The case I already have but it's unopened, so I'm not going to change that lightly.
The mobo looked like a nice simple mobo that also had an HDMI slot, but it's all integrated, which has me worried. Plus the placement of those PCI slots is weird, they're really far from the rear of the case.
The HD was the quietest large hard drive I could find, I'm open to suggestions though. I couldn't find any data on HD noise under load.
The CPU, well I'm going cheap there because I don't think you need much of a CPU to keep up with an HTPC, plus I'm thinking it will run cool so I won't need as many fans in the case to keep the whole thing cool. I can easily upgrade to a Duo later.
For the DVD I'm thinking I'll just skip it for the moment. I already have a DVD player that works well, has component output and is nice and quiet. Down the road I'm going to buy that HD/Bluray combo drive from LG. It really seems like DVD readers for PCs are really noisy, so if you have a suggestion for a nice quiet DVD drive for the PC please share.
Well, you've got a real low end processor, but a huge hard drive. What's that for? I guess I'm thinking that if you intend to encode movies (hence the need for a large hard drive), then you're going to want a better processor.
You don't say what operating system you intend to use. Some variant of XP or Linux and 1 Gig of RAM should be ok. If you intend to run Vista, up that to 2 Gig at a minimum. If it were me, I'd say 2 Gig for XP or Linux and 4 Gig for Vista.
I'd also look into getting a discreet graphics card. It doesn't have to be much, just enough to remove the load from your CPU and not require borrowing system memory.
I've got a primary PC that's beefy so I'll be using that to encode movies. That PC also has the DVD drive; no real reason to have 2 in the house. I'm planning on using XP MCE for the OS, but I would consider Ubuntu. I ran that (XP) previously on my main PC, with a much worse video card and 1 GB of RAM and it was fine for media applications.
I have a pretty decent HTPC along with my gaming rig, so here's my opinion. It looks like you're pouring money into some things unnecessarily and not enough into others.
Case: I really like that case but it's going to end up being like 30-50% of your total cost. If your on a budget I'd recommend a case 1/2 that price. If money is not an issue build a machine worthy of that case.
Motherboard: Nice choice if you're satisfied with onboard graphics. Just remember it will require more memory and better CPU since you won't have a dedicated GPU.
CPU: I'm not familair with this CPU, kind of low end but then again my HTPC runs on a Pentium 820D. My CPU is a little lacking at times but if the one you selected is even just a little better it will be fine.
HDD: As with your case this Hard Drive seems to be a little much for what you've selected for the rest of the build. A 250 or 320 will give you plenty of room and the same performance for less.
RAM: Get at least 2GB if not 3GB. Ram is cheap now anyways, 2GB for $50 is can be easily found. You will find that you'll want extra ram in a HTPC. With less RAM you'll be swapping from the HDD which will cause choppy A/V playback and make the machine run louder.
DVD: Get a DVD burner. $30 for a DL DVD RW will add a lot to an HTPC.
TVTUNER: Where is it? Seems like this would be an integral part of an HTPC. I'd recommend an HD TV Tuner, but a SD one will still add a lot for as little as $30.
OS: I really like Vista for Media Center, in fact it's the reason why I initially switched to Vista all together. Having the Media Center app so integrated with the OS makes it very nice. My feeling on HTPCs has always been that they should be very easy to use without much hassle. XP Home and Pro require 3rd party software, MCE from what experience I've had with it is some what buggy (not to mention not being retail and requires special TV Tuner cards). I've never used a Linux based HTPC solution, but have never really heard much of them. It might be nice for limit features but lack of compatability with standard HW could be a pain. Vista will require some more hardware but of all the OSs to choose from it's probably the one thats most geared towards HTPCs.
Not to be to critical because it is your build so you should get what makes you happy but it seems as if this build is lacking a lot of what would make a HTPC desirable. Without a DVD or TV Tuner you're limited on what kind of video you'll be outputting. I guess you could download video and use the internet but you're also lacking a wireless NIC. Even if you all ready have cat5 where you plan to set it up but if you ever move it...
