miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **3rd system added!**

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miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **3rd system added!**

Postposted on Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:42 am

I've been planning on this one for awhile but I can't quite pull it together yet. Its one that a lot of us are keen to build I'm sure... I'm posting this now because I just noticed the first miniITX FM2 board I've seen for sale on eBay, the ASROCK-FM2A75M-ITX. So far I haven't seen the MSI FM2-A75IA-E53 listed anywhere yet. Of course the A10-5700K hasn't been seen in the wild yet either so that's another thing to wait for.

Anyway, one of those boards and that CPU will be the base of the build. I haven't decided if I want to go with really high-speed RAM or not yet but I probably will to help the IGP out as much as possible.

Case is going to be a modified Antec ISK 110 VESA and by modified I mean with a monster 180mm fan attached to the side.

For storage it'll be a 128GB Samsung 830 for the boot drive (if I buy an 840 Pro it'll go into my main rig) and a 7200RPM 750GB notebook drive for the recordings.

Tuners are the HDHomeRun and HDHomeRun Prime I already own.
Last edited by drfish on Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:58 am

There is no 5700"K", not sure why people keep adding the letter but I think there is an article somewhere that started it.

The 65W versions are at a mainstream retailer in the states, showed up the week of release:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... 3249_83249

Nice find on the ITX, judging by that should be at the usual stores fairly soon.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:08 am

Huh, well that sure makes finding them a lot easier... :oops: I literally just copy and pasted the name from the TR review but it looks like the K is missing from a lot of other places. Well darn, now I have to decide if I want to wait for NewEgg to have everything in stock or buy elsewhere... :-?
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:58 am

You only need to worry about the 'K' if you want to overclock, and I don't think you ought to worry about that with an HTPC.

Question about aftermarket heatsinks if you know - does FM2 use the same retention mechanism as AM2/AM3/AM3+ and is compatible with older heatsinks? It sure looks the same but a brief serach didn't find any statements of compatability with heatsinks that only have AM2/AM3 retention mechanisms.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:04 pm

Don't even care about the "K" a little. Just thought that was the right part number but it turns out its not.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:10 pm

Gotcha. That CPU is the best choice from AMD for a low power HTPC that still has some grunt. I can't find any reviews for it though :( I would like to know what it's real power consumption is compared to the A10-5800K...it's just got slightly lower clocks but 35W lower TDP, the 5800K draws over 100W with IGP so I hope the 5700 is binned well for low voltage.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:19 pm

I found this but its not great. My guess is that the 5700 is right at the max of a 65w TDP rating while the 100w 5800K is probably overstated on average. I have a i7-3610QM which is a 45w part - anyone who paid more for a 35w 3612QM will tell you that it was a waste because the temps and power draw are nearly identical based on everything I've read. My guess is that the 5800K would be just fine in the Antec ISK 110 under normal use - but I'm not going to test it. :P

Edit: Does the K mean the multiplier is unlocked downward as well? Not that it matters much but I could be happy pegging it at 3.2Ghz or a little less and having the full speed IGP... Maybe even undervolt it a little... Hmmm...
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:42 pm

939, AM(2,3,3+) and FM(1,2) all use the exact same heatsink mounting design.

K is unlocked in a pretty wide range but I don't buy claims that they are all binned the same and undervolting will always be a straightforward process to get TDP where you want it.

BTW, please tell me you are talking about a preconfigured laptop and did not buy mobile i7 for a build-it-yourself PC :)
(there is a socket 1155 45w Xeon that is better in every way, especially price and motherboard choices)
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:43 pm

750gb storage drive seems a tad small, but to each their own. I have a 1.5TB that, while its only 60% full, I am getting anxious to replace. The thing with an HTPC - you rarely delete any recordings. I use mine to record TV series such as 'Lost' or 'Walking Dead', or PBS series like 'The War' and that chews up a lot of space. Factor in the kids daily recordings of 'Spongebob or Victorious' and it really does fill up fast. You could probably fit 100+ movies on the 750gb, so that's a rough idea of what you can put on it.

Edit: I see you are using a 2.5" drive, so ignore my comment about drive size. Enjoy !

