Replace current PC attached to my TV

Created by ClintonHammond on Feb. 5, 2015, 7:19 a.m.
  • Hey Tested Community.

    We cut the cable some time ago and have dabbled in a few boxes for displaying streaming and local content on our TV.... To be honest, the best solution I've found is the Windows 7 box currently hooked up. My only complaint is fan noise (It's a home built system a chum gave me, so I'm not looking that gift horse in the mouth, lemme tell ya)

    I want to explore options for replacing it though. My requirements are not huge... Web browsing... Youtube/Netflix streaming.... the ability to run XBMC/Kodi with the Fusion addon.... HDMI output... If the solution ran Android, I could run the few games I play on it as well, but that is WAY not a priority.... I want it to also access my local content... some tv shows... some movies... a TB or so of music (mostly mp3s)

    Suggestions? Accepting the games, do I really need anything more than a Chromecast???

  • If the system is working right now - have you considered just dropping in quieter fans? Or a fan controller?

    Thing is, that is a pretty diverse requirement set you have, and I am thinking you will have to stick with an HTPC rather than things like FireTV (Android based) or what not. Like, I don't think Chromecast will do Kodi.

    And that is about the depth of my knowledge, so hopefully someone will be able to add more.

  • Change the fans you say.... Hummm.... the wanna-be maker in me is intrigued....

    The idiot in me knows my wife would kill me if I effed up the box that brings her Castle and Archer.....

    Maybe I should get a couple of beers and ask drunk me eh ;-)

    Thanks for the 411... Please share more if you have any


  • Well, I would research Fire TV and similar. I currently use PlayOn which is a media server, so the PC is in a different room and it stream wireless. Also have FireTV which does andriod games and streams. Likely does other things I don't know about. Also have a PS3 and PS4 that stream and a Wii for games. I can surf the web with those but never do (not sure about the PS4 actually). SO, I would research.

    For you current HTPC, the following is stupidly long because I am long winded - not because it is hard. And there are no promises changing out the fans will help.

    If it is a standard case you have for your HTPC, changing the fans should not be too much trouble. But if you have never worked "under the hood", there are a few things your should know. I would first open it up for an exploratory look and cleaning.

    Cleaning is important. If it's really dirty in there, that could be causing the fans to work harder and louder. You can use an air can - and you might want to do it outside. If you have pets - expect to be surprised.

    For the fans, you will want to measure the fans diagonally (in mm) between the mount holes. They come in standard sizes so you just need to be close. Also look and see if there appear to be mounts so you can put in a larger fan. This is rare, but it is important because larger fans are quieter.

    The Fan in the Power supply is off limits, so don't worry about it

    After measuring, then follow the wire from the fans to the plugs on the motherboard. You should be able to unplug it gently and count the pins on the board. There should be 3 or 4. You will want fans with 3 or 4 pins. Plug the fan back in. If the fan is plugged into another wire going to the PSU - then that is part of the problem - because it's likely running full blast all the time. If that is the case, I would post back here, because you will either need a fan controller or you will need to find a plug on the motherboard (if it exists).

    Close up the case and put it back so the misses doesn't start sharpening knives.

    To find quiet fans, look at Amazon or any place that has stats so you know what you are buying.

    Here: http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Series-AF120-Edition-CO-9050002-WW/dp/B007RESG7G

    Yes, those are pricey fans - I build pricey system for myself and friends - you can likely find cheaper. Here's is how you can become a quick expert on fans in order of importance:

    • Larger fans are quieter. So if you can use larger fans, then do.
    • Lower Max. RPM fans are quieter - and generally they will cool your system well enough if you have a multiple fan case and are not overclocking
    • The db (noise) number is important. It's a logarithmic scale. So, the difference between say 70db and 80db is very noticeable.
    • PWM (Pulse width modulation) is a plus for a fan and *generally* speaking these will be higher quality and quieter fans.

    Once you have them you can pull it back out and replace fans.

    Just as an aside, in my rig (an OC's gaming system used as a modelling workstation) I have 6 fans. 5 of them are performance quiet fans like that link. One of them is on a custom controller and it's a high RPM high flow fan that kicks on when the system is over heating. Thus far it only comes on when I force it too - but it is seriously noisy - almost like an alarm letting you know something is wrong. Point is, different fans can make a difference.