Cases/PSUs for a slim factor HTPC? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-06-2020, 05:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Cases/PSUs for a slim factor HTPC?

Hi,

I've been thinking about building a slim factor HTPC, similar in size to an Intel NUC. I would like it to be the cheapest possible, the usage would be for streaming, both paid services (maybe game streaming services like Geforce Now, Steam Link or Shadow) and local files via Plex and to use Kodi as interface. The idea is to have something that is able to run the current formats like 4k HDR and Dolby Atmos but just using the integrated graphics card.
I've seen that there are cases that match my requirements but I'm a bit confused about the PSU needed for that. I've seen there are cases with an integrated PSU but they don't seem to provide enough power for a full PC. Then there are other ones that can be plugged to external PSUs but in this case it seems like most of the budget would go in the case and the power supply.
I was thinking on using either an i3 or a ryzen 3 for my build and then a cheap motherboard with 4/8gb of RAM and a small SSD/M.2 drive.
Has anyone built a similar system or can anyone point me in the right direction about what cases/PSUs would be a good fit for this kind of build?
P.D.: I've seen cases from Streacom which seem nice and would probably do the work but they alone with the PSU cost almost $200.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-06-2020, 09:49 AM
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I would look at the Shuttle line of cases/barebone PCs. Not the cheapest however they offer a wide range of options and are built to a high standard.

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post #3 of 8 Old 02-06-2020, 12:57 PM
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If you want something the size of a NUC then you're pretty much limited to pre-configured units like the NUC or the Gigabyte Brix and probably a few others. However, you can build a nice small form factor PC in a slimline case using a mini-iTX motherboard that still has the ability to use a full-sized graphics card. I've built mini-iTX HTPCs using the Fractal Design Node 202 and the Silverstone ML08 cases. They're both about the same size but are laid out differently depending on what you want to put inside of them. Both cases require a SFX power supply, but the Silverstone can accommodate a slightly larger SFX-L power supply. The Fractal Design allows you to install two extra 120mm cooling fans whereas the Silverstone has room for additional SSDs.

Both cases will hold at least two SSDs. I like both cases but the Silverstone is a bit easier to work with. The Fractal Design case can be a little cramped if you have large hands. Both cases come with riser cards that allow you to use a full-sized dual-slot graphics card mounted parallel to the motherboard. The Silverstone is about 1-1/2 inches deeper than the Fractal Design, hence more interior room. Both units are about 15 inches wide by about 3-3/8 inches high. The problem with units like the NUC or the Brix is that you are limited to whatever GPU is part of the motherboard. In other words you are very limited as far as upgrading is concerned. Granted, you can't do much with a mini-iTX setup either, but you can expand the memory much more than you can with a NUC and you can use multiple SSDs as well as pick and choose what graphics card you want.

Most min-iTX cases tend to be somewhat large cubes and are anything but small. I've tried a couple of these and didn't care for them at all.
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-07-2020, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I've checked the Shuttle cases but they seem to come pre-configured with a motherboard so no really what I was looking for. And they are quite expensive actually.
What about the Goodisory a01 case? There are videos on youtube mounting a full PC on it and it seems you can fit any mini ITX motherboard there. I've read that someone was able to even install a small graphic card.
My only need is 4K HDR playback, [email protected] would be nice. I've been trying to find second hand mini ITX motherboards to mount a ryzen 2200g or a i3 7100 but they are quite expensive! I already have an Asus Z170I Pro gaming in another build with a Cooler Master 130 and I think it's more expensive now than when I bought it.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-08-2020, 08:17 AM
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My last htpc configuration was built using this m-itx.

https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/GA-H170TN-rev-10#ov

It ran using a laptop brick. Perhaps there are similar newer boards out there?
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-08-2020, 08:43 AM
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-09-2020, 03:33 AM - Thread Starter
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That seems like what I was looking for. In any case, any ITX motherboard that supports a CPU capable of playing 4k HDR content should suffice. But one thing I realised is that an ITX motherboard with an old chipset doesn't guarantee a cheaper price. I found my old Z170i Pro gaming more expensive now than when I bought it 5 years ago. So, factoring in that a case like the Goodisory A01 I mentioned before requires a picoPSU powerful enough and that all that combine is already an extra $100, building a small form factor PC with old enough hardware doesn't get any lower than $400.
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-13-2020, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sepharat View Post
That seems like what I was looking for. In any case, any ITX motherboard that supports a CPU capable of playing 4k HDR content should suffice. But one thing I realised is that an ITX motherboard with an old chipset doesn't guarantee a cheaper price. I found my old Z170i Pro gaming more expensive now than when I bought it 5 years ago. So, factoring in that a case like the Goodisory A01 I mentioned before requires a picoPSU powerful enough and that all that combine is already an extra $100, building a small form factor PC with old enough hardware doesn't get any lower than $400.
Nope. I have spent more on my unique small form factor stuff just to maintain the form factor. My avatar is my current HTPC that I built for the star wars theme I currently have going.

Sacrifices end up being made.
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