I've been forced back to my HTPC for the past 3 weeks due to roof/siding work on our house that knocked our dish out of service, but its actually been fun to catch up on a lot of recorded stuff stored on the HTPC. By the end of the year I plan on upgrading to an SSD for the boot drive and a 3TB drive for storage, then moving the old 1.5TB HD to my WHS to double its capacity from 1.5TB to 3TB.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:01 pm

Bauxite wrote:BTW, please tell me you are talking about a preconfigured laptop and did not buy mobile i7 for a build-it-yourself PC :)
(there is a socket 1155 45w Xeon that is better in every way, especially price and motherboard choices)


That is correct. It lives in the W110ER I bought back in May...

Walkintarget wrote:Edit: I see you are using a 2.5" drive, so ignore my comment about drive size. Enjoy !


I should have mentioned that the storage requirements are more that of a DVR than an HTPC. I only have a 640GB drive in my current setup and it is rarely more than 30-50% full. If I want to keep something longer term than watch-it-and-forget-it recorded TV then it gets moved to my NAS in the basement.

Here's a teaser for the plan using a system I already built in the same case:

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I've looked around and I haven't seen anyone who's done this before - maybe because its kind of silly - but seems so obvious given the perfectly matching dimension I'm surprised all the same.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:57 pm

I do the local DVR thing too, lets me get away with only a SSD and no extra spinning platter noise next to the TV.

I only seem to keep maybe 10-15% of TV based stuff for future use, the rest gets watched within a week or two and never again.
I have an absurd 300gb SSD in there now (long story) but I might substitute a 128gb soon.

Playback from a library over the network is no problem, if it wasn't for media center being annoying about using a "local" drive to record I would boot off the cheapest SSD I could find and just mount my SAN.

You can do iSCSI to meet the local requirement but the main share is for for more than 1 machine, sharing the mount again would be a major kludge.

There is also a glitchy workaround/hack to trick windows into thinking a share mounted before login is local but no thanks to that.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:03 pm

Looks like fun !! Mini-ITX is a blessing/curse thing in my book. I built my HTPC with no intentions of going ITX, I simply wanted the discrete 100w/channel amp card that my board offered (the rare and never duplicated MSI Diva 7411 !!) paired with a full sized PSU, so while my HTPC is not a typical tiny SFF, it serves up great 5.1 audio with no need for a receiver.

I got a chance to work on an HP SlimLine Pavilion a few months ago, and it intrigued me enough to have me searching for one to buy, but I ultimately gave up when I realized I already had an HTPC and a WHS, and having another tiny PC around the house with no need for it was just wasted effort. Looking forward to this build as well. Pics are always fun to drool over !
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:53 am

Now I'm thinking I might replace the stock CPU cooler with something like the Cooler Master GeminII M4 or Scythe Big Shuriken 2 and run it without the fan - mostly just for kicks but if I've got the big ugly fan on the outside of the case already I might as well take full advantage of it (I can use these if I need more clearance). BTW I also ordered a 180mm grille/filter so my airflow will be directed into the case instead of pulling air through it (the grille built into the fan is on the wrong side for that but at least its great for keeping cables out of the blades). I like the idea of attaching the filter to the fan magnetically for easy cleaning since the current HTPC gets ridiculously dusty really quickly (will probably use adhesive sheet magnets on the fan to do that).

Edit: Bought the case and SSD from Amazon thanks to the tip about the 830 for $70.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:58 am

Lots of poor quality semi-pointless pictures below. Bottom line is that I'm done and it works great and looks good enough for me (especially since it will be hiding behind the TV). I had to drill 4 holes and sand one side of the fan down less than 1/16" to get it to fit - super easy. :) I'll probably finish the build in another couple weeks once I can get miniITX FM2 boards from somewhere besides eBay.

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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:19 pm

I use the Scythe Big Shuriken in my HTPC. My MSI board lacks adequate mosfet/VRM cooling, so as a poor man's cooling attempt I flipped the fan so it blows down thru the heatsink fins onto the socket area, and surprisingly my temps went down noticeably. I had been around 29c at idle and it dropped down to 26c. They are getting harder to find, but i consider them one of the best HSFs for an HTPC.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:40 pm

It looks great, almost like it was designed to take a fan in that position.

