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Kaveri HTPC Build With Room To Grow

by Wickate



Date Published

May 24, 2014

Date Built

May 8, 2014

CPU Clock Rate


CPU Temperature While Idle

24.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

66.0° C


It's been a long time since I'd built my own computer and it was time for a new HTPC so I took the opportunity to try my hand at putting something together that was more than powerful enough for HTPC use to include format conversions / transcoding as well as some possible gaming in the future. Everything fit in the case really well with the SSD mounted below the Blu-Ray RW drive and cable management was not too bad with the semi-modular power supply.

Processor: A10-7850K - I went with the 7850K because of the headroom provided and the ability to run the chip at 45w when I'm not going to be making use of the system's full abilities.

CPU Cooler: GeminII M4 - I ran across a build either here on pcpartpicker or on Reddit that used this cooler with the 7850K and they seemed to have good results so I followed suit. I'm really happy with it despite my first order missing one of the rubber grommets needed for mounting it to the motherboard. Amazon was quick with a replacement though - overnight Saturday delivery. I initially had some concern about it's cooling ability so I tried both the stock cooler and this cooler and it seemed to reduce temps by about 10 degrees C at least. Stock cooler showed about 62C in bios while the M4 was about 51C. I didn't run the stock cooler in Windows. There does seem to be enough room with this motherboard to make use of all of the RAM slots - some MB layouts prevent that with this cooler, FYI. It runs very quiet and there isn't any clicking noises as I've seen referenced with the PWM feature some people have reported.

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H - Again, I followed suit by using this motherboard after reading about the success of another builder. It fit perfectly in the case and accepted the 7850 and the memory without any problems. I've not yet used any of the OC features or other control features of the board, so I can't comment on that. Very happy to not need to flash the bios to work with the Kaveri chip.

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 - I wanted to go with quality memory that was higher speed to support the 7850 and it's abilities so I went ahead with this set. I've been really happy with it thus far - though I haven't pushed it's limits at all since I just completed the build. I expect it will be more than enough for my limited gaming use in the future and should handle transcoding / format conversions just fine.

Storage: PNY XLR8 120GB - I purchased two of these drives - one for my HP server and for this build. Both work great and I expect them to be more than quick enough for my uses. I didn't put any other drives in the HTPC because everything is stored on the HP NAS.

Case: Silverstone ML04B - I wanted something that would blend with my entertainment center that still provided enough room for some upgrades in the future. I needed something in this form-factor versus and ITX build so this case seemed to be the best option for me between cost and features. I considered the ML03B at first, but really liked the flip-down door on the ML04B so I went with it. It looks great and feels really solid. I'm happy with the case and wouldn't change a thing. I don't see any reason to have spend any more money in this area.

Power Supply: Corsair 430W Semi Modular - I went with the semi-modular power supply to help with cable management in this system and I'm glad I did. I had to verify it would work by comparing specs between the case and PS as the part picker said they were incompatible but that was an error. Everything fits fine and I don't expect to tax the PS so this builder series should be OK for me.

Optical Drive: LG WH14NS40 Blu-Ray Writer - I needed a Blu-ray drive and wanted the ability to write Blu-ray as well. This drive had pretty decent reviews with users reporting the least amount of problems. I could have spent less here, but those drives seemed to be giving people fits with drivers / firmware, etc. I didn't want any headaches so I went with this. It's not as loud as I'd expected either, so that a plus. It fits well in the case too - another concern with the PS being directly behind it.

Case Fan: Noctua NF-R8 PWM - I went with something quiet and still capable of moving a decent amount of air as the case was going to be in a somewhat tight spot in my entertainment system. I mounted it on the side of the case, pulling air into and across the RAM and the CPU Cooler. It works great and the PWM doesn't cause any clicking as I've seen reported by some users with that feature. Very happy with it and it's amazingly quiet.

Overall, I'm really happy with this build. Everything went together perfectly and Windows 8.1 is running on the system with no issues. I expect the computer to last me quite a long time as an HTPC and still provide some gaming ability in the meantime. A video card upgrade is possible should I begin to really tax the 7850, but I don't expect to game that much. I found a lot of info from previous builds / posts here and on Reddit and I just wanted to post this in hopes that it would help others looking to build something similar. Thanks for looking.

