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HDplex H5 case- fanless HTPC


vdgraaf
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On my quest to get the best sound out of my PC, I've decided to finally build my own:)

My last PC was built 8 years ago, so a lot of things have changed since them and because I wanted to be future-proof for the next 5 years or so, I probably spent a bit more that necessary:

1. HDplex H5 powered by an external 16v adapter(inside it has a 250w dc module)

2.i5 6500 processor

3. 32GB RAM- DDR4

4.Gigabyte z170 Gaming 3

5. 250 GB SSD Samsung EVA 850 drive

 

I've decided against using any external USB card (my DAC is USB) as the mainboard claims to have a special USB port that is isolated by the main power circuit( GIGABYTE USB DAC-UP provides clean, noise-free power delivery to your Digital-to-Analog Converter. DACs can be sensitive to fluctuations in power from the other USB ports, which is why GIGABYTE USB DAC-UP takes advantage of an isolated power source that minimizes potential fluctuations and ensures the best audio experience possible.)

 

Anyway, the case I chose seems to be popular with music server builder, so I thought to try something new and gave it a try: oh boy what tons of surprises this case brought me!

1. The build quality seems amazingly good to the last details

2.The actual looks fit perfect in a HT environment

3. The instructions to build it need tons of work!!

It took me 7h and tons of swearing to get to a point that looks fully assembled but still NOT functional: most of the time I've spent around the power connector that doesn't seem to have proper screws that can be used: in the end I had to glue the adapter to the plate provided:(

The other main complaint I had was the position of the HDD trays: no clear indication of how far towards the front of the case I can mount them without having interference with the hinge system...

 

So right now everything is in the right place but of course the PC doesn't want to start at all: I suspect some power cables are not probably seated, so part2 of this mini-review tomorrow:)

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Have you got it working?

 

Yes, I did. I had a batch of bad memories from G.Skill , but now I got replacements and the the fun begins.

 

So far I have not stressed the PC at all and the CPU temperature hovers nicely around 36-40C.

 

The USB output from the mainboard seems to be very good, as I've noticed much better instrument separation in the music played from this PC, but again there are so many new things that I've changed that it is hard to say for sure which one made the biggest difference: the DC power supply, the USB DAC-UP ports?? Who knows, but so far I am very happy :)

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Aside from the fact that it fits on a rack in your system and looks like a regular audio component, would you say that there is an advantage going this route over my current setup. Right now I have a Corsair Obsidian case that is designed to be silent and a Corsair RM power supply that is also designed to be silent, even though it has a fan. And it is. I can't hear a thing. I'm wondering if there's a sound quality advantage going with more specialized components like you have. Also, I see you have a 250watt PS. That seems a little low and would suggest that its a mini ITX. I hesitate to get something that small, but if there's no downside I would consider it.

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Aside from the fact that it fits on a rack in your system and looks like a regular audio component, would you say that there is an advantage going this route over my current setup. Right now I have a Corsair Obsidian case that is designed to be silent and a Corsair RM power supply that is also designed to be silent, even though it has a fan. And it is. I can't hear a thing. I'm wondering if there's a sound quality advantage going with more specialized components like you have. Also, I see you have a 250watt PS. That seems a little low and would suggest that its a mini ITX. I hesitate to get something that small, but if there's no downside I would consider it.

 

I am not sure about advantages over what you have right now, but I've been told that having a DC only supply feeding my motherboard should produce less interference with the USB path. At the same time, I cannot say 100% that my setup has improved the drastically the sound I was getting from my previous regular PC setup: only a side-by-side test would show that, or some measurements with equipment that I don't have.

I am a happy camper, but if you don't NEED to upgrade your PC I wouldn't do it..lol I was coming from an 8 year old PC, so I had other reasons for the build.

 

The PS is rated 250w, but it was designed to handle 300w with no problems, if required. And my setup barely reaches 150w...

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