I don't believe I have seen a mini-DTX build featured on AVS before so I thought I'd share one that I just got started on. Apologies for the quality of the photos; too lazy to dig out a real camera so these are phone pictures hence the not-so-precise focus.
I have never really been happy with the Intel 2000 IGP in my current HTPC so I decided to move up to a discrete GPU. The challenge is my AV rack only has room for a very small unit so mini ITX has been a requirement and my current system is an i3-2125 on an Intel ITX board in an Antec ISK 300 case.
In addition, I need a twin DVB-S2 tuner card for my satellite feed; this is occupying the only PCIe slot in my current system so nowhere to install a graphics card. So I started investigating other options and found out about the mDTX form factor. The Silverstone SG06 case supports two expansion slots and would fit perfectly in my rack, so I went ahead and ordered one without really having checked for availability of motherboards.
Turns out I could not find a single DTX mobo available anywhere in Europe. Found a few Zotac models but they were all discontinued. To the rescue, like many times before: Amazon. They had the ECS H61H2-MV available, at no more than $44.99.
I also picked up an Ivy Bridge CPU, i3-3220, and 8GB of Corsair DDR3.
I have always wanted to build a watercooled HTPC but I quickly came to the conclusion that there simply wasn't enough room in the SG06 for a real system with radiator, pump and CPU block. But I was pretty sure a pre-built closed loop system would fit if I got rid of the 3,5" and 2.5" drive brackets in the SG06, keeping only the optical drive bracket.
I bought a Corsair H80i system, which has a thicker 120mm radiator than standard and two fans in a push/pull setup.
Here is the case with all the innards removed and the motherboard in place:
I had already decided to replace the Corsair fans:
But I soon found out there was no chance to run two fans, so I would have to settle for a single one, pulling in air from the front of the case and pushing through the radiator:
The radiator/fan and hoses take up a lot of space...
I had also found an nVidia GT640 card from Asus that would fit great. Not a lot to choose from that only occupies one slot but still has decent performance.
Corsair CPU block/pump in place. It has USB, fan, SATA power and mobo fan connectors - quite a mess of wires. But the cooling hoses are quite flexible so they can be pushed out of the way. The next challenge will be to get the power supply and all its wiring to fit back in. Also don't know where to put the SSD since I removed the 2.5" drive bracket, but I'll find a spot for it.
Now I need to shut down the old machine and transplant the SSD, optical drive and tuner card. But that will have to wait until tomorrow. More pics to follow.
Critique, feedback and/or suggestions welcome.