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Puget Systems Echo II HTPC

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I decided a while ago that I wanted to get a small pc to use with my headphone rig and also as an HTPC for watching the occasional movie on.  My recent acquisition of a new dac, the Auralic Vega and it's ability to do hi-rez pcm and dsd over usb made this more of a priority.  Now normally I'd just go ahead and build something like this myself as I've built well over 100 desktops/servers over the years. After considering that I didn't want to spend my time dealing the tight spaces of really small cases I decided to buy something fully assembled.


Naturally I did keep a close eye on parts cost vs cost of the assembled system, if the difference was high enough I'd just build it myself.  After doing quite a bit of research I settled on the Echo II from Puget Systems.  It's small enough for my needs, has enough room for the components I wanted and is dead silent.  The price was also pretty fair, only about $200 or so more than if I had built it myself.  Here's the final spec list:


Case : Antec ISK 310-150

MB :  Asus H87I-Plus

CPU:  Intel Core i5-4570S

Memory: 8GB 

Storage: Samsung 840 Pro 128GB SSD (OS Drive) and Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1TB

CD/DVD:  LG Slim 6X Blu-ray burner

Onboard video

HSF:   Zalman CNPS8900 (silent cooler)


I've dealt with a lot of computer companies in my lifetime and I have to put Puget right up there with the best of them.  The order process was simple and the build process was very fast.  I put my order in on a Friday and it was shipped the following Tuesday.  Probably the most surprising to me was their order status page.  It's by far the most detailed order status I've ever seen for a pc or well any product really.  I could spend all day explaining it but it's easier to just show you.  See the attached PDF for full details.


I do want to highlight a few parts of the build process that impressed me.  First, my build was coming without any OS since I have plenty of Windows copies around.  Now despite this, they still go through the process of doing a temporary OS install to run all the benchmarks and tests the results of which are uploaded to your account page for you to see and download.  Second, they take photos of not only the system (including thermal images at idle and fulll load) but also take a screenshot of every bios screen so you can have a reference for what settings they are using.  


I probably sound like a bit of raging fanboy but it's rare to deal with a company that puts this much effort and level of detail into a pc build.  It was a very refreshing experience and oh yeah the pc works great so far.  It's more than powerful enough and really is dead silent.  I can only hear it if I put my ear right up against the power supply fan.








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wow. That is a tight build nicely done and the order status page looks awesome. They even have names displayed. I just finished building my new computer, so I probably won't need another one soon, but now I know where I'll recommend people to!

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Nice, Todd.  I've mostly sated my needs for an HTPC with the PS3 but still waffle occassionally.  The problem is that one of my biggest gripes with PS3 (network connectivity) would probably persist with the HTPC given the remoteness of its location and the lack of ability to hard wire it. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

An HTPC using server/client software (like Plex) can buffer much better than the PS3, taking advantage of all the bandwidth you can get when you can get it. Even if you don't change your network setup, it would help solve streaming problems.

That's predicated on local content, however. Aside from adding a really excellent network card, there's not much you can do for Netflix.

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I'm also in the market for an htpc-ish build, I repurposed/recased my old desktop as a file server and I'd like to get a totally passive build going as a client > dac type deal. Did puget sound do anything special as far as vibration damping/throttling is concerned? I've read on anandtech that they take such measures for their desktop lines.

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