Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Building a HTPC for under $400?

Last response: in Systems
Share
June 5, 2009 5:46:59 PM

I am attempting to put together a HTPC for pretty cheap and I think I can get a good enough one for a little under $400.

I have a projector (1080p) and receiver that take HDMI and optical audio. I only want to use it for watching videos, viewing pictures, and browsing the web. I already have software and mouse/keyboard

(I have not shopped around, but I roughly found what I think I need at Newegg and expect that to be close to the lowest I'm going to find)

Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GIGABYTE GA-73PVM-2SH LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 7100 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $68.99

== (1) This had HDMI output and optical audio output -- do I also need a separate video card or sound card?

CPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (free shipping)
Intel Celeron E1400 Allendale 2.0GHz 512KB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor $44.99

== (2) Does this CPU fit the motherboard I listed? The slot is correct, but I was confused by the "CPU Type."

RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Rendition by Crucial 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory $10.99 x2

Case + PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
APEX DM-387 Black Steel MicroATX Slim Case Computer Case 275W Power Supply $44.99

== (3) Nice small case that doesn't "look like a computer," I trust the PSU is sufficient?

Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (free shipping)
HITACHI 0A38016 1TB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $74.99

Blu-Ray Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (free shipping)
LITE-ON Black 4X BD-ROM 12X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Internal 4X Blu-Ray DVD Drive Model DH-4O1S-58 $76.99

HDMI Cable
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $5.99

Optical Cable
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $9.29

Total Cost: $348.21 ($367.34 including the $19.13 shipping from Newegg)

I am willing to go as high as $600 if there are any real weak spots in my proposed build, so please make suggestions regarding worthwhile things to upgrade or downgrades to save some money. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

More about : building htpc 400

June 5, 2009 6:25:38 PM

Here's my suggested build:

Athlon X2 4850e

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

Gigabyte 780G m-ATX motherboard

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

A-Data 2x1GB kit DDR2-800

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

Antec NSK240 HTPC case w/ Earthwatts 380 PSU

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

WD Caviar Green 1TB hdd

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

The other components (BR drive, cables) you chose are fine - this will give you a better CPU, motherboard with better features (it has HDMI and optical out), better video card, higher-quality memory, and much higher-quality case and PSU. Additionally, the components here are lower power consumption (a 45w processor and Green hdd) - and the PSU is 80% efficient.

Should come out to just under $500 with shipping and the Blu-Ray drive and cables.
June 5, 2009 6:49:31 PM

+1 to Cpt Deadboots build. Trust me, you don't want a computer with 1GB of RAM, even if it is just a HTPC. Those components are considerably better all-around.
Related resources
June 5, 2009 8:20:15 PM

seriously if using xp 1 gig is enough, if vista, 3gigs
hitachi 1tb, are you trying to loose ur data, one died on me 1 month after the warranty was up
ull 1t a dual core if you plan to go 1080p
nice sudgestion cpt but $400- remember ill post a build soon
June 5, 2009 8:29:51 PM

The OP said he could go up to $600 if there was a good reason to. I have my doubts that the original build could even smoothly play a BluRay movie.
June 5, 2009 9:30:08 PM

Board
ASRock A790GMH Sideport 128 no shared mem hdmi optical
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

cpu
AMD Athlon X2 4050e 2.1ghz all u need
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

hsf
Rosewill RCX-Z80-AL 22 dba quiet
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ram
Kingston 2GB dual channel
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ur apex case is a good choice it looks like it only has 1 sata power connector
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ quiet fast least bad reviews
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

liteon bd good choice
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

cables are taken into concideration too

$388 - shipping, would be 378 w/o spdif cable

have fun and good luck

Impossible is nothing ur environment's irrelevant just dont let your emotions overpower your intelligence. T.I
June 5, 2009 9:31:47 PM

MY BAD SHORT STUFF WHEN THE OP IS TOO LONG I KINDA SPEED READ
June 6, 2009 2:34:07 AM

Cpt Deadboots said:
Here's my suggested build:

Antec NSK240 HTPC case w/ Earthwatts 380 PSU

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

The other components (BR drive, cables) you chose are fine - this will give you a better CPU, motherboard with better features (it has HDMI and optical out), better video card, higher-quality memory, and much higher-quality case and PSU. Additionally, the components here are lower power consumption (a 45w processor and Green hdd) - and the PSU is 80% efficient.


That is a much better motherboard/cpu combo for $10 more, well worth it I think, thanks.

Is 275W too little to run this machine? I could get the case I like for $44.99 and buy a PSU for no more than $30 and have it cost a bit less than that case. I'm more concerned with short-term cost than power consumption (yes, efficiency is the same as money, but I don't mind).

And just a note, I had 2x 1GB sticks in the original post. I'll either run XP or Ubuntu, so not worried about Vista's memory consumption.
June 6, 2009 2:50:02 AM

xaira said:
Board
ASRock A790GMH Sideport 128 no shared mem hdmi optical
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

cpu
AMD Athlon X2 4050e 2.1ghz all u need
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

hsf
Rosewill RCX-Z80-AL 22 dba quiet
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ram
Kingston 2GB dual channel
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$388 - shipping, would be 378 w/o spdif cable


Am I going to overheat doing what I want to do (watching videos / browsing)?

Why that board? What makes it better than Cpt's $10 cheaper one? Is 2.1 ghz enough for Blu-ray? Points to you for saving me $3 on RAM!! :) 

Much appreciated everyone.
June 6, 2009 3:37:06 AM

That ASRock motherboard has a 790G chipset, but I doubt it makes any large difference when using it for a HTPC. 2.1GHz is going to be enough (dual core) and even if it isn't your motherboard's onboard GPU can assist.
June 6, 2009 4:14:28 AM

nah man 275 is plenty, and if running xp u could either drop 1gb or use the 2gb in dc and benefit from the xtra speed.
June 6, 2009 4:19:06 AM

the board i chose has the better onboard gpu, also the onboard gpu has its own memory so it dosent have to borrow from ram
June 6, 2009 1:58:38 PM

i put the hsf cause the cpu i chose dosent come with a cooler
also that cooler has a lower sound output than the average
June 8, 2009 11:54:08 AM


Just swap out DVDRW to BR ODD and top up $53 hehe
June 9, 2009 6:33:35 PM

This is all probably pretty confusing - but the reason I suggested the Earthwatts PSU is because of its reputation. Its internals are manufactured by the best in the business, whereas the Apex's PSU is likely to blow up within a year.

The Apex case looks fine, just make sure you get a higher quality PSU to go with it. Antec, Silverstone, and SeaSonic make some great ~$35-$50 PSUs (don't settle for cheaper than one of these).

The reason I'd still recommend the build I posted over the ones listed above (as I stated, you can change the case to a cheaper one) is because of the power efficiency and excellent overall performance. You don't need a 790 chipset if you won't be overclocking, and that processor is dirt cheap. I chose it over the 2.1 GHz model because it isn't OEM (it comes with a boxed cooler; you'll need to buy a cooler for the 4050e).

As far as the onboard GPU borrowing from your memory: it won't affect overall performance, especially if you're running XP or Ubuntu. Set it to use ~256mb and you'll be fine.

Make sure you take into account shipping costs - that memory kit saves you a couple of bucks right off the bat, but the kit I suggested has free shipping. The Kingston kit will end up costing you more.
!