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New HTPC/Server Build - Comments & Advice Appreciated


Kaen
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Hello Everyone,

 

I'm really glad I found this site. Extremely helpful information. I'm building an HTPC/Server for our home. It will be used to store photos, movies(home and ripped), recorded TV, music, documents, etc., etc., etc. It will be used as an HTPC in our living room as well as serve a laptop(MC Extender), Xbox 360(MC Extender), tablet(w/Playon), 2 smartphones(w/PlayOn) and possibly a second laptop(MC Extender) down the road. Laptops will be expected to run very thin with most info being kept on this HTPC/Server.

 

The following is my proposed build. I would appreciate any help that can be provided in narrowing down my shopping list. Feel free to approve, disapprove, replace, delete, add, etc. No need to beat around any bushes with me either. I want to get this right and not go overboard OR regret my decisions 6 months down the line.

 

Case: Silverstone GD06

MB: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500

Mem: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB DDR3 2133

OS Drive: Patriot Pyro SE 120GB SATA III OR OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SATA III [[[DECISION HELP NEEDED]]]

Bluray Drive: LG 12X Super Blue with 3D Playback & M-DISC Support SATA

Raid Controller: HighPoint RocketRAID 640

Raid Drives: 3-4x WD Caviar Green 3TB 6.0Gb/s 5400RPM OR 3-4x Seagate Barracuda 3TB 6.0Gb/s 7200RPM [[[DECISION HELP NEEDED]]]

Power Supply: Seasonic SS-460FL Fanless 460W OR Seasonic SS-560KM 560W OR Corsair Enthusiast TX650M 650W [[[DECISION HELP NEEDED]]]

External HDD: 2TB USB 3.0 (Already Own)

OS: Windows 7 x64 (I really wish WHS had MC integrated. Maybe next version)

 

So without putting together a fancy diagram, my plan is to put the spin drives into a RAID 5 config. I will ghost my OS to the RAID Array. I will backup my critical items(photos, critical docs, etc.) to the external drive. I will also be backing up my entire RAID to CrashPlan 3 with the exception of movies.

 

I would appreciate any input ya'all can provide on this build. I obviously am not sure about a few things such as:

  • First time using an SSD
  • 5400RPM vs 7200RPM drives for this purpose
  • Fanless vs Fanned for this purpose as well as Seasonic vs Corsair.

Thanks for taking a look!

 

Case: Silverstone GD06

 

My only experience is with the GD05B but Silverstone has good quality cases and I like the USB 3.0 yours has on the front. The GD05B is tight and I expect your GD06 will be even tighter with the extra HD’s so it will be a challenge compared to a larger roomier case.

 

MB: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3

 

With the case you have I would choose a MB with a USB 3.0 header on the board to be able to plug in the USB 3.0 connector on the front of the GD06

 

I’ve had good luck with the Z68MX MB’s Here and Here and I liked the extra SATA III’s for “future proofing” myself.

 

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500

 

An i3 would be plenty enough power for what I think you’re planning to do but even then I’d suggest the HD3000 graphics of the i3-2105 or the i3-2025 as the way to go (this is an HTPC after-all and who knows what may come out that could use that graphics next year) – but then I’ve seen some REALLY nice prices on the i3-2100’s that are very enticing. If you think you need (or want) the horsepower of an i5 I would definitely get the HD3000 graphics of the i5-2500K.

 

Mem: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB DDR3 2133

 

With a Z68 MB, SSD OS, and an i5-2500K go with the fast memory here that I used in my i5 build though the somewhat slower memory I used in my previous build works fantastic too. I would definitely go with 16GB of RAM – It’s just too cheap not to max it out.

 

 

Power Supply: Seasonic SS-460FL Fanless 460W OR Seasonic SS-560KM 560W OR Corsair Enthusiast TX650M 650W [[[DECISION HELP NEEDED]]]

 

You can check how much power you need for the devices in your box here – plan for the worst case power load taking into consideration of any possible future additions. It’s important to be conservative because if you ever load it above the PSU capability you’re dead in the water.

 

I really like my Seasonic SS-400FL’s and by definition I don’t get any fan noise from the PSU :) and when I first loaded the builds up and ran them flat out with Prime95 for instance I could not feel any heat radiating from my Seasonic – Very Nice IMHO – I’ve done a quick back of the envelope estimate that your worst case loading using some wildly conservative assumptions I think is just under 400W (run your own numbers though – this is your system after all) so I think you would be happy with a SS-460FL (w/5 SATA pwr leads – which is what I count you will need: SSD, 3HDs, & 1 BluRay) or even the SS560KM (w/8 SATA pwr leads – an extra 100W and 3 extra SATA leads). You’re only going to be able to cram so much into that GD06.

 

The green HD’s will run a lot cooler which would be a big advantage in a tight case.

 

I'd suggest checking out other people's builds and take your time deciding what's right for you. Then search for the deals -- if your not in a huge hurry you shouldn't have to pay list price on anything IMHO which is half the fun.

 

Check out the BYOB and the HSS guys for sure.

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No other comments or advice? I updated some items in the build. I switched Motherboards because there are some features on the GD06 case I want to take advantage of. The board is considerably more expensive, but the USB 3.0 and eSATA is worth it to me.

 

Thanks to jmwills for the Cooler Master recommendation. I read conflicting reviews about the size of PSU that the GD06 would accept while still being able to use the hdd rack. The Cooler Master is only 150mm deep so I won't have to worry about it at all now. Another benefit to this PSU.

 

As for SDD, I cannot find a 160GB SATA III drive. All I could find are SATA II's.

