Recently I've been asked to build an HTPC for a friend. I've never done one before, so I need a little help. Following is the current parts list:
2X512 CAS4 DDR2667 Patriot Memory
Samsung HD501LJ 500GB HDD
Logisys PS575XBK power supply (575 watts with good reviews on newegg)
Generic DVD R/W
This PC will be used primarily for DVD playback (disc- and image-based) and MP3 playback. Please comment on the efficacy of the XP MCE remote, and if you don't recommend, please recommend a case that has one. I would like to find one in the sub-150 range. Thanks for your help!
Beware there can be clearance problems between the GPU and drive bays in this case.
I would consider getting a small drive from which to run the OS, and use the 500g for storage, or another 500gb, esp. if your client is going to be ripping DVD's to it, or doing PVR.
Don't see a TV tuner on the list.
The power supply seems like a bit of overkill for the components you list. If it's going to be in the living room, sound level would be a consideration.
This PSU has plenty of power for your app, and is very quiet and efficient:
The case is great, it looks good, aluminum, and fairly easy to work with. Their is an order as to which you have to install the parts though. I had to remove the mobo so that I could install the PSU. If you go with this case, just make sure you install PSU and drives before installing the mobo.
The keyboard remote is also a great product. It has all the features of the media remote with a keyboard as well. The one thing that I did not like nor understand, is that it does not include the receiver. We ended up having to buy the media center remote to get the receiver, because it is not sold separately. Sometimes I really hate MS!
Even that 450 watt PSU that the other reviewer has suggested is overkill for what you need. Im running a AMD 4400 X2, 4 harddrives, and two 7600GT in sli and according to the meter on my PSU im using less that 300 watts running 3d 06
If your looking to save some money i would go to a e4300 for the processor. For what you are doing i really dont think you will need the e6400. If he start to burn/ copy dvds thats a different story, but watching dvds and listing to music isnt that taxing.
The ram looks good and mobo too. I do suggest getting 2 harddrives though. Maybe a segate 80gb for the OS of even a 36 gb raptor.
Don't have any experience with the media remotes, but I do have this case - Silverstone
And I recommend it highly, nice solid construction - looks like it belongs in a living room. Comes in solid black, too.
The media remote I use is the Hauppage Media Center edition TV tuner w/remote. Works great.
I also recomend getting a mobo with build it 6150 graphics. It works perfectly and keeps the machine much cooler. I have built two MCPC's recently using the Qpac case and a cheapo 3500 with Gigabyte mobo 1gig ram and its flawless. I run 1080/720 and record without any sync issues.
Thanks to everyone for your helpful responses. This particular HTPC is definetely getting integrated into the home theater in the living room, and we are trying to get him one that will "fit it", kind of look like another A/V receiver. The PC will not used as a PVR, just for playback. I suspect he will get into ripping DVDs at some point as well. He also wants to have SOME graphics capability (although gaming is definetly a distant third or even fourth consideration for him), which is why I went with the X1300 and not onboard, so he can upgrade if he needs to in the future. I chose the PSU I did because it is cheap, and the newegg reviews indicate that it is pretty quiet. The idea about a small drive for XP is good, but why couldn't I just make a separate partition for XP? I really like the microsoft keyboard remote, and I think he'll go for that. The $50 case is OK, it would certainly help me get into his $1000 budget. If anybody else has thoughts/suggestions please speak up, this is very helpful to me!
On a completely unrelated note, does anyone know the email address that Tom's uses to notify you that a reply has been posted? The firewall at my work keeps blocking the reply notices, and I need the address so I can whitelist it.
If your not doing PVR can I suggest a cheap alternitive for playback of any media and DVD ripping?
Get an XBOX and install Xbox Media Center mod. It converts the xbox to a home theater device that plays every format at up to 1080i(p?). It does network streaming and plays every file type. It rips DVD's, and has emulators for all game systems n64 and down.
The cost is an XBOX (which still plays xbox games) a IDE hard drive *supports up to 3TB, and the softmod (just a software install).
I would take a look for sure if you are interested in a cheap alternative to an all-in-one media player with awesome network and game capabilities.
The idea about a small drive for XP is good, but why couldn't I just make a separate partition for XP?
You don't want all your eggs in one basket. Video ripping is a storage hog, and you want as much space available for that. If your OS disk dies (because it gets the greatest use) you don't want to loose all of your archived material. I'm sure it's in a ^^post, but a ripped and compressed DVD takes about 4.5g; uncompressed, about 9g.
I think the e-mail is just firstname.lastname@example.org (but I just threw a bunch of those away. Try, anyway)
Just because the drive is getting used more does not increase the chance of failure tomorrow.
ALL DRIVES CAN FAIL TOMORROW WITH NO POSSIBLE DATA RECOVERY.
While your last statement is very true, and your back-up advice sage, your first statement is not. The number one cause of hard drive failure is heat, which causes the platters to warp and rub against the head, then causing head failure. Heat is generated by use, not just by sitting there, running, although there is obviously some heat generated by it just sitting there, running. The more use, the more heat, the greater chance of failure.
You should look up the data created by google and another college (sorry it was on slashdot forgot who).
Both companies analyzed 100k drives and published a paper on drive reliability and found new drives fail at a steady rate (not the bathtub theory that we assume applies). Server drives fail equally to standard drives, and usage does not play a big factor. Heat does, yes, but not all drives are hot, thats your environment, which should be as cool as possible.
In the context of "beauty in the eyes of the beholder," or we see what we want to, I interpreted the article differently than you. The graph of failure rates shows a high correlation of failure to "utilization" with drives under one year old, and drives older than 5. In fact, referring to their chart labeled figure 3, I see a correlation to utilization for every year except 3 year old drives. Utilization wasn't discounted, just labled "complex."
Same with heat. In the conclusion they stated they were unable to confirm the correlation of failure to heat, and their data "do not allow us to conclude there is no correlation...", though they suspect it is more attributable to "other effects."
Still, in validating one of your points, I agree that redundancy is the surest safeguard against disk failure, but not always within the economic capacity of the enthusiast builder. Mine was that the next best thing is two drives -- in this case one large, one small -- under the utilization rationale.
Enjoyed the robust exchange. Too bad we didn't do this on a hard drive thread, to everyone else's enlightenment.
Logisys makes poor power supplies. On top of that 575w is way over the top overkill.
Since this is getting integrated into a home theater system in the living you need to be concerned about noise. PSUs can be very loud and can detract from the enjoyment of watching a movie.
You proposed system uses very little power. I suggest a Seasonic S12 PSU. They are very quiet and they are considered a premium brand company so the price may be more thanwhat your friend is willing to spend. I have the Seasonic S12 500 in my current PC so I can tell you from experience that it is very quiet.
The Seasonic S12 330 will provide more than eoungh power for your system at a reasonable price of $55 + shipping:
Jag makes good points, and his recommendations have a history of being pretty much right on. However, the Zalman 460W PSU is on a par with his Seasonic recommendations in noise, efficiency, and cost. (He may be unaware, and referring to an older comparison chart when evaluating quiet operation. The 460B operates at 18db, like the Seasonic, and unlike the older 460, which was around 21db.) The Zalman has higher amps on the 12v rails, however, which could be a (future) consideration. One other consideration, at least for me, when choosing one psu over another, was modular cabling -- I actually found it easier to make tidy cable runs in an HTPC case without it, because the bundle all comes out of one place, rather than spread across a modular array. Neither the Seasonic nor Zalman use modular cabling on these models.