My Quad-Monitor Rackmount PC and HTPC!

Post Reply
jamesg

Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:58 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK

HTPC Specs: Show details

My Quad-Monitor Rackmount PC and HTPC!

#1

Post by jamesg » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:31 pm

Thought I'd post about my Home Theatre PC to help get this forum off to a good start!

Goals:
  • Fast desktop PC for web browsing, photo editing and general use (don't really play games)
  • Quiet HTPC for live TV, movies and music
  • Low power consumption
  • Reuse some of the old components
Here's what I chose:
Image


For my Desktop PC:
  • Core i5-2500K
  • MSI P67A-G45 motherboard
  • 2x2Gb Corsair Vengence DDR3 1600Mhz 1.50V
  • 2xAMD Radeon HD6450 DDR3 512Mb
  • 120Gb OCZ Vertex 3 SSD
  • TBS8290 DVB-S2 PCI satellite card
For my HTPC:
  • Core i3-2100T
  • MSI H61MU-E35 motherboard
  • 1x4Gb Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333Mhz 1.50V
  • TBS6981 dual DVB-S2 PCI-E satellite card
Let's start with my desktop PC.

Image

Image

I've moved house since my last build and decided to bring along my 19" 12U rackmount cabinet, even though I have fewer rooms now. It's great for squeezing in lots of electronics into a small(ish) space. It's now sporting a Playstation 3 too.

Image

It has a 24 port patch panel and 16 port managed Gigabit switch (Dell PowerConnect 2716). My apartment is cabled up with cat-6, so this also connects up to another switch in my living room as well as my wireless router and VOIP box.

Image

The new motherboard has no IDE ports so I junked the DVD writer as it never got used. This frees up space for better cable management. My old 250Gb hard drive is still in place in a Scythe Quiet Drive enclosure and I'm reusing my Xilence Office Edition 460W Semi Fanless PSU. Both the Vertex 3 SSD and the hard drive are connected to SATA 6Gb/s ports.

Image

I also reused the Noctua NH-9U heatsink from my old PC. Massive thumbs-up to Noctua - they sent me a conversion kit (NM-I3) free-of-charge all the way from Austria to allow me to use my 4 year old heatsink on the LGA1155. Seriously impressive and I will definitely buy a Noctua heatsink next time!

Image

The Noctua is easy to fit, but does require removal of the motherboard in order to fit a backplate.

Image

Gratuitous picture of my OCZ Vertex 3. Droooool. Benchmarks later...

Image

My room is quite small so I found a glass corner desk that is just big enough for my three Dell 2007FP monitors. These give me a desktop resolution of 4800x1200.

Image

But three monitors is never enough! I bought an Optoma HD67 DLP projector for movies and TV. I fitted it on a floating shelf and ran the power and HDMI cable inside the wall. The projector is absolutely the best component I've bought!

Image

Image

Image

Image

This rocks! It casts a 75" image next to the three monitors.

Image

Toggle bolts just to make sure it doesn't rip itself off the wall and result in my untimely death.

Image

Just a quick mention of my VIA EPIA EN12000E. I built this 4 years ago mainly for Network Attached Storage. It's still running perfectly (now with a vLited Windows 7 instead of Debian) with the main OS on an industrial 8Gb Compact Flash card. Current uptime is over 400 days!

Next up is my Home Theatre PC with Core-i3 2100T.

Image

Bottom box is the PC. It's a Claritas 390A from Stands Unique. It's has a gorgeous 10mm thick anodized aluminium front and room for a full size motherboard and microATX PSU.

Image

I bought the case in 2006 and this will be its third set of components.

Image

Again, I sacrificed the DVD writer as I never used it. All my music and movies are on the hard disk anyway. I replaced the PSU yesterday with a PicoPSU-90 and FSP 75W AC/DC adapter, but it intermittently failed to boot, so I've reverted back to the Seasonic PSU. This PC makes very little noise. Windows 7 and recorded TV are on a 2.5" HD and it has a 2Tb 3.5" HD for movies. I'll probably get a cheap SSD just for the OS. I've added Acoustipack foam to part of the case and lid for some more noise reduction.

Image

I'm going to replace the TV stand with something a lot nicer, but haven't worked out quite what yet.

Image

My china blue leather Chesterfield sofa. Most important part of the HTPC :p

Image

So, where does my TV signal come from?

Image

Here is the Sqish satellite dish on my balcony. This is a quad-LNB dish that is only 8cm thick. As I live in an apartment, there is nowhere to fit a regular dish. I wanted satellite TV with multiple inputs and was lucky that my balcony has a clear view of the sky. I get a good signal even though the Sqish is behind the glass railings.

After a bit of drilling through walls, I have two inputs into my HTPC (using a TBS6981 DVB-S2 PCI-E card) and two inputs to my desktop PC (although only using one input with a TBS8920 PCI)

Using Windows Media Centre in Win7, I have the Freesat HD service (I'm in the UK). This gives me all the main free channels and also five High Definition channels (BBC One HD, ITV 1 HD, Channel 4 HD, BBC HD and NHK World).

And finally...

Image

Here's the ATTO scores for my Vertex 3. It takes about 10 seconds to boot into Windows and I think it took about 10 minutes to install Windows 7!

That's all for now. Hope you enjoyed it.

James.

User avatar
STC

Posts: 6808
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:58 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#2

Post by STC » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:39 pm

Classy setup. I am very impressed.
How noisy is the dell switch or the projector? Any issues?
By the Community, for the Community. 100% Commercial Free.

Want decent guide data back? Check out EPG123

jamesg

Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:58 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK

HTPC Specs: Show details

#3

Post by jamesg » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:45 pm

Thanks. The Dell switch is silent, but the projector is quite loud.

It's perfect for watching movies when there's sound to mask the fan noise, but I wouldn't want it as my main TV.

User avatar
STC

Posts: 6808
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:58 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#4

Post by STC » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:16 am

It's a nice minimalist layout (your apt). heck I wouldn't want to show pics of my place. A messy wife, kid and thee cats and well, you can imagine...
By the Community, for the Community. 100% Commercial Free.

Want decent guide data back? Check out EPG123

dduk

Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:53 am
Location: Bristol, UK

HTPC Specs: Show details

#5

Post by dduk » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:19 am

There's something wrong with me; all of that wonderful tech and all I the thing I seem to be impressed with most is that sofa!

I'm looking into getting a Sqish now...

User avatar
Doddsie

Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:28 am
Location: Essex, UK

HTPC Specs: Show details

#6

Post by Doddsie » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:14 am

Great Setup....cheking out that Squish

Venom51

Posts: 566
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:12 pm
Location: Cumming,GA

HTPC Specs: Show details

#7

Post by Venom51 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:18 am

I'm still trying to figure out what you did with all the cabling for the monitors on the glass desk. That's nice an clean.

jamesg

Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:58 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK

HTPC Specs: Show details

#8

Post by jamesg » Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:40 pm

Venom51 wrote:I'm still trying to figure out what you did with all the cabling for the monitors on the glass desk. That's nice an clean.
Thanks. It's just inside some white flexible tubing. It's actually quite a big bunch of cables as there's a couple of speakers behind the monitors and the monitors' USB hubs are connected too.

vectraboyv6

Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:07 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#9

Post by vectraboyv6 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:08 pm

hi,

what satelite card are you using in your HTPC?

thanks stu

Post Reply