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New HTPC

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January 17, 2008 2:01:28 PM

Not sure if this is the right place in the forum, but it could fit in several sections.

I am pricing out a HTPC build. I want to watch ATSC as well as streaming video from someplace like netflix. I also want the DVR capability. Please look at this and let me know what you think. I am new to HTPC's, though not new to building comps. Thanks for your help in advance.

Case: Silverstone GD01B-MXR $259.99
M/B: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L $89.99
Proc: E6300 $173.99
Mem: Kingston HyperX 2x1GB $89.99
HD: WD7500AAKS $154.99
Tuner: VisionTek TV Wonder 650 $119.99
V/C: Gigabyte GV-RX24T256H 2400XT $46.99
PSU: Coolmax CU-400T 400W $59.99

Comes to just over 1k before shipping.

I am not sure about the PSU. Don't need anything really powerful. Also the case. I am not sure if it is worth the extra money for the LCD display. There is a case that is very similar for about $100 less that does not have an LCD Display. That is the cheapest PC2 8500 set I could find. Is the Tuner any good? I think the Vid Card is fine for my application. Thanks again for the help.

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January 17, 2008 3:47:29 PM

The Coolmax PSU isn't a very good one, perhaps you should check out one of these:

Enermax Liberty 400W $69.50 (modular, top quality, 30A on 12V, 80% efficient, Active PFC)
Seasonic S12 380W $59.99 (also very good, but not modular)
Seasonic S12 430W $74.99 (same as above, but more juice)
Corsair VX450 $65.50 after $10 MIR

Any of the above could handle the HTPC you've suggested and all are very quiet.
January 17, 2008 3:51:41 PM

Also, drop the E6300 and go for the E6550 for the same price.

E6300: 2MB Cache, 7x266MHz = 1.86GHz
vs.
E6550: 4MB Cache, 7x333MHz = 2.33GHz
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January 17, 2008 4:22:13 PM

Thanks. I have made those changes. Went with the Seasonic PSU. Not to worried about modular. What do you think about the LCD on the case? And the TV Tuner? I have not been able to find much bad about it.

Thanks again for the help.
January 17, 2008 5:15:04 PM

My case has that exact same LCD and remote control. I like it.

If you plan on using Vista, make sure you go to the Soundgraph iMON website and download the beta iMON 7.0 software because the official 6.0 software is really buggy in Vista. That particular LCD lets you change the font and size of the text, which helps a lot because it can be hard to read from across the room. It's very nice to have the display, it's kind of cool how it scrolls the name of the DVD you're watching or the name of the TV program that is on. It also displays the time when the HTPC is turned off or in S3 sleep. The only thing about the LCD that drove me nuts at first was that as soon as power is supplied to the motherboard (PSU is turned on), the backlight for the LCD turns on and does not turn off. Until you have installed the iMon software/drivers, it will do this. I wasted a bunch of time trying to figure out why it was staying on even when the computer was off because I didn't want a glowing blue LCD on all the time before I had installed all my software. Once the iMon software is installed, by default it turns off the LCD backlight.

I don't have any personal experience with the tuner you've chosen so I can't comment on that item.
January 17, 2008 6:08:58 PM

Thanks to both of you. I like the idea of having the LCD, but I am not sure if it is worth the extra $120.

I have been finding reviews like that all over the place, so I am going ot assume the card is a good tuner.

Thanks again to both of you.
January 17, 2008 6:50:31 PM

Well, you can save $20 by getting your case at MWave:

SILVERSTONE GD01B-MXR $239.00

Since the case comes with a remote, you can search for an OEM (white box) version of the tuner you selected, or go with one that doesn't come with a remote so you aren't paying for 2 remotes. Maybe consider the Avermedia M780 for $84.99?

Plus, your RAM is on sale at newegg with $40 off right now:

Kingston HyperX 2GB (2 x 1GB) $89.99 - $40 instant off = $49.99.

All of the above almost makes up the difference of LCD vs. no-LCD case.
January 17, 2008 6:59:04 PM

my opinion is that for an HTPC, you don't really want to use any more power than you need to, to keep heat down. So maybe I'd use a E2180 or E4300 instead of a E6x00 or E6x50 chip. I'm not sure the 4MB cache of a 6550 would even do anything for you on a HTPC. And I'd be using less expensive RAM because overclocking equals heat and even the FSB1333 work perfectly fine with DDR-667 (or DDR-800 since it's about the same price and more plentiful). DDR-1066 (PC8500 I think) has a big price premium. Use the money you save on some dynamat and maybe a silent, fanless CPU or maybe a fanless cpu heatsink.
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