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HTPC and Steambox

Audiolab 6000A Amplifier
Mar 16, 2015
Hi all

Long time lurker, first time poster here.

My gaming rig's motherboard failed recently and i've upgraded to an i7 4790k/ Asus Z97 combo.

I have a perfectly capable i5 2500k left over from my PC and am looking to repurpose it in an HTPC/ Steam OS PC.

Purpose of the build

Media server cum HTPC with light gaming. The system will be hooked up to my TV (Bravia HX 850) and AVR.

Since I don't have a dedicated NAS, Im also looking to install HDDs in RAID 5 on this PC. I want some degree of data redundancy so RAID 5 would be the best way to go (assuming I find a case with 3 HDD bays) - otherwise RAID 1.

I will be moving all my music (mostly in FLAC) onto this PC along with HD rips. I will be using Netflix and Hulu a lot on this box as well as well as attempting to play Blurays.

However, the intent is not to keep the PC on 24x7 - it will be used mostly over the weekend and at night.

On the gaming front, the PC will be used for two kinds of games:
(a) indie titles - these will be run off the HTPC HDD;
(b) watching DOTA 2 streams in client;
(c) streaming heftier titles from my gaming rig to the living room PC using steam in-home streaming.

Parts I already have

CPU: Intel i5 2500k (Sandybridge - socket 1155)
RAM: 2x 4GB Corsair Vengeance Low Profile 1600 Mhz
GPU: Geforce 560 TI (also have a spare radeon 5770)
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z77 M D3H. This is a Micro ATX motherboard. The only downside is that it doesnt have an optical out.

While I could have gone with a mini-ITX H61 or a Micro ATX B75 based motherboard, I wanted RAID support on the motherboard.

PSU: Seasonic M12ll 520W
HDD: I have spare 500 GB and 1 TB WD Blue hard disks to get started these can be added in over time so Im not budgeting for these currently.

Input devices: Logitech K400 + dualshock 4/xbox 360 controller + Xbox 360 remote (this is similar to the MCE remote i think)

Parts I need to purchase

Optical Disk Drive: An Internal or External Blu Ray drive see discussion on chassis below. Any suggestions?


This is where the build is stuck currently. Anything which is Mini ITX is out of the question. Currently, my house is under construction so I still have flexibility over the size of the home entertainment centre and am not very constrained for space.

I have considered the following cases for the build:

Corsair Carbide Air 240 for INR 6900.
Pros: Lots of space, great thermal characteristics because of vented chambers, supports water cooling, 3 x 3.5 inch HDD bays and 3 x 2.5 inch HDD bays.

Cons: No 5.25 optical disk drive bay, too big for an HTPC.

Bitfenix Prodigy M for INR 7k

Pros: Compact, has a 5.25 bay, looks great, supports water cooling.
Cons: Cramped installation, HDD installation looks difficult, suspect thermal characteristics (PSU exhaust faces downward)

Cooler Master Elite 631 upto INR 3k

Pros: Fits horizontally, cheap, supports optical disk drive.
Cons: Out of stock, looks rubbish, horrible cable management, No front USB 3.0.

Im also considering the Silverstone GD09B and the L series however these are not in stock with PrimeABGB and will need to imported (on ebay roughly around INR 10k). The form factor of these cases is perfect for the job at hand. However, not enthused with the cooling options in these cases since they have smaller fans, which means more heat.

CPU Cooler: Im planning to stick with the stock intel CPU cooler for now. Depending on the chassis I might get a Cooler Master Hyper 212 OR opt for a Deepcool Maelstrom 120mm liquid cooler.

HDDs: for the Raid 5 config Im thinking of 3 x 2TB WD Caviar Green HDDs unless someone tells me its worth paying the premium for WD Red.

OS: Ideally wouldnt want to pay for another copy of Win 8.1. Hope to dual boot steam OS and open ELEC. However, getting Netflix to run on Linux might require a little work.

Soundcard: My current AVR is a low end Onkyo HTIB so I will be looking to upgrade my sound system in the future. My current gear (other than the HTIB) is as follows:
Speakers: Audioengine AE2+
DAC: Fiio E 17
Headphones: Audio Technica M 50 and Ultimate Ears UE900 in ears.
Since I use an external DAC for most of my sound do I need a dedicated sound card or should I be looking at an internal sound card like the Asus one?

I am not going to do any critical listening on this system it will primarily be used for movies and entertaining guests in the living room. I will not be using this to listen to headphones as well.

Bluetooth/IR receiver: Any good combo receivers out there?

That about sums up my questions! Look forward to your inputs.