I have a suggestion for the fan power wire. In the second to last picture it looks like you've got the fan power wire running in its normal slot and outside the case top. You could remove the wire from the edge of the fan frame and run it internally, this would look a little cleaner and mean you wouldn't have to reroute it to the inside. It could make assembly a little trickier though since you'd have to hook up the fan header before replacing the case top.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:21 pm

That's actually exactly what I did. :) The cable on the outside of the case is the toggle switch for high/low fan speed. I was able to get the actual header nice and clean and internal (look at pic #2 a little closer). The extra cable for the fan controller ends up tucked under the fan and held in place by the VESA mount I bent to make room. I might still clean that up a little better though. :)
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:22 pm

The finishing touch. Added a screw to hold the fan speed switch in place. You can also see that it still works great with the VESA mount. I'm really pleased. :D

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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:48 am

Went ahead and ordered my A10-5700 - figured why not? My GeminII M4 came in yesterday, it looks nice. It's not all that heavy though, really doubt I need the back-plate so I'm feeling pretty good about everything fitting. I haven't pulled the trigger on the motherboard yet - I may be ok with gambling on a Korean monitor but waiting 1-3 weeks for a board to ship directly from Hong Kong is just a little too daring for me... They exist so the must show up in the states soon, right?
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:33 am

Woohoo! I just ordered my motherboard from Superbiiz - should have it this week. I've actually ordered a few things from Superbiiz before when no one else had them so I'm glad they came through for me again. As far as I can tell they are the only place that has them domestically. Now I just hope it turns out to be a decent board. :o

Edit: BTW I preemptively ordered a 4-pin CPU power extension cable because the location of the plug on the board looks too far for the ISK 110's cable to reach.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:46 am

Well, maybe no one cares about this project except me but I'm going to write about it for my own satisfaction anyway... :P I got the last piece of the puzzle in the mail yesterday - my fancy ASrock miniITX FM2 board. I promptly installed it and removed the existing HSF mounts.

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Of course a problem was uncovered instantly, some chips on the back of the board interfered with the HSF bracket so I elected to ditch it since the Coolmaster unit I'm using isn't really all that heavy. It does rely on the mounts to flex a bit to hold things in place securely though so I was careful not to over-tighten/flex the board and I'm reasonably pleased with the results. I had to use some small nylon washers as standoffs so the nuts that hold the mount in place didn't contact the board.

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So the heat sink clears the RAM with ease (glad I got the low profile Ares series though) and the other shot shows you how much it sticks out of the case when installed. At this point I was pretty nervous I wouldn't be able to get the side back on.

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...and then its on to the next problem I was anticipating - even without the bracket the mounting for the HSF interferes with the location of the hard drives. The 7mm slim 830 had no problems but the 9.5mm 500GB Seagate wasn't so lucky. I had a 7mm 320GB drive laying around though so it got called up to the majors (for now) so I could continue - its a close fit but everything is as it should be (picture below is of the 9.5mm drive).

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Then it was time for the cable management game - and I'm surprisingly happy with the results, it really helped to build two previous systems into this case! The 4-pin CPU power cable did indeed need the extension I picked up, its the least routed cable of the bunch but there really wasn't anywhere else to go with it. All the main board power is bunched up into the corner, I really don't know what else I could have done there either. For me the magic is in the SATA, USB, and front panel connectors, I was able to just barely have them exposed in the front of the case at all and the back of the case doesn't look half bad - thank goodness for those 7mm hard drives or I wouldn't have been able to route the cables under them (cables were positioned first, then the drive cage dropped on top). Antec made the SATA power cables the perfect length but the standard SATA cable required a lot of fiddling - it would probably have been a good idea to pick up some short ones but it all worked out ok and the back closes easily.

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So whats the end result? We gots problems... I am able to close the case up completely, my fan mod on the side just barely fit - in fact the internal grille of the fan is in contact with the heatsink so it all looks great and like it should work but that's not the case (buh dum!). Temps are not good - not good at all, at least not with my mod in place (near as I can tell it overheats and shuts down as soon as I try to enter the BIOS). If I install the stock fan without the side on its works ok, BIOS reports 40C, haven't checked in Windows. I think I know what's going on though - because the fan is so big and the heatsink is right in the middle of the case/center of the fan there is a big dead zone right where I need airflow the most. This is made all the worse by the fact that the fan grill is touching the heatsink - maybe it there was a gap the shear volume of air moving though the case would take care of things but as it is I think the center mass of the heatsink is effectively walled off from the airflow.

