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building a tight budget htpc setup

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March 31, 2008 1:52:04 AM

im building a new low budget htpc and i need your opinion. Right now the build cost is 500 without a mouse, keyboard, remote. i don%u2019t want the build going over 600 and i would like to keep the price as low a possible.

right now i picked out these parts

amd athlon 64 x2 5000 black edition 2.6ghz 84$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

gigabyte ga-ma78gm am2+/am2 780g hdmi micro atx board with onboard hd 3200 gpu 99.99$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

creative sound blaster audigy se 7.1 soundcard 29.99$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

wintec ampx 2x-1gb ddr2800 ram, cas 4 41.99$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KSRTL 500GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive 99.99$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Ultra MicroFly Aluminum Micro ATX case with 400 watt ps 69.99$
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

i still need to find a good cpu fan for the microatx case and a good wireless remote, keyboard, mouse but nothing to pricey so i can keep the build under 600

some people say the onboard video would be good for a htpc and im wondering if i should even buy a videocard. if i get the videocard will it be able to crossfire with the onboard gpu??

i plan to use this pc with a 40inch 1080p tv

March 31, 2008 2:26:16 AM

Why are you buying a separate video card? Your motherboard has excellent onboard graphics for an HTPC set up. I would spend the $75 on something else. But to answer your question, yes it will do xfire but I think it will be a complete waste for your set up. Also, is the 7.1 sound a must? Again, your motherboard already has 5.1 audio I believe thanks to HDMI. If you don't like the sound, you could buy the soundcard later. Oh and you're not putting a tuner card into your box? As for keyboard and mouse I would go with the logitech S 510 wireless desktop.
March 31, 2008 2:59:14 AM

i think i wont get the video card and if i feel like i need it later i will buy it. i will put in a tuner card in later when i get more money. i hate on board sound so if i dont get the video card ill put some more money towards a sound card. that mouse and keyboard looks like a good deal thanks for the suggestion.

ill probably add a bluray drive in the future
ill be using windows vista home premium 32 bit

do you have any ideas for cpu cooling that will fit in that case there is 3 inch clearance for a cpu cooler
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March 31, 2008 3:18:08 AM

According to this chart, the 2600XT you picked out isn't compatible with hybrid crossfire on a 780G board:
http://game.amd.com/us-en/content/images/crossfirex/CF_...
So if you do decide to get a video card down the line, make sure you choose another. Although, I doubt it will make any noticeable difference.

The cpu you listed is a black edition, which means it has an unlocked multiplier and does not include a stock heatsink fan. Go with the normal retail version: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I've never built a HTPC before, but is a cpu that powerful necessary?

Are you looking to get a blu-ray drive? I would agree with ditching the sound card and then trying to fit a cheap blu-ray drive into your budget: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
March 31, 2008 3:24:20 AM

I was under the impression that the 780G will only hybrid crossfire with the 3450 and 3470 cards, NOT with higher end ones like the 2600. Check out the 780G review to make sure, but I'm pretty sure u can't (unless u meant doing xfire with 2 discrete cards).

That being said, why exactly are you looking to xfire it? This is a HTPC is it not? Or are you planning on gaming on it as well?

Also, as jeb pointed out, you don't seem to have a tuner in ur build. Would it be correct to assume that you already have one lying around and are planning to use that? Otherwise, it is a must have for a HTPC, unless ur just planning to watch IPTV, predownloaded videos, or DVDs.
March 31, 2008 3:52:55 AM

yeah im not getting the video card anymore so now i have a little money left to get a tuner now but only around 70$
any suggestions on a good tuner
March 31, 2008 5:05:11 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This might be a little expensive but I've heard good things and its about the same price as your video and sound card. If you get something else, make sure it has a digital tuner for over the air HDTV signals. Also, this one comes with a remote and should work with vista media center.
March 31, 2008 5:10:38 AM

The AverMedia Combo PCI-E card is pretty good, and retails for a bit over $70. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815100034 Not really sure if that is the same card as the AVerTV Combo PCIe that I have experience with.

I'd also skip the sound card. As someone else said, make sure to get a CPU that comes with a boxed cooler.


-mcg
March 31, 2008 5:17:19 AM

From personnel experience, you might want to include a Microsoft remote control in your list. Since this is an HTPC I suppose that you'll be hooking it up to cable eventually. If you're cable is using a ''box'' before going into you're TV than it's pretty much a must. When I bought mine it was around 40$ CDN. You could probably save some money on the CPU as previously mentioned if the only thing you'll be doing is record/watch/movies and music. You don't need a powerful processor for that. I am using an intel 2180 but I could have gone with something even weaker and it would have done the job.
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