Comments Sorted by:

Jwood013 1 Build 10 points 42 months ago

This whole build excites me. Great title and description, great parts, and great pictures! +100 if I could!

Wickate submitter 1 Build 7 points 42 months ago

Thanks very much for the kind words. Best of luck to you.

marcbenjamin 1 Build 5 points 42 months ago

Cool build! How's the audio coming out through HDMI?

Wickate submitter 1 Build 6 points 42 months ago

Thanks! Audio seems perfect - both using Netflix via Chrome and the App as well as VLC and XBMC to view some Blu-ray rips. Just about done setting up a true surround system though, so I can't comment on the real quality as of yet. I'll try to report back once I get everything up and going with the home theater system (just running to a soundbar now).

alkhyphenali 1 point 41 months ago

Have you got a chance to finish up the surround sound yet?

Wickate submitter 1 Build 2 points 41 months ago

Sorry, I haven't been able to get all of my in ceiling speakers installed so it's running through my receiver to my 3 front (left, center, right) and the sub. Thus far, it's been great for music and movies - no problems at all. Hope this answers your question in part. I'll try to report back when I'm able to get the surround speakers installed and working.

kabuto244 1 point 39 months ago

Any results?

I plan on building an HTPC very similar to this and I'm really curious.

Wickate submitter 1 Build 2 points 33 months ago

Sorry for the late reply, but if it doesn't help you, maybe it would help others. It's a perfect system for me - certainly overkill as mentioned, but it handles everything I throw at it and I don't worry about needing to upgrade anything besides storage space anytime soon. The storage would just be for games as I use a home server for movies, etc. Temps are really good, I leave the fan RPM to be managed by the bios and hardly ever hear them spin up at all and have never received temp warnings. Hope this helps.

Wickate submitter 1 Build 1 point 33 months ago

Really sorry for the late reply, but hopefully this could help somebody else if not you. I did get the chance to finish the surround sound and everything works great. I've watched Netflix through the app on Win8 and it uses the surround sound without any problems through the HDMI on my receiver. Same with MKV's, DVD's, or Blu-ray's - no issues that I've noted. I'm not an expert or elite audio guy, so my taste isn't especially critical, but my setup uses a Yamaha RX-V673 7.2 channel amp, out to a 7.1 system. Hope this helps.

Eschaton 6 Builds 5 points 42 months ago

Props to this build are due; it looks amazing and has the specs to boot. You can even improve it further by adding a low-profile 240 or 250 later on and STILL have space for a dedicated wireless card or wired NIC. Just awesome.

Have you thought of adding another 80mm noctua to the side, to help evacuate air from the CPU area?

bradenfontaine 12 Builds 3 points 42 months ago

it looks like he could fit a wireless card as well as an R7 250 to utilize Duel Graphics if he felt the need. perfect fitment.

Wickate submitter 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

I'll look at specs on the R7 when I get the chance and take some measurements to see if that might help. Thankfully, I'm wired, but I'd assume a wireless card would fit as well.

Wickate submitter 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

Thank you for the props.

I did think about doing that - adding another Noctua - but after 40 mins of Prime95 with the temp reaching 47C for the system and 66C for the CPU, I don't think I need to be concerned as of yet. Once I load a few games on the system, I'll watch the temps again to make sure and then I may order another fan. Thank you for the recommendation on improvement and question though!

Eschaton 6 Builds 3 points 42 months ago

Yeah no not really an improvement - how can you improve perfection! haha. I was just thinking if you ever decide to try a small OC on that APU... then it might be worth it. But yeah, you're well within the acceptable temp range that chip is certed for, I think.

Wickate submitter 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

Thanks! From what I've seen around the OC forums and elsewhere, the max operating temp is 72.4 ( cpu-world ). And another OC user reported thermal throttle at 75C for his system). So, I guess I'm coming a little close and OC will push it. Thanks again!

bradenfontaine 12 Builds 2 points 42 months ago

i do recommend starting with the iGPU first and then moving onto the CPU if overclocking is something you would be interested in. if so please do not hesitate to send me a PM, OCing this chip can be tricky!

Wickate submitter 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

Thanks very much for the guidance. I've never OC'ed before and it's an option that I may explore with this system.

IamApropos 3 Builds 3 points 42 months ago

amazing AMD HTPC APU Build! Love the description and the photos - This thing could even play a lot of games on steam and more. Happy Computing!

