
- Cooler Master GeminII S CPU Cooler
- 3x Akasa 120mm Apache Super Silent PWM
( They will replace the 2fans coming with case + the one on the CPU Cooler in order to reduce noise level )
- 2x Lian Li 120mm Washable Air Filter
- GELID GC-EXTREME Thermal Compound
- Lian Li PT-SI03 Noise Reduction Foam Kit

Quote:
Originally Posted by ru4real View Post
I'm using the PSU fan to help exhaust air from the inside of the case. I have an overclocked CPU and a discrete GPU, so every little bit helps.
I'll have basically the same card as you but I'll not overclock and hope that the i5-2400s, thanks to its lower power usage, will help cooling to. On my side, sound level is my concern. I don't want to be able to tell if it is turned on or not

Quote:
Originally Posted by ru4real View Post
The Lian Li PC-C50 case has a vent on the bottom face to allow the PSU to suck air from underneath, if you want to keep the PSU airflow separate from the rest of the case.

The hole patterns on the case's PSU mounting plate and on the PSU itself would not allow me to flip it over without modding.
Yep, that's what I'll try, separate airflow. But you wouldn't have to mod anything man, just remove the 4 thumb screws and flip it over if you want. The mounting bracket can't be changed but if you flip it along with the mounting bracket you'll be fine. Actually, looking at the case installation guide, the PSU screw that is not in a corner is suppose to be located "inside/left".

Quote:
Originally Posted by ru4real View Post
I still have some work to do regarding case fans. The case came with two 3-pin fans, and they're slow and quiet, but my GPU is having thermal issues when gaming. It doesn't help that the GPU is acting like a wall between two halves of the case.
As you can see I'm replacing both case fans and even the CoolerMaster cooler fan with the most silent fans I could find anywhere, Akasa Apache Super Silent PWM Fan w/ Hydro Dynamic Bearings. Max speed is 1300rpm at 16dB only. Air flow up to 58CFM. From what I can see here, the ones you have are only running at 38CFM with a noise level of 26dB. FrozenCPU.com is where I found mines, they have basically every fan you can think about. I'm using an anti-vibration gasket or mounting for all fans.

Here's where I stand so far, waiting for my foam kit before I can slide the board into the case:



post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
Another part we share, the Crucial RealSSD C300 64GB. It replaced the OCZ Vertex2 two weeks ago.

I was at FrozenCPU yesterday looking at Zalman and Scythe fans, but thanks for the Akasa recommendation, the specs look good. I should've bought PWM fans at the beginning so I don't have to take out the motherboard... again. I already had to do that once for the B3 revision motherboard.

I haven't noticed the Geminii S fan noise, which is below the levels of the case fans and especially of the Asus EAH6850. I have an 80mm exhaust fan on the rear panel, but I'm thinking I should turn that around so it helps to pressurize the case and push air out the PSU side of the case, hopefully helping the GPU.
post #20 of 27
Hi,

Sorry about the delay, for some reason I didn't get a notice by email.

About the fans, the sure look great, got three like this:


I received my FrozenCPU order including the foam, getting my case ready







THIS HAS TO BE SILENT !! LOL
post #21 of 27
Looks like maybe we will have another part we share, my blu-ray drive is 185 mm long, I just can't fit the hard drive rack behind it! Your BR drive is 170, I would need that extra 15mm... I can't put my storage drive next to the cpu coller, the power cable is to large to pass between the drive and the video card. Basically I can't fit my storage drive!

Looks like this case is much easier to use with integrated graphics lol
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepWalker2 View Post

Looks like maybe we will have another part we share, my blu-ray drive is 185 mm long, I just can't fit the hard drive rack behind it! Your BR drive is 170, I would need that extra 15mm... I can't put my storage drive next to the cpu coller, the power cable is to large to pass between the drive and the video card. Basically I can't fit my storage drive!

