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New HTPC - about to order - please critique my HW choices

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July 20, 2008 3:57:08 PM

I'm trying to build a quiet, fast starting BlueRay HD HTPC (well as fast as possible on Vista) that will connect to my A/V receiver using only HDMI - then HDMI to a new Samsung 52 inch LCD. I have an XBox for gaming.

Here is what I have put together (newegg):
1 GIGABYTE GA-MA78GPM-DS2H AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard $104.99
1 AMD Athlon X2 4850e 2.5GHz Socket AM2 45W Dual-Core Processor Model ADH4850DOBOX $79.99
1 Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s Hard Drive $169.99
1 LITE-ON Black SATA Blu-ray DVD-ROM Drive Model DH-4O1S-08 $139.99
1 Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model KVR1066D2N7K2/2G $77.99
1 Antec Aluminum Veris Fusion Black 430 Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case with IR receiver $199.99 -$30.00 Instant $169.99

Subtotal: $742.94

I am planning on having a NAS drive on my LAN for hosting media so that is why I went with a smaller hard drive with higher RPM for faster boot... is 7200 rpm, 3.0Gb/s better? should I consider a solid state drive -I know this would be expensive, but faster and quieter, correct?

I'm also not sure what memory brand is good these days, but I recognize Kingston so I really don't know if this was a wise choice...

Should I consider Ubuntu instead of Vista? I do like the Vista media center... and I am not at all familiar with Linux other than using an Ubuntu machine for web surfing.

Thanks for your time!
July 21, 2008 1:05:20 PM

Hardware list looks good save for the RAM. No need to get DDR2-1066 RAM for a quiet HTPC. Remember, over-clocking --> more heat --> higher speed fans --> more noise. Brand names I feel comfortable with include Kingston, A-Data, OCZ, Corsair, G-Skill, etc...

As far as which OS to use, if you already have Vista, then I'd suggest going with it. If not and you don't mind learning Ubuntu, then go for that. If it doesn't pan out the way you want, you can always get Vista later.

-Wolf sends
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July 21, 2008 8:48:05 PM

Yes, ditch the DDR2-1066 RAM. That board only supports DDR2-1066 RAM with Phenoms according to Gigabyte's website.

Also, I don't know how you plan on setting up your HTPC, but most people don't shut down their HTPC's completely, rather you use S3 standby so the system can wake up to record TV, or perform updates, etc. and it only takes about 2-3 seconds to come up from S3. Startup performance shouldn't be an issue using S3. Also, Raptors are notoriously noisy and many of the newer 7200rpm drives are just as fast. In short, I suggest you drop the raptor for something more silent, with more capacity, for a lot less $$$.

Everything else looks great.
July 22, 2008 1:48:27 AM

thigatl said:

1 Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s Hard Drive $169.99


rwpritchett said:
Y Startup performance shouldn't be an issue using S3. Also, Raptors are notoriously noisy and many of the newer 7200rpm drives are just as fast. In short, I suggest you drop the raptor for something more silent, with more capacity, for a lot less $$$.

Everything else looks great.



Just say NO to CRAPTORS. WD makes a single platter 320GB drive and a 2 platter 640 both of which cost way less and perform adirably.
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