My new, ultra slim HTPC - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 64 Old 08-29-2014, 10:27 AM
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This is great, but you cannot order this chassis yet and it wont be avaliable until at least October. I checked as I was tempted to build a mini system, but decided instead to go with a tower chassis as an upgrade from my current Mac Pro-OSX is just too limiting and I really need a windows machine for many software apps which just are not avaliable in the Apple ecosystem...

Very nice system BTW-fits right in with all the other CE components and doesnt look like a PC!

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post #32 of 64 Old 08-29-2014, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StinDaWg View Post
Yup, that's why it's called having an opinion.
Exactly. There are plenty of big cases that look cheap, but don't think slim suddenly equals = high tech and amazing. Imagine if AVRs and Amps took size profile over performance, it would be a disaster. The advantages of having a bigger case to work with are:

1. More hardware available because you don't have to focus on low profile parts. So you can get better for cheaper.
2. Very easy to upgrade in the future (adding a hard drive or interface card, etc). Slim is pretty much impossible.
3. You can buy a high quality PSU instead of those crappy NUC ones. Golden rule of PC building is never skimp on power.
4. Everything runs cooler and quieter because there is more space and you can use bigger fans which move more air at a slower RPM.
5. Just easier to work with overall, plain and simple.

The only advantage(s) of a slim case is space. Nothing else. Well, I guess if you're a hobbyist you can have fun seeing how small you can make it. But for overall practical purposes, bigger is definitely better

And to address the ugly case comment, I highly disagree. There are far more options in the mid to full size range simply because it's not niche like the slim market is. You could go for something sleek and clean like this:



Or for a more aggressive look like this:



In the end the choice is yours and there are plenty of choices. Besides, most people run a vertical running home theatre cabinet like this, which you could easily fit a proper PC in.

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post #33 of 64 Old 08-29-2014, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post
Have any of them confirmed that they all work as a lone card? The ones I've looked at seem to be all focused on SLI mode. The google search I mentioned earlier said some cards would work at x4 in SLI mode but not as a lone card. (admittedly one of those was on Yahoo! Answers, you it should probably be taken with a grain of salt)
Yeah usually the tests show the results for single cards as well. I've installed x16 cards in x4 slots before and had no operational issues with them. I've also seen cases where cards were stuck in lower bus modes due to QPI/DMI underclocking when overclocking a CPU (this was back before Sandy Bridge and locked CPUs); in these cases the cards were plugged into x16 slots but operating at lower speeds, until it was noticed in GPU-Z and the underclock corrected.




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Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post
...and it has to be a low profile card too by the looks of the case.
Ah yeah I guess that might be the case (no pun intended lol). In that case you've got even more limited options...what's the fastest low-profile card out there nowadays? 750 Ti I'm pretty sure, and I think the LP version of that is pretty hard to find. 750 Ti is alright though. Not like you're gonna have a super gaming machine on your hands with that GPU but still probably good enough to play a lot of modern games at 1080p, with low settings.


The 750 Ti does not require an external power connector but it does have a TDP of 60W. The maximum power for PCIe is 75W, but for anything under x16 it becomes 25W, so not sure how the board would handle that issue. The power pins are all in the first part of the connector but given in x4 mode the limit is supposed to be 25W, I don't know what happens there. And really I'm not sure what is being used for a PSU in this build anyway?


I guess in the end it's just a bad idea to try to make something this thin into any kind of gaming machine, lol. You'd probably be fine on x4 with a bigger case, full-size graphics card and PCIe power connector, but in this slimjim case probably not.
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post #34 of 64 Old 08-29-2014, 12:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by aftcomet View Post
Exactly. There are plenty of big cases that look cheap, but don't think slim suddenly equals = high tech and amazing.
Nobody suggested that. I don't think anyone is interested in a slim case because it is amazing tech.


