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New HTPC Build - Opinions

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December 17, 2008 3:53:31 AM

So I'm building a computer for a HTPC and I just wanted to get some opinions. Does anybody have any suggestions? opinions? Do I need to do any overclocking?

The system will be used for HD viewing and streaming, and blu-ray ripping. Maybe even the occasional gaming.

Anyways, here are the specs:

CPU = Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33ghz
Mobo = Asus P5K-E
RAM = Crucial Ballistix 8GB PC6400 Dual Memory Ram
Video = Sapphire HD 3850 512MB PCI-Express x16
Audio = Built-in 7.1
1st HD = WD740 Raptor SATA
2nd HD = Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 1TB SATA
Optical = Lite-On Blu-Ray DH-4O1S-0
Tuner = HAUPPAUGE WinTV HVR 1600
Media = Card Reader
PS = 500w Antec PSU
Case = 4U 19" Rackmount Server Case

OS = Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit





More about : htpc build opinions

December 17, 2008 4:35:26 AM

This is good, but I highly doubt you need 8GB of RAM for an HTPC. My dad's HTPC does not play/rip/burn Blu-Ray's, but still records 1080i flawlessly off of local channels (ABC, NBC, etc). It's running off of 2GB of RAM, a Celeron (single core) 2.8GHz, and a cheapo Geforce 6200GT. Nothing impressive at all, but it surprisingly tackles hi-def video recording extremely well.

My point is that you don't need a beefy system for HD recording. Your set-up will do you VERY well, but you CAN cut some price off the top and still get amazing results. Stick with the HDD space--no doubt you'll need that (our HTPC records to our Linux server with 2TB of HDD space). 3850 will do the trick very well. Also, the E6550 will handle HD Video flawlessly, if a freaking P4-based celeron can handle it, but you could go with 4GB of RAM easily to shave some price off. Vista Media Center is impressive, so you'll have no problems there.

Again, this is a wordy rant that basically can be summed up: you don't need that much RAM.

Just MHO.
December 17, 2008 4:50:46 AM

^ Agreed, lots of overkill in your proposed system. Besides whats pointed out, you don't need a Raptor drive since the newer terabyte drives are plenty fast for a media center. Are you planing on doing any encoding? If so, you might consider overclocking to speed things up.

My media center is an Athlon XP 2500+ with 1 GB RAM, 6600GT and 2X 500 GB WD SATA drives. No problem recording/playing TV with 2 tuner cards for a LCD HDTV. I am about to upgrade just so I can use a Blu-ray player.
December 17, 2008 4:23:22 PM

That would have been a good build about a year ago. The E6550 is an old 65nm chip, the motherboard is an old P35 chipset board, the new 7200RPM drives are just as fast as those old Raptors, the GPU is greatly outperformed by the newer 48x0 series, etc... Do you really need Vista Ultimate instead of Vista Home Premium? Here's a link that shows the differences between the different versions of Vista.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-vista/compare-...

Vista Home Premium works fine for most people.

Here's a build based off of current hardware:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $164.99

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $114.99 - $15.00 MIR

G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49.99

Corsair VX450W ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply - CMPSU-450VX
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-450w-vx-series-12v-atx-... $69.99 - $10.00 MIR

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $84.99

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $129.99

POWERCOLOR AX4850 512MD3-DH Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $154.99 - $20.00 MIR

LG Black 6X Blu-ray DVD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Combo LG Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM & 16X DVD±R DVD Burner Model GGC-H20LK - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99

Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner 1213 PCI-Express x1 Interface - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $139.99

Antec Black Aluminum / Steel Fusion Remote Max ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $189.99

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99

Total - $1144.90 - $45 MIR's = $1099.90

This is totally overkill for a HTPC, but would actually make a pretty nice gaming rig also. Since you're going to be ripping blu-ray, you might want to step up to a quad core.

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $319.99

If you still want a Raptor drive, the new Velociraptor is the one you want.

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (bare drive) - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $169.99

or

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS 300GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $229.99 - $30.00 MIR
!