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Cassini HTPC v3
by thereddog
Permalink:   (32 comments)

Cassini HTPC v2 here: http://pcpartpicker.com/b/yUF

The main idea behind Cassini HTPC is a quiet, yet powerful PC used to play video with XBMC and take advantage of Steam's Big Picture mode. Cassini v2 served me quite well, but I bought a 1080p TV to replace the 720p and I moved to a Synology NAS (3TB RAID5) to store all my media and backups. With the Synology doing a fantastic job, the size of the GD06 case wasn't needed. With the increased resolution on the TV, the 5750 couldn't cut it.

I like the SG06, and wanted to make a little powerhouse this time around. I'm not an overclocker so I believe the H77 chipset and non-K CPU are a good match. Yes, an i7 is overkill. No, I don't care. The 3770S is a 65W TDP version of the 77W 3770, so I favored that for this small build.

PC is running Windows 8 Pro. Input is handled either by a Logitech Harmony 510 remote, Lenovo N5902, Lenovo MX Air mouse, or wireless Xbox 360 controller; depending on what the user is doing.

Case: $145.00 + $12.65 tax + FS |||| CPU, motherboard: $404.98 + FS |||| GPU: $235.98 + $20 MIR + FS |||| SSD: $214.99 + FS |||| RAM, cooler, PWM fan: $101.84 + $3.87 S/H |||| ODD: $44.99 + $18.99 S/H |||| Total = $1163.29

Part List
Intel Core i7-3770S 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate3.1GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle34.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load68.0° C
XFX Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate1.0GHz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate1.2GHz
GPU Temperature While Idle34.0° C
GPU Temperature Under Load80.0° C
When commenting on a completed build please keep your feedback polite and constructive, particularly if commenting on part choices and possible alternatives.
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Sorted by:
milliamp [1 Build] 5 points 21 months ago

Nice build! When I see stuff like this with an i7, 8G of ram, an 840 pro SSD, and a 7870 in a shoe box I have to wonder why so many people still bother using full tower ATX cases.

thereddog [Submitter] [2 Builds] 4 points 21 months ago

Agreed, mATX is all most people need these days, IMO. Thanks

[comment deleted]
zyvox100 [1 Build] 1 point 21 months ago

Awesome use of space, especially like how the 7870 fits. The case seems well-ventilated. What size TV??

thereddog [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 21 months ago

Thank you, sir. The 7870 barely fit without any modification to the case. I'm not sure if the card is supposed to go in before the motherboard or something, but it took me a few minutes to squeeze it in there. I'm thinking about replacing the front fan with a PWM model that moves a bit more air, since it's so quiet, idle temps are actually around 42deg while installed in the media center. TV is a Panasonic 50" ST50 Plasma.

Frostbyter 1 point 21 months ago

Very good build for whatever you could do :)

thereddog [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 21 months ago

Yes, very versatile, which is what I like. Jack of all trades. Windows 8 is awesome on a big screen. Controlling the PC with the Logitech MX Air mouse (gyro) makes gaming pretty Wii-like; Cut the Rope, Fruit Ninja, etc.

Guerrero 1 point 21 months ago

I love these small builds!

thereddog [Submitter] [2 Builds] 3 points 21 months ago

Absolutely, like an expensive hot puzzle.

Apach3 [2 Builds] 1 point 21 months ago

do i see a record player in the second-to-last picture? wow, you don't see very many of those nowadays

i like what you did to the inside. you make it look so easy to put together. +1 from me! :D

thereddog [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 21 months ago

You bet, Audio Technica AT-LP60, can't beat the sound. The build was pretty easy, just took my time over a couple days to get it right. But like I said earlier, I think I will replace the intake fan with a PWM model. Thanks for the +1!

Apach3 [2 Builds] 2 points 21 months ago

you're welcome. you deserve it :D

Divdor [1 Build] 1 point 21 months ago

Impressive amount of stuff crammed in a little box!

noob_for_life 1 point 21 months ago

great build!!! whats the S on the cpu???

thereddog [Submitter] [2 Builds] 2 points 21 months ago

Thanks. The 'S' is for lower TPD full-voltage models. Typically used for All-in-One PC's. Intel lowers the clocks so that it runs a bit cooler. http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/522/Intel_Core_i7_i7-3770_vs_Intel_Core_i7_i7-3770S.html

noob_for_life 1 point 21 months ago

ahhhh thanks for clearing that up!!

TheCrow1213 [1 Build] 1 point 21 months ago

Nice! What Synology NAS did you go with? Been looking at some myself...

thereddog [Submitter] [2 Builds] 2 points 21 months ago

DS413, best decision ever. ~$500 from ExcliburPC.com, and absolutely worth the investment. Loaded it with 4x3TB Western Digital Red's in RAID5. The software is terrific, system is fast, quiet, and cool. I have the Windows 7 Backup utility running on the HTPC and a couple laptops for complete backups and drive images. I would not look at another NAS, Synology is the only way to go.

TheCrow1213 [1 Build] 1 point 21 months ago

Ooooo yeah, I've been looking at that one and the DS413j...

TheCrow1213 [1 Build] 1 point 21 months ago

Just bought this guy this week! Excited to start playing around with it.

thereddog [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 21 months ago

The 413 or 413j? What Drives and array are you working with?

TheCrow1213 [1 Build] 1 point 21 months ago

Ended up getting a 413, got two Seagate 3tb drives in it right now in a RAID 1. Really enjoying all the features, that web ui is so slick!

What drives/array are you using? I was reading about the Synology raid, and it sounded pretty interesting...

TheCrow1213 [1 Build] 1 point 21 months ago

Lol nvm, saw you're using WD drives in a RAID 5. Sounds good man!

HCkev [3 Builds] 1 point 21 months ago

This would also be a very nice small form factor gaming PC :)

thereddog [Submitter] [2 Builds] 2 points 21 months ago

Yep, I get about 42fps in Tomb Raider with all settings maxed with TRESemméFX enabled @ 1080p

Smily 1 point 21 months ago

I've tried big picture, realized it's a TV thing. How are you liking it?

thereddog [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 21 months ago

It's fantastic. The UI is snappy and text input using an XBox controller is really clever. Browsing, buying, and installing games is easy. There are a couple things missing, like the ability to enter game coupons using Big Picture, which have to be done through the normal UI. Launching games is easy, but the "handoffs" from BP to the actual games are not perfect. Like when I launch Skyrim, the game's own launcher opens and I have to use a mouse to click 'play'once more. Tomb Raider sometimes opens the game in a window behind BP and there is no way to minimize BP in order to play. Minor bugs that will hopefully be worked out. Oh well.

Smily 1 point 21 months ago

That's pretty nice. Well... have fun with it!

miso1337 1 point 20 months ago

Awesome build! Very clean and I like how you got the sam17 in there! I have a very similar setup with an oc'd 2500k and gtx 460 se. Currently debating the H60 cooler or a sam17 to improve my oc.

I completely removed the drive cage since I didn't need an optical drive and put three of those samsung drives in there using zip ties and two-sided velcro :) Improved the airflow quite a bit for me. I also flipped the PSU so all airflow goes up and all my power cables are on one side.

TastyBurger 1 point 17 months ago

Very nice pics!

dc [2 Builds] 1 point 17 months ago

This is impressive but to me the i7 is overkill especially when you look at the percentage of the overall budget it makes up? Thumbs up though ;)

Swish2000 1 point 13 months ago

Can I have some benchmarks? BF4 would be great :)

JCanadian 1 point 11 months ago

That is one tight fit!