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I've decided to build a home theater server/HTPC

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tRidiot

Premium Member
Joined
May 17, 2003
So this can serve double duty as a Plex server and also as a HTPC if I want to do some light gaming or just surf the web on my 75" screen. :D

I'm still trying to work on some eccentricities from switching to Plex, it'll probably be a process over time, as I have to get it to recognize all my movies properly, etc. I've been using Kodi for years, so that's what I'm most familiar with.

Gave my son a new gaming computer for Christmas, so here is what I confiscated and have to work with.

Intel i3-4160 Haswell 2 cores/4 threads 3.6GHz
2x8GB DDR3 1600mHz RAM
Asus H81M-K motherboard
EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB SSC GAMING - EVGA website specs


I was looking at getting a new modular PSU for airflow purposes, but I just love this old one. It is a Silverstone SST-ST56ZF and if I remember right, I bought it around December of 2005. It was in use constantly for at least 6-8 years, and has been in intermittent use since then, again constantly for the last 3-4 years. It's a rock solid unit, so I want to honor it by continuing to utilize it. :D

New additions:

Silverstone GD09 - lovely, lovely case. https://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=488&area=en
12TB WP Arsenal SATA 6 7200RPM hard drive
Samsung 860 Evo 2.5" 500GB SATA III SSD (OS drive)

So part of my problem is fans... this case has spots for 3 120mm fans and 2 80mm fans, plus the PSU intake/exhaust. This old motherboard has a 4-pin connector for the CPU fan and a single chassis fan connector that is 4-pin but from what research I have been able to find, it really isn't a PWM header. The 4th pin is labeled as VCC, which doesn't help much, but I read around and the consensus is that it doesn't allow one to control fan speed.

Obviously, with this being hooked up in the living room right in front of me, I'll want it to run as quietly as possible, so I'm thinking I'll hook the single 120mm exhaust fan up to the chassis header and see if it is loud enough to annoy me during movies. I have an NZXT fan controller on this PC, but I don't want lights and crap on the front of this Silverstone case, and there's no place to put that anyways. Who knows, I may end up changing out the MB if I need to look into other fan options, there isn't even room to put an add-on card in below this GTX-1060 without totally blocking the first fan. I'm open to ideas that would allow me to put in some nice fans like the new Noctua NF-A12x25 12V PWM and be able to control them or program them for optimal airflow and ultra low noise.

So this will allow me to connect this PC via Gigabit LAN directly to my router or my NAS, which will henceforth be used for backup purposes. I'll move all my media over to this new box and serve it directly via Plex on my FireTV 4k. Or if I want, I can run it directly via wireless keyboard and mouse.

So anyone see any glaring flaws in my logic or setup?
 

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
so I went looking for the thread I posted recently about the very same issue and couldnt bring it up with a search , so I will paraphrase from it: 10th gen 10100 is good cpu, B460 is good chipset :D

In all honesty you dont need a banger of a system for NAS, media server, but I think you could get better performance for cheaper. 10100 is going for ~115 and a B460 mobo can be had for ~100-ish or less depending on your wants/needs. I guess I am not certain if you want to reuse RAM or not so that will make a differnce as well. The i3 10100 beats a 4790K according to this and as ive already stated has a tempting price. The biggest plus is that you are getting all current instruction sets and a modern system that will serve as you HTPC reliably for ...ever? maybe?

Silverston has beautiful cases and even though I didnt look at the one you linked I will bet its a winner. As for your choice of HDD.. its fine, but you can save a few bucks if you are willing to shuck a drive from an external enclosure. I havent done it myself but there are tons of links to tell you about it. The consensus seems to be that you can get good drives for a lower price. I will report back when I actually make a purchase and have first hand knowledge.

While you didnt exactly ask... be sure to shop around for your OS. If comfortable in Windows then you can get it done there, but there are plent of custom built Linux distros that you might grow to like if you can get past the (relatively small) learning curve. Good luck and be sure to give us a build log to drool over :D
 
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tRidiot

Premium Member
Joined
May 17, 2003
Hmm, so that would essentially be building a whole new PC from scratch. I didn't think I would need much from what I've been reading, since this will be a pretty stripped down and basic setup. I'd like to utilize some of my older hardware for something, I've got tons of old 775 and C2d stuff sitting on shelves, don't have much else to do with this i3.

But I did check into some external storage to break into and I didn't see anything particularly cheaper in that 12TB range.
 

JLK03F150

What have I done! Member
Joined
May 17, 2005
Location
Georgia
I have some Antec Tri-Cool 120mm fans in my very old Antec HTPC case. They have a small 3 speed switch on the fan. Plugging in to 12v & setting to medium or low will be fine for most of us. While the actual TriCool fans might not be available, I think there are other 3 speed fans out there that would suit your need.

My old Sandy Bridge i3 & HD 7750 running Win 8.1 has been working fine for me. I mostly just stream to the browser from the internet or watch a downloaded mp4 locally. I don't have a media server.
 
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tRidiot

Premium Member
Joined
May 17, 2003
I just realized, I could use THIS PC in my sig.... since I'm about to be building me a new gaming machine in the next month or two, I guess. Wouldn't be a big deal to put it together as I've outlined above, then if it turns out it isn't fast enough, I can build my new one, pull this one apart and put it in the HT case, keep the 1060 instead of this Matrix. That would be several steps up in processing power. Also has NVMe capability.
 