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Originally Posted by aftcomet View Post
Imagine if AVRs and Amps took size profile over performance, it would be a disaster.
I have a low profile receiver for the same reason I have a low profile case. Aesthetics. And it's far from a disaster.


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Originally Posted by aftcomet View Post
The advantages of having a bigger case to work with are:

1. More hardware available because you don't have to focus on low profile parts. So you can get better for cheaper.
2. Very easy to upgrade in the future (adding a hard drive or interface card, etc). Slim is pretty much impossible.
3. You can buy a high quality PSU instead of those crappy NUC ones. Golden rule of PC building is never skimp on power.
4. Everything runs cooler and quieter because there is more space and you can use bigger fans which move more air at a slower RPM.
5. Just easier to work with overall, plain and simple.
All valid reasoning to get a bigger case if that's what you want.


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Originally Posted by aftcomet View Post
The only advantage(s) of a slim case is space. Nothing else. Well, I guess if you're a hobbyist you can have fun seeing how small you can make it. But for overall practical purposes, bigger is definitely better.
Bigger isn't simply better. It might be more flexible, but that doesn't always equate to better. Not everyone has the same priorities you do.


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Originally Posted by aftcomet View Post
And to address the ugly case comment, I highly disagree. There are far more options in the mid to full size range simply because it's not niche like the slim market is.
My objection to the shoebox and mid tower isn't just the fascia. I don't like the bulk of it. It doesn't fit with the rest of me CE gear. It looks ugly and out of place regardless of how much anodized brushed aluminum you stick on the front.


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Originally Posted by aftcomet View Post
In the end the choice is yours and there are plenty of choices. Besides, most people run a vertical running home theatre cabinet like this, which you could easily fit a proper PC in.
Most people? Yeah sure they do. Just like most people need MadVR to enjoy a movie.

You can like whatever case you want, and if you're happy with your mid tower, bully for you. You expressed a complete lack of understanding as to why someone would want a low profile case. I simply made an effort to help you understand.
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post #35 of 64 Old 08-29-2014, 01:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ES_Revenge View Post
The 750 Ti does not require an external power connector but it does have a TDP of 60W. The maximum power for PCIe is 75W, but for anything under x16 it becomes 25W, so not sure how the board would handle that issue. The power pins are all in the first part of the connector but given in x4 mode the limit is supposed to be 25W, I don't know what happens there. And really I'm not sure what is being used for a PSU in this build anyway?
Those boards use an external power brick, and @Zygmunt said they are limited to 25W on the PCIe card so I think for all practical purposes a discrete GPU isn't an option for these build.


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Originally Posted by ES_Revenge View Post
I guess in the end it's just a bad idea to try to make something this thin into any kind of gaming machine, lol. You'd probably be fine on x4 with a bigger case, full-size graphics card and PCIe power connector, but in this slimjim case probably not.
Yeah, other than retro gaming, I don't think there is going to be much it can do in the realm of gaming. Decent HTPC or Jukebox though.
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post #36 of 64 Old 08-29-2014, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post
Most people? Yeah sure they do. Just like most people need MadVR to enjoy a movie.

You can like whatever case you want, and if you're happy with your mid tower, bully for you.
Yes, MOST people. The slim case market is niche compared to a proper sized one and that's fact. Go to any retailer and their inventory levels explain it all. Not sure what MadVR has to do with this?

I don't understand why it bothers your how your cabinet looks when 99% of the time you're not even looking at it. Especially since it's probably behind you if you're using a projector. Nor do I understand the space problem because home theatre rooms are usually quite spacious. Ultimately, you value form over function. I get it, that's your opinion and there is nothing to argue there. It's definitely blog-worthy but not feasible from a technical perspective.

I also don't understand why some posters on this forum like to pick apart a post and respond to every point with "well you're wrong because in MY OPINION I disagree with you".

