Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

HTPC/Console Build

After getting a whole new PC setup earlier this year, and having all the parts to build a function system capable of moderate gaming, I decided that I wanted to rebuild my old PC into a small form factor console killer/media PC. The PC will serve as an Xbox replacement (Xbox play anywhere, and Steam games), a place to watch movies and shows, and run dedicated servers for multiplayer gaming sessions with my friends. The PC will never do all of these things at once.


Setup, testing, and upgrades:


For testing, and temporary usage, I threw the system into my old Corsair 100R and powered it with my old EVGA 700B. The 2.5" HDD I grabbed off my shelf of extra components ended up being waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to slow, even for a 5400rpm HDD; so I decided a storage upgrade was needed. For quick load times in games, and ofc Windows, I decided to go with an SSD; I also picked up a new HDD for extra/long term storage. I picked up a 1TB WD Blue SATA SSD (limited space/slots and PCIe bandwidth would not allow for an NVMe) and a 1TB WD Blue 7200rpm 3.5" HDD.


The stock cooler was doing OK, but the fan was pretty loud under heavy load and temps weren't great. I replaced it with a Cryorig C7, which the backplate is a b**** and a half to mount, but yielded a massive improvement in temps and noise. I also got a Seasonic Focus Plus Gold 650W to provide better power efficiency and possibly reduce noise. 


Tiring of the "small" size of the 100R, I began a search for small form factor/HTPC cases with mATX support. At first I couldn't find any cases, at least not ones that had enough PCI brackets or looked good. Eventually I stumbled upon the Fractal Design Node 605, after getting a Define R6 I really wanted to get the 605. Unfortunately, the 605 is discontinued, so I started looking on eBay and other sites to try and find a used or refurbished one. I found a single listing for the case on a site called Aztek Computers, and I placed an order. A few weeks later my order was cancelled for being out of stock, seems they couldn't find one either. In the wake of defeat on the Node 605 I discovered Silverstone's Grandia series; small cases with ridiculous motherboard support (there's a model with eATX support, and it's smaller than my barely ATX Corsair case!). I decided on the GD09 model, which has ATX support (won't be needing that, least not yet) and a DVD drive. It has filtered intakes and plenty of storage space for my needs, along with plenty of PCI brackets.


The case just came in today, and the fans come in from Amazon tomorrow. It's time to clean up my makeshift "home theater" (honestly isn't really that, just a couch setup in the same room as my main rig) and get ready to swap cases and setup the system again. I'll take some pictures of the makeshift build and try to remember to take pictures as I progress through the assembly in the new case. I'll also take some after shots with the setup complete, and give some numbers and opinions on the finished product.


Here's the PCPartpicker list: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/8W4cLJ


The sound card won't be installed until I have speakers (recommendations pls).

The Windows key was somehow duped off the one I have in my main rig, idk how but when I installed Windows and signed in with MS account it activated itself.

Monitor is also not accurate, lol. The one listed is my second monitor on main rig, I listed to give better price estimation; I cannot find the HP 2310m listed on PCpartpicker.


Build process and results:


I have my HTPC all setup and rebuilt into the new case. 


The GD09 is quite small, despite it's ability to fit ATX boards. Getting all the cabling right took a lot of tweaking. Fortunately I had some extra 2.5" to 3.5" drive brackets for the SSD because it wouldn't fit in the GD09's normal SSD spot, and the 2.5" mount where you could also mount a 3.5" would leave the SSD inverted and causing chaos for wiring it. Thanks to the Cryorig C7, the DVD drive clears the CPU very nicely. I picked up some more fans to fill in the extra slots and I picked up a Silverstone fan controller to hook them all up. However, the Silverstone controller I got was not the greatest. You have to connect it to the motherboard's CPU fan header, no other PWM header will allow it to work. The controller also wasn't doing a very good job (which turned out to be fan curves needing to be set, but this was after I had already removed it. R.I.P. me), so I scavenged some PWM fan splitters I had lying around and connected my 2 Arctic F12's and my 2 Arctic F8's to the splitters; the stock case fan is unused right now, so I'll probably get another splitter and have a jank fan solution.


The motherboard's BIOS fan curve options don't function very well, they only allow you to set a hard minimum of 60% on the fans, and the max can only be higher than 60%; to make matters worse, with the case fans all at 60% (as of initial setup: 2x 120mm, 2x 80mm) the PC is loud enough to drown out the steady drone of the GPU's blower fan (I was sorely disappointed). So I turned to Speedfan to fix this; I couldn't figure out how to use it at first, but once I figured it out I got a nice curve going. I left the CPU fan to be controlled by the motherboard, and set the case fans to being auto-adjusted between 35% and 60%. 35% on the chassis fans drops the noise on the PC to almost nothing, the only audible noise is the GPU blower now. And with a sound playing, and a game running (so 60% fan speed), you can barely hear the PC (and that's if the audio is fairly low). 


