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Build Help: $500 Plex HTPC

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April 3, 2013 12:59:29 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: In the next 2-3 weeks.

Budget Range: ~$500 before rebates (if applicable)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: purely a HTPC

Are you buying a monitor: No


Parts to Upgrade: The only part I have I will be reusing is a 3TB 5400 RPM Seagate HDD.

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com

Location: Austin, TX. USA

Parts Preferences: Intel/Nvidia preferred for CPU/GPU, although open to other options. I think I would like to boot from an SSD, but I'm not sure if this is necessary for my intended use. Nothing specific required for other parts

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I'm looking to build a budget-ish HTPC that I can use with Plex. All storage will be local to the HTPC, connected to an LCD through HDMI (just using TV speakers for now). I want to be able to run 1080p videos, as well as certain Blu-Ray rips without stuttering. I would very much like it to be quiet and cool as I am in a small apartment, and don't want this PC to be a burden. I'm flexible on the budget, but don't want to go much more than $500, less would be nice.

A big, preemptive THANK YOU to anyone who helps me with this build. I will be very responsive and open to any suggestions. Thanks again,
squanders

EDIT: cleaned this up a little bit. If I left anything out, or anyone needs more information, please reply to the thread and I will respond quickly.

More about : build 500 plex htpc

April 3, 2013 1:17:13 PM

Are you planning on adding tuners to the HTPC? I live in Austin, using Time Warner Cable and have a 3-tuner digital cable setup. CPU requirements are generally 1 processing core per video stream plus 1 processing core per extender. 2GB RAM is suggested per video stream as well.

For just running Plex and Blu-Ray, a dual-core processor with 4GB RAM should be fine - and you can use the built-in video with AMD and/or Intel chipsets without issue.

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April 3, 2013 1:20:23 PM

ronintexas said:
Are you planning on adding tuners to the HTPC? I live in Austin, using Time Warner Cable and have a 3-tuner digital cable setup. CPU requirements are generally 1 processing core per video stream plus 1 processing core per extender. 2GB RAM is suggested per video stream as well.

For just running Plex and Blu-Ray, a dual-core processor with 4GB RAM should be fine - and you can use the built-in video with AMD and/or Intel chipsets without issue.



Thank you for your reply, the advice is appreciated.

I do not intend to add a TV tuner. I haven't paid much attention to hardware news in the past year or two, so I was hoping someone more knowledgeable than myself could direct me to a complete build. Otherwise I would just go on Newegg and pick random parts, which I want to avoid doing.

But again, thank you for the reply and I will keep your advice in mind.
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April 3, 2013 1:44:31 PM

ronintexas said:
Here is a sample parts list I would go for - keeping it low on power, and as quiet as possible:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/OdTI


Excellent, thanks for putting this list together. I do not need a copy of windows, is there anything you suggest putting the savings toward, or just save the $90?

I'm hoping for more input from others, so I can have a good few lists to sort through and pick what I want.

Thanks again for your help, ronintexas, you are solid.
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April 3, 2013 1:54:22 PM

just a little advice if you are going to get a bluray drive u need extra software to play bluray movies and some movies won't play at all for some reason . I got sick of trying to get my bluray drive to play and just went out and bought a stand alone bluray player .
PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Oe6J
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Oe6J/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Oe6J/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($119.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock B75M-ITX Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($26.85 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Crucial M4 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($72.51 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 300W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($40.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $426.29
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-04-03 16:51 EDT-0400)
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April 3, 2013 1:59:56 PM

You might look at a BluRay software player - there is a free trial - and software on sale right now:

http://www.arcsoft.com/totalmedia-theatre/

Arcsoft player for Windows7/8 is the most user friendly and reliable player out there.
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April 28, 2013 12:58:57 PM

Hoping I can bump this thread back up so I don't have to create a new one.. I had to hold off on the purchase, but I'm ready to buy within the next week (Tax return well spent). Before I make any purchases, I'd appreciate it if anyone would mind looking over the recomendations and offer any insight.

Thanks
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Best solution

April 28, 2013 3:10:45 PM

I am assuming (please tell me if I am wrong) that this computer is going to mainly be used as a media center/server for movies and other entertainment as well as basic usage. If this is so, what your probably want is a basic system that can do everything you want and is reasonably cheap.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Pentium G860 3.0GHz Dual-Core Processor ($67.74 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock B75M-ITX Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($50.40 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $403.66
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-04-28 18:11 EDT-0400)
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April 28, 2013 3:19:25 PM

If you are ok with a micro atx tower, instead of an htpc (I would recommend this unless size is a big factor)
you can get this build instead (it's very similar)

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Pentium G860 3.0GHz Dual-Core Processor ($67.74 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($50.40 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: Rosewill RANGER-M MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $361.07
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-04-28 18:18 EDT-0400)
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May 1, 2013 8:39:14 AM

MOMOJOJO said:
I am assuming (please tell me if I am wrong) that this computer is going to mainly be used as a media center/server for movies and other entertainment as well as basic usage. If this is so, what your probably want is a basic system that can do everything you want and is reasonably cheap.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Pentium G860 3.0GHz Dual-Core Processor ($67.74 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock B75M-ITX Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($50.40 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $403.66
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-04-28 18:11 EDT-0400)


This is the solution I went with. The only modification I made was I replaced the DVD RW with a Blu Ray reader, in case I want to fiddle with software blu ray playback. Thank you all for your help, and especially to those who took the time to put together a part list. It made this process very stress free and my appreciation will be seen through the many hours of entertainment this HTPC will provide.

I just have one more question. I want to make sure I have every little part necessary for this build (e.g. cables, thermal compound, etc) so I don't have to run out to Fry's when I actually sit down to build this. That being said, are there any critical pieces I am missing (exclusing an OS and I/O devices, I have that covered already).

Thanks again!
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May 1, 2013 4:15:49 PM

Oh, I forgot that you said blue-ray, my bad.

It looks like your set. If you want to save a $100, you can get rid of the ssd, but the ssd would increase your boot time and make it a bit more enjoyable to use. You might need an hdmi cable and and operating system but you could probably just use ubuntu.
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