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Needs Second Opinion on This HTPC/Gaming Build

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June 19, 2014 6:41:06 AM

Hi guys,

I am thinking about building a HTPC/Gaming machine and have been doing some research on the internet, which I realized most had come from this forum :p 
So I thought "might as well triple check before I order any parts" and decided to post this.
This is the first time I post in this forum and frankly speaking I don't have much experience with building computers and I am no expert in computer parts. I would love to learn though.
Thanks in advance for any inputs.

I will underline all questions just in case this gets too long.




=====Update 1=====
Thanks NBSN for the reply.
Just to clarify, the priority of use for this computer:
Computer simulation (i.e. MATLab)
> Video streaming (e.g. Netflix, Youtube)
> Video editing (e.g. Sony Vegas Pro)
> Gaming (e.g. Minecraft. I might try TF2, LOL, and other game but I doubt I will have the time)

I am still debating between AMD and Intel+Video Card, but here is an update list for the time being:
Version 2
CPU
Intel Core i5-4430 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor
$195.99
CPU Cooler
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler
$29.99
Motherboard
Asus H81I-PLUS Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard
$85.31
Memory
Corsair Vengeance LP 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
$79.99
Storage
Sandisk Ultra Plus 128GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
$65.00
Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
$59.99
Video Card
Asus Radeon HD 7770 2GB Video Card
$155.00
Case
Apex DS-539 HTPC Case w/275W Power Supply
$59.99

Total: $731.26



=====Original=====
So here we go:

Approximate Purchase Date:
- Ideally finish before September and end of the year.

Budget Range:
- $500 ~ $700 excluding monitors and other peripherals

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
- Running simulations (e.g. MATLab)
- Video editing (e.g. Sony Vegas Pro)
- Mediocre gaming (e.g.
- Video streaming (e.g. Netflix, youtube, etc)

Are you buying a monitor:
Yes.
Actually would probably need some suggestion on that too... I want double screen, but I am also tempted to buy a projector.

Parts Not Required:
- Keyboard
- Mouse
- OS (I have Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit and Linux Mint)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
- The cheapest website I suppose?

Country:
- Canada

Overclocking:
Maybe

SLI or Crossfire:
No

Monitor Resolution:
1024x768+

Parts Preferences:
I have made a list of the components I am thinking of on pcpartpicker.com.

HTPC/Gaming Build by Guide
CPU
Intel Core i5-4430 3.0GHz Quad-Core $184.94
CPU Cooler
Noctua NH-L9i 57.5 CFM $39.99
Motherboard
Asus H81I-PLUS Mini ITX LGA1150 $78.79
Memory
Corsair Vengeance LP 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 $74.99
Storage
Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 120GB 2.5" SSD $64.40
Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM $52.92
Video Card
Asus Radeon HD 7770 2GB $130.48
Case
Silverstone RVZ01B Mini ITX Desktop $84.99
Power Supply
Silverstone 300W SFX12V $55.98

Total: $785.50

CPU:
Some people say that i3 is good enough for HTPC, but some also say that for a gaming machine it's better to get i5. I haven't quite made up my mind on this yet, so if anyone can give me some suggestion on this it would be great.
Alternative part: Intel Core i3-4130T 2.9GHz Dual-Core

CPU Cooler:
Noctua came highly recommended. That's the reason. If there are other cheaper and better device, feel free to mention them.

Motherboard:
I do believe the motherboard is good enough for the system, but I am only 70% sure of it.
A lot of the other builds I read about use ASRock boards, but I really like ASUS products.

Memory:
As far as I know, 8GB should be sufficient for the Windows 7/8. If it's permitted I might also install Linux Mint for dual boot, or at least run one in simulator in another.

Storage:
Has to have at least 1 SSD. 120 GB seemse to be enough for the operating system. I plan to put other files (videos, pictures, game files, etc) somewhere else for easy access. Would it be better to do this on an external hard drive, or on a SATA drive?

Video Card:
From the research HD 7770 seems to be best for most HTPC/gaming system.

Case:
I'd really rather this to be as flat and small as possible, seeing that I might move again soon.

Power Supply
As it stands the estimated wattage is 237W.

Additional Comments:
- Quiet PC is more preferable
- It gets intensely hot in the summer and I don't have AC in my apartment. I suppose I have to either cut down the power or have better cooling system. Any recommendation? Yes installing an AC can be included as an option
- Dust has been a problem before, I'm still researching on how to fight it
- As you can see the price is nearing $800. I'm looking for ways to cut down the costs. If you guys have any suggestions for parts, please do mention them.