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Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post
You expressed a complete lack of understanding as to why someone would want a low profile case. I simply made an effort to help you understand.
Wow gee thanks. And you wonder why people don't take you seriously when you talk down to them in such a patronizing tone.
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post #37 of 64 Old 08-29-2014, 08:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by aftcomet View Post
Yes, MOST people. The slim case market is niche compared to a proper sized one and that's fact. Go to any retailer and their inventory levels explain it all.
Slim cases are a niche market, no question about that. No one said otherwise. But if you think that the majority of HTPCs are stored in a rack, you're out of your mind.


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Originally Posted by aftcomet View Post
I don't understand why it bothers your how your cabinet looks when 99% of the time you're not even looking at it. Especially since it's probably behind you if you're using a projector. Nor do I understand the space problem because home theatre rooms are usually quite spacious. Ultimately, you value form over function. I get it, that's your opinion and there is nothing to argue there. It's definitely blog-worthy but not feasible from a technical perspective.

I value form and function, since my HTPC is located right below my TV. I have a great looking case that contains a PC that performs everything I ask of it.

The slimline PC in this thread is perfectly viable as a HTPC. It may not suit your particular needs, but your needs don't dictate what is viable in general .

Quote:
Originally Posted by aftcomet View Post
I also don't understand why some posters on this forum like to pick apart a post and respond to every point with "well you're wrong because in MY OPINION I disagree with you".

Wow gee thanks. And you wonder why people don't take you seriously when you talk down to them in such a patronizing tone.
You continue to express your lack of understanding on topics, then you complain when people try to explain it to you. If you don't want people talking down to you, perhaps you should stop professing not to understand the most basic of concepts.
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post #38 of 64 Old 08-30-2014, 01:37 AM
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I'm going to add you to my ignore list because whenever there is a technical argument you bring your personal preference into it and start throwing accusations of people not "getting it".

There are at least10 facts against building a slim PC and only one fact for it. What your opinion is on the matter has zero bearing on the facts.
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post #39 of 64 Old 08-30-2014, 01:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aftcomet View Post
I'm going to add you to my ignore list because whenever there is a technical argument you bring your personal preference into it and start throwing accusations of people not "getting it".

There are at least10 facts against building a slim PC and only one fact for it. What your opinion is on the matter has zero bearing on the facts.
It's not a matter of 10 to 1. You're missing the point. You're not getting it.

For some people a slim PC is desirable. For others its not. No harm in you not liking them, but that doesn't mean they are a bad or not viable. That is the point.

I'm not making it about my personal preference. You did.
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post #40 of 64 Old 08-31-2014, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aftcomet View Post
I'm going to add you to my ignore list because whenever there is a technical argument you bring your personal preference into it and start throwing accusations of people not "getting it".

There are at least10 facts against building a slim PC and only one fact for it. What your opinion is on the matter has zero bearing on the facts.
Personal aesthetic preference is the only concern that matters for many people, especially if the HTPC is going to be readily visible from the seating area. The slimline cases fit nicely in with other CE equipment. Depending on the kind of case, they can all but disappear into the media centre, or they can be a very impressive/nifty accent. No mid-tower case is ever going to do that for many people, making such a case a 100% non-starter.

For many such individuals, the "10 other things" that a mid-tower provides are all superfluous. If the slimline HTPC can flawlessly stream 1080p content with lossless audio, and perhaps is even totally silent thanks to a fanless design and a SSD hard drive, then it already does everything it needs to while meeting the proper visual aesthetic. For these people, future upgrades of larger hard drives or any sort of ability to tinker in general is simply not an issue. They have no desire to ever open up and mess with something that already works for the stated purpose.

The increased cost of low-profile parts is part of the cost of the visual aesthetic. There will never be a need to upgrade or add another hard drive. Power supplies with enough muscle to power the low-use HTPC are readily available. There is absolutely no need for a 500W+ power supply, nor will there be. Many of the slimlines are fanless, so no concern about how big of a fan will fit.

