Description

THE GOAL:

1) Build a PC that can play 1080p video at 60 FPS without a hitch.

2) Run it all with a CPU, a PICO power supply, and no graphics card so that it can fit into as small a case as possible.

No demanding gaming or rendering is intended to be done on it. It's main purpose is to play Netflix, YouTube, or HD movie files from the hard drive with VLC, all while maintaining the functionality of a PC.

SPECIAL THANKS:

To Somefa and Tek Everything on YouTube for inspiring this build. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w37AnZ1eZxE&t=0s&list=WL&index=332

MOTHERBOARD/CPU:

At first I was against an embedded solution, but the J5005-ITX is great. For a good price, you get a motherboard, and a processor and heat sink that do the job perfectly fine. And because there are no fans in this build, it is DEAD SILENT. Perfect for movie watching. I'd say that's a decent trade-off for not being able to change the processor/cooler.

POWER SUPPLY:

A PICO PSU was an obvious choice because of its small size. I had no experience with PICO PSUs or power bricks before this, which is why it was helpful to use Somefa's build as a reference. While 80 watts doesn't sound like much, this PC barely gets to 15 watts when playing Netflix, according to my Kill A Watt meter.

WI-FI CARD:

For the Wi-Fi card, I originally bought an Intel 9260, but couldn't get it to work. The Bluetooth worked and I could get online with an ethernet cable, but there was no option for Wi-Fi under Network Connections. I couldn't figure how to get it to work so I just returned it and settled on the Intel 8265, which works fine.

OPERATING SYSTEM AND DRIVERS:

When installing Windows 10, I didn't even need the DVD that came with it, just the key code inside. You can download Windows 10 for free from Microsoft, put it on a flash drive, and install it on another PC so long as you have a key code.

Once I got it up and running, I downloaded the Intel Driver & Support Assistant to get the current drivers for the CPU and get better performance. YouTube was running really choppy without it.

Also downloaded the ASRock App Shop so I can download any new drivers for the motherboard down the road.

Comments

  • 11 months ago
  • 2 points

But can it run Crysis?

  • 11 months ago
  • 2 points

Not past 30fps, which is fine... since the human eye can't see more than 30fps. ;-)

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

Not true. Some humans can see more.

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

USB 2.0? NO front panel 3.0?

  • 11 months ago
  • 4 points

It’s a specialty HTPC, not an NZXT Mid Tower

  • 11 months ago
  • 2 points

I guess you are right. You don't need USB 3.0 for an HTPC. You really don't need any front panel ports. Just back panel really.

  • 11 months ago
  • 2 points

One of my few gripes with the case. At least the motherboard has 3.0 on the back if you really need it.

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

An impressive little project, well done!

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

That is very small indeed. So, if I read correctly, it is a mini itx build and not mini stx/nano and so on.
If so you could, in technicality, with a different mobo/cpu combo, have a pcie x16 and install a very low profile gpu. Probably no section on the case to access the hdmi port of a gpu but I have seen folks engineer a solution. Potentially you could have an i7-8700, low profile cooler, and a GTX 1050Ti low profile. Not suggesting that you do this because you have a particular application in mind here that does not require anything more than what you built. Nice build, motivates me to research possibilities in this tiny form factor.

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

Yup, Mini ITX. Nano? STX? Not familiar with those, but I may have to look into it if I ever build another HTPC. Always fun to see what people will come up with to fit a graphics card into a tiny HTPC case.

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

Beauty! I love this build! I've been wanting to make a small one for my living room! +1