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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to get an HTPC for my home that will go into my rack. I'm not interested in building one but the form factor is important to me. Are there any pre-built HTPCs that have the correct form factor for rack installation?


Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry, I should have mentioned that I'm looking to either install Win 7 and run XBMC or do XBMC Live. I don't really need anything elaborate for this and would probably hope to keep the cost at $500 or less.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by petemcn /forum/post/19612007


I'm looking to get an HTPC for my home that will go into my rack. I'm not interested in building one but the form factor is important to me. Are there any pre-built HTPCs that have the correct form factor for rack installation?


Thank you.

The easiest route would be to buy an off-the-shelf desktop and transfer the guts to a rack-mount chassis of your choice; half-an hour's work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

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Originally Posted by hirent /forum/post/19613937


The easiest route would be to buy an off-the-shelf desktop and transfer the guts to a rack-mount chassis of your choice; half-an hour's work.

Unfortunately I don't know the first thing about how to do this and I don't really want to. Perhaps it would take half an hour for somebody who knew how to put together HTPCs but the research to learn this would take many times that amount of time.


There are many small form factor HTPCs out there that are pretty cheap (Acer and ASRock come to mind). I guess my best bet may be to buy one of those small netops and find a rack shelf that it can sit on. It won't like as nice as a true rack-mount chasis but I believe the Acer Revo is only $200-300. A rack shelf for it to sit on would probably only cost another $100-150.


I just assumed that some company already made a similar product to these nettops in performance but was easier to mount inside a rack. I guess not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wonderful, so after my earlier replies I of course started browsing around the HTPC forum. I've been mainly going through the Building a HD HTPC thread and I definitely like what I'm reading. I will take down all your names and give them to my wife when she wants blood since the last thing I need is another project. I'm a researcher so projects like this mean a lot more than just money but also a significant amount of time. So when she sees me putting off cleaning out the garage and replacing some lights, and other stuff like that, I am certainly blaming you guys.


Anyway, the guide I mentioned and other websites seem to do a good job of describing what parts to put in your HTPC but I don't see any information on how to connect things. Is there an instruction manual that would come with the case that will tell me where the pieces go and how to put them together? Is it all very straight forward? Is there another thread detailing this that I can't find? Whenever I search for how to build an HTPC I get to something describing the different parts.


Thank you.
 

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Overall, building a PC these days is not difficult. Parts research is important so you can confirm the heatsink will fit alongside the dimms, the dimms are the right speed, etc. In general you just:


Attach the CPU to the motherboard (there will be indicators as to the orientation, and / or it will only fit facing one way)

Attach the memory to the motherboard (typically will only fit one way)

Attach the heatsink to the CPU (using good quality thermal paste and putting it on correctly - entire threads dedicated to this)

Mount the MB in the case

Connect the various indicator, reset, power pins to the motherboard - this can be the most challenging because the instructions are usually written by someone who native tongue isn't English, but persevere and you'll get through it.

Connect the main power and secondary power (I always forget that one) leads to the motherboard, add the video card if there isn't one built into the mb, power it on and see what happens...
 

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if it helps any, here is the parts list for the last HTPC I Built:

Hardware:
  • AMD 64 X2 5200+
  • DYNAPOWER USA EJ-104.W1625 Black Heavy-Duty Steel 1U Rackmount Case - Retail
  • SUPER TALENT FSD8GB25M 2.5" 8GB SATA Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - Retail
  • GIGABYTE GA-MA69GM-S2H AM2 AMD 690G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
  • Dynatron A48G 70mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler - Retail
  • A-DATA 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ADQVE1A16K - Retail


Software:
  • WinXP
  • CQC (obviously
    )
  • Theatertek
  • BeyondTV Link.

note: this is really old... the 8GB SSD was like $500 back then... so just take it as a general list of what type of things may be needed, not an actual current shopping list type thing... and the obviously next to CQC is just cause I originally posted this in my 'build' thread on the CQC forum... so that obviously doesn't really apply to the AVS forum, I am just to lazy to edit it out...

also, if I were building that now, I would go with TMT over TheaterTek I think... although I used to really like TT back 'in the day'...

and I would go with (well, actually did end up eventually going with) SageTV instead of BTV...


of course that HTPC only lasted about 2 years before I tore it apart and built a MAME cabinet out of the pieces...

now I just have a SageTV/CQC server in the basement/crawlspace and a couple Sage HD extenders about... works much better over all...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by petemcn /forum/post/19617483


Wonderful, so after my earlier replies I of course started browsing around the HTPC forum. I've been mainly going through the Building a HD HTPC thread and I definitely like what I'm reading. I will take down all your names and give them to my wife when she wants blood since the last thing I need is another project. I'm a researcher so projects like this mean a lot more than just money but also a significant amount of time. So when she sees me putting off cleaning out the garage and replacing some lights, and other stuff like that, I am certainly blaming you guys.


