Htpc media centre case/chassis recommendations

23
Found 8th Sep 2015
Looking to upgrade my htpc chassis/case which is too slim, fans working too hard so extra noisy. Will eventually upgrade motherboard/processor so need a bigger case anyway.
Budget of around £50 since I've found 2 so far that fit the bill. Will post pics and links below. Any thoughts on them?
The avp has a PSU which is a bonus but the G3 is taller for better airflow, use less fans so less noise and can use larger CPU fan.

My friend is also looking for a cheap graphics card for media playback/web browsing only, no gaming, has a PS4 for that. Any recommendations? Budget of around £40, would rather spend a little more that won't struggle for years to come rather than go for £20 one. Can be slim or standard size going in a normal desktop case. Also would prefer a silent non-fan, will place a fan nearby for airflow.

23 Comments

Original Poster

Original Poster

On the graphics card front the technology isn't there yet. The best chip for HEVC/VP9 support is nVidia's GM206, which is currently at it's cheapest in the £130+ GTX 950, and even that has big chunks missing.

On the case front most HTPCs shouldn't be stressing any case. I'm guessing this is a gaming or other power hungry system? Any £40 case that includes a PSU can be discounted as it'll be abysmal quality and not fit to use on a high power computer.

Have you considered replacing the fans in your current case? Typical good quality quiet fans should be no more than audible even when working flat out. Extra noisy sounds like they're either unsuitable fans or they're fans that have reached the end of their life.

Do you need Full ATX motherboard compatibility or is normal MicroATX sufficient?

Have you looked at Silverstone? They have plenty of interesting HTPC-style cases at decent prices.

Just buy a long HDMI lead and a USB extension lead and hub for the remote etc. You don't need the PC in the same room as you, just throw it in a cupboard.

One thing I'd recommend is swapping the cpu fan for a small AIO water cooler. Stock heatsink fans are extremely noisy. I've swapped to a Corsair H75 and the only thing I hear is the Hard drive, even the 460GTX is quiet.

kester76

One thing I'd recommend is swapping the cpu fan for a small AIO water … One thing I'd recommend is swapping the cpu fan for a small AIO water cooler. Stock heatsink fans are extremely noisy. I've swapped to a Corsair H75 and the only thing I hear is the Hard drive, even the 460GTX is quiet.



That's like buying an 7.5 ton lorry because your fiesta can't fit in everything you want. A decent £15-25 after market cooler will be just as quiet (or quieter even) and compatible with more cases.

If you want a simple gpu just for 1080p the 5450 is pretty good I got a 512mb one from cex for £6 and it runs Netflix etc fine when paired with an old core 2 duo

EndlessWaves

That's like buying an 7.5 ton lorry because your fiesta can't fit in … That's like buying an 7.5 ton lorry because your fiesta can't fit in everything you want. A decent £15-25 after market cooler will be just as quiet (or quieter even) and compatible with more cases.


Please link a good silent low profile cooler for £15 as I need one for my G2020 ITX

kester76

Please link a good silent low profile cooler for £15 as I need one for my … Please link a good silent low profile cooler for £15 as I need one for my G2020 ITX



The Freezer 7 Pro is the popular choice at that price, but while it's shorter than a lot of other towers - it would fit in the Jonsbo G3 case mentioned for example - it's not particularly low profile at 126.5mm high.

I don't know if any of the low profile coolers at that price are any good but there are certainly some popular ones around £25.

EndlessWaves

The Freezer 7 Pro is the popular choice at that price, but while it's … The Freezer 7 Pro is the popular choice at that price, but while it's shorter than a lot of other towers - it would fit in the Jonsbo G3 case mentioned for example - it's not particularly low profile at 126.5mm high.I don't know if any of the low profile coolers at that price are any good but there are certainly some popular ones around £25.


Yeah that ain't low profile in the least. You're looking at something in this range amazon.co.uk/s/r…ler

Original Poster

EndlessWaves

On the graphics card front the technology isn't there yet. The best chip … On the graphics card front the technology isn't there yet. The best chip for HEVC/VP9 support is nVidia's GM206, which is currently at it's cheapest in the £130+ GTX 950, and even that has big chunks missing.On the case front most HTPCs shouldn't be stressing any case. I'm guessing this is a gaming or other power hungry system? Any £40 case that includes a PSU can be discounted as it'll be abysmal quality and not fit to use on a high power computer.Have you considered replacing the fans in your current case? Typical good quality quiet fans should be no more than audible even when working flat out. Extra noisy sounds like they're either unsuitable fans or they're fans that have reached the end of their life. Do you need Full ATX motherboard compatibility or is normal MicroATX sufficient?Have you looked at Silverstone? They have plenty of interesting HTPC-style cases at decent prices.