Slim HTPCs like this are not for the tinker-set. They are designed to essentially be electronic appliances, just like a Roku or Amazon Fire. They simply have more flexibility than those other appliances and have the added bonus of being infinitely customizable.
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post #41 of 64 Old 08-31-2014, 01:32 PM
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Nice looking build!

I hope you have better luck with that Gigabyte board than I have!

I have had problems with HDMI and sound with standby and AVR switching.

More details here:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/26-hom...te-mb-1-a.html

But I love the look! Best of luck with selling them.

Regards, Tim
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post #42 of 64 Old 09-02-2014, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aftcomet View Post
I'm going to add you to my ignore list because whenever there is a technical argument you bring your personal preference into it and start throwing accusations of people not "getting it".

There are at least10 facts against building a slim PC and only one fact for it. What your opinion is on the matter has zero bearing on the facts.
Awesome. You can put me on your ignore list too.

I prefer small, all-aluminum cases (preferably brushed not powder-coated) based on personal aesthetics and the challenge of getting the most I can into a little case using as little space and electricity as possible but still doing all the HTPC tasks I need.

I won't begrudge anyone sticking a plastic tower next to their TV though I'll never understand why. It's not mine so I don't need to.

Welcome to the AVSForum HTPC forums!

BTW, Zygmunt, nice looking PC you have there. I looks like a fun project and a nice way to work with the thin mini-ITX form factor.
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post #43 of 64 Old 09-03-2014, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by timbo2000 View Post
I hope you have better luck with that Gigabyte board than I have!

Regards, Tim
I didn't put Gigabyte system to full test yet, I use ASUS in this moment. I will fully test GA later on.
Thanks for this info/warning and wishes.

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post #44 of 64 Old 09-03-2014, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys

I have read above posts and I am surprised that many of you are out of topic. You are like guy walking around Porsche Cayman and complaining:
Only two doors? No, not for me.
This car has only two seats, it is not for me.
How can I put 65” plasma here? No, no go for me.
If you need more space go for mini van or truck, don’t even look at Cayman, it is NOT for you by design. And don’t complain about Cayman, it is great car, just not for you.

Guys, lets make it strait.
We have several platforms, good for HTPC application, starting with Raspberry PI. Let’s focus on Intel CPU platforms only.
As far as I know the smallest Intel CPU motherboard is a NUC, then there is Thin-Mini ITX, then Mini ITX and up. Thin-Mini ITX has been designed to fill the gap between NUC and Mini ITX. Some of Thin-Mini ITX don’t have PCIe at all, some of them, have only PCIe x1 and some PCIe x4 like presented here. They are starting with only one SATA port up to four SATA ports. Max CPU TDP is 65W and max power on PCIe is 25W.
THIS IS BY DESIGN. This is a starting point, the base. This is NOT a gaming motherboard! No discrete video card. Do you need more power, PCIe x16, more SATA ports than four?
This MoBo is not for you. Please choose different, bigger motherboard.


What I like in Thin-Mini ITX platform is, that PSU is built into motherboard, that I can use mSATA SSD (the same price like 2.5” SSD and no cables) that it’s a little bigger than NUC but I have up to four SATA connectors and PCIe slot good for Ceton InfiniTV 6 PCIe or SOtM tX-USBexp. This is everything I need for HTPC or music server and I have it in small package. If I need anything else – I’ll go step up. It’s simple.

I am not the only one who likes this form factor. Stardog Champion, Small Green Computer and several other companies use them for their systems.



Now, we have a base, a starting point: Thin-Mini ITX motherboard. What you can do with it?

You can create mini chassis like Wesena ITX2 or even taller and put HDDs above motherboard. Or you can create bigger chassis with one expansion slot like many chassis on the market similar to Wesena ITX4. Or you can go slim and put HDDs next to motherboard instead of above motherboard like presented here. There are many options possible.

