Building a good HTPC is all about building a small sized computer with full performance to fit inside TV cabinet or to blend well with your home theater setting. The problem that many HTPC users had suffered from is the overheating of the HTPC case. There are many reasons for such problem including overheating CPU or GPU and there are many solutions as well.
Cluttered components in a small ATX case
If you are suffering from the same problem then, take a quick look at the reasons and solutions below and you will find something useful you can use to solve your problems. In many cases, the computer overheating problem results from the cluttered components in a small ATX case.
In some cases, your components cannot fit properly because the case is not prepared to hold such number of components. If this is the problem then, switch for a better Mini Mac which is more organized and have bigger space to contain your components.
Placement of the heat sink
There are several reasons other than crowded case. For example, the heat sink could not be fitted properly over your process so it tends to overheat and halt consequently or the system shuts down to protect it.
Check the fan to be connected directly to the heat sink and the processor is located just right below them. Also make sure the thermal grease coat is of good amount. In many cases, this could be the problem so, do not under estimate it and give it a try before you move to other reasons.
Try to ventilate the TV cabinet better
The location where you place your HTPC plays a big role in overheating problems. Check if there is air flow around the cabinet or is there air blocking around the case. If this is the problem then try to ventilate the place a little.
You can move the HTPC a little away from other running devices which could be producing heat and causing your HTPC to overheat. You can try opening a vent in the back of the cabinet to give a chance for the air to flow around the HTPC and cool it down.
Adding more fans
Adding fans could be a good idea but, make sure that your case can include such feature. Add a 120mm fan in the back to give a boost to the incoming air. If there is a space then you can mount two 120 mm fans on both sides. You can set them to blow air inside and then it will get out from the back or you can set them as one is blowing air from one side while the other is sucking it from the other side.
I saw some HTPC savvy who added a laptop cooling pad under the case after drilling couple of holes in the bottom side of the case to create an upward air flow. This seems to work fine with him and the BIOS is stating that the temperature has dropped significantly.
More advanced cooling solutions
Finally, if you have tried all these solutions and could not fix the overheating problem, then you should go for a fancier solution like adding a liquid cooling module for your system or change your ATX case with another one that is already equipped with extra fans to solve the problem.