 

Case: Silverstone GD06

MB: ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500

Mem: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

OS Drive: OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SATA III

Bluray Drive: LG 12X Super Blue with 3D Playback & M-DISC Support SATA

Raid Controller: HighPoint RocketRAID 640

Raid Drives: 3-4x (RAID 5) WD Caviar Green 3TB 6.0Gb/s 5400RPM OR 3-4x (RAID 5) Seagate Barracuda 3TB 6.0Gb/s 7200RPM [[[DECISION HELP NEEDED]]]

Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro M700

External HDD: 2TB USB 3.0 (Already Own)

OS: Windows 7 x64 (I really wish WHS had MC integrated. Maybe next version)

 

Good choice on SSD. I would go for the Seagates for the array to get the extra speed of 7200 RPM.

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jmwills, I am clear that WHS needs 160GB, but as I stated in my other posts, I'm not installing WHS. I want to, but I need MC on this box therefore I'm going with Windows 7 x64.

 

What will happen down the road, probably another year, is I will be able to afford two separate boxes and will at that point buy more equipment and between this unit and my next unit, build the WHS. At that point, I will buy another case, MB, Mem, CPU, more HDD's and bigger SSD(for WHS) and will move the RAID out of this box and into the new case. This case will then only have the 120GB SSD in it to use as an HTPC that is being served by the future WHS. Make sense?

 

Also, as excited as I am about this build, photos are a given. :D

 

Okay, we're cool. Will be a killer Win 7 box.

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Check out VinylFreak's build last summer in a Silverstone case http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/2651-new-whs-2011-build/ for some possible ideas about building in a tight case.

 

I'm not sure why you picked the Raid card that you did but the 2720 has been very popular (you'll find it in many builds on this board). I have no experience with it myself but it is on my list for the future :)

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Thanks, Joe. I've actually been looking at the 2720SGL today. It'll give me more expandability when I go to build my WHS as well. I really appreciate the input and comments from everyone.

 

Keep em coming!

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I concur with Joe_Miner's recommendations. Personallly, I would go with the Seasonic 560 PSU and the i5 2600K; all the rest just as Joe_Miner suggested.

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Thanks for all of the feedback. Please keep it coming.

 

I think I'm going to have to wait on the PSU until I get the case and do some measuring. There's just too much conflicting information out there about what size PSU will fit with the drive cage installed. One site says 130mm, another says 150mm and yet another says you can get away with 160mm. Silverstone says 150mm btw. If I can actually fit a 160mm and keep the drive cage, I'm going with the Seasonic 560W. If I have to go with the 150mm, I'm going with the Cooler Master M700. If I have to go to a 130mm, I'm not sure what I'm going to use.

 

Anyone have a suggestion of a 130mm deep PSU before I buy this box? I want to make sure I at least have an option.

 

As for processor, I think I'm going to stick with the i5, but I will be taking the recommendation of going with the 2500K, at least, to take advantage of the 3000 graphics. This processor may be overkill for now, but will be nice when I break this out unit out and build my WHS in the future. Great point Joe!

 

As for memory, it is very tempting to go for the 16GB, but I think I'm going to stick with the 8GB for now. The way I look at it, once I can split this baby out and build my WHS, I'll be gutting this anyway(minus the SSD) and using the equipment for my WHS with some addition of more spin drives. And 8Gb should be plenty for my WHS, correct? At that point, I'll purchase a mini-ITX board, an i3 with 3000 graphics and 16GB of memory for the HTPC if I felt I was missing out on some performance. I can always purchase the 16GB sooner as well and install in this board if I feel I'm missing performance and then let the 8GB sit in the drawer until I can start the WHS, as well. Please disagree with me if this does not sound logical.

 

I am going to go with your recommendation on the board as well, Joe. I'm not sure why, but when I filter by specific things I want in a MB on newegg, that board doesn't show up. Otherwise, I would have taken a closer look at it. Thanks for linking it!

 

I really, really want the speed from the Seagates, but I'm worried about the heat. I'm going to see if I can't find more data on the Seagates heat and noise production before I make this decision yet. I'll post an updated list here soon.

 

Any help on that 130mm deep PSU would be appreciated.

Edited by Kaen
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As for processor, I think I'm going to stick with the i5, but I will be taking the recommendation of going with the 2500K, at least, to take advantage of the 3000 graphics. This processor may be overkill for now, but will be nice when I break this out unit out and build my WHS in the future. Great point Joe!

 

As for memory, it is very tempting to go for the 16GB, but I think I'm going to stick with the 8GB for now. The way I look at it, once I can split this baby out and build my WHS, I'll be gutting this anyway(minus the SSD) and using the equipment for my WHS with some addition of more spin drives. And 8Gb should be plenty for my WHS, correct?

 

I don't believe in overkill. I mean, one of my servers is an i7 after all.

 

I am pretty sure WHS 2011 is limited to 8 GB anyway. So no need for more.

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Well, I'm sure to jmwills disappointment, I have decided to change my case choice. I will be going with the Lian-Li PC-C50 instead. I love Lian-Li cases and I'm not sure how I missed this one in my search. I got to thinking about it and I really doubt I'm going to need that 4th 3TB drive in my array before I'm able to build a WHS. That is the only thing I give up with the Lian-Li, a 3.5" drive slot. In exchange, I gain a 100% aluminum product that is has much better construction and the ability to use a 160mm PSU if I so choose like the 460W Seasonic. Lian-Li says this case only supports 150mm as well, but I have seen quite a few builds where people have been using 160mm with no issues. Looking at some video reviews I became more and more unsure about the GD06's construction, especially the plastic bezel around the face.

 

It doesn't hurt that the Lian-Li case is an instant rebate at newegg right now for $130 either. Same price as the GD06 now and much better construction.

 

I still plan on posting pictures, so I hope they're still interesting to everyone.

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I've never seen that case either. It looks a little taller than my Silverstone cases but agreed that is a great price,

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