Despite the tight fit of the components, and spilled spaghetti wiring (its hard to manage well in small cases, lol), the PC matches temps that were seen in the mid-tower case. But to be fair, I only had 1 120m intake and exhaust in the tower, whereas there are twice the fans in the GD09. 


Overall I like the case quite a lot, it has a minimalistic clean look and has intakes solely on the sides which is great for being installed in cabinets or in TV stands. The expandability is quite nice, though GPU real estate is quite tight. I was planning on swapping the 960 out for my main rig's 1070 (after that gets upgraded), but the 1070 might be too long (it would be a very tight fit at best).

The setup:


For my (admittedly low budget and grade) "home theater" I have a couch across from a bookshelf. The bookshelf serves to store some books, my physical game cases, and act as the 'tv' stand. I plan on creating some sort of keyboard/mouse stand (which could also function as drink and snack storage for movies) to make things a little more ergonomic, but it works great as it is for controller games. To accomodate my PS4 and Switch dock alongside the PC I have a HDMI splitter that allows me to easily change input with just a button press (does make cable management for the monitor a bit messy, I could probably fix this with an HDMI extension cable or a wireless input switching HDMI splitter). 


The PC is next to the bookshelf, so not all keyboards/mice/other peripheral devices are going to reach over to the couch; and they'd need to be plugged into the front I/O. To solve this, I got a USB extension cable and a USB hub. The extension cable does have to be routed across the floor, but a single cable is better than 2 or 3. The USB hub not only provides ports for kb/m, but also for any other USB devices (like wired controllers) to be hot swapped easily. Cable management could use some work, which I'd fix by cutting a hole in the cork board wall that is the back of the bookshelf; but that's an upgrade for the future. 


For the display, I have my old HP 2310m 23" 1080p 60Hz monitor that was retired from my main rig when I got a 1440p display. It's not amazing for a "tv", but gets the job done with Windows display scaling set higher than default; it is fine by default for the PS4 and Switch. For some reason the PS4 doesn't output to the monitor if it has HDCP enabled, isn't the HDMI since I tried it on my main rig's 1080p second screen without issues; the Switch and PC are fine. 


The biggest disappointment to the setup is sound. I'm running off the monitor's built in speakers, which are obviously not great for a 10+ year old monitor. I want to get some PC speakers, or something, which would help. I have a soundcard to use for the PC, but I'm not sure what I'd be able to do about the PS4 and Switch (not really a big deal though) without some kind of HDMI based receiver. With the sound card I could handle up to 5.1 surround, which would be nice but also would probably be too much for a basic setup like this.




The new components to add to the system-




The system is out of the old case and ready for her new home-




Motherboard, PSU, and 3.5" HDD installed-




Expansion cards and DVD/SSD tray installed, build completed-




Here's the setup! (excuse my box collection, lol)-


The mousepad box I use as a laptop pad for when I don't have my laptop on a table. The HP DC7900 under the HTPC is my retro PC gaming box.


Primary PC: - https://pcpartpicker.com/list/8G3tXv (Windows 10 Home)

HTPC: - https://pcpartpicker.com/list/KdBb4n (Windows 10 Home)
Server: Dell Precision T7500 - Dual Xeon X5660's, 44GB ECC DDR3, Dell Nvidia GTX 645 (Windows Server 2019 Standard)      

*SLI Rig* - i7-920, MSI-X58 Platinum SLI, 12GB DDR3, Dual EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 in SLI - https://pcpartpicker.com/list/GHw6vW (Windows 7 Pro)

HP DC7900 - Core 2 Duo E8400, 4GB DDR2, Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT (Windows Vista)

Compaq Presario 5000 - Pentium 4 1.7Ghz, 1.7GB SDR, PowerColor Radeon 9600 Pro (Windows XP x86 Pro)
Compaq Presario 8772 - Pentium MMX 200Mhz, 48MB PC66, 6GB Quantum HDD, "8GB" HP SATA SSD adapted to IDE (Windows 98 SE)

Asus M32AD - Intel i3-4170, 8GB DDR3, 250GB Seagate 2.5" HDD (converting to SSD soon), EVGA GeForce GTS 250, OEM 350W PSU (Windows 10 Core)

*Haswell Tower* https://pcpartpicker.com/list/3vw6vW (Windows 10 Home)

*ITX Box* - https://pcpartpicker.com/list/r36s6R (Windows 10 Education)

Dell Dimension XPS B800 - Pentium 3 800Mhz, RDRAM

In progress projects:

*Skylake Tower* - Pentium G4400, Asus H110

*Trash Can* - AMD A4-6300

*GPU Test Bench*

*Pfsense router* - Pentium G3220, Asrock H97m Pro A4, 4GB DDR3

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now