Description

HTPC cases that can fit "real" video cards are actually pretty hard to come by. The one I really wanted was out of stock and will be for a while, beware the nMEDIA cases and Crucial m4 firmware.

BEWARE: If you get a Crucial M4 drive, be sure to update the firmware. Regularly. Your system will crash about 6 months after you get one if you do not and use the stock firmware off the factory line. Other than that, it's a fantastically fast drive, OS boots in seconds.

The ASRock BIOS is amazing. I have never seen a MOUSE work in a bios before, but then again, I don't build a whole lot of PCs, so the last one I built was a while ago. This one has lots and lots of options, so if you are into that thing, it's cool. I tend to do only really light modifications when I am in there and leave most of the defaults. The only downside to all the options is that it's pretty easy to get lost in the menus.

The Cooler Master I have nothing but good things to say about. Super quiet, lots of power, rubberized along the edges so that there are no occasional rattlings even when the BD drive spins up and shakes things around. It's fantastic. I'd give it 10 stars if I could.

The loudest component by far is the BluRay drive. Particularly when it is copying files at super high cd speeds. At "normal" BR 1x speeds playing a movie it is ignorable. No louder than a xb360.

As far as the EVGA goes, I don't have 3dmark scores for this because I'm too lazy to do that, but what I can say is the more you spend the bigger your 3dmark is. It looks great for the games I'm playing on it. So far as the form factor goes, the card is really huge, and finding a suitable living room friendly case proved challenging. I really like the fan too, there were a couple of times I accidentally had a wire or two near it, and while the fan did suck in the wire when I kicked on the power, it did not get caught or tangled, the fan is shaped in a way that it will not "grab" any stray wires if you are a little too careless. One thing that is worth noting for folks that want to put this in a living room. I was really worried I was going to have to do something fruity with the audio, but this card pipes the audio through the HDMI out into the TV, so, if you are using HDMI, which most folks probably are, then you should be fine. Just make sure you have the latest nVidia drivers.

This nMedia case is the 6000, I originally ordered a 7000 and everything fit nicely and it would have been perfect if I was going with onboard video. However, modern video cards like this one have an extra power plug on the side and that plug stood up way too high to put the top of the case back on. They say in the description that "it fits up to 10 inch cards" and that is true, the card fits, but you won't be able to use it because you can't get power to it.

I ended up returning the 7000 and ordering the presumably older, much bigger, and fuglier 6000. It is much larger but seems less capable. It has no front panel usb 3.0 (not really an issue for me but for some this is a no go). When the 6000 came in, I had a worse time getting everything to fit. As you can see from the photos, the 6000 has a massive metal bracket in the front you remove to hold up to I think 8 hard drives and an optical drive. I'm not building an htpc to store terabytes of movies on a raid array. I'm using this as a steam box, and I have no need for all those drive bays.

The solution was to get out a Dremel and saw off 75% of the metal from the drive bracket. Once that was all cleared out, there was ample room for the card, the optical drive, and the two hard drives (not pictured).

The final stumbling block was a weird Windows Shutdown bug. Windows would shutdown completely, but the case fans would continue to run forever until you flipped the PSU off with the kill switch in the back. After hours of googling, it turns out the trouble was with the built-in nMedia media panel in the front that loads all the different camera card formats. For whatever reason, I still haven't figured it out, it was keeping the fans alive after shutdown. I simply disconnected that extended media input from the motherboard and things shutdown properly. Not really an issue for me because I am never going to use it, but if I can save anyone the 8 hours of searching I had to do on random forums, then it's worth this write up. It's entirely possible that if I had properly installed the drivers for that particular component I could have made the shutdown process work better and still had it work.

Comments

  • 80 months ago
  • 7 points

Finally, somebody who gets a non-overclockable CPU and doesn't waste money on a z77 board. You sir, are awesome.

  • 80 months ago
  • 1 point

Agreed

  • 80 months ago
  • 1 point

Exactly what I was going to say.

  • 80 months ago
  • 1 point

With a 670, you can't really call this a Steambox xD I'd still call this a standard computer.

  • 80 months ago
  • 5 points

GTX 670? Standard computer? lol It'll be a long time before standard computers of the "near" future have graphics on par with a 670.

  • 80 months ago
  • 4 points

I should have said standard 'gaming' computer, haha. My fault.

  • 80 months ago
  • 1 point

I thought so. You had me confused lol.

  • 80 months ago
  • 1 point

like I said, you want to get bigger 3dmarks, spend more. If you got the dough to spend 1k on a graphics card, good on ya'

  • 80 months ago
  • 1 point

Just to let you know the bios is call uefi bios. Most of the mobo manufactures use this style of bios. Back to the build, overall I like this build. You might want to think about getting a heat sink for you CPU. (Include one is so loud and doesn't work well at all.)

  • 73 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build. I just bought this same case and for the time being It will just house my old HP computer for HTPC use. (I wanted a case that looks more at home on my entertainment stand than a big nasty HP tower). But I want to gut all that old hardware out sometime in the future (funds allowing) and use it for gaming on my T.V., and that is how I found your build. But I want to ask; How is this case when it comes to air flow? Does it trap a whole lot of hot air or is it pretty good at keeping cool air moving in?

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Air flow seems fine. I was totally paranoid about that at first actually, and I was constantly checking it with my hand. I never did get out a thermometer gun or anything though. Perhaps me cutting out all the extra metal on that front bracket makes things flow very nicely. That said, I'm not a huge fan of the case, there are much better ones to be had if you have the time and patience. The biggest thing for me was I wanted something quiet, and this is very quiet.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! The case just came in yesterday and I transplanted everything last night. The fans could use replacing, lol. and yeah, air flow is suprisingly good, but I really did not expect it to be so bulky. Again nice build.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 73 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, the short story is basically that is what I found and was in stock at a good price. there were a few other cases at the time I wanted but I would have had to wait another month to get them and I'm far too impatient for that. And so far this turned out to be a fantastic decision, my son and I are currently enjoying many games together on the big tv.