Build Update with Pics and even more questions...
So I have had this built for a while now, just never got around to posting pics and specs:
[Case] Silverstone HTPC Case
[MOBO] ASRock MB-A75M Socket FM1 Motherboard
[CPU] AMD A8 Quad-core processor
[CPU Cooler] Scythe Big Shuriken 2 RevB CPU cooler
[SSD] Crucial 64GB SSD Drive
[PSU] FSP 300-Watt Micro ATX Power Supply
[Memory] Kingston HyperX 8GB Memory
[DVD Drive] Sony DVD Drive
I have done hardware upgrades, but this is the first computer I have ever built. Installed the CPU successfully. I was most nervous about this step and removing the stock cooler brackets and replacing them with the ones fot the Big Shuriken. I didn't want the brackets too loose or too tight, I think I got them just right.
Got the PSU in place and installed the motherboard where it needed to go. I had to install the power supply upside down because otherwise the wires were too short. The case vent is underneath the PSU, the PSU fan points up, but there is no vent on top of the case. The micro-ATX power supply is a smaller form factor, so there is plenty of clearance between the bottom of the PSU and case as well between the top of the PSU and the case, so I think my airflow is OK. No temperature problems so far anyway.
The power cord for the SSD wasn't long enough to reach the mounting bracket, so at first I mounted it underneath the DVD drive. Notice the crappy cable management. This worked, but I am kind of picky so I decided to get a molex extender, I call this take one...
I have a buddy in the IT department at work who hooked me up with a spare molex extender the next day, so I took everything apart and decided to focus on cable management a little more.
All done! It looks nice in my entertainment center. This picture really showcases the beautiful fluorescent canned lighting in my basement
One of these days I am going to get some more natural lighting and some ambient lighting, but it isn't as bad as it looks in this picture.
VGA out didn't work out of the box, so the first thing I did was hook it up via HDMI and update the BIOS. I followed the guide from this
thread and had Ubuntu 12.04 installed with Frodo + XVBA + PVR in no time at all. Fritsch was a big help on the #xbmc-xvba channel on IRC to get it tweaked. Everything XBMC related is working great, Aeon Nox used to struggle on my old box, this is butter smooth.
I do have a question for all of you hardware experts. One thing I wanted to do with this box was use Advanced Launcher to run the Wii emulator Dolphin-emu. I can start Dolphin, but the performance is terrible. I can't seem to find anyone who has ran Dolphin with AMD with much success. Do you have any tips to boost performance (although I would think the A8 would have enough power). What about an additional/different video card? Everyone on the Dolphin forums seems to support nvida cards and Windows, but I know it runs fine on my Ubuntu desktop (Pentium i7 and nvidia GeForce GT 430). If a video card is the answer, can you guys recommend one?
Overall I am really happy with my build. It runs great, stays cool and quiet (once I figured out you have to set the fan speed on that Big Shuriken, full speed sounds like a helicopter). It did leave me with an itch to build another one, but I'll have to wait until my checkbook recovers from this one