Personal aesthetic preference is different for everyone and also depends on application so I am not going to comment anybody’s choice. If you like tower – its fine, if you like bigger box – is fine too.

Personally, I like a lot of different forms starting with NUCs and ending on OrigenAE S21T which I use in my office as a main computer now. Small or big, I like them all, if they present quality and – IMPO – aesthetics. No plastic for me, aluminum only.



What I presented here is a HTPC of size of BluRay player, slimmer than any Motorola cable box, but a lot more powerful. You can get 14TB of storage, six channel cable tuner and BluRay player in this box.

Not bad – I think.

Zygmunt
Perfect Home Theater

Last edited by Zygmunt; 09-03-2014 at 02:54 PM.
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post #45 of 64 Old 09-03-2014, 02:58 PM
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I realized this ^^ early on and my only questions were for my use as I am researching cases for a build right now where I have a 6" or less height limitation.

Your build is very nice and very slick. I like it but it isn't suitable for my needs at this time so I bowed out of the thread. I check back now and it is littered with argument about case size rather than staying focused on the beauty and merit of your specific build.

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post #46 of 64 Old 09-03-2014, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zygmunt View Post
What I presented here is a HTPC of size of BluRay player, slimmer than any Motorola cable box, but a lot more powerful. You can get 14TB of storage, six channel cable tuner and BluRay player in this box.
Where's the rear-facing removable drive bay? I don't want to bring my screwdrivers near a brushed aluminum chassis any more than is necessary.
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post #47 of 64 Old 09-03-2014, 08:53 PM
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Yeah, I went back and looked at the pics on the PHT site and man this case is slick.

What kind of temps were you getting with those ultra-low profile CPU HSFs? It'd be nice if this could take a Dynatron T450 at 31mm -- is that possible? What's the height limit on the CPU HSF?
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post #48 of 64 Old 09-04-2014, 05:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post
Yeah, I went back and looked at the pics on the PHT site and man this case is slick.
Thanks

Quote:
What kind of temps were you getting with those ultra-low profile CPU HSFs? It'd be nice if this could take a Dynatron T450 at 31mm -- is that possible? What's the height limit on the CPU HSF?
It is 24mm max.
I played Baraka for ~30 minutes and checked temperatures and RPM.
Then I played recorded TV for ~30 minutes and checked temperatures and RPM. As you can see i5 is over kill here. I will probably replace it by i3.
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post #49 of 64 Old 09-04-2014, 05:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post
I realized this ^^ early on and my only questions were for my use as I am researching cases for a build right now where I have a 6" or less height limitation.
There is plenty of chassis like this. 6" allows you to use full size card.
OrigenAE S14V may be good option for you; 5 7/8" high, Micro ATX, 4 full size slots, ATX PSU.

Regards

Zygmunt
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post #50 of 64 Old 09-04-2014, 05:40 AM
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Impressive! Only thing I would like to see is temps with two 3.5hdds, which OP opted out. I would wager most people considering this form factor are likely looking for local storage, not nas or streaming only. Otherwise they'd likely lean to a NUC style kit. With two HDDs I'd be real concerned with temps. Ceton cards run hot, too.
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post #51 of 64 Old 09-04-2014, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sippelmc View Post
Impressive! Only thing I would like to see is temps with two 3.5hdds, which OP opted out. I would wager most people considering this form factor are likely looking for local storage, not nas or streaming only. Otherwise they'd likely lean to a NUC style kit. With two HDDs I'd be real concerned with temps. Ceton cards run hot, too.
I will test with two HDDs on weekend, however I don't have Ceton tuner. AFAIK Ceton takes 14W of power, so fan under it - like on this picture - should be enough to keep it cool IMO.
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post #52 of 64 Old 09-04-2014, 01:14 PM
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I'll put something like this together once Skylake is available since it should be perfect for a case like this.
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post #53 of 64 Old 09-04-2014, 01:30 PM
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Check the SSD too!

