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ludi
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New HTPC build in a Fractal Nano S - ultra-quiet

Wed May 17, 2017 1:52 am

EDIT: Topic change. Don't think the Ryzen idea will work, so shooting for total silence now.
--------

It's been almost six years since I last built a new system with help from the TR forum, but thanks to the generosity of the Tech Report and Fractal, I'm picking up a new Fractal Design Nano S. I honestly don't need a new system since wife + baby + townhome have removed all time and incentives for A-list computer gaming, and the existing i5-2500K box (no overclock) is still running great with an MSI 460GTX Cyclone (don't laugh) that was a TR photography contest prize, I dunno, seven years ago?

The timing of this prize is particularly good since AMD finally released a CPU series worth buying. Not planning to replace the i5, but we do have a Dell Optiplex 780 (Win10/C2Q 9450) running as our HTPC at the moment, and I wouldn't mind updating...just because. Newegg has a combo deal on the Ryzen 5 1400 with an MSI B350M mATX and 2x8GB of G.SKILL RAM for $334. I have a spare PSU and would move the existing drives over to the new system.

Any thoughts or suggestions? We have a 10mo baby in this house and bulk diaper purchases are a regular event, I can only do this by using onboard graphics and keeping the total price as low as possible. Cool and quiet are high priorities, given the HTPC application. I don't need fast, but if I do this, I want to see how the cheapest Ryzen compares to the hardware I'm already using.
Last edited by ludi on Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Wed May 17, 2017 2:06 am

What onboard graphics?
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Wed May 17, 2017 3:03 am

Yup, Ryzen has no onboard graphics. The Zen APUs aren't coming out until end of this year/start of next year, I'm afraid!

If you just want a HTPC box, you could always get a Kaby Lake i3, something like the i3-7100. Or the Pentium G4620, if you don't mind the weaker integrated graphics- the new Pentiums have Hyperthreading, so CPU-wise they're almost as good as the i3s.
 
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Wed May 17, 2017 4:52 am

That micro-ATX motherboard isn't going to fit into the mini-ITX Define Nano S case. The only mini-ITX socket AM4 motherboards currently available are from BioStar.
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Wed May 17, 2017 6:45 am

You could just throw a AMD Rx9 460 in the new build which should be good enough for HTPC duties.
 
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Wed May 17, 2017 7:15 am

Your ITX pickings are slim at the moment. I have a feeling that will change when they come out with their APU (which has onboard graphics). Unfortunately that's a few months away. If you wait for the APU I'd be interested in the performance difference of your systems.

Congrats on the kid. I went over a month without my system being powered on after my youngest was born. Wouldn't have it any other way.
 
ludi
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Wed May 17, 2017 10:38 am

Hmm...so I may be holding onto the case for a couple months until the selection thickens up a bit.
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Wed May 17, 2017 11:17 am

Gigabyte and ASRock are rumored to be working on ITX boards for Ryzen also, but the details are slim at the moment, so yeah... If a Ryzen upgrade is the plan for the new case it's probably best you hang to it for a bit.
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Wed May 17, 2017 8:42 pm

Starting with a blank slate, I might choose something like the Grandia GD05 and a micro-ATX motherboard for an HTPC. How does this look for a first pass at fitting a socket-AM4 system into the Define Nano S?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1500X 3.5 GHz Quad-Core ($189 @ B&H)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240 ($90 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Biostar X370GTN ($113 @ Newegg)
Memory: 2x 8 GiB PC4-25600 G.Skill Flare X F4-3200C14D-16GFX ($187 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon RX 560 4GB ($115 @ Newegg)
SSD: 0.53 TB Crucial MX300 M.2-2280 ($160 @ Adorama)
HDD: 6 TB Western Digital 3½" 5400RPM ($196 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Pioneer BDR-XD05B ($89 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define Nano S ($52 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic SS-400FL2 ($117 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($93 @ Amazon)
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Thu May 18, 2017 8:07 am

Are Biostar boards passable again? I went through a phase in the early noughties of getting stung by Biostar's low quality control. They practically disappeared from the UK market back then, too - indiciating that it wasn't just me returning a large percentage of faulty boards....

They've been practically nonexistent this side of The Pond for almost a decade, until a couple of years ago when they seemed to resurface. Competition at the low end is good, but "once bitten, twice shy" means they need to earn my trust back.
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ludi
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Thu May 18, 2017 11:10 am

I've looked longingly at that SilverStone case in times past, but such niceties are not in the budget anymore.
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Thu May 18, 2017 11:13 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
Are Biostar boards passable again? I went through a phase in the early noughties of getting stung by Biostar's low quality control. They practically disappeared from the UK market back then, too - indiciating that it wasn't just me returning a large percentage of faulty boards....

They've been practically nonexistent this side of The Pond for almost a decade, until a couple of years ago when they seemed to resurface. Competition at the low end is good, but "once bitten, twice shy" means they need to earn my trust back.


I've been using Biostar boards for the last five years, and no problems so far. That said, they've all been cheap 1150 boards, which tend to have very few problems to start with.

I'd probably trust Asrock more if you can find a board from that brand.

