or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › Video Components › Home Theater Computers › HTPC Build Question
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

HTPC Build Question

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Been lurking here for a while, but i'm finally about ready to pull the trigger on building a HTPC.

My two main requirements are that it have excellent audio output for music (I have some great old McIntosh gear) and that it be relatively thin to blend well with the rest of my system.

For audio, I am pretty committed to an ASUS Xonar STX PCIe x1 card, which will go stereo out to my Mac preamp for stereo music listening and spdif out to an only-ok Sony AV receiver for 5.1 listening. The main issue with this is that it is a full height pcie card, so I need a slim case that will support this (presumably with a flex riser card ).

For a case, I am thinking the Wesena e5 (which allows for 1 full size PCIe card). From what I can tell I really like the look of this case.

For processor I am thinking a Core i3 2100/2105.
For motherboard I am thinking about either one of a million H67/Z68 ITX motherboards, or the Zotac ITX B-E motherboard that includes a GT430 card built in (this board is attractive because the wesena only has 1 expansion slot).

In addition to high quality audio listening, my main video uses will be blueray disks and netflix/hulu/hbo go/youtube streaming. Eventually I may add (probably external) a cablecard capable tuner, but don't need that now.

My main question is about the graphics card I'd need to play blueray disks and netflix (and other streaming) well (for example Netflix in HD mode). Will the integrated HD3000 cut it? Or would the GT430 make a big difference? Will the frame rate issue make a difference for blueray or netflix? Would something like madvr (which I know i would need the GT430 to use well). I do absolutely no gaming.

Presumably, using integrated graphics would reduce power consumption and noise (not to mention cost), so if the HD3000 will cut it, I'll go with that. Otherwise, I'll probably go with the Zotac board. Or I could go with a different case (i'm thinking the Silverstone LC02) that allows more than 1 expansion card, but I do really like the Wesena best.

Thanks for reading this whole thing. Any advice that you have on this whole thing would be greatly appreciated. And sorry for no links, I guess I don't have enough posts.
post #2 of 10
Intel HD Graphics 3000 + madVR.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks Rene! Seems like I can get away with not getting the GT430 built in. I've seen another user of the Wesena case turn the blanking plate for the pico power connector into another half-sized slot which seems neat if I needed to add a video card or tuner.

Which brings me to a second question about power consumption. I would love to use a picopsu if possible, but am unclear whether that it will be sufficient to power the system.
The maximum picopsu available is 160 Watts.
Would that be sufficient to drive the following setup?

Processor: Intel Core i3 2105
Motherboard: ASROck Z68M/USB3
GPU: Built in HD3000
Soundcard: Asus Xonar STX PCIe x1
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x4GB DDR3 2133
Optical: Sony BS-5600S slot loading slim Blue-ray
Storage: Samsung 830S 64GB SSD
External USB: Wireless keyboard and mouse
Cooling: Stock cooler for 2105, 4 60mm case fans included in the Wesa e5.

Potential future upgrades
Tuner: Either external USB or internal PCI/PCIe with cablecard
Discreet graphics: Some sort of GT430 card.
Media Storage: Some sort of SATAIII or eSATA hard drive.
Wireless N USB dongle

Would I be able to get away with a PicoPSU-160-XT? Are there good resources for figuring out typical power loads?

Thanks again!
post #4 of 10
Max DC draw of your system without the sound card is ~80W (achieved when both CPU and GPU are fully loaded, which rarely occurs).
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Don't mean to beat a head horse but i'd hate to get this part wrong.

It seems that while the 160watt/200watt peak PicoPSU boards are available and in stock, mini-box's 12V/16A (192watt) AC-DC adapter is basically out of stock everywhere. The 12V/12.5A (150watt, 160watt peak) AC-DC adapter is recently back in stock.

I am anxious to build the HTPC. Mini-box is saying that the 192watt adapter won't be in stock until early February. Given my setup outlined above (including potential upgrades discussed), does anyone have an opinion about whether I would be ok with the 150watt/160watt peak AC-DC adapter. If I do go with that, should I get the 160watt/200watt peak DC-DC PicoPSU, or should i match it with the 150watt DC-DC PicoPSU?

post #6 of 10
80W DC max means that 150W picoPSU/adapter is enough ... what are you worrying about?

- PICOPSU-150-XT + 150w AC-DC Power Adapter, 12v 12.5A (enough even if you add GT 430 later). A case mode may be necessary to attach the Mini-Fit-JR adapter.


- picoPSU-150-XT + 102W Adapter Power Kit
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks! My understanding is the soundcard adds peak 20watts, and with a future GT430 and/or tuner card, I assumed that would get me close to the 150max. I wasn't sure if this is the type of thing where you want a comfortable buffer or if you can go right up to the max.

it sounds like I'm good going up to the 150w max and can stop stressing about inadequate power.

I appreciate the help.
post #8 of 10
You can see 80W only at simultaneous CPU full load + iGPU full load, and 120W only at simultaneous CPU full load + GT 430 full load, a very artificial situation.
post #9 of 10
Hi duskdrums.

I stumbled upon your postings while researching my own mini PC build.

I too have concerns about using a PicoPSU with my wattage calculations.

I was wondering if you had completed your build & if so, how did the PicoPSU-150-XT with 12v 12.5A power solution perform.
Did you find it powerful enough? Did you have any problems?

Any feedback would be much appreciated.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey, so the 150-XT works fine with the system I laid out. I have not added an external video card or tuner card or other hard drives, so I don't know if that would start causing problems, but I am good with the i3-2105, DDR-2133 ram, 64GB ssd, and Asus Xonar STX.

Good luck!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Home Theater Computers
AVS › AVS Forum › Video Components › Home Theater Computers › HTPC Build Question