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2017 HTPC Upgrade and Repurpose. Part 2.

This is the second post in my series about putting together my new HTPC as well as converting the old one into a media server for the house. The new HTPC, Project Brussels, is done and I’m ready to walk through the build here today.

See other posts:

The Build

Intel Core i5-6500 6MB Skylake Quad-Core 3.2 GHz
ASRock Fatal1ty Gaming Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 Memory
Fractal Design Case NODE-202
Fractal Design Integra SFX 450W (included in case)
Cryorig C7 CR-C7A CPU Heatsink
Gigabyte Radeon Rx 460 Windforce OC 2GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB 2.5-Inch SSD
USB External Infrared (IR) Media Center Receiver with Cable
Windows 10

 

Working the sales on NewEgg, Amazon, and with PCPartPicker as a guide, I managed to snag these components for about $815. (including tax and shipping) I really liked using PCPartPicker as a guide for verifying compatibility and checking the prices across multiple sites. I highly recommend them.

Unboxing

The box opening was easy. There’s just the case and the manual. The parts are actually inside the case so pulling that apart gives you the screws, power cord, and everything else.

With the top cover removed, the instructions then ask you to remove the bottom cover. This is needed for access to the dust covers and seems to make it easier to install/remove a power supply. Luckily for me, I ordered the Node 202 with included power supply already in its place, nice and cozy. For this build, I never had to remove the bottom cover of the case. (I’ll get to that in the future when cleaning the case however)

Motherboard Prep

With the case ready for the motherboard, it was time to add the CPU, cooler, and memory to it.

First, the CPU. Pretty straight forward.

Shown above is the side-by-side shot of the stock cooler that came with the Intel 6500 CPU and the C7 cooler. The Intel comes with a bit of thermal grease applied already but the C7 comes with a small needle of grease for you to apply.

NOTE: The memory next to the cooler was a snug (very snug) fit and was actually easier if the memory was put in first. Still, with the tight fit, things look pretty good and I’m happy with the results not to be worried about parts touching. I tried to capture that here:


The motherboard went into the case with ease. 4 screws does the job. (once you untie and get all the wires out of your way)

Simple Storage

The case features space for two SSDs. 4 screws go into the drive and the housing, which can be removed from the case to make it easier. The housing is then held with one screw and fits nicely.

NOTE: I forgot to add the SATA power cable here, which you don’t see in the photo. I realized it later after booting up the HTPC and no drive was found. Woops!

Give Me Graphics

The GPU fit nicely as well. (this really wasn’t much of a hassle build)

After removing the PCI slot from the case and adding the riser card, the GPU was added to it. The whole thing then slid right into the case and motherboard. I didn’t even need to adjust the support as it was already in a good position.

Wrapping Up

Finally, before this build is ready for a test, the front case connections need to be plugged in. USB 3.0, front LED, headphone, microphone, and the power button were connected to the motherboard. Power supply power was connected as well and then we were ready to test it out.

Testing

Leaving things open, I then connected the build to a monitor, keyboard, mouse, power, and internet to see what would happen. Keeping with the theme of being hassle free, Project Brussels booted up no problem and I jumped into the UEFI.

All signs were normal, minus the missing SSD drive I mentioned earlier, so with a good network connection, I flashed the latest UEFI. Confirming that everything was running well after flashing up, I powered down, got my cable management on, and closed up the build.

At this time, I’ve successfully been able to boot to a Windows 10 USB key and will get into configuring Brussels.

 

 

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