Anyway, the guide I mentioned and other websites seem to do a good job of describing what parts to put in your HTPC but I don't see any information on how to connect things. Is there an instruction manual that would come with the case that will tell me where the pieces go and how to put them together? Is it all very straight forward? Is there another thread detailing this that I can't find? Whenever I search for how to build an HTPC I get to something describing the different parts.


Thank you.

It's money or time. Can't have both.
If you don't feel up to building one, you have no choice but to buy one, and the cost savings just aint there, because this is a very niche market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone /forum/post/19621561


It's money or time. Can't have both.
If you don't feel up to building one, you have no choice but to buy one, and the cost savings just aint there, because this is a very niche market.

Yeah, I think I already condemned myself to this task. The last day and a half I've spent some time reading about this and I don't think there is any going back. I'm still concerned about the assembly though. All the instructions I've seen are like the ones mentioned a few posts above, connect these three things to the mother board, connect this to that, put on paste etc.


To a first timer who hasn't ever dealt with opening a PC other than to blow dust off with compressed air it is all very intimidating. Do I need to be worried about static? What is that paste mentioned? Will all of the guts fit neatly in or will I have to make room for all the pieces to connect to each other.


I wish there was a guide to the assembly of the HTPC and not just the choosing of the parts. It seems like an expensive venture to just try it out the first time.
 

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Thermal paste creates a low thermal resistance between the lid of the CPU and the base of the heat sink. Some will come pre-applied on the heatsink. It's usually enough that you can spread out what's already there (you want a very thin later).


Here's an example of what an enthusiast would buy; link.
 

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there are plenty is guides to building your own pc from scratch, such as:


Lifehacker - First Timer's Guide to Building a PC



There are also videos on Youtube/Vimeo that take you through every single step.

There are books at your local library, or even old copies of Maximum PC Magazine too.

Really, if you can use a screwdriver, have patience, and follow instructions, its not too difficult.
 

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It's not really that hard to build a PC if you are a somwhat practical person. The components these days only fits the places where they should be. So if you look at the markings on the CPU and make sure you put the memory in the correct way the hardest things are already done.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by petemcn /forum/post/19623642


Did I read correctly that Intel will be introducing some new stuff early next year?

Intel is Always introducing new stuff next year/month/week/day/hour/minute... that's what they do... that's who they are... and they are very good at it...

the trick is to not get caught up with what is coming next, but instead, figure out what your goals are for right now...


thermal paste - (I will probably get flamed for this) but the real difference between the 'enthusiast' paste and the crap that comes free with the heat sink is 80%-90% marketing BS... and what little difference there may be is irrelevant if you are not overclocking to the extreme... but enthusiast love their paste



heat sink - unless you have special needs, (ie 1U chassis/fancy chassis,overclocking, trying to run totally silent/passive,etc), just buy the a retail CPU, they come with a 'good enough' heat sink & paste/pad...


Assembly - you are making too big a deal out of the assembly part... there is a reason most 'guides' just are a couple of bullet points that essentially just sum up to just slap it together.... lay all the bits out in front of you, once you get them, and you will see that assembling a PC is much easier than assembling Lego's... actually installing the OS usually takes longer than the actual assembly... and really the biggest time/effort part is the researching what parts work well with each other in the first place...


fwiw, 1U chassis tend to be very loud.... the little 40mm fans needed to fit, tend to need to spin really fast to get enough airflow... you can make a 1U chassis quite, but that will require some work...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost /forum/post/19625320



fwiw, 1U chassis tend to be very loud.... the little 40mm fans needed to fit, tend to need to spin really fast to get enough airflow... you can make a 1U chassis quite, but that will require some work...

Thank you for the information. I have plenty of room in my rack so I'll probably end up doing something with a 3U or 4U chasis.
 
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