Like I said just my opinion - take it or leave it.
I appreciate the criticism. And the detail in your response.
Case: Already purchased (xmas present). Plus, it looks really good.
DVD: I am planning on getting an internal BD player when I get my HDTV and I have a DVD drive on my main PC (for ripping in this case, then just transfer over the network) so I'm gonna hold off on the DVD drive for this case.
HDD: Yeah, I could save myself $30-40 and get less GB, but that much space will take me forever to fill up and this case doesn't have a lot of space in it for addding new drives. It says it has 4 slots, but I just looked at the inside and there doesn't seem to be enough space for 4 drives. Maybe if you really pack em in.
TV Tuner: Hadn't priced em. Certainly wouldn't hurt. I think I'll put it on the future upgrade list. I'm not a big tv watcher, this PC is gonna be more of a media jukebox (DVDs and music).
OS: yeah, I'm hearing good things about Vista. On the other hand I plenty of people that have downgraded. Sounds like if I wanted to get a tuner card I'd need to go Vista. I've heard some horror stories about HDMI / HDTV / Bluray handshaking that sounded awful. So Vista is meh in my opinion. Sounds like a lot of potential trouble.
No problem. I really like that case to. My HTPC is actually in a Antec 900; a great case and very quiet, but not quite a HTPC case. If I could make another suggestion on the HDD; If space is/becomes an issue for you get a decent eSATA or Firewire external HDD. Not only will it allow for you to add storage without taking up any additional space in you case but it will also make transfering data between your main PC much easier. Without getting into the whole is Vista good or not issue (I obviously believe it is), for what you plan on doing it seems like you'll reap all the benefits without having to worry about the drawbacks. As a digital Jukebox it would work very nicely and it's not likely that you'll run into any compatability issues. I'm not really sure what you're talking about "HDMI / HDTV / Bluray handshaking..."? You're not thinking of Bluetooth handshaking? I now that is an awful pain for both Vista and XP.
"HDMI / HDTV / Bluray handshaking..."? You're not thinking of Bluetooth handshaking? I now that is an awful pain for both Vista and XP.
I read about a guy who had a BD drive, Vista and and HDTV. There was some sort of handshaking / DRM issue (HDCP?) that meant some of his BDs that he owned would play and some wouldn't. But he got audio on all of them. It was probably just early adopter pain. I'll consider Vista but I already have an unused copy of XP MCE so I could put the money into HD space instead.
I highly recommend the Scythe Mini Ninja CPU cooler. It was designed with HTPC cases such as the Fusion in mind... plus I've seen pics of it installed in a Fusion chassis and theres a case fan right next to the ninja, so it doesn't need its own fan (less fans = less noise).
Also, try to at least get an E2140 so you'll have two CPU cores. A single core may lead to choppy video if your system is doing anything in the background.
I think you'll be happy with the onboard video for now. When you step up to a BD player you would probably need a HD decoding graphics card like the ATI 2400/2600 as suggested above. Without hardware acceleration, I'm not sure you would have smooth Blu-Ray playback with a low-end CPU.
For HDD noise reviews, check out www.silentpcreview.com. According to them, the drives to have for quiet accoustics are the Samsungs. Maybe check out the new Samsung F1 750GB drives. I personally have a Seagate 7200.10 in my HTPC and I think it's too loud.
I'm at a loss for how to connect this mobo to my TV... I thought I'd be able to use a VGA->composite cable that I bought on Amazon but apparently not. I didn't read the fine print.
So any suggestions for how I can connect an evga 630i to a standard resolution TV would be great. The TV has composite inputs, I'd prefer to use those. The mobo has DVI, HDMI and VGA output (no S-Video unfortunately). I guess this mobo is really meant to connect to an HDTV (don't have one just yet).
Well the VGA to Component (sorry, that's what I meant, those terms are confusing) won't work at all. I think my best bet is to get a cheap used video card that has s-video or composite out and use that to tie me over until I buy an HDTV -- which is what this board is built for