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$1250-$2000 HTPC NEWB FIRST BUILD

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June 3, 2009 4:54:38 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: (the closer the better) BUDGET RANGE: (US$1250-2000)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (Watching movies and TV, Recording TV, Burning Discs, Listening to Music, Storage Space, Surfing Internet, Light Gaming)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: (None)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: (Any)

OVERCLOCKING: UH???

MONITOR RESOLUTION: (Samsung 50" Plasma 1080p)

PARTS PREFERENCES: This is what I have in mind.....

ZOTAC GF9300-A-E LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9300 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400

G.SKILL 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Quad Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5Q-8GBPQ

Thermaltake LANBOX Lite VF6000BWS Black SECC Japanese steel Gaming Cube Computer Case

(2) Western Digital Caviar GP WD5000AACS 500GB 5400 to 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

LG Black Super Multi Blu-ray Disc Burner & HD DVD-ROM Drive SATA Model GGW-H20L

PC Power & Cooling Silencer PPCS370X 370W ATX12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner 1213 PCI-Express x1 Interface

Logitech Wave Pro Desktop Black USB 2.4 GHz Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo

HT | OMEGA CLARO 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card

Rosewill RNX-EasyN1 IEEE 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0 Wireless-N 4.0 Dongle (1T1R) Up to 150Mbps Data Rates WPA/WPA2

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: As stated this is my first build ever, so if you see hardware or something else that doesn't jive, please chime in. Looking for any advice or information.

Thanks
June 3, 2009 6:02:30 PM

you can do a bit better for $2000.

try an i7 base with an X58 mobo and tri-channel 1.65v ddr3 ram. With a noctua cooler to go with that since they're quite quiet but make sure they fit the case.

then low-ish end high capacity SSD's to keep it quieter.

now you'll need a gfx card, may I suggest the gigabyte 4870 1GB with zalman cooler? this has a non-reference PCB which includes displayport for future screens. this will also need a better PSU so spend the extra for a Silverstone nightjar 450w as they are fanless PSU's so even quieter.

also draft N is at 300mbps so go for a better wifi USB dongle.

This leaves you with an overall far better build and the only noise will be from the fans in the case and on the heatsink.
June 4, 2009 3:52:56 PM

Hate to kill the mood here, but you really don't need to spend $2000 on a HTPC. For a HTPC you do NOT need:
- 8GB RAM (I would say 2 or 4 but 8 is overkill)
- a 3 Ghz dual-core gaming CPU (if you plan on encoding or ripping then get a quad core)
- to spend even $1250 ,but that is your choice and right

To address the post above me you do NOT need:
- Core i7 (too power hungry and WAY overkill)
- a HD 4870 (this is a LIGHT gaming rig at best, no Call of Duty 4 or anything)
- SSD (would help boot times, but expensive)

I would look at this post for a good template:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/266178-31-htpc-hulu-n...

This build is very close to one that I will be putting together in about a month or so. As it is in the post it will be capable of: Watching movies and TV, Recording TV, Burning Discs (DVDs only, unless you upgrade to BR Burner as I list below), Listening to Music, Storage Space, Surfing Internet, Light Gaming.

The machine you've specced is a high-power rig that is going to be more power hungry, hotter and louder compared to the more efficient (yet still capable!) build in the link above. Remember, the HTPC will be running the entire time you are watching TV. You want something that will run quiet and cool.

To bump up the build in the link (since you have a much larger budget) I would add several things:
- Multiple hard drives, aim for maybe 2 TB as either JBOD or RAID of any flavor. Either that or invest in a network storage solution.

- If you plan on doing any media encoding or ripping then I suggest upgrading the CPU to a low power quad core (Phenom II maybe). Otherwise the Athlon 5050e will be fine for anything, even Blu-ray playback.

- A lower power graphics card would be a possible addition as well; Radeon 4830 or 4770 or GeForce 9600 GT would be as high as I would go in a HTPC. These cards are easily capable for gaming, probably overkill for light gaming. If you don't plan on doing many 3d games then you might leave out the graphics card all-together.

- You can keep all of the parts you listed for: power supply, tv tuner card, Blu-Ray burner, mouse & keyboard, sound card, and wireless dongle.

I have no experience with any HTPC software so choose what you like. (Vista Media Center will likely work fine)

If you have money left over I would invest that into a nice speaker system.

Any other suggestions?
Related resources
June 4, 2009 4:21:22 PM

^ I chose the 4870 because it's the cheapest card on the market with DP, which future screens will take use of.

also my build was to futureproof it, this could live on for 5-6 years as a HTPC, going with your suggestions maybe 3 years tops.
June 5, 2009 4:09:55 AM

If you don't mind, what is this DP feature you are talking about? I am not familiar with the term off-hand.
June 5, 2009 4:38:00 AM

Katsushiro said:
If you don't mind, what is this DP feature you are talking about? I am not familiar with the term off-hand.


I think he's referring to Displayport.
June 5, 2009 7:07:19 AM

yeah, displayport is like HDMI, but you get 3840x2160 @60hz whereas with HDMI 1.4 it's only 30hz.

and 3840x2160 is basically the next generation of HD.
!