Looks like this case is much easier to use with integrated graphics lol

Fixed! The LG Blu-Ray Drive from my desktop was 172mm so I just switched them.

turned on the beast, everything seems to work perfectly, now installing windows. Once done I'll create a backup image of my C300 on my western digital then install the Colossus and its drivers.



Uploaded with ImageShack.us
post #23 of 27
Hey guys was thinking of doing a build using the same case. Thanks for all the great pics...very nice build. Was wondering if you think that a radiator from a Corsair Hydro H60 watercooling kit would fit if it were mounted using the top spot in the case lid? Or would it hit up against the fans in on the side of the case?
post #24 of 27
Wow I just found this site doing some research for my attempt at a first build.

I do, however, have a couple of questions. Here are the parts I am looking at getting -

Case: Lian Li PC-C50B Black Aluminum HTPC Chassis
CPU: Intel Core i3 2105
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-U9B SE2
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Pro3-M Motherboard B3 (would the ASUS P8Z68-M Pro suit better?)
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL8D-8GBRM 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 (a good option?)
SSD: Intel 520 Series 60GB SSD (to load windows 7)
GPU: HIS Radeon HD6570 1GB Silence (is this necessary?)
Optical Drive: LG CH12LS28 12X BD-R Blu-ray DVD Combo Drive
PSU: Seasonic X-400 Fanless Gold 400W
Fans: Nexus Real Silent 120mm Case Fan x 2
Cable: BitFenix Sleeved Molex to 3x3pin 5V Power Cable Black

My questions are -

I would use the ssd for windows 7. I have a few hard drives in cases (with movies on). Can I remove the cases and plug them in to my build?

I don't really have a major budget but are there any parts that should be upgraded or substituted from this build?

Should I wait for any new part releases before going ahead with the build?

Are there any bits and pieces I may have skipped or glossed over? I noticed those noise reduction pads and thermal compound.

Would really appreciate any advice I'm very excited about trying this, I just want to do it right.
post #25 of 27
Hi,

Pretty much same deal as andreasbabz. Found this topic while searching for info before building my (first) htpc/media server.

My retained config is:
Case: well duh
CPU: Intel core i3-2120
CPU cooling: Scythe Big Shuriken V2 (??)
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3
RAM: G.Skill RipjawsX 2x2GB DDR3-1600
SSD: Crosair Force 3 60GB
HDD: Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB
GPU: None at first. Counting on the integrated graphics of the Z68
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHES212
PSU: Antec EA-380 Green
Fans: Sharkoon Silent Eagle 1000 120mm Case Fan x 2

andreasbabz's questions apply to me as well (except for his first one)

On top of that:
- what would the max dimensions be for a cpu cooler without having to sacrifice any drive bays (that is out of the question for me)
- A comprehensive guide to building an HTPC on this very forum (to which I am not allowed to provide a link because I'm apparently too much of a newbie) recommends Intel core i3. However I see most people going for more expensive i5's. Why is that? What will I be missing out on with the i3?
- which components will be holding me back if at some point I want to upgrade it to a decent gaming htpc? (not talking about the lack of GPU of course)

@andreasbabz: I don't see any reason why you could not hook up the hard drives you already have into your build (but then again I far from expert compared to pretty much anyone else on this forum)
You should also be aware (and maybe you already are) that, with that choice of motherboard, you will not have any USB3.0 header to connect the USB3.0 inputs on the C50B's front panel. The Gigabyte MoBo I now opted for is the only Z68 mATX I managed to find that offered at least one USB3.0 internal header. It's around the same price and specs as the P8Z68-M Pro.
post #26 of 27
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835233103

You could give this heatsink a try, I'm interested in a review.

Fore video playback the core i5 will be sitting at 10% cpu utilization where the i3 would be at 15%. I pulled the numbers out of my backside, but you get the point.
LL
post #27 of 27
Thanks for the suggestion. Seems to be as low profile as it gets for sure.

But judging by the one review on newegg, it doesn't look like it'll do a better job than the stock cooler. Plus I can't seem to find it anywhere for sale in my part of the world (Europe).
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