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Originally Posted by Zygmunt View Post
I will test with two HDDs on weekend, however I don't have Ceton tuner. AFAIK Ceton takes 14W of power, so fan under it - like on this picture - should be enough to keep it cool IMO.
I was unpleasantly surprised how hot the mSATA Intel 525 in my build got.

If your Mushkin mSATA has SMART temperature keep an eye on that as well. I'd suggest running a write performance benchmark as that generates the most heat.
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post #54 of 64 Old 09-08-2014, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I was unpleasantly surprised how hot the mSATA Intel 525 in my build got.

If your Mushkin mSATA has SMART temperature keep an eye on that as well. I'd suggest running a write performance benchmark as that generates the most heat.
I installed two HDDs in this chassis and copied Baraka to 320GB HDDs and setup TV recording on 1.5TB HDD. I opened MC and started recording three HD TV programs on one HDD, then opened XBMC and played Baraka on big screen.
After 30 minutes I minimized XBMC and opened CPUID HD Monitor. You are right, Mushkin SSD is warmer than WD HDDs.

Next time I will check another brands as well.
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post #55 of 64 Old 09-09-2014, 04:06 AM - Thread Starter
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I found interesting test. It is 19 months old, but it shows some important information.
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post #56 of 64 Old 09-09-2014, 06:57 AM
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You are right, Mushkin SSD is warmer than WD HDDs. Next time I will check another brands as well.
And that's with the SSD essentially being idle. If you do heavy writes to it it will also heat up even more. That's been my biggest surprise on my first HTPC build with mSATA. I have a feeling it's the SandForce controller that many SSDs use so it may limit alternatives.
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post #57 of 64 Old 09-09-2014, 07:46 AM
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My 6-core PC is in a full tower Coolermaster HAF X 942 case on caster wheels but for viewing my 4K videos on my 4K UHD TV I much prefer my new 6-core Mac Pro with LaCie 1TB Little Big Disk Thunderbolt-2 SSD that is the fastest external drive made.


LaCie 1TB TB2 SSD speed test :
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post #58 of 64 Old 09-09-2014, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timbo2000 View Post
And that's with the SSD essentially being idle. If you do heavy writes to it it will also heat up even more. That's been my biggest surprise on my first HTPC build with mSATA. I have a feeling it's the SandForce controller that many SSDs use so it may limit alternatives.
mSATA is just for programs, not data, but next time I will choose Samsung mSATA SSDs anyway. Takes less power and is faster.

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post #59 of 64 Old 09-09-2014, 08:56 AM
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mSATA is just for programs, not data, but next time I will choose Samsung mSATA SSDs anyway. Takes less power and is faster.
I don't disagree. My HTPC application is the same - OS + programs on the SSD. My concern with Samsung drives is that they use newer TLC NAND. Gives a great bang for the buck, but has less actual use and validation. But Samsung knows its stuff here so they have a good shot of having it work well.

My practice with HTPCs is to never go bleeding edge, I value reliability above all else as much is as practical and cost efficient with consumer (non-enterprise) level hardware.
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post #60 of 64 Old 10-03-2014, 09:26 AM
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OP - beautiful and clean build. Really annoyed by the total derailment of this thread with people arguing about how large cases are the way to go. A thread where someone shares their build is not the appropriate place to start beating drums about your opinions that are counter to OP's requirements/design choices.

If and when I do upgrade my HTPC build that is now 3+ years old, I'd definitely think about something like this. Then again, I have a 4X HDD external enclosure running FlexRaid that is housing all my media, so maybe there is an even slimmer case with room for single HDD, OD and mobo + CPU. Your temps look fantastic, but I'm sure they are helped by the newer Haswell processors which are really amazing. How loud is the fan btw?

I have an older Sandy Bridge (i3-2100T) that runs a lot hotter and as a result require more active cooling which results in more fan noise (which annoys me).
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Recommended calibration settings for Samsung PN60F5300B
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