Hey gang – I’m looking to build myself a new HTPC and I’m interested in your feedback. In order of priority, here is how I use the computer
1) Rip DVD/Blu-Ray to ISO and playback ISOs using DVD emulator software
2) Play video files
3) Play DVD/Blu-Ray discs
4) Browse the internet
5) Occasional RPG video game (like City of Heroes, Tabula Rasa, etc.)
With that in mind, here is the list of components I’ve currently got picked out.
Case: Looks roomy inside, looks sexy outside, 120mm fan
CPU: Fastest 45W CPU I could find
Motherboard: Up-to-date chipset and best available integrated VPU
Power supply: Silent, nice features, seems quality, don’t need many watts for this build
Memory: no reason – I like Mushkin – but 4gb of any brand will do
Hard drive: Fast and silent! I don’t need much local storage because I’ve got a big NAS
DVD: Blu-Ray and everyone seems to like this drive
Hmm i am not sure how much gaming u intend to do but have u heard of hybrid power in AMD GF8xxx chipsets? Essentially it powers down the discrete GPU when not gaming and reverts to the integrated video on the motherboard. Tests have been sucessful in turning the discrete totally off/power down and it offers a key feature for HTPC lovers who want to game as well! Catch: only certain mobos + GPUs work to offer this Hybrid Power feature:
Thats said what about a Phenom 2 in your box? Not to OC but to undervolt as low as you can while still keeping it at stock speed or enable Cool n Quiet 3? Also my DIY experiences in HTPCs and LAN party boxes have shown that modular PSUs really shine when working in small cases and cable management is greatly improved hence not hindering airflow! SSDs for me would be an option in future when prices for $$/GB become far less IMO In summary my suggestion:
you definitely need more hard drive space. If your primary use is going to be ripping dvd's, that 80 is going to fill up in about one day. I would forget the SSD and get 4x1TB hd's for the same price and put them in either raid 1 or 5.
I know! ISO files are stinking huge....thing is....I've got lots of network storage so I dont leave the files on my computer's local drive - instead I rip the ISO local then move it to NAS. I've been usign my laptop (Dell XPS which I totally love) as my HTPC - but I'm sick of bringing it back and forth to work. Anyway - I've been doing this for two years with my laptop which has an 80GB disk and havnt had a problem.
Since your recommendation, I've been trying to learn about the GeForce Hybrid technology. In the end, I end up being the kind of person who is more impressed with simplicity than sophistication - so it’s just not for me.
Yeah I wish this PS was modular for its tidiness, but airflow shouldn’t be a concern in a build that doesn’t produce enough heat to require evacuation. You don’t need airflow if you don’t even need fans
I'd love! to get a Phenom II in this rig, and it would drop right into this motherboard - but those suckers are 125w (that’s 3x the heat of the Brisbane I picked out!!!) what about heat, noise and power? Remember I've currently selected a fanless 400w PS. Would I need a bigger PS? How much case heat would I be adding with the Phenom II? The fanless PS will need low ambient air temperatures to cool itself – if the CPU is pumping heat into the case….
I know the build I presented is unorthodox, but it’s extremely quiet and extremely green. It will also boot and run fast which will make it feel more like an electronic appliance. (have you read the reviews of what kind of performance this speedy little drive adds to even tired old systems?)
I'm looking for feedback because, even though I really like the idea of this build, there is something odd about it. Top performing hard disk, Top of the line motherboard with the newest coolest AMD chipset...
...paired with a flimsy CPU and unimpressive GPU (though it is the best stand alone integrated GPU available)
So it feels odd to me – but maybe that’s the compromise that makes sense for an HTPC.
To clarify about gaming – we’re talking about 2% of my computer time is games and even then its RPGs – not bleeding edge FPS or whatnot. Also, the only monitor on this system will be my HDTV so max resolution will be 1080, further reducing the VPU requirements.
Still, wonder about the VPU/CPU power in this setup. Man, sorting out the balance point for a great HTPC is much harder than building up killer gaming rig!