ASUS is still the gold standard... but I've had far, far too many USB/Audio/Network problems crop up after 5 years and their support is basically "get another motherboard". Email only, and return shipping to Taiwan on my own dime? No thanks, not paying the ASUS tax for that.
 
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Thu May 18, 2017 3:27 pm

Undeniably, BioStar is making the best mini-ITX socket AM4 motherboard that you can buy today. They are also making what is certainly the worst mini-ITX socket AM4 motherboard on the market. I do not know which of their two mini-ITX socket AM4 models occupies which position. :-?
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Thu May 18, 2017 6:31 pm

Heh, for that matter they're simultaneously making the best AND the worst mATX AM4 board that uses the X370 chipset in the GT3 - why has nobody else released one?
 
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Thu May 18, 2017 10:45 pm

The stupid thing doesn't have onboard graphics.
So a 4C/8T Ryzen is beaten in IPC and overclockability by a 7700k AND the 7700k has onboard video,......

PLUS no one seems to give a damn about ITX in the AMD camp, I don't want some gimped out 'basic' X300 chip, I want full features.

The whole thing is a shambles, if you care for ITX, I suggest (at this point in time) you avoid Ryzen.
 
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Thu May 18, 2017 11:35 pm

The mITX boards we've got have the full chipset, and the planned ASRock and Gigabyte boards are strongly rumored to also. I'd phrase it as "if you want a mITX system with onboard graphics, Ryzen is going to take a while getting there and won't have such high-performance options as Intel." That's all true, but it seems like every day I show up here I see you ranting about it and adding on a more general "they don't work for my use case, therefore they suck." It's getting old.

To counterpoint all that, I'm looking for SFF stuff with 6-8C and a dGPU, and I'm in no particular hurry. Knowing how ASRock does this stuff, the mITX board they're planning to release next month is probably going to be perfect for me. From that angle, the main point of Intel/AMD comparison here is just whether I'm looking for more single-threaded ability or more total ability across all cores. I care more about the latter, so AMD it is. Coffee lake at 6C might be superior in absolute terms, but is probably going to cost more than a 1700, and my budget is such that I might have to drop to a 1600 anyway. Either way, this is going to be a beast.

The only thing I can find that's rant-worthy here is how AMD apparently didn't give the mobo vendors enough time to sort things out before launch (which has some cascading effects). If you're an early adopter who needs that new system yesterday, then that's a big problem, but relatively few people fit that description.
 
ludi
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Fri May 19, 2017 12:24 am

Myself, I'm willing to wait and see how the options shake out. The case probably won't even arrive for a couple more weeks, and as mentioned in my OP, we don't need another PC, I just want to see first-hand how Ryzen compares to the various Intel kit I've been using for the past six years after being nearly all-AMD for a decade prior. Once I'm done tinkering, it goes to HTPC duty.
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Re: New Ryzen build in a Fractal Nano S

Fri May 19, 2017 2:49 pm

IMO, one of the Kaby Lake 2c/4t Pentiums are the best choice for an HTPC machine at this time if you're using a dGPU. AND there are
multiple mITX motherboards to pick from.

I considered updating my HTPC with a Kaby Lake Pentium, but I'm waiting to see what the Raven Ridge APUs look like. I'd strongly consider updating if they're decent. Having AMD drivers for HTPC and light gaming is a big pro (over Intel IGP). I don't need dGPU power in my HTPC, so....APU!!
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ludi
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Re: New HTPC build in a Fractal Nano S - ultra-quiet

Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:17 pm

UPDATE (and new thread title):

The case arrived yesterday, and after musing over just how small the nano-ITX layout really is, I'm scrapping the Ryzen idea. Instead, I just want to shoot for the quietest possible layout with integrated graphics, provided the system board has HDMI out (not too hard these days). So, most likely Intel hardware. Digital audio output is preferred to keep the DAC in the receiver and avoid introducing yet another ground path. No gaming, no 4k, just ordinary HD video using Kodi, Hulu, YouTube.

Suggestions on possible barebones options? Board, CPU, and heatsink are the most critical, followed by RAM and possibly a new PSU if extra-silent is an option. Some of the rest I'll be working out separately.
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Re: New HTPC build in a Fractal Nano S - ultra-quiet

Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:09 pm

I believe that the $171 Gigabyte GA-Z270N-Gaming 5 is the best mini-ITX LGA1151 motherboard currently available. The $123 GA-H270N-WiFi may do everything that you need for $48 less.

The $150 4.2 GHz Intel Core i3-7350K is probably the best CPU for your application, but the $87 3.6 GHz Pentium G4600 may be sufficient for $63 less. Here's a comparison to some faster options: http://ark.intel.com/compare/97453,9746 ... 7144,97129 Click on the "highlight differences" button at the top right to enhance the comparison.

