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Need HTPC build advice

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June 27, 2013 5:32:47 PM

Looking to build a HTPC and need some advice on hardware. My initial understanding is that HTPCs don't need a lot of powerful components but i am worried that if i under build the setup would not be able to do what I want it to do.

Processor: a10-5800k overkill?
RAM: My understanding is that AMD's APU processors performs substantially better with higher ram frequencies. so im thinking 8gb 1866 ram.
Storage: SSD for WMC or not necessary? 1TB HDD enough for recording HD tv shows?
Media Drives: Recommend a good blueray player?

My worry is that lower end CPUs would not render HD videos well enough. I've had a first gen i5 laptop before and it would show lag during playback on some large HD files. I know intel HD2000 is not that great and could have been the cause but this is where most of my fear for an underpowered CPU stems from.

Also would recording live HDTV be something a mid-range cpu can handle well?

Please give me some advice. To sum up i just want an HTPC that would be able to playback anything 1080p and record live HDTV from TV Tuner card without overpaying for parts that are not necessary. Thanks!

More about : htpc build advice

June 27, 2013 5:39:09 PM

Overkill! For pure HTPC roles, I would suggest something in the Celeron family. Based on modern technologies, plenty of processing power, and sips on power. Personally, I went with a Celeron G1610 and a cheap-o ECS itx motherboard. Paired that with some DDRIII 1333, and it is more than enough to be an HTPC, web server, media server, TFS server, and more! Save on the core components and go with more mass storage, you won't be disappointed!
June 27, 2013 5:41:04 PM

When rendering shows, more cores and power is important, and AMD cpu will be just fine.

Sure, higher ram frequencies work great with APUs

SSDs are more of a luxury if you can afford them, they speed up everything you put on them. But it makes sense to have large storage for movies as they take up a lot of space.

Asus Blu-ray drives a quite

YEs, midrange APU can handle HDTV.

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June 27, 2013 5:49:22 PM

austing said:
When rendering shows, more cores and power is important, and AMD cpu will be just fine.

Sure, higher ram frequencies work great with APUs

SSDs are more of a luxury if you can afford them, they speed up everything you put on them. But it makes sense to have large storage for movies as they take up a lot of space.

Asus Blu-ray drives a quite

YEs, midrange APU can handle HDTV.



I even used an AMD E-350 with HDTV and blu-ray, without issue. Now, scrolling through TV listings was a pain. The Celeron is like a Ferrari compared to it.
June 27, 2013 5:49:38 PM

I built a trinity system with a6-5400k just to be safe and was very impressed with what it could do. Depending on your budget, you can add more but 4gb ram (1600), 1tb hard drive and hauppauge 2250 is a minimum. If you want and SSD for boot drive 60gb is enough and make sure the motherboard has sata 3 ports. I found a great deal on a mATX case by silverstone, PS08B and would build with it again. It gives plenty of room for a basic build, has good build quality and leaves room for upgrade
June 27, 2013 6:06:24 PM

Here are my specs, built over time-

- Celeron G1610 (~$43)
- ECS mITX motherboard (can find model # if interested) (~$45)
- 8GB RAM (cheap cheap cheap) (~$30?)
- 60GB SSD boot drive (~$40?)
- 3x2TB hard drive in RAID-5 (external box, came with RocketRaid 622R) (~$450)
- 1TB hard drive (green edition, $50?)
- Blu-ray drive. Not sure the model, but invest in something that comes with full-featured software, well worth it. ($40?)

Now, I built this piece-wise (grabbed the RAID card and box on special, got the hard drives before prices skyrocketed), but overall I LOOOOOVE it and all it can do. I just recommend not over doing it on the CPU, motherboard, and RAM. Save that money for elsewhere... Find something with the features you want, and that's all you need.
June 27, 2013 7:09:18 PM

Have to ask what your Hi-Def TV source is.

Free Over-The-Air digital - The Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 is the gold standard.
CableTV Without a set top box - Still the Hauppauge.
CableTV With a set top box - Go with a cablecard solution to replace the set top box.
Satellite - No solution that I'm aware of.

For the record, I used the system in my signature (AMD Athlon II X2-240/Radeon HD4670/Ceton InfiniTV cablecard) with no problems ever (til after two and a half years she never fully recovered from a power outage).

-Wolf sends
June 27, 2013 7:39:52 PM

fball922 said:
Here are my specs, built over time-

- Celeron G1610 (~$43)
- ECS mITX motherboard (can find model # if interested) (~$45)
- 8GB RAM (cheap cheap cheap) (~$30?)
- 60GB SSD boot drive (~$40?)
- 3x2TB hard drive in RAID-5 (external box, came with RocketRaid 622R) (~$450)
- 1TB hard drive (green edition, $50?)
- Blu-ray drive. Not sure the model, but invest in something that comes with full-featured software, well worth it. ($40?)

Now, I built this piece-wise (grabbed the RAID card and box on special, got the hard drives before prices skyrocketed), but overall I LOOOOOVE it and all it can do. I just recommend not over doing it on the CPU, motherboard, and RAM. Save that money for elsewhere... Find something with the features you want, and that's all you need.


Wolfshadw said:
Have to ask what your Hi-Def TV source is.

Free Over-The-Air digital - The Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 is the gold standard.
CableTV Without a set top box - Still the Hauppauge.
CableTV With a set top box - Go with a cablecard solution to replace the set top box.
Satellite - No solution that I'm aware of.

For the record, I used the system in my signature (AMD Athlon II X2-240/Radeon HD4670/Ceton InfiniTV cablecard) with no problems ever (til after two and a half years she never fully recovered from a power outage).

-Wolf sends


Yes i was going to use a cablecard tuner for my FIOs. If your setup has no problem recording i think even an a6 apu would do the job.
June 27, 2013 8:29:32 PM

I'm not sure Cablecard devices work with FIOS. Remember, the purpose of having a cablecard ready device installed into an HTPC was to remove the need of a set top box. Not sure you can do that with a FIOS connection. Please review the cablecard requirements/forums The Green Button for verification.

-Wolf sends
June 27, 2013 8:42:03 PM

Wolfshadw said:
I'm not sure Cablecard devices work with FIOS. Remember, the purpose of having a cablecard ready device installed into an HTPC was to remove the need of a set top box. Not sure you can do that with a FIOS connection. Please review the cablecard requirements/forums The Green Button for verification.

-Wolf sends


I've checked with Fios website and there are others that verified they have cablecard rental that can be used with cablecard certified tuners.
June 27, 2013 8:59:08 PM

In that case, and this just being me, I'd probably recommend a low-end AMD FX based system, four GB of RAM and a case, motherboard and graphics card to accept all of your components (I just like having a discrete graphics card I *KNOW* will do all that I want).

-Wolf sends
!