Thanks for the input. Just a simple graphics card will do, like I said friend just wants it for media playback like 1080p video files and would rather spend £40 since he feels they would be better than a £20 graphics card. What would be the best bang for bucks I guess??

Pc components are old, dual core with 4gb ddr2 ram, installed a low profile sideways cpu fan but its too weak when under load so the cpu fan is overworked making too much noise.
Bought quite fans to draw hot air so there fine but if the case was taller, I would have installed a better cpu fan.
I cut out the top of the case a while back to help improve the stock cpu fan to draw air but got too dusty but would probably place a small 'box' over the hole and tape the sides and re- install the stock fan allowing for more air. Then ttick it in the front room and use long wires for hdmi/usb as recommended.

kester76

Just buy a long HDMI lead and a USB extension lead and hub for the remote … Just buy a long HDMI lead and a USB extension lead and hub for the remote etc. You don't need the PC in the same room as you, just throw it in a cupboard.



At first I was like typical hukd going off topic but you make a valid point that I didn't even consider. Cheap and completely silent compared to any htpc case out there.
Living in a rental property at the mo however I would probably stick the pc in the frontroom in my own place. Only issue is internet, prefer wire than wireless for obvious reasons so would mean 3/4 wires which seems a bit much, would probably stick with wireless as its close to router.
I only use a wireless keyboard for now but would consider setting up remote that came with htpc.

Any recommendations for an extra long hdmi, usb lead and hub for the remote?

kester76

One thing I'd recommend is swapping the cpu fan for a small AIO water … One thing I'd recommend is swapping the cpu fan for a small AIO water cooler. Stock heatsink fans are extremely noisy. I've swapped to a Corsair H75 and the only thing I hear is the Hard drive, even the 460GTX is quiet.



Not worth it, its an old dual core pc.

emodan

If you want a simple gpu just for 1080p the 5450 is pretty good I got a … If you want a simple gpu just for 1080p the 5450 is pretty good I got a 512mb one from cex for £6 and it runs Netflix etc fine when paired with an old core 2 duo



So your saying my friend is better off buying a £20 gpu rather than a £40 gpu? What would be the main differences between them for the double in price?

Edited by: "DarkReborn11" 9th Sep 2015

a £40 graphics card would run games better than a £20 one but for media you would notice no difference as both would run 1080p just fine as even modern integrated graphics can handle media playback not a problem

Original Poster

emodan

a £40 graphics card would run games better than a £20 one but for media y … a £40 graphics card would run games better than a £20 one but for media you would notice no difference as both would run 1080p just fine as even modern integrated graphics can handle media playback not a problem



Sweet, £20 gpu it is. Now need to find which one to buy.
Would prefer a silent heatsink so no fan issues if it breaks down like the old one, going to place a small 8cm fan close to it on low speed setting for 'airflow'

EndlessWaves

On the graphics card front the technology isn't there yet. The best chip … On the graphics card front the technology isn't there yet. The best chip for HEVC/VP9 support is nVidia's GM206, which is currently at it's cheapest in the £130+ GTX 950, and even that has big chunks missing.On the case front most HTPCs shouldn't be stressing any case. I'm guessing this is a gaming or other power hungry system? Any £40 case that includes a PSU can be discounted as it'll be abysmal quality and not fit to use on a high power computer.Have you considered replacing the fans in your current case? Typical good quality quiet fans should be no more than audible even when working flat out. Extra noisy sounds like they're either unsuitable fans or they're fans that have reached the end of their life. Do you need Full ATX motherboard compatibility or is normal MicroATX sufficient?Have you looked at Silverstone? They have plenty of interesting HTPC-style cases at decent prices.

kester76

Just buy a long HDMI lead and a USB extension lead and hub for the … Just buy a long HDMI lead and a USB extension lead and hub for the remote etc. You don't need the PC in the same room as you, just throw it in a cupboard.

kester76

One thing I'd recommend is swapping the cpu fan for a small AIO water … One thing I'd recommend is swapping the cpu fan for a small AIO water cooler. Stock heatsink fans are extremely noisy. I've swapped to a Corsair H75 and the only thing I hear is the Hard drive, even the 460GTX is quiet.

