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Tuesday 5 February 2013

OrigenAE M10 Mini-ITX HTPC Build

Quick post today looking at a new HTPC Build I just did. I plan to install Ubuntu Minimal and XBMC !

HTPC Case – OrigenAE M10
Motherboard - Intel DH67CF
CPU – Intel 2nd Generation Core i3-2100
Aftermarket Cooler – Akasa K25
Zalman Fan Mate 2
RAM - Corsair 4GB DDR3
SSD – Crucial 64GB M4
Blu-ray ROM – Sony BC-5650H (On its way from Hong Kong)

OrigenAE M10 case – this particular case has a right of centre eject button for the optical drive, I’ve seen some of these cases where the button is on the left, so make sure you get the right slot loading optical drive which is easier said than done. I can’t seem to source any new slot loading Blu-ray drives in the UK, they are either second hand or refurbished. So I have a new one coming from Hong Kong thanks to my Chinese friend I know who is sending me one.

It also has the VF310 SoundGraph VFD/IR display, which I have read is extremely difficult to get working under Linux, unlike the VF210 version of it. Not looking forward to that!



I read that the rear intake fan was a little noisy running at full speed, so I bought a Zalman Fan Mate 2 to I can slow down the speed of this fan and make it quieter! If I still lived in a hot country I wouldn’t do this.




There is no doubt that the OrigenAE M10 is the original beautiful looking Mini-ITX HTPC case and I have always fancied having one, but the internal layout is a bit of a let down and could have been done better, you can only install one 2.5” SSD drive and it screws to the side of the case as shown in the next three pictures.


Outside of the case (Lid off) looking in at the SSD.



Cases some in Black or Silver.


PICO PSU and External Power Brick are supplied with the case.


External power brick next to a Harmony remote.


Rear connections and ports on the Intel motherboard, you can also install a low profile PCI-E card.


Installing the Mini-ITX Motherboard


I’m sure the stock CPU coolers are decent these days but old habits die hard, so I opted for an Aftermarket Akasa low profile cooler.


It spins quite slowly and I can hardly hear it. I am only using the Zalman Fan Mate 2 on the rear chassis fan and they recommend you be careful if using them on a CPU fan for obvious reasons if its set too low and not doing its job properly cooling the chip. 

You can see I have the single Corsair 4GB RAM chip installed as well now.


This is interesting, don't think I have seen this before, the circuit board you can see in the below picture is for the SoundGraph VRD, there is a switch on it, the default position is SoundGraph, the other says Philips. There is also a pin connector which says Philips IR, I am guessing if you don’t want to use the SoundGraph IR receiver you can set it to Philips and use a standard internal IR receiver board. Not sure where the IR window is, presuming its built in to the LCD Display some where.



Optical drive bay now installed, but I have no optical drive at the moment to put in to it. If you look at the bottom right you can see the circuit board for the front power switch arrangement.



I had to put on the Power LED cable the other way round as to what is shown in the Intel motherboard diagram, reversed the pins – / + etc.


After realising my TV was on the wrong HDMI input and a brief panic, I was then able to see the boot screens and get in to the BIOS.


Quick Summary

Very nice, good build quality and great looking Mini-ITX HTPC case. If you want this style of chassis with an LCD display then this is probably the one to go for, budget allowing. If your not bothered about an LCD I would recommend a fanless solution like the Streacom FC8. The OrigenAE M10 came with one of those daft iMon Pad remotes, would like to see it shipped with a decent MCE remote. Internal design around the optical drive bay could be better, you are limited to what types of slot loading drives you can use, due to button position and mechanism and I think they could have made it so you could install two 2.5” hard drives.
Next I need to install an OS, I have decided to install Linux Ubuntu and XBMC with a view to migrating all my HTPC’s away from Windows 7 / MCE in the long term. Will let you know how that works out? As I am new to Linux so it could be a bit of a learning curve. So keep reading the blog to find out. Or leave a comment if you have recently moved away from MCE.

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