JLK03F150

What have I done! Member
Joined
May 17, 2005
Location
Georgia
I took a quick look at the Silverstone link and completely missed that it was ATX, not mATX. The i7 6700k is overkill for a HTPC, but you could turn off HT to minimize heat. It would still be way more than enough for HTPC duty. The m.2 slot would make a nice addition, but the Haswell build will probably be fine.
 

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Guess I'd better read closer. I thought you were going to buy all the parts new. Your haswel machine will be perfectly fine as far as I can tell.

Nice find with that hdd for that price. You are correct that a shucked drive is more expensive. That is not usually the case, but I've also never heard of those drives.

Again, you've got the makings of a nice htpc. Keep us posted :)
 
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tRidiot

Premium Member
Joined
May 17, 2003
Good to know, that's what I thought. I went ahead and ordered yesterday. Actually ended up ordering from Amazon and not Newegg, saved about 10 bucks with Prime shipping, should all be here in the next coupla days. The same refurbed drive was listed at $229 on Amazon, but then there was a coupon for $40 off, so it came out about the same.


Funny thing, when I ordered the Silverstone case on Amazon it told me I had ordered the same case 5 years ago. lol. I don't remember it specifically, but I looked back on my history and had some other orders on Amazon and The Egg at the same time, looked like I built a computer for someone, that was probably it.

I was planning on building a new gaming PC, but now I'm questioning it... I don't think I need to spend 2k on something like that. I got the itch, since I got my son a nice rig for Christmas, but I don't really game anymore. I might just buy myself a decent card, like his 2070, but I don't see the point in a 3070 or 3080 like I was contemplating, and a new CPU MB, etc. I just won't utilize it and it would be a waste of money I don't need to spend.
 

habbajabba

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Location
Oregon
I love my nas. All my videos are basically playable on any PC and all are 1080p or less. Most are mkv's and some have dts audio only. My nas has an embedded amd gpu and so transcoding requires jumping through hoops and running extra software. I figured out that by simply using any file browser to login to the folders that have my media is what works, and works perfect. The 'nas' exists to serve the data but does not do any transcoding nor does it need to. I can take any laptop or pc and hdmi it to any screen I want and I get on average 21MB/s throughput over the access point on the nas without affecting my regular network at all. I'm thinking of bumping the memory to the full 64GB just because they are the only 2 empty slots on the thing.
I could have built a server but didn't want to mess with a lot of software that I wasn't familiar with. My qnap has this awesome ap, QFile, that basically automatically uploads files from a folder whenever I open the ap. Great for backing up my phone and the ap gives me full access to all my data too. I noticed that my phone will play any video file I own but some of them, the audio won't work. I don't care because nobody watches hidef movies on phones anyways. Chromebooks and chrome in general is not an OS nor do I consider it 'hardware'.
 
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tRidiot

Premium Member
Joined
May 17, 2003
I just built this HTPC last week, set it up to move 5+ TB of movies over to the single HDD and then left town for 4 days. Since I've been back, I haven't looked at it yet, it's been a little crazy. I intend to do so tonight and see how it is running, maybe install Plex Server on it and start moving forward. However...

I've since acquired all the parts to build an entirely new high-end (for me) gaming machine and have the potential ability to swap this current machine (i7 6700k/Z170X) in to take over as the HTPC. I'm not sure if I'm going to do that or not. I guess it'll depend on how the i3-4160 runs things.

I'm torn about what to do this weekend, finish up the HTPC or... well, no, I'm not torn. I'll definitely be building my new 3950/X570/3090 setup, but if I get it all running, I may have some time left over to play with the HTPC. lol
 

habbajabba

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Location
Oregon
My desktop pc is my decoder atm. The nas can automatically see android and apple devices that have cast abilities, and my tv recognizes everything through dlna but I noticed some lag with that though it does work but I'll probably never use it again. Probably because I'm recording a live stream outside in hevc hi @1080 or maybe even it would only see the 2.4G connection (my tv is 8yrs old). Plus the nas sees any smart tv's connected as well. It only uses about 35watts and is super quiet. That's why a pi4 on the back of the tv with xbmc or kodi or whatever would be perfect. What one needs is a foobar/deadbeef type gui that basically takes seconds to db your collection and then serves it up in a simple clean interface, complete with remote, keyboard, and mouse.
I'm gonna play with your route and run xbmc or something on my desktop just to see how it functions of late. Right now though the mouse is my remote. I bought a keychron k3 wireless keyboard (a month ago) with optical switches but they are just now getting around to shipping it.
With your old desktop you should be able to watch whatever you want whenever you want wherever you want, if you configure it properly. I don't know much about networking, I only know I don't want to run huge boxes to do it.
I still have a pci-e slot that's free on my nas. Either a GbE card (I have no other GbE devices), or I don't know what. If I ever need more space I can daisy chain more drives to my qnap. I wish it had 2 more hd slots but I didn't want to spend that much. I only have 3.1 TB of video. If I don't like it, it gets deleted. I'm not collecting Friends reruns.
 
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