Saturday, March 19, 2011

My new fanless build

Its been almost 2 years since my last htpc build, and I've got upgradeditis (a.k.a strong itch to upgrade a perfectly good htpc). My wife and 4 year old are very much used to the media center and I've not paid a cable/ satellite bill in almost 2 years (very happy, saved thousands!!!).

My new fanless htpc...
This time around I wanted the following features,
  • Silent system (absolutely no fans!!!)
  • Support for Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD Master Audio (HD audio formats found on blu-rays)
  • SSD Hard Drive for the OS
  • Bigger 2TB Hard Drive (Allows for more HD recordings on the DVR)
  • Lower power consumption

System Configuration

  • Intel Core i3 550
  • Gigabyte H57 micro ATX motherboard
  • 4GB g-skill DDR3 memory
  • 64GB Zalman SSD HDD
  • HDPLEX H10.ODD fanless case
  • 2TB Seagate Barracuda HDD (pulled from my home server)
  • LG Blu-ray/ HD-DVD drive (reused from the old htpc)
  • HD HomeRun Network dual TV Tuner (connected to my antenna)

I reused the old hdhomerun, blu-ray drive and pulled a 2TB drive from my home server for this build.

The Fanless HTPC Case

Finding a  good quality fanless htpc case, that works, and looks good is tough. I found a case vendor that specializes in fanless htpc cases,

For some reason they never seem to have any in stock, but after repeated requests, Larry at HDPLEX, finally sent me one, and has been very helpful so far.

I like this case's extremely simple and beautiful design. Its slim, the power switch is on top and there are no distracting lights on the front panel.

H10.ODD fanless case from
The case was very well packaged and I bought a 150W PicoPSU power supply and an internal IR receiver along with it.

The installation instructions were very clear and precise, and printed on color glossy paper. It took me about 3 hours to finish the hardware install and get it up & running with windows 7.

No fans!!
 The motherboard and heat pipes were extremely easy to install. A PicoPSU power supply is required since a standard ATX(or other format) power supply won't fit in this case.The power adapter sits inside the case since there is no pci-e video card in this system.
Top view

I had trouble installing the hard drives, since the screws come in from below the case(& I placed the drive the wrong way), but after messing with it, I finally figured it out.
My logitech harmony remote next to it

Sitting pretty on top of my Onkyo 875

Ports galore - hdmi, usb3, esata etc
  • More stuff later....

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