Log In | Register |
72
Micro HTPC PS4 Killer
by tqrecords
Permalink:   (26 comments)
Description

Background


I built this machine with the intention of using it as a media hub for movies, music and some casual gaming. I also wanted the freedom to do just about anything with it. I looked at the PS4 and XBOX One, but I am all about having the scalability and flexibility of PC over console so the main question was how can I build something better. Right now the new generation of consoles has done a good job of keeping up to about 3 or 4 steps behind PC, however the performance of PC will always be ahead. And that gap will continue to get larger once again as new computer tech finds its way to the consumer.

Components


The first thing I decided on was the form factor. I wanted something small and discrete but also have the ability to run an SLI or CrossFire setup. So I started looking at MicroATX boards and cases that had enough real estate for dual video cards if I decided to go that route. I probably spent the most time looking at countless reviews on cases and finally decided on the Silverstone SG09. This case was chosen because it had everything I wanted in a case. It's silent and made of high quality materials, not to mention the smallest I could get away with.

For the motherboard I basically wanted something that could support all the latest tech and dual video cards like I mentioned above. I decided on the G1 Sniper which places emphasis on audio output which was a big sell for me. As for the processor, I was mainly looking for the cheapest i5 because for what I was going to use it for the i7 would be overkill. Intel is what I have always used and I had no intention of doing overclocking (which you can't do with this CPU) because I really am not that hardcore when it comes to gaming.

As for the main and most important components, the video cards; I wanted something that could blow console out of the water. I haven't been up to date with PC gaming since Half Life 2, so I started looking at the most recent games and the hardware that was required to run them smoothly. I also wanted the capability to play 4k and 3D. I did prefer the idea of having one video card, but I got a sweet deal on two GTX 680s online so I snatched them up quick. Finding a PSU after that was pretty straight forward, I just needed something efficient with enough juice. Of course I needed an SSD for the OS for which I also got a good deal. 128 GB is all I have for storage on this thing. All the content would be streamed from my main PC which is upstairs.

Construction


The green and black worked out to be a pretty cool theme even though I didn't intend to have colour coordination. The biggest problem I had was the placement of the PSU wires. A lot of people complained about the wires being stiff and hard to work with, which they were. After a while I managed to flatten them out enough for the shell to slide on. The case has an outdent on the side specifically for the PSU cables, but in my application it needed to be be even more outdented. This however would probably affect the overall aesthetics of the case. The other problem I faced was that I forgot to put the back plate of the motherboard on and I realized this after finishing all the cable management. I had to apply a little force to get the plate in without having to remove the motherboard.

Working with the case I started to understand the amount of thought that went into the engineering of it. Silverstone really thought of every way to make the most of limited space and they even provided a manual outlining different build processes so you can't go wrong. The dust filters are awesome and it comes with little adhesive dampers for the optional fan and optical drive to reduce vibration and noise. What PC builders want is flexibility in options and that is exactly what they have provided.

Performance


The outcome of this project was exactly what I wanted to accomplish. I have it outputting to a BenQ 1070 projector in my living room which is the best 3D projector you can get for the price ($900). Projector quality and review aside the HTPC handles everything I throw at it. I use XBMC for the front end which I can't express how great it is. At first I had the content streaming wireless which was painfully annoying due to buffering issues on 1080p video. I changed some settings in XBMC that made it a little more forgiving but decided to hard wire it with some Cat 6 and it became completely up to par with the performance of having local content.

After installing a few games like Battlefield 4, Dirt 3 and Assassin's Creed IV I really have stepped back into the gaming world and the quality is absolutely amazing on a 150 inch screen. For peripherals I have two wireless Xbox 360 controllers connected which are used primarily. I also use my Android phone sometimes which links up directly to XBMC using an app as well as another app to control other things outside of XBMC (when the thing crashes). The case is virtually inaudible until I hear those video cards spool up when I switch to gaming but hardly noticeable when I have the audio up loud which I wouldn't have any other way. Of course I crank up all games to the max settings and the GTX 680s handle it like a breeze.

The speed is incredible. It boots up in way less time than the projector takes to fully load which is about maybe 10 seconds. I intended to have the PC go into hibernate every time for faster boot, but the shut down and start up time is almost instantaneous with Windows 8 on the SSD.

Future Goals


I would like to have more games now and 128 GB isn't enough. As the prices go down on SSDs I will likely be adding a second one which will be simple to install. I also want a method in place to turn on all of my components (projector, receiver and PC) via one central control mechanism. I have a CarPC that I custom built a while back that achieves this. I have it turning on a 7 inch touch screen and two amps when the car starts. In the car audio world the methods of doing this are fairly straightforward.

The other goal I have is beefing up my audio system. Right now I just have a Panasonic 'home theater in a box' type deal. I started with custom car audio before PC building and I am likely going to put a lot of planning into this as I do with every project.

