I recently did some research into some hardware for building a small NAS (network attached storage) box and came upon the Shuttle KPC (K45) as a possible candidate. With room for two 3.5â€ drives and possibly another 2.5â€ one with a bit of tweaking, it would be a bit low on hard drive space, especially if RAID were used for redundancy. On the other hand, itâ€™s small and cheap as chips for the barebones version, at around $100.
While I debated its utility as a NAS case, I realized it might make for a cheap, storage-based (missing 5.25â€ bay so no Blu-rays here) HTPC as well. Although the standard motherboard is somewhat lackluster, a mini-ITX board should fit perfectly. With some AMD 780G and NVIDIA mini-ITX boards available and outfitted with tons of multimedia features, you could easily build a low power, small HTPC box.
Iâ€™ve compared the Shuttle board with a Jetway mini-ITX board, and as you can see, the mounting holes line up perfectly. In fact, youâ€™ll save some room in the already tiny case. The only issue you might run into is with the placement of the socket. Looking down at the KPC, the right-hand side of the case holds the power supply, which could cause clearance issues with the CPU heatsink. On the Shuttle board, the CPU socket is towards the center of the board, leaving more room for the power supply.
While I have little need for a HTPC, I am still interested in the box as a NAS appliance. With Windows Home Server, I might not have the need for actual RAID for backups, so I can get away with a couple 1TB drives. Has anyone out there actually tried a mini-ITX board in the KPC?