My very first HTPC build

So I needed something powerful. Something that could cope with my routine resource hungry applications. Something that would effortlessly kick my HP small form factor workstation’s posterior into oblivion. So I embark on this very interesting and rewarding mission to build myself the ultimate Home Theatre PC. I had a budget in mind and I aimed exactly for that.

After a full 2 months of loitering around hardware review sites like Tom’s Hardware and forumsas well as taking on advice from trusted overclockers at my local “raging technophiles” committee, I started my quest for overclocking bliss. With all things IT, (or all things generally) just remember, the Goog is your buddy.

This was not built for gaming mind you, it was built to quench my thirst for super warp speed with applications as well as the desire to learn a little more about overclocking and why people do it. From the application list below, I will attempt to justify the build.

24/7 applications:

  • 29 mailboxes on my outlook 2010
  • Mozy Online Backup (8TB of continuous incremental backup)
  • Windows Media Server for streaming media across home (PS3, Android phones, Mac mini, Laptops)
  • Audio Galaxy (Android Music Streaming application)
  • VNC Enterprise Server
  • Windows Server 2003 virtual machine for FTP and UAT web server
  • uTorrent (always downloading something)
  • Microsoft Security Essentials
  • Time lapsed Ajax based web service calls for my project
  • A very very strict firewall, I forget the name

On demand applications:

  • Sony Vegas Pro for editing AVCHD raw video from my Panasonic TM900
  • Adobe Photo shop CS5
  • Sitemap Writer Pro (takes 8 days to generate a sitemap)
  • Unusually large text and excel files with millions of records
  • The odd 1080p movie with K-lite codec pack

Ok, so without further ado, here is the list of components sourced for this build.

1. SilverStone Lascala LC17B HTPC full ATX case
Bland, but black and wonderfully vented. Does the job well.

Silverstone LC17B HTPC Case

Silverstone LC17B HTPC Case

2. Intel Core i7 2600k Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz
Fully unlocked and ready to be unleashed for overclocking supremacy.

Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge

Intel Core i7 2600k

3. Asus P8P67 EVO Revision 3
The mobo with a mojo and automatic self tune and overclocking ON DEMAND (no really)

Asus P8P67 EVO Rev3

4. Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 1600 MHz
Goodbye virtual RAM, hello overclockable DDR3 awesomeness

Corsair Vengeance DDR3

5. OCZ 120GB Vertex 3 6GBps SATA 3 Solid State Drive
Will only be used for Windows 7 OS and all the program files. Currently fully booting windows in under 8 seconds… whhaacck (judo chop impression)

OCZ Vertex 3

6. 1GB Sapphire HD 5750 Vapor X Radeon Graphics Card
Crisis 2? Bring it. 1080p? yawnnn

Sapphire HD 5750 Vapor X Graphics Card

7. 5x Seagate Baracuda 2TB 5900 RPM 8ms seek Hard drives
All configured with RAID 0 for a single 10TB hard drive.. oh yeah. Any recommendations for what I should name this drive?

Seagate Baracuda 2TB

8. Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Series 7.1 Sound Card
Avoid the built in mobo sound card like the plague. My MP3s sound like FLAC now, and the 7.1 through my Yamaha RXV 1700 amp is MAD. THX certified, DTS, Dolby Digital all out of the box.

 Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Series








9. Noctua NH-U9B CPU Cooler Noctua NF-R8 silent fans
This cooler is MASSIVE. its as big as my size 13.5 shoe. Near soundless operation though.

Noctua NH-U9B

Noctua NF-R8

10. Cooler Master Silent Pro M 600w PSU
PSU? yeah, PSU too.. I will PSU your ass all the way to China with this mofo.

Cooler master silent pro

11. Samsung SH-B123L/BSBP 12x BD-ROM & DVDRW Combo Player
Why not huh? I have a PS3 too.. but why not… come on

Samsung SH-B123L/BSBP 12x BD-ROM & DVDRW Combo Player

So thats all the hardware list apart from the odd cable, fan splitters or sticky tape etc. I was pleased when I started up the beast, WHAM BAM THANK YOU MAAM.. boot up perfect. All hardware detected in one go, BIOS taking a bow. I would have loved a much nicer HTPC case I guess.. but all in good time right? Have a look at this beauty by OriginAE…

Origin AE

AND… here are some pictures of the finished build. Click on the images to see FULL SIZE!

 Build 1

Build 2

Build 3

Build 4

Build 5

Build 6

Build 7

Windows Experience Rating

windows experiance rating

SSD Life



Although I have not had the chance to properly overclock the system to tested and stable 4.9GHz speeds, I am reading up on this threadto see how far I can push the boundaries. I have meanwhile used ASUS’s own auto tuning feature. It has overclocked the PROC to 4.2GHz stable. DDR3 next.

I am pleased with this sufficiently powerful piece of modern machinery, I may well find out that it is over powered for what I thought I needed with all that serious grunt under the hood. If that may be the case (should become apparent in a couple of months of use), I am happy to put the extra horse power to good use with the Folding@Home project. This will add to the 24/7 applications list above.

I have already gotten some useless feedback from a few people I told. Most of them came back with the same “why do you even need so much power?” retort to which my response is usually a projectile spit bomb.

My next project?

I came across quite an interesting concept recently while searching for ways to play FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) in my car.  Currently, there is no way of playing FLAC in your car with anyafter market in car entertainment systems. Do a search for it, you will see what I mean. But then, I came accross this very cool concept called the “Carputer“, yup, you guessed its a “car-computer”, imagine Windows 7 Ultimate in your car way hey! Perhaps my next project? Maybe………….