Wickate submitter 1 Build 3 points 42 months ago

Thanks for the compliments. I'll try some games as soon as I have some time and try to report FPS and other pertinent info for other people to reference in the future (though I know there are a couple other great Kaveri builds that already accomplish that quite well we can reference).

bloodroses75 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

Nice clean build and good pictures throughout. +1 on the build. One question though is the decision of a Kaveri APU vs a non APU + slimline dedicated card? Also, I had been looking at this case for a while and was curious about the expansion slot above the motherboard on the back of the case. Is it wide enough to perhaps stick a video card there connected via a ribbon cable to the motherboard?

Wickate submitter 1 Build 4 points 42 months ago

Thanks for the kind words. I was torn on whether to go with the Kaveri as I did versus something like you refer to. I wound up just opting for the Kaveri to be done with the decision making for the most part, LOL. I think I would have been happy either way - though my wallet might have been more happy if I went with a non APU + video card. Haha. I don't know enough about the abilities of newer video cards and adapters - that slot had me wondering too about possible uses. Sorry I can't provide a more helpful answer about that. If can provide measurements or anything else that can help - let me know.

bloodroses75 1 Build 3 points 42 months ago

Not a problem. :)

j9t11 2 Builds 2 points 42 months ago

WOw!!!! This is nice. This is a cool little build

Wickate submitter 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago


bradenfontaine 12 Builds 2 points 42 months ago

best HTPC ive seen, the case is perfect for a home theater setup, the APU will be more than capable, i believe you might have enough room for the R7 250 if you so wanted at a later point for an added boost if you felt the need. i love that Blu-ray drive, it is quick and powerful. cable management is amazing for the case, all parts are top quality. it seems as if this could have been produced at a reputable factory, everything fits perfectly and seamlessly, all around if i could upvote this +1000 i would.

Wickate submitter 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

Wow! Thanks man - really appreciate the compliments.

larsG35 1 Build 1 point 42 months ago

This is a sweet build. I really like the case. The components are great, but when you can get it all fitting together like a puzzle and looking great too... it's something you can really be proud of.

Wickate submitter 1 Build 1 point 42 months ago

Thanks! I was surprised that the components actually went into the case without much problem. Even having to remove the MB to change out the CPU coolers wasn't as much trouble as I thought it would be.

PowerOfHacker 1 point 42 months ago

Are you using chromecast? You should consider it! Also amazing Build!

Wickate submitter 1 Build 1 point 42 months ago

Thanks for the compliment on the build.

Forgive my ignorance - but what advantage would Chromecast give me? I don't know much about it, but wouldn't the HTPC accomplish everything along with XBMC? Thanks for any input on this.

bayareabjj 1 Build 1 point 41 months ago

Would you mind explaining how you mounted the SSD below the optical drive? It looks like there wouldn't be enough room to fit the SATA connectors because the SSD would face the metal siding of the box that supports the optical drive. Do you have a picture of how the SSD is mounted?

Wickate submitter 1 Build 1 point 33 months ago

Really sorry for the late reply, and hopefully if this doesn't help answer your question, maybe it can help somebody else. I was able to mount the SSD directly to the case bottom beneath the optical drive. I then was able to use right-angle SSD cables to connect to the MB. If I remember correctly, I was able to have the connector side of the SSD facing the MB or the PS - I don't have pictures, but will try to get a couple if I get the chance. Sorry it's not better info, regardless, I didn't have to do anything fancy to get it to work, so anybody curious about this can know it's possible without much issue.

FrankPCPP 2 Builds 1 point 40 months ago

The best possible video card you can buy right now that will fit in that case is this Geforce GTX 750 TI: http://store.galaxytechus.com/GALAXY-GeForce-GTX-750-Ti-GC-Slim-2-GB-GDDR5-PCI-Express-30-DVIHDMIVGA-Graphics-CardbrbrBONUS-Low-profile-brackets-now-included-freebrbrFree-Gift-150-In-Game-for-Warface-Path-of-Exile-and-Heroes-of-Newerth_p_90.html

Actually you might have the option to crossfire with an AMD card... I have have no idea if that's better.

Wickate submitter 1 Build 1 point 33 months ago

Sorry for the late reply, just wanted to say thanks for the advice on video card upgrades and options.