emodan

If you want a simple gpu just for 1080p the 5450 is pretty good I got a … If you want a simple gpu just for 1080p the 5450 is pretty good I got a 512mb one from cex for £6 and it runs Netflix etc fine when paired with an old core 2 duo


I'd just get a USB 2.0 extension cable off ebay and a cheap hub. Depending on distance you be looking at something like this ebay.co.uk/itm…18c . Not sure if you need the booster or if it actually does anything but for £4 I thought might as well. With the hub you can connect Keyboard, mouse, Joysticks, IR remotes etc. I'd recommend a Logitech k400 keyboard if you haven't got one. Then just a long hdmi lead. You can even connect buttons from the pc so you can reset and power on from when you want just by splicing into the original case cables.
Even just installing new case fans can make a lot of difference. Mine are getting noisy now but originally they were pretty much silent. I use this method to connect my PC to my main TV/AMP so I can play games on it.

Before I forget it might be worth buying a slightly better GPU that supports hardware decoding so you can stream steam games to your HTPC. I've got several PC's 311 mini Netbook, HP N54L server and an ION 330 Nettop, all stream steam games perfectly from my main PC.

kester76

You're looking at something in this range … You're looking at something in this range http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=low+profile+1155+cooler&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Alow+profile+1155+cooler



Low profile is rather a vague description, the 10th one on that list (NH-L12) is taller than the Freezer 7 Pro for example. The scythe shuriken was popular at one point, as were the Zalman flower coolers, but I don't know what's most popular in terms of low profile coolers right now.

emodan

If you want a simple gpu just for 1080p the 5450 is pretty good I got a … If you want a simple gpu just for 1080p the 5450 is pretty good I got a 512mb one from cex for £6 and it runs Netflix etc fine when paired with an old core 2 duo


So your saying my friend is better off buying a £20 gpu rather than a £40 gpu? What would be the main differences between them for the double in price?[/quote]

In video playback very little. Better deinterlacing maybe if you're playing any interlaced content, the ability to tick a enable of other post-processing features if you use them (most don't), hardware decoding for H.264 format 4k videos.

The significant improvements like support for the upcoming HEVC and VP9 formats are currently not available at that price but will probably be in a year or two.
Edited by: "EndlessWaves" 9th Sep 2015

Original Poster

EndlessWaves

On the graphics card front the technology isn't there yet. The best … On the graphics card front the technology isn't there yet. The best chip for HEVC/VP9 support is nVidia's GM206, which is currently at it's cheapest in the £130+ GTX 950, and even that has big chunks missing.On the case front most HTPCs shouldn't be stressing any case. I'm guessing this is a gaming or other power hungry system? Any £40 case that includes a PSU can be discounted as it'll be abysmal quality and not fit to use on a high power computer.Have you considered replacing the fans in your current case? Typical good quality quiet fans should be no more than audible even when working flat out. Extra noisy sounds like they're either unsuitable fans or they're fans that have reached the end of their life. Do you need Full ATX motherboard compatibility or is normal MicroATX sufficient?Have you looked at Silverstone? They have plenty of interesting HTPC-style cases at decent prices.

kester76

Just buy a long HDMI lead and a USB extension lead and hub for the … Just buy a long HDMI lead and a USB extension lead and hub for the remote etc. You don't need the PC in the same room as you, just throw it in a cupboard.

kester76

One thing I'd recommend is swapping the cpu fan for a small AIO water … One thing I'd recommend is swapping the cpu fan for a small AIO water cooler. Stock heatsink fans are extremely noisy. I've swapped to a Corsair H75 and the only thing I hear is the Hard drive, even the 460GTX is quiet.

emodan

If you want a simple gpu just for 1080p the 5450 is pretty good I got a … If you want a simple gpu just for 1080p the 5450 is pretty good I got a 512mb one from cex for £6 and it runs Netflix etc fine when paired with an old core 2 duo



Thanks. Like I said, living in a rental so only so much I can do so no drilling holes in walls for example. I have a USB hub somewhere for WiFi, IR remote and adapter for wireless keyboard.
USB extender is easy enough just need an IR hub, will use the remote that came with PC. What do you recommend as IR hub off ebay? Too much choice.
As for gaming, friend and I have ps4, no PC gaming or stream movies, HDMI will connect to TV.