Think this pretty much covered everything I need, but also feel like I forgot something.
Any comments, suggestions, recommendations, criticisms, and/or questions are welcomed. Thank you in advance again for your time and effort.
June 20, 2014 7:34:33 AM

Anyone?
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Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
June 20, 2014 8:49:05 AM

[PCPartPicker part list](http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/74zsnQ) / [Price breakdown by merchant](http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/74zsnQ/by_merchant/)

Type|Item|Price
:----|:----|:----
**CPU** | [AMD A10-7850K 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor](http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/part/amd-cpu-ad785kxbjabox) | $189.99 @ NCIX
**CPU Cooler** | [Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler](http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/part/cooler-master-cpu-coole...) | $29.99 @ Canada Computers
**Motherboard** | [Asus A78M-E Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard](http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/part/asus-motherboard-a78me) | $65.00 @ NCIX
**Memory** | [Kingston Fury Black Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory](http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/part/kingston-memory-hx316c1...) | $83.78 @ DirectCanada
**Storage** | [Sandisk Ultra Plus 128GB 2.5" Solid State Drive](http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/part/sandisk-internal-hard-d...) | $65.00 @ Vuugo
**Case** | [Apevia X-Master Black HTPC Case w/500W Power Supply](http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/part/apevia-case-xmasterbk50...) | $99.98 @ Newegg Canada
| | **Total**
| Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available | $533.74

Few things though. The CPU is actually an APU with a built in R7 on the die, meaning it can push some decent graphics. The system is housed in an HTPC case since you mentioned wanting something as flat as possible and for use as an HTPC. I did not see that you wanted or needed a CD/dvd/bluray drive, so I left it out but left room for it in the budget.

Running video simulations, video editing, multi-monitor setups, and heavy gaming needs a lot more power than you have room for in your budget. This will allow you to game at medium settings or better in many games though. And it will function well with your HTPC setup. Also, even though the case comes with a built in 500 Watt power supply, the system barely consumes any power. The APU/CPU consumes 95 Watts, and the rest of the system probably consumes a few Watts more. More than likely the total maximum power draw of the system with any peripherals hooked up would be less than 150 Watts, which will help the system run cooler on the inside.
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June 20, 2014 4:49:06 PM

Hi NBSN,

First of all, thank you for the reply. Really appreciate it :) 

I like the idea of an AMD CPU instead of Intel+graphic card, however I do want to make sure the computer can run smoothly with double monitor set up.
Since the memory card originally on the list is cheaper, I'm keeping it for the time being. But I do want to ask why you picked that one.

I think I should also include the priority of use for this computer:
Computer simulation (i.e. MATLab)
> Video streaming (e.g. Netflix, Youtube)
> Video editing (e.g. Sony Vegas Pro)
> Gaming (e.g. Minecraft. I might try TF2, LOL, and other game but I doubt I will have the time)
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a b 4 Gaming
June 20, 2014 11:09:10 PM

By memory card, what are you referring to?

For $700 running computer simulations, video editing, and some games are just way to much to ask for. If you look up the recommended system specifications for PCs that run simulations or video editing, you will see graphics cards that cost $500 or more as a norm. And the same for the CPU. Sure the build I pieced together is not the best, but it can do most of those things, even if it takes a while longer for video editing to process the videos, and you can't play those games at the highest settings, but you get what you pay for. Besides you can add an additional graphics card to the system at a later date if you want, which will help with some of those games and applications.

You can look up the APU I picked out and see that it performs pretty well considering the cost, and that is primarily why I went with it. I understand and definitely recommend you go for more opinions though if you want. Just post another forum question with the proposed build I put together, along with what you want it for and any other information, and see what people come up with, as well as what they think about it. Collective minds can usually come up with some things to change to get a better build or a cheaper one that works as well.
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June 21, 2014 7:54:14 AM

NBSN said:
By memory card, what are you referring to?

For $700 running computer simulations, video editing, and some games are just way to much to ask for. If you look up the recommended system specifications for PCs that run simulations or video editing, you will see graphics cards that cost $500 or more as a norm. And the same for the CPU. Sure the build I pieced together is not the best, but it can do most of those things, even if it takes a while longer for video editing to process the videos, and you can't play those games at the highest settings, but you get what you pay for. Besides you can add an additional graphics card to the system at a later date if you want, which will help with some of those games and applications.

You can look up the APU I picked out and see that it performs pretty well considering the cost, and that is primarily why I went with it. I understand and definitely recommend you go for more opinions though if you want. Just post another forum question with the proposed build I put together, along with what you want it for and any other information, and see what people come up with, as well as what they think about it. Collective minds can usually come up with some things to change to get a better build or a cheaper one that works as well.


Sorry I meant the RAM.

I did go check out the recommended system requirements for most of the software I will be running just now. Totally forgot about it (haha). So far so good.
I am definitely thinking about reallocating my budget. After all I do intend to make this build last for as long as possible while still being able to run any newer software (ones I will be using) that comes out in the future.

That being said, I will definitely post another question on the forum later when I make some adjustments to the list you put together. I like it. I just want it to be as small as possible as well.
Thank you again for your helps and advices. :) 
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