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Silent HTPC build - alternative suggestions welcome

Taking a look at building an HTPC to replace the Intel Compute Stick I use as one in the USA.


The TLDR - I'm happy with the parts list I've chosen but am open to any viable AMD suggestions (though those must be AM5 for reasons explained below). Also need any recommendations for TIM - as I'll need far more than is used in a typical build.


Budget is flexible. The case is the key component as I want a statement PC and the other component choices reflect the limitations forced by case. Budget is not open-ended but I'm assuming this will be significantly north of $1K. Ideally I want to keep this build below $1500. Since it's going into a TV, I already have that as a display. Mouse/keyboard duties will be covered with a Logitech K400 keyboard with trackpad and if I need it an MX Anywhere 2 mouse (I already have both). I intend on using the iGPU as I may drop a TV tuner card in the only PCI-E slot (ITX being the only option). That and adding a GPU to this build is... complicated (fan removal, extra heatsink purchase), and I'd be limited to a GTX 1650 at most.


This is a build that is being built to last 10+ years without being touched but is being built with the option to repurpose it as an office based PC should the need arise. With my original HTPC lasting 12 years from 2010-2022, this should be viable for this build and it's intended use (streaming video, but with full computer functionality for playing local files).



  • Case: Streacom DB4 in Titanium - $359
  • Cooler: 65W heatpipe is included in the case but I'll need the Streacom ST-LH6 heatpipe kit to raise the max TDP to 105W - $44.50
  • PSU: Streacom ZF240W - $175
    • Shipping for the above - $33.59
  • CPU: 13600T - $343.08 (includes $47.93 shipping as this will be imported from a UK based retailer. Should be exempt from US import taxes as those apply to shipment vales above $800). It's that or an i3 like the 13100 but the GPU isn't as good (unlikely to matter but better GPU decode would always be a benefit).
    • GPU - onboard iGPU - $0
  • TIM:  Arctic MX-4 20g - $12.47 (Amazon)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z690M-ITX/ax - $150 (from Newegg)
  • SSD: SK Hynix P41 1TB - $149 (Amazon, though was at $102 for Black Friday). WD SN770 is a viable alternative at $90
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB @ 3,600 - $93 (Amazon)
    • OS: Win 11 - $0 (have a spare licence to use)


Total: $1359.64 before tax (assuming I buy a 13600T).


The case is the curveball - I love the look of it and want to get one for this build but it limits the CPU options significantly. Considering a max TDP of 105W, either I can use any Intel Core i3, or anything above that so long as it's a low power -T model. The 13100 has a turbo TDP of 82W, the 13600T 92W. The 13700T & 13900T both have turbo TDP of 106W, which is technically 1 Watt over the max limit though both will be massively overkill. That said the 13600T is probably overkill as well but I'd like to go beyond quad core if possible and I can't find the 13400T from a reputable retailer (the UK retailer I've found only stocks the 13100T, 13600T, 13700T & 13900T, or one each of the i3, i5, i7, i9 CPUs).


As for AMD - I'm open to suggestions. However, I want to keep PCI-E 4.0 support for the SSD which rules out AM4 - all existing APUs are AM4 and only support PCI-E gen 3 at best. AM5 is an option now that the non-X cpus have launched but I need a board with zero VRM heatsinks above the socket  as the LH6 heatpipes will interfere with them.


It's the reason I'm leaning Intel. the ASRock board isn't one I'm familiar with but it lacks VRM heatsinks above the socket - that's required so that the extra CPU heatpipes have clearance over the VRMs. As for the Z690 board - the B660 version is $120 but has just one m.2 socket without a heatsink, 1GB LAN and fewer (and slower) USB sockets and lacks BIOS flashback. The Z690 which has 2.5GB LAN, WiFi 6E instead of WiFi 5 and has 2x m.2 slots with heatsinks covering both and BIOS flashback support, which I'll almost certainly need. IMHO that's worth the extra $30. There is a H670 model but that's currently $20 more than the Z690 board.


Regarding the CPU, I'm in no rush and since it's only just launched I may wait and see if the price drops. Another option is to get my parents PC an upgrade to a 13400 and repurpose the 12100 in their PC as that would also work for this build.


TIM - the last time I bought any was around 10 years ago when Arctic Silver 5 was the go-to option. I'm open to suggestions but I will need far more than the average build as not only do I need it for the CPU IHS, but I need it on at least 3 other points in the build covering 6 different heatpipes - so several lines of at least 2 inches long.


Any suggestions welcome.