I didn't do a lot of work on it after getting that far, I left the stock fan on the heatsink with my 180mm fan plugged into another header to make sure it wasn't a power related problem. Then I installed Win7 last night and some drivers this morning - will have to wait until this weekend to spend more time on it but a spacer for the side fan is at the top of my list of things to try next.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:05 am

Components on the back of ITX motherboards that get in the way of HSF mounts is frustrating. A *lot* of boards are like that. A heatsink that uses the standard heatsink mounts might be better, maybe you aren't getting enough pressure on the heatspreader. If the interference isn't too severe, could you possibly cut the backplate in key spots to make it clear the components without cutting away too much of the backplate?
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:19 am

That has certainly crossed my mind, but if you look at pic #3 you'll see the bracket on the corner of the case and understand why that would be pretty tricky for this combination of board/bracket... I'm going to order one of these just to get it coming and mess with some other spacing options before then. I'm sure more pressure would help but I'm not sure I can get it safely or without a lot of custom fabrication that I'd prefer to avoid... :-?
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:56 am

Before we assume it's due to the fan dead space, have you tried it with the aftermarket heatsink and its own stock fan (case side off obviously)?
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:59 am

And that is why I avoid mini-ITX builds at all costs. They really do separate the men from the boys when it comes to what should be a fairly pedestrian build. my mATX HTPC features a not so svelte Ultra Micro Fly case that accommodates a full sized PSU, and I REALLY like that fact, as well as the complete and utterly painless ability to keep everything cool and well ventilated.

I give you mad props for doing a great job of modding what you have to work with, but every single Mini-ITX build I have looked at featured numerous issues, both large and small, to get either the fit and finish correct or, the heat buildup, under control. These builds take days for those extra parts to come in, and even with your plentiful experience with that case, you still ran into problems.

Its nice to read these threads, as they reinforce my notion that I should never attempt to replace my perfectly functional (and just upgraded) HTPC build to a smaller mITX board. :)
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:33 am

IMO that heatsink is never going to work in that layout. Even if you manage to get a decent amount of airflow moving through the case, the fins are basically going to hold a dead air pocket against the edge of the case, and not convect. You would need to have a low-restriction grill in the side panel adjacent to that case, then put the case under negative pressure, so that nearly all of the incoming air is pulled through the sink fins.

There's a reason that 1RU and 2RU server heatsinks are designed specifically for a horizontal airflow path, and you might have better luck if you can locate one such.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:42 am

MadManOriginal wrote:Before we assume it's due to the fan dead space, have you tried it with the aftermarket heatsink and its own stock fan (case side off obviously)?


That's how it's running now, I guess I didn't make that clear or it got lost in all my other comments - its runs at 40C in the BIOS, will test under load from Windows later today. When I was in the BIOS after I first installed the modded side temp was 50C+ and before it shut off. Shut off temp was sent to 60C but I never saw it hit that so I'm still not 100% sure something else isn't going on.

Walkintarget wrote:Its nice to read these threads, as they reinforce my notion that I should never attempt to replace my perfectly functional (and just upgraded) HTPC build to a smaller mITX board. :)


:)

I'm just having fun - the other two builds in this case were for work, i5s, stock heatsinks, only one drive, no mods - walk in the park. I would recommend the ISK 110 to anyone for that kind of system - my build has problems that are only attributable to my personal desire to fiddle with something a little different. Current HTPC is a Q6600 w/ 9600GT in a full ATX case. Its a little large, loud, and power hungry. There are no internal tuners in it anymore and I don't need a lot of storage so going for a tiny [VESA mountable] Trinity system sounded like a good idea. The jury is still out on that... :lol:
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:52 am

ludi wrote:IMO that heatsink is never going to work in that layout. Even if you manage to get a decent amount of airflow moving through the case, the fins are basically going to hold a dead air pocket against the edge of the case, and not convect. You would need to have a low-restriction grill in the side panel adjacent to that case, then put the case under negative pressure, so that nearly all of the incoming air is pulled through the sink fins.

There's a reason that 1RU and 2RU server heatsinks are designed specifically for a horizontal airflow path, and you might have better luck if you can locate one such.


I'm not sure I understand what you mean. The top and the bottom of the case are quite well ventilated, when I had the modded side installed the airflow/pressure coming out of the top and bottom was significant to say the least... The fins on the heatsink are oriented to encourage this...

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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:01 am

Oh, okay, I see it now. I didn't realize that fan assembly was the size of the entire case! :o

Unfortunately the center of the sink is still sitting under the fan's hub. Perhaps if you could custom-fabricate a shroud to force more of the fan's airflow back into the sink...
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:09 am

Lol, that's the "fun" part. ;)

I'll start with playing with some spacers and see where it goes from there...
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