My htpc hardware


My htpc is located on a shelf on top of the tv. There's a curtain to hide it, so I could choose a standard grey midi tower without having my wife complaining about design issues. The old system (800MHz Celeron) was running really old software (SuSE 8.2, freevo-1.4), it didn't play divx-files with gmc properly and the wlan-card won't work at all (hardware issue). So I decided to build a new htpc from scratch. Of course one goal was to build a quiet system, but on the other hand I wouldn't want to spend more than an extra EUR 300.- (it was about EUR 240.- for new parts at last) on the project.


I used a lot of parts from my old htpc, bought a new mainboard with cpu,cooler and ram, hdd+cooler and a wlan card.

Main goal was to have enough cpu performance and disk space to record tv, watch a movie while recording and keep the system quiet enough to have it running 24 hours if necessary. The living room has about 34m² size, the pc is located in the middle of the room, therefore it has to be quiet on front and rear side. I put damping material on all 6 sides of the pc, especially on the front side. The power-supply is connected via plastic rings (taken from a motorcycles bodywork) to the case. So there is no direct metal-to-metal touch. The hdd is located at the bottom of the case, cooled with a passive Zalman cooler. The cpu-cooler was only EUR 11.- and it is really quiet. The only noise you hear from one meter distance is the power-supply fan, which is an extra silent one (don't know the manufacturer) and it's temperature-controlled. I will try a Papst-fan or something else, will do some googling before...

It is not easy to describe how much noise a device outputs. I'll have a try: when freevo has just started you have to focus on the device to hear it. This changes after about 20 minutes. Now, if you're alone, 20°C room temperature, no music etc. running in the background, you hear a light whisper when it's in idle status. You don't realize the pc is running and in idle status when watching tv at low volume. It produces a whisper you can hear on top of low tv volume when recording tv at 30% cpu utilization.

Cooling works well, fresh air gets into the case at the bottom of the backside (two free pci slots opened). It's warming up at the graphic card and the hdd, rises up and gets blown out from the power-supply fan. The cpu cooler is located behind the power-supply, don't know how the airflow works here. Neither the graphic card nor the chipset has a cooling fan.

After running 24h with 6h recording, 20°C room temperature:
hdd: 31°C
cpu: 45°C
mainboard: 35°C

While recording for 1 hour, 20°C room temperature:
hdd: 32-33°C
cpu: 49°C
mainboard: 36°C

That's how it looks like:

Here's a list of all items:

CaseStandard Midi-Tower~ 30.-
PowersupplyCodegen 300W temp-contrl. fan~ 30.-
Powersupply fan    Extra silent 80mm~ 20.-
MainboardASRock K7VT4A+30.-
CPUAMD Sempron 2200+45.-
CPU coolerArctic Copper Silent11.-
RAM256MB DDR PC3200/400MHz33.-
Grapics cardAsus V9520 Magic T~ 45.-
TV cardHauppauge WinTV go ~ 40.-
Sound cardSB Live 5.1 digital~ 35.-
Wlan cardMSI PCI WL-683429.-
DVD driveSilent Atapi 48x/16x~ 30.-
Harddisk driveSamsung SpinPoint 160GB/5400rpm71.-
HDD coolerZalman ZM-2HC222.-
Damping materialvarious~ 20.-
Total (if you want to build a similar htpc from scratch)      491.-