US Gaming Rig #1 (April 2021): Win 11Pro/10 Pro, Thermaltake Core V21, Intel Core i7 10700K with XMP2/MCE enabled, 4x8GB G.Skill Trident Z RGB DDR4 @3,600MHz, Asus Z490-G (Wi-Fi), SK Hynix P31 (1x 500GB & 1x 1TB) SSDs, 1x WD 4TB SATA SSD for games, 1x8TB HDD storage, Asus Dual RTX 3060 V2 OC, Seasonic Focus PX-750, LG 27GN800-B monitor. Logitech Z533 speakers, Xbox Stereo & Wireless headsets, Logitech G213 keyboard, G703 mouse with Powerplay


UK HTPC #2 (April 2022) Win 11 Pro, Silverstone ML08, (with SST-FPS01 front panel adapter), Intel Core i5 10400, 2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 @3,600MHz, Asus B560-I, SK Hynix P31 (500GB) nvme boot SSD, 1x 5TB Seagate 2.5" HDD, Drobo S with 5x4TB HDDs, Hauppauge WinTV-quadHD TV Tuner, Silverstone SST-SX500-LG v2.1 SFX PSU, LG 42LW550T TV. Philips HTL5120 soundbar, Logitech K400.


US HTPC (planning 2023): Win 11 Pro, Streacom DB4, CPU tbc (AM5 APU or 13th gen i5), RAM TBC (32GB), motherboard TBC, SK Hynix P41 Platinum 1TB, Streacom ZF240 PSU, LG TV, Logitech K400.


US NAS (planning): tbc


UK Gaming Rig #2 (May 2013, offline): Win 10 Pro/Win 8.1 Pro with MCE, Antec 1200 v3, Intel Core i5 4670K @4.2GHz, 4x4GB Corsair DDR3 @1,600MHz, Asus Z87-DELUXE/Dual, Samsung 840 Evo 1TB boot SSD, 1TB & 500GB sata m.2 SSDs (and 6 HDDs for 28TB total in a Storage Space), no dGPU, Seasonic SS-660XP2, Dell U2410 monitor. Dell AY511 soundbar, Sennheiser HD205, Saitek Eclipse II keyboard, Roccat Kone XTD mouse.


UK Gaming Rig #1 (Feb 2008, last rebuilt 2013, offline): Win 7 Ultimate (64bit)/Win Vista Ultimate (32bit)/Win XP Pro (32bit), Coolermaster Elite 335U, Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 @3.6GHz, 4x2GB Corsair DDR3 @1,600MHz, Asus P5E3 Deluxe/WiFi-Ap@n, 2x 1TB & 2x 500GB 2.5" HDDs (1 for each OS & 1 for Win7 data), NVidia GTX 750, CoolerMaster Real Power M620 PSU, shared I/O with gaming rig #2 via KVM.


UK HTPC #1 (June 2010, rebuilt 2012/13, offline) Win 7 Home Premium, Antec Fusion Black, Intel Core i3 3220T, 4x2GB OCZ DDR3 @1,600MHz, Gigabyte H77M-D3H, OCZ Agility3 120GB boot SSD, 1x1TB 2.5" HDD, Blackgold 3620 TV Tuner, Seasonic SS-400FL2 Fanless PSU, Logitech MX Air, Origen RC197.


Laptop: 2015 HP Spectre x360, i7 6500U, 8GB Ram, 512GB m.2 Sata SSD.

Tablet: Surface Go 128GB/8GB.

Mini PC: Intel Compute Stick (m3)

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A local (relative, that is) retailer offers the Ryzen5 7600 (non-X) for 260€ (sorry, I live in euro-land, I'm sure you can find a local outlet for an equal or better price), which has a 65W TDP. As has the R7 7700 (also non-X), which is an 8c/16t chip over the aforementioned 6c/12t 7600 CPU. But at 360€ it's also a lot more and the extra cost may well outweigh any benefits for your build.


For m-ITX mainboards, options for AM5 are limited. Cheapest I found, be it not available ATM from said supplier, is the MSI MPG B650I Edge WiFi. However, given that the proposed CPU is a 65W chip, you won't need the extra heatpipes, making your requirement of space over the VRM's obsolete. And your build cheaper 😛



"You don't need eyes to see, you need vision"


(Faithless, 'Reverence' from the 1996 Reverence album)

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Don't confuse TDP and Max Turbo Power, they are not really the same thing. To reach Max Turbo Power a CPU would have to be under heavy load. Further many BIOS allow power limits to be configured.


For most loads the CPU should be more in the Processor Base Power range of 35W for T models.

80+ ratings certify electrical efficiency. Not quality.


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