Krokodil 1 Build 1 point 40 months ago

"I'm really happy with it despite my first order missing one of the rubber grommets needed for mounting it to the motherboard."

I really hate when they do that. The first aftermarket CPU cooler I ever installed was missing those grommets, and at the time I didn't know any better. There wasn't any mention of them in the instructions so I just popped it in without them. It shorted my motherboard AND chip. It was a Zalman heatsink in case anyone is interested.

Anyway, great build. I'd love to put Kaveri in a living room box, stuff like this is the future of the desktop outside of the workstation/gaming circles.

Wickate submitter 1 Build 1 point 33 months ago

Man, that must have been frustrating to say the least! I hadn't done a build with this type of mount for the cooler and was really hesitant at first - watched some videos on YouTube to make sure I was doing it correctly to avoid problems. Thanks for sharing and the compliments.

Feliks 2 points 26 months ago

Is this same thing likely to happen to me? I'm going to go with that cooler most likely and if they're going to ship without that (I want to know how to tell, sorry I'm new to this :P) I would really like NOT to short my motherboard and chip. :)

Wickate submitter 1 Build 2 points 26 months ago

I doubt it, it's a quality company and product. You'll know you're missing them now that you're aware they should be there. If you don't have something similar in your package, you'll realize it when you're following the directions. If you're unsure of the install, just lookup videos on YouTube for this cooler; there are a few good examples you can reference with unboxing too so you could review all the parts and compare. Best of luck to you!

Feliks 1 point 26 months ago

thank you!

muchpcbuilt 1 point 37 months ago

wow, that cpu cooler fits with dual ram?

Wickate submitter 1 Build 1 point 33 months ago

Yeah, I worked the build off a few other systems on here using that cooler / MB / RAM and it does fit, though just barely (thankfully).

Muttonsourdough 3 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

I'm really impressed with this build. As a guy considering buying and building his first custom rig I don't really know which way is up on a lot of these, but those seem to be good specs on good parts at a good price. You've probably made a lot of people rethink setting up their own build!

Wickate submitter 1 Build 1 point 33 months ago

Thanks! I appreciate the kind words - there are a lot of other systems out there with features that may appeal more since this build is a bit older now, but I hope my post helps.

thirdeye35 1 point 34 months ago

Excellent build! I'm basing mine off of this one. Quick question though, do you think that there is room for a hard disk within the case? I want to have an SSD and HDD inside a Silverstone ML03B, but I want to check to see if that is even possible first.

Wickate submitter 1 Build 1 point 33 months ago

I do think there is just enough room for a HDD in the case. If you look at the pictures, there's a "cage" or mount in the front - it's black plastic and I used it to "hide" some excess wires. In this person's build, you can see that they used that mount for a Seagate 1TB drive. Hope this helps.

Xequit10 0 points 33 months ago

Barely an HTPC Build. No offense.

Wickate submitter 1 Build 1 point 33 months ago

No offense taken, but could you elaborate to help me understand how to do better if I ever build another one? Do you mean that it's just more than necessary for an HTPC? Thanks

adampski 1 Build -1 points 42 months ago

66 degrees? Wowzers that's hot. What was it that you were running under load?

Wickate submitter 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

Yeah, that was kind of warm and had me a bit concerned for the future depending on the amount of gaming I do. That temp was after 40 mins of Prime95 where it held the 65 - 66C range for the last 20 mins of the test. I'll watch it in the future and may add another case fan to help evacuate some heat from the system as system temp during that test reached 47C. This was noted by Eschaton as an option in another reply. Thanks for the question.

bradenfontaine 12 Builds 2 points 42 months ago

anything under 70 ive found to be perfectly stable for this chip. you could however disable AMD Cool 'N Quiet in BIOS and she should run a little bit cooler but with added fan noise. honestly i havent found any games or tasks to push the 7850 to the point where heat is built up to that point, other than running benchmarks of course. the heatsink is perfect for this build and 150% better than the stock, good choice my friend.

Wickate submitter 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

Thank you - I was really worried about the temps showing in the bios before installing Windows, but I didn't know that the load on the CPU is often higher in the bios (at least, that's what I saw around the forums when I started looking). Once I loaded Windows, things seemed more in line with what other people report for temps and a slim cooler like this.

bradenfontaine 12 Builds 1 point 42 months ago

AIDA64 is what i use, its a paid application but i find the program to be 100% excellent and reliable