Part List
Details
Date PublishedApril 12, 2014
Date BuiltDec. 1, 2013
Intel Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate3.2GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle-
CPU Temperature Under Load-
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate1.01Ghz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate6.01Ghz
GPU Temperature While Idle-
GPU Temperature Under Load-
Comments
When commenting on a completed build please keep your feedback polite and constructive, particularly if commenting on part choices and possible alternatives.
Log in to rate comments or to post a comment.
Sorted by:
 
 
Mrpielovin 8 points 8 months ago

PS4 Killer all for the low price of 3 1/2s more than a ps4 :) Hahaha Nice Build though!

 
 
tqrecords [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 8 months ago

True. I spent 3.5 times more in price to get 3.5 times (or more) the performance!

 
 
Robyra 1 point 8 months ago

You save because pc games are way cheaper than ps4 games. Also he didn't us an amd so that's whatcha get!

 
 
bunnykilla [1 Build] 4 points 8 months ago

Holy crap! Where did you find those graphics cards that cheap? I was going to suggest a 690 instead of two 680s, but those prices are unbelievable! My only complaint is that I've read about the Kingston SSDNow's having performance issues. Hopefully yours work fine! +1

 
 
fsma92 [2 Builds] 2 points 8 months ago

agreed

I posted this on another build

"I recommend bench-marking your SSD with crystaldiskmark and hope you get ~450 MB read and ~175 write.. the ssdnow v300 was cheaped out it might say 500 on the label but current revision is capped at ~170 MB read and 130 MB write.. please verify and if possible get a refund.."

I benchmarked 2 of these are work and I had the same result twice..

 
 
walrussalad [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

you know a 690 can be more expensive than a titan? not being critical just informing :D

 
 
PCSwaggin 1 point 8 months ago

Two 680s in SLI perform much better than the 690 though.

 
 
walrussalad [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Oh ok

 
 
tqrecords [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Yeah I was lucky to find them used in excellent condition. The guy that had them previously was using them for CAD. And selling them because he upgraded to a Quadro 6000. I guess he needed to do some serious rendering!

I have not had any issues with the Kingston, however I did read about misleading read/write speeds on these drives.

 
 
fnapoli [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

What are your temps like? I can see that thing getting mighty hot while gaming...especially those 680s, looks like there isn't much room for air to get in, especially that top GPU

 
 
Adamantame [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

I am so jealous of those 260 dollar GTX 780s right now... +1 For that alone!

 
 
6thcousin 2 points 8 months ago

Gtx 680s but still super awesome prices!

 
 
mzimmerman23 1 point 8 months ago

"not to mention the smallest I could get away with." - what ya' do, steal it? Haha!

 
 
angelgtc87 [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

What kind of temps you get with that sli setup ? little no space between them O.O Very nice PC

 
 
ib10xs4u2 1 point 8 months ago

150" screen! I would love to see this set up in operation. You're right about needing to get a strong sound system to compliment everything else. Have you watched any downloaded videos with your system? Thanks for the excellent description of your build and all the pictures. +1

 
 
ThatsPoorlyDrawn [2 Builds] 1 point 8 months ago

Excuse me, but I think he meant a 15 inch monitor. +1 dude. I can't believe you've got a 150 inch tv.

 
 
katjust [3 Builds] 2 points 8 months ago

He meant 150 inch. He has a projector. Obviously using a projection screen. I have an 84 inch screen downstairs (which is about as small as you can go with projector).

 
 
erik4boss [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

That is really cool! So cheap :)

 
 
MertArm 1 point 8 months ago

I always thought the SG09 looked really ugly, but this build makes it look really nice. I think I might consider buying one in the future!

 
 
powellbm86 [4 Builds] 1 point 8 months ago

You should look into HDMI CEC Adapters. It lets your computer, tv, and amp talk to each other when you turn your pc on.

 
 
tqrecords [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

This is exactly what I was looking for. And it looks like CEC is directly configurable with XBMC. Also compatible with the BenQ 1070. Thanks!

 
 
AIien_Ant_Farm [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

It's purdy. +1 for the last picture, the empty boxes make me happy for some odd reason.

 
 
YourLocalPCNoob [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

how much did that 150 inch projector run you?

 
 
ARCHER_Prototype 1 point 8 months ago

Nice to see another owner of the SG09B case! (btw cable management in that thing is a b***h)

 
 
Acoleman18 1 point 8 months ago

Stock cooler? Dam that cpu will run hot. Maybe your next investment should be in a liquid cooler

[comment deleted]
 
 
vikingXcore [2 Builds] 1 point 4 months ago

this is probably the most beautiful matx build i've seen in sli. :B. how do you like that motherboard? it looks really sexy.