Your Define Nano S case may seem slightly small compared to a full ATX tower, but at 27 to 29 liters, it is quite large for mini-ITX (double the volume of my Fortress FTZ01S). The Define Nano S is designed to accommodate up to dual fan radiators. The 51-watt Pentium certainly wouldn't need much cooling. CPU coolers up to 162mm tall will fit into the Define Nano S, so a tower cooler with a 120mm fan like the $29 159mm tall Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo would fit. Even a cooler with a 92mm fan like the $30 130mm tall Arctic Freezer 13 would provide plenty of cooling. One thing that I did like when I had a Corsair Hydro H70 in a compact case was that the radiator exhausted all of the CPU heat out of the case and pulled cool air across all of the other components as the CPU needed more cooling. This kept my drives and motherboard components nice and cool.

I don't like the decorative heatsinks on the $112 G.Skill Ripjaws 4 DIMMs, but that's a fair price for 16 GiB of PC4-24000 memory.

For your power supply, it is impossible to get any quieter than the $106 SeaSonic SS-400FL2 platinum fanless unit that I linked in the Ryzen list. Any of SeaSonic's PSUs with S3FC "hybrid" cooling will leave their fans switched off until you get quite a bit of load on them, but you don't need much power for this system.

Do you really need to use S/PDIF output from your HTPC? In my AV stack, digital audio from most of my components is passed over HDMI to the TV and receiver.
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Re: New HTPC build in a Fractal Nano S - ultra-quiet

Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:21 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
..In my AV stack, digital audio from most of my components is passed over HDMI to the TV and receiver.



It needed some emphasis! :D

-the receiver is usually the "pass-through" for HDMI Video to the TV or projector.
 
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Re: New HTPC build in a Fractal Nano S - ultra-quiet

Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:57 am

In the past, had issues with HDMI audio being correctly passed from a PC. Maybe some of those issues have been resolved in Windows 10, but the current system has a PCIe soundcard spitting out optical and it's working, so I've never bothered to revisit the issue.
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Re: New HTPC build in a Fractal Nano S - ultra-quiet

Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:23 am

ludi wrote:
No gaming, no 4k, just ordinary HD video using Kodi, Hulu, YouTube. Suggestions on possible barebones [Intel] options?

Sucks, like I said earlier, I'm fairly excited about what Ryzen APUs will look like with Vega graphics (Raven Ridge) but last I heard, they aren't expected to launch until sometime 1H 2018. :cry:

The AsRock Z270M-ITX/ac is currently on sale for $109. Of the other options going up to $90, the extra $20 is worth it IMO. Your cheapest option would be the AsRock H110M-ITX/ac for $72.

The Pentium G4560 for $73 is more-or-less equivalent to the i3-6100 Skylake with 2c/4t and good enough IGP.
[Add] Looks like Microcenter has the G4560 for $57. Do you live near/in Denver?

Check out the EVGA B3 line. They are full modular and have semi-passive fan operation. If you're only powering that Pentium or an i3, the fan probably won't ever spin. I know my EVGA 550 G2 fan doesn't turn on during light gaming (when my RX480 doesn't have to hit max clocks).
Last edited by DPete27 on Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New HTPC build in a Fractal Nano S - ultra-quiet

Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:32 am

DPete27 wrote:
The Pentium G4560 for $73 is more-or-less equivalent to the i3-6100 Skylake with 2c/4t and good enough IGP.
The Intel Graphics 610 (GT1) integrated into the Pentium G4560 has only 12 execution units. For $14 more, the Intel Graphics 630 (GT2) in the Pentium G4600 has 24 execution units. The Intel Graphics 530 in the Core i3-6100 also featured 24 execution units. This difference wouldn't matter if you were using a discrete graphics card, but if you intend to use the integrated graphics, I suggest getting a chip with at least GT2 capability.
https://ark.intel.com/compare/90729,97453,97143
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Re: New HTPC build in a Fractal Nano S - ultra-quiet

Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:39 am

Just added that Microcenter has the G4560 for $56. Doesn't look like they carry the G4600 and it looks like that goes for $86. Not worth the extra $30 IMO. For $14 more, sure, whatever. Although I don't think it will make any difference for playing movies anyway.

Gotta keep in mind (I'm assuming Ludi lives at least close to Denver?) that you can get an i3-7100 and H110 mobo for about $160 after tax. (Add $10 for a USB WiFi dongle = $170) I think I'd rather have that than a G4600 and similar cost/feature mobo.
Last edited by DPete27 on Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New HTPC build in a Fractal Nano S - ultra-quiet

Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:46 am

My round-trip travel cost to the nearest Micro Center store would be over $200. If you do decide to make that trip, they offer great CPU+motherboard bundles.
http://www.microcenter.com/site/brands/ ... ndles.aspx
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Re: New HTPC build in a Fractal Nano S - ultra-quiet

Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:51 am

Yes, I do still live in Denver metro, although the downside is that Microcenter is about 20 miles away. I've been looking for an excuse to visit, though.
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Re: New HTPC build in a Fractal Nano S - ultra-quiet

Thu Jun 08, 2017 1:10 pm

You guys and your good deals at MicroCenter. Nearest one to me is either Chicago or St. Louis - I'm almost exactly half-way between them. :-/
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Re: New HTPC build in a Fractal Nano S - ultra-quiet

Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:28 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
You guys and your good deals at MicroCenter. Nearest one to me is either Chicago or St. Louis - I'm almost exactly half-way between them. :-/


It could be worse. For the longest time I didn't realize there were others.

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