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An HTPC for 1080p/60Hz gaming
by aighamdi
Permalink:   (16 comments)
Description

I can't remember when the last time I fired up my PS3 was. Ever since I made this huge upgrade (July 2013 actually) it wasn't the same anymore. My PC was meant for a couch & home theater setup. My display is a 1080p/60Hz plasma screen. I believe getting a GTX 760 would've been sufficient for my build but it wasn't out yet by the time I ordered my 770. Still, I can just down clock the GTX770 to lower its temp and just keep it running for years. Plus games like Metro and Crysis can still be run @ that sweet 60fps threshold.

This unit didn't serve just for gaming but it's also a great media center that I hardly switch to TV now. For some reason, movies after this sound different over HDMI 1.4a which GTX700 supports AFAIK (hence my home theater amplifier supports HDMI 1.4 input). Now it's safe for me to upgrade to a 4k display for movies @ 24fps once they become cheaper.

Here are my thoughts about the parts:

CPU: This brave little warrior can handle itself with the GTX770. It does not bottleneck the GPU even when run at 110% capacity. And it works its magic at stock speed! I guess I’ll OC by the time games visuals becomes more extreme and force me to SLI.

CPU cooler: it allows for a space to fit an optical drive + it keeps my baby CPU cool and safe at 35 degrees while watching movies or using chrome. Noctua signature colors makes my build look ugly but I didn't choose these parts for a side panel ATX tower so no complains about this.

Motherboard: Nothing much to say other than "decent". Worth the price. Best mATX at its price point z87 with 2-way-SLI support, intel HD graphics support (can be useful temporarily if the GPU fails), and USD 3.0 headers.

Memory: I plan to move the parts in the future when games become more demanding to a mATX tower and OC+SLI. This pair of modules is perfect for that plan with its low profile design and lack of these useless fins (that might block large CPU coolers). Works at the advertised clock speed and timing out of the box with the mobo I have.

SSD: First time I ever use an SSD. I know this model is kinda outdated with the EVO taking over but the upgrade to SSD by itself is something beatiful. I press the power button and withing 50 seconds I'm wandering around the villages of Skyrim.

HDD: I bought a WD Black in some later point and added it to the build. But this HDD is whisper quite in comparison. It's intended for business use so I guess that makes it more reliable (I hope). The funny thing is, I got this drive from Amazon by mistake when I was buying a $70 laptop 2.5 HDD. Mistakes can never be better.

GPU: I played Crysis 3 on my 1080p plasma screen @ 60fps with this adjusted to 100% capacity in EVGA Precession X. I still regret the cooler choice as the case does not allow for a lot of airflow. It idles at 39 degrees and peaks at 80. Even though these temps are supposed to be safe, I'm concerned with the life span of my GPU. Hopefully it'll endure the heat until I move the build to another case and then I think I'll get a Titan style cooler GTX770 to SLI.

Case: A fine piece to add to my home theater. I got to admit that my wife had an influence in choosing this part. Although it's painful during the building phase, I'm still happy with this choice. And the HDD hot swap drive bay is a sweetest thing about this case. I'm planning to get a barracuda 3TB to share my stuff without having to clean up my portable drives every once in a while. I advise anyone building with this case to pick a blower cooler video card.

PSU: Kinda pricey but it was the best choice for the limited PSU clearance this case offers. My build is expensive so I wanted something that protects my investment and hopefully this PSU is the right choice.

Windows 8 Pro: I got it from a website that sold license keys for a cheap price. It sure needed a lot of configuration to work properly with a TV screen. No start menu without installing 3rd party software. Still, worth all the trouble for its short boot time.

Keyboard: This keyboard is meant for multimedia and some web browsing that normal HTPC are built for. It's not your ideal choice for gaming unless your used to play games with such uncomfortable input methods. Usually I just use it to launch games then switch to the joypad and forget about it until I quit the game. It has a decent wireless signal when using the extender that comes with it. It still suffers some sort of signal interference while placing it on my lap in a certain way (placing it's center on my knee causes no trouble while using it). Sometimes it interferes with the joypad's signal and I switch it off then go back to gaming. I used it several times to play Age of Mythology without major issues but I guess that's possible for my standard since I'm used to playing that game on my laptop (Actually RTS games are horrible on TV panels - these games are better played with more apropriate types of monitors).

Details
Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate3.4GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle35.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load60.0° C
EVGA GeForce GTX 770 2GB ACX Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate1.05Ghz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate7.01Ghz
GPU Temperature While Idle39.0° C
GPU Temperature Under Load79.0° C
Comments
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Sorted by:
 
 
actechy [6 Builds] 3 points 7 months ago

Any pictures of the final product? I'd be interested to see how cables worked out in that case.

+1

[comment deleted]
 
 
rahulb 2 points 7 months ago

Nice build. I am looking to build something along the same lines soon with a mid tower case. Trying to keep it under 1K

 
 
canders [6 Builds] 1 point 7 months ago

Nice build. Do you use the K400 keyboard for gaming? I have one and the mouse pad doesn't seem that suited to it.

 
 
linsyschopman 2 points 7 months ago

i think he plays with a controller and just needs a wireless keyboard from time to time to control the PC from his couch.

 
 
iiLeGiT101 [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

How was it building in such a small case? I want to build a computer but keep it very small so it could slide into where my consoles are. I have big hands though so I don't want to cut myself up and have a tough time with cable management lol

 
 
lt-smith [2 Builds] 0 points 7 months ago

you'd probably enjoy doing a bitfenix prodigy build then. lolz

 
 
iiLeGiT101 [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Maybe. I don't really like the newest one though, it seems like cable management would be tough.

 
 
infinitemerald [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

You sure seemed to have gotten a great deal on Windows...

Great build nonetheless.

 
 
lt-smith [2 Builds] 1 point 7 months ago

have you tried increasing the fan speed of your gpu whilst it's under load? i'm in a similar situation as you are in terms of the lack of gpu airflow, i increased the fan speed to the maximum and i saw my temperatures drop from 78-80 degrees to 68-72 degrees

 
 
soulSmith [1 Build] 1 point 6 months ago

This one looks a lot like this build: http://pcpartpicker.com/b/EcK

 
 
sandkiller 1 point 6 months ago

Great build, that's more or less what I'm looking for :) How is it in terms of noise and temperature? Is it silent enough for the living room?

+1

 
 
aighamdi [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 6 months ago

In terms of noise: it's all good while watching movies or playing light games such as street fighter & fifa. During intensive gaming (Like BF4 and Tomb Raider) I enjoy about half an hour of silence until the GPU fan speed exceeds 70%

In terms of temps: everything about the case is excellent except for handling high end video cards. this case is ideal for a GTX 760 or lower. If you want GTX 770 performance, get a cooler master elite 120 or 130 or get a similar case from fractal design. If you still prefer mATX motherboards, get this case with a video card that has a blower cooler. blower coolers are more noisy but the temps will be better than what I have.

 
 
kavc 1 point 4 months ago

what is the websitie for the key for windows 8?

 
 
Erikus [1 Build] 0 points 7 months ago

I wouldn't have gotten an unlocked processor, since you can't really overclock in that case, but that's a minor point.

Your build looks good! Great parts and a good price overall for the build.

 
 
aighamdi [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

I totally agree with selecting a locked CPU for a similar case. But in my situation, I have future plans. It's feasible to get this CPU.

[comment deleted by staff]
 
 
aighamdi [Submitter] [2 Builds] 9 points 7 months ago

You're right. but I actually bought it at release date (July 2013).

[comment deleted by staff]