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.
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
- 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...