Ghetto HTPC!

Well, I have been wanting to do this for a while now. Here is the current parts list:

Started back when I found some Old Dell Optiplex SFF at a yard sale and picked a couple up for $10 each.
I had tried making the HTPC from that case but it wasn't going to cut it since the darn thing was so heavy and a pain to work in. Not to mention loud.
Eventually I end up finding this Zotac motherboard on eBay for around $25. The RAM was salvaged from the Dell Optiplex's so unfortunately there is onle 2GB of RAM.
It enough though I am just streaming to the device.

I had first attempted to use OpenELEC to manage everything. I quite like the Kodi interface.
First I was using packages such as the NetfliXMBC to connect to Netflix but I would end up with script errors every time.
Even with the Chrome Launcher in Kiosk mode, I was unable to get Netflix streaming or any other streaming service.
So, I defaulted on Windows 8 and installed a 32 bit to be less of a load on the system.
Still using Kodi, as I like the interface. I am able to get the Chrome Launcher working properly! Yay!

Towards the beginning I was using an old Seagate drive that I had salvaged from a friend of mine's long out of commissioned DVR. It was a whopping 160GB IDE drive and damn, was it slow.
The maximum I ever seen it draw was around 60MBps so that had to go.

I then purchased a Sandisk 120GB SSD and installed windows again as the cloning software kept failing.

As you can see from the hard drive caddy there is my horrible craftsmanship from grinding it down to accommodate an IDE to SATA converter.

Once that was settled I decided the Intel Graphics from 2007 are not going to cut it so I picked up a GT 730.
Its absolutely silent even under load.

The only problem was that this case does not have a single slot for a half height card, so, I got my grinder out yet again.
Its not as pretty as I pictured it would be, but it works perfectly. I removed the PCI-E slot cover from the graphics card and secured the screws into the case.

There is no clearance issues with either.

As for the SSD, I had to remove the HDD caddy or it would interfere with the GT 730.
Velcro like material works just fine!

Unfortunately the Big Shuriken and the NF-F12 will not fit in the case as I wanted them too so grinding once more is the answer.
I wish to find a shroud to cover it up, but I am in no rush to do so.

That's it for now. Perhaps later on I will try OpenELEC again but as of now I am going to stick with windows.

Thank you for moving the post to the correct category, I was not entirely sure since I have never done such a post before.


this is pretty good!

you should get a fan filter for that Noctua though, you don't want anything to hit those blades, like a wire or whatever lol

Definitely. I got some 120mm fan filters laying around, I still want a shroud though.
Perhaps this LINK and then sandwich the filter between the two.

you can get a grill as well, so you don't disrupt airflow too

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I like it. I have thinking about doing something like this with my old laptop for a while now. I finally have a replacement laptop, so I just might do something like this. That, or just connect it with hdmi whenever necessary. I like laptops for this purpose because they are so efficient.

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holy shit 0_o, those are expensive, i have a box of them taken from old power supplies I get for free, how is a twisted piece of metal that expensive?

Because it is a bit of a specialty item. People don't buy those things all the time. That means that the people who do buy it are probably willing to buy it no matter what it costs, hence it being a specialty item. So they can overprice it a bit. That said, $5 for three of them isn't that bad. You could theoretically bend some yourself if you wanted to save a buck or two.

Plus they are pre-painted a glossy black from the reviews.

wow, that hdmi port.

Had to grind out a spot for it. I enjoy the tempered look of the metal and dark trail of sparks.
Connects just as easy as any other HDMI port.

You can get a better deal on eBay for them from the Hong Kong and Chinese sellers.

or i could just get them free by disassembling old power supplies i get for free :^)

Just did some Steam in home streaming and its working better than expected. I am running off of wireless unfortunately. I am probably going to put my AC module into the Mini PCI slot. Or if anything run one of the Ethernet cables from my room, which the hub is next to my desktop, and drill a hole through the wall behind me, which the living room is on the other side of.

*Or if anything

Yeah, hard-wiring is definitely the way to go for gaming streaming (as in streaming games that you are actually playing, be it from the cloud or from your pc in your network). However, I would implore you to look into routing the wires in a more permanent way. Personally, I would look at having a 24-port switch in the attic and then hardwire the entire house (bulk cat5e/cat6 solid copper UTP, etc). Makes for a more professional and permanent solution. Though, I have been known to drill holes in walls to get wires to get where they need to go, so whatever works.

When I think Ghetto HTPC I think of all the Blu-Ray players they got now that turns your TV into a SmartTV. Seems like at some point "Ghetto" became DIY and the new Ghetto it buy a $30-100 thing that does stuff that the owner don't understand but it's cool cause I got the youtubes.

I was going to use the hard drive but way to slow and unbareable.
Unfortunately fully salvaging every part was not possible.
The only parts that are new are the SSD and GPU.

Hmm, perhaps I should consider the switch. I ran some Cat 5e a while back before it got too hot. There are four cables that lead from the room with the router into the main bedroom and a second bedroom.
I can run the switch off of one Cat 5e/6 cable correct and it should route all the traffic of the other ports to the main router correct?
I have no experience with Network Switches.

What I would do, from my basic understanding of networking, is set up the modem and wired router (you can either use your wireless router for this, or get a wired router if you want to use your wireless router as an AP somewhere else in the house or something) somewhere accessible for convenience's sake. Then run an ethernet cable from the router into the attic, where I would have the network switch. I would likely go with used data center switches as they can be had on ebay for pretty cheap, but if you have the money and want to be able to just forget about it, I would suggest going with a new switch. Personally, I would want something like a gigabit 24 port switch so that I could have plenty of room for expansion should the need arise, but something like an 8 or 16 port might work just fine for you while cutting the cost a good bit. Keep in mind that the switch has to have power running to it, so you would need to wire that up in the attic if you want to keep the wiring out of sight. From the switch comes all of the ethernet cables that will run to the various rooms of the house. I would personally set up plugs in each main room of the house so that you can easily plug an ethernet cable into the wall and have it look nice and professional. If need be, you can run multiple cables to each room and have multiple jacks or use a switch in rooms which need extra plugs. From there, I would just make sure that the switch in the attic was bolted down safely, had adequate cooling, wouldn't overheat in the summer, and then tie down the ethernet cables in the attic with appropriate ties and whatnot to make sure nothing gets pulled and then everything is set. As a bonus of doing this, you can wire up somewhere in the middle of the house (or several spots if your house is big enough) and wire up access points in the most appropriate place(s).

For reference's sake, I will just explain the basics really quickly to make sure there is no confusion here. A router (not a wireless router) is what assigns IP addresses and whatnot to each device on your network. You NEED a router in between your modem and your network. From there, you just need switches to give you enough ethernet ports. Think of switches as 6-plugs for ethernet. They put everything plugged into them onto one network and basically expands the number of ports on your router. Access points do all of the wireless stuff and need to be plugged in to either your router or your switch (I would assume that plugging it into the switch would be the easier thing to do given a set up like this).

EDIT: For you, the cheap solution would likely be a new 8-port switch (which use only a few watts of power if you get a "green" switch), and then just use the wiring that you laid already. Cheap, simple, easy. Plug the switch into the router, and plug everything else into the switch.