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Build Advice Opinions on server/HTPC

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by buje, 28 Sep 2011.

  1. buje

    buje New Member

    20 May 2010
    Likes Received:

    I recently upgraded my computer. After that I had an old Dell XPS 420 lying about and so I decided I would use that as a HTPC and build a server from old components lying about until I could afford to upgrade and buy components for a specific build.

    After playing around with old parts lying about, I didn't have enough to have 3 computers running with stability. I opted to have the XPS as the server and the HTPC and it currently running WHS 2011 which is all working fine. It hosts all my files, it plays 1080p movies fine thanks to the geforce 8800GT.

    The problem is that the server is in the lounge next behind the TV and it is really noisey thanks to the cheap Dell case. It obviously also doesn't have much room for any more HDDs or any upgrades.

    To fix this problem I would buy a new case with emphasis on noise reduction but the motherboard from dell is a BTX motherboard. The processor is a Q6600 @ 2.40GHz and along with the other dell branded components still does what I need it to do.

    So, I just want some ideas from people as to what to do. Say I have £500 to spend, what would you do?

    Would you buy a decent old ATX motherboard that can be used with the components in a decent case and make the system quiet?

    I quite like having a server that I use as my HTPC as well (although it isn't the most secure way of doing things). Ideally I would like to be able to have a raid array of drives for storage and backups within a very quiet system used as a HTPC.

    Anyway, what would you recommend I should do? If you think I am doing something completely wrong then fire away, I am just looking for ideas really.

    The current setup is using a 375w dell PSU so I would imagine the whole system could be made a lot greener.

    Please let me know any of your thoughts.
  2. Bungletron

    Bungletron Well-Known Member

    25 May 2010
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    OK, you are happy with how it runs but it is too noisy, that means the core components can stay the same. I would upgrade the motherboard (BTX to ATX as you said) and case to cut the noise, also may require a RAM upgrade if you have DDR2 ram and only DDR3 is supported. I am assuming that the case should be a media style, mATX case.

    I am currently using a full height LianLI PC-C50B media case. It looks nice but it really is very noisy, the issue here is that Lian-Li can engineer the solution to any problem as long as the solution is aluminium. I had a budget Antec desktop/media case before, it was steel and very quiet, I had to change cases so the HTPC fit into a new bit of furniture, but I would certainly recommend Antec, if the antec case comes with tri-cool fans these are silent on the low setting. I have nevered used a low profile case, I think they make component selection too restrictive and I think housing a Q6600 would not be a good idea. If you want a mini tower then the Fractal Design ones and the premium Silverstone Fortress FT03 look good to me.

    If you are getting a taller case then any of the standard replacement coolers will be usable, the Gelid Tranquillo is noted as being quiet and economically. If you are getting a shorter case then you must check the height restriction on coolers carefully, I have a Scythe Andy Samurai, it is old but does the job, Scythe still make low profile coolers but the stock fans are noisy. In my experiance, although cheap looking, Dell psus are quite quiet, it seems to me that every premium brand psu I buy is whisper quiet. I have not had a lot of luck finding quiet case fans, I am currently using Zalman FDB and Zalman ZDB shark fins which are just ok.

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