EndlessWaves

On the graphics card front the technology isn't there yet. The best … On the graphics card front the technology isn't there yet. The best chip for HEVC/VP9 support is nVidia's GM206, which is currently at it's cheapest in the £130+ GTX 950, and even that has big chunks missing.On the case front most HTPCs shouldn't be stressing any case. I'm guessing this is a gaming or other power hungry system? Any £40 case that includes a PSU can be discounted as it'll be abysmal quality and not fit to use on a high power computer.Have you considered replacing the fans in your current case? Typical good quality quiet fans should be no more than audible even when working flat out. Extra noisy sounds like they're either unsuitable fans or they're fans that have reached the end of their life. Do you need Full ATX motherboard compatibility or is normal MicroATX sufficient?Have you looked at Silverstone? They have plenty of interesting HTPC-style cases at decent prices.

kester76

Just buy a long HDMI lead and a USB extension lead and hub for the … Just buy a long HDMI lead and a USB extension lead and hub for the remote etc. You don't need the PC in the same room as you, just throw it in a cupboard.

kester76

One thing I'd recommend is swapping the cpu fan for a small AIO water … One thing I'd recommend is swapping the cpu fan for a small AIO water cooler. Stock heatsink fans are extremely noisy. I've swapped to a Corsair H75 and the only thing I hear is the Hard drive, even the 460GTX is quiet.

emodan

If you want a simple gpu just for 1080p the 5450 is pretty good I got … If you want a simple gpu just for 1080p the 5450 is pretty good I got a 512mb one from cex for £6 and it runs Netflix etc fine when paired with an old core 2 duo


No love for the Steam ? oO
As for USB hubs I think any will do. I bought mine around 2005 I think so probably the cheapest will be the same if not better spec. I only use it for my wireless keyboard and to plug two arcade sticks into If I'm using Mame I'm using arcade sticks Once I move I'm setting up and running Hyperspin through it

Original Poster

kester76

No love for the Steam ? oOAs for USB hubs I think any will do. I bought … No love for the Steam ? oOAs for USB hubs I think any will do. I bought mine around 2005 I think so probably the cheapest will be the same if not better spec. I only use it for my wireless keyboard and to plug two arcade sticks into If I'm using Mame I'm using arcade sticks Once I move I'm setting up and running Hyperspin through it



I've got a USB hub but need the IR device/extender so I can use the remote. No idea what to go for and looking at this link, it has USB connection. So if PC can turn on through USB via ir, why can't you just buy a USB on/off switch?

Your text here

Original Poster

kester76

No love for the Steam ? oOAs for USB hubs I think any will do. I bought … No love for the Steam ? oOAs for USB hubs I think any will do. I bought mine around 2005 I think so probably the cheapest will be the same if not better spec. I only use it for my wireless keyboard and to plug two arcade sticks into If I'm using Mame I'm using arcade sticks Once I move I'm setting up and running Hyperspin through it



Just remembered I have 5.1 sound connected to PC for occasional movies. That would mean 3 x 3.5mm cables atleast 5m in length + 5m HDMI and IR receiver/hub. That must cost at least £20. Rather just buy a htpc case instead. . . hmmm

DarkReborn11

I've got a USB hub but need the IR device/extender so I can use the … I've got a USB hub but need the IR device/extender so I can use the remote. No idea what to go for and looking at this link, it has USB connection. So if PC can turn on through USB via ir, why can't you just buy a USB on/off switch?Your text here


Why do you need that IR receiver/emitter. Don't you use one of these ebay.co.uk/itm…e4d

DarkReborn11

Just remembered I have 5.1 sound connected to PC for occasional movies. … Just remembered I have 5.1 sound connected to PC for occasional movies. That would mean 3 x 3.5mm cables atleast 5m in length + 5m HDMI and IR receiver/hub. That must cost at least £20. Rather just buy a htpc case instead. . . hmmm


Sorry I assumed you would use HDMI. I guess you could use ebay.co.uk/itm…31a
You could pretty much connect everything into the hub except the HDMI so you would only need two cables.

Original Poster

kester76

Why do you need that IR receiver/emitter. Don't you use one of these … Why do you need that IR receiver/emitter. Don't you use one of these http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Brand-NEW-Original-Genuine-HP-USB-MCE-IR-Wireless-Receiver-Win7-Vista-/251233287757?hash=item3a7eabbe4d



The slim htpc case I have has a built in IR along with a digital readout but never used it or needed it. Hoping to move components do a bog standard PC case or keep as it is and place in the front room, next to the 2nd room where the TV and htpc currently is, hence long cables required.
Anyway dude you've been a great help and just hope this stuff works
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