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Rate my HTPC build

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June 15, 2009 7:11:35 PM

Case: Silverstone LC13B-E
PSU: Antec earthwatts EA500 500W 80 PLUS
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3LR LGA 775 ATX
CPU: Intel E5200
RAM: Kingston 4GB DDR2
Video: nVidia Palit 9600GT
Storage: Western Digital 1TB 3.5 drive
Blueray: LG drive
TV Tuner: Hauppauge ATSC
Wireless Adapter
OS: Win 7 64-bit

Keyboard: Logitech DiNovo
Mouse: Logitech MX Revolution

I'm looking for recommendations. We want to game and watch movies. We'll be sitting about 10 ft away from the system and TV.

More about : rate htpc build

June 15, 2009 8:48:38 PM

Thanks for the reply. I hadn't nailed down the RAM kit yet, so thanks for the suggestion!
I own both a 4850 and a 9600GT. I think the 9600GT is a bit quieter, but you're right, the 4850 is better for gaming. It's a long story but whichever isn't in my main PC will be in my HTPC as it's the only part I've already bought.
I hadn't looked at the P43 board. Looks like it's just one generation behind the board I selected. I noticed that the FSB is only 1333 without overclocking. Will that affect me at all?
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
June 15, 2009 9:10:23 PM

When they say 1333 they really mean 333 "quad pumped." It's just a marketing thing.

The CPU you chose does not even need 333. It runs at stock 200Mhz with a multiplier of 12.5. If you are overclocking you will probably not even get to 333Mhz.

P43 is not older, it's actually newer or released at the same time. See my guide, linked in my sig or at the top of the new build forum, for an explanation of the differences. It's a trimmed down P45 chipset, minus DDR3 and crossfire support, and also RAID support as I recall.
June 15, 2009 10:04:45 PM

meh, if this is a pure HTPC build, then i would say go AMD and onboard graphics, but other than that, not bad, though i think the 9600GT is a little overkill (unless you do some light gaming)
June 15, 2009 11:47:03 PM

Is it a big deal if my power supply isn't modular for an HTPC build?
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
June 16, 2009 6:59:29 AM

Depends on the case and the PSU. You can probably tuck away most of the cables in that case, out of the air flow.

In your case, you are using a larger PSU because you want a gaming rig. This means more cables than, say, an EA380.

On the other hand, there are not many quality PSUs that are modular at lower wattages.

Corsair 520HX comes to mind.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This Seasonic would be another.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
June 16, 2009 7:27:18 AM

In my HTPC I use a separate hard drive (older 160GB) partitioned for the OS and some games / non-media data. Another small (older 160GB) "thrash" HDD for ripping DVDs / Blu-Ray (eventually). And two 1TB Western Digital "Green" HDDs for media data storage.

Not the most cost effective setup, but there's a method to my madness.

1. I generally prefer to keep my OS and important data on separate physical hard drives, should the OS drive fail I really do not need to worry about recovering the data.

2. The "thrash drive" should be the most used drive of all since all data will be ripped to that drive. Also used when encoding video, all data will be written to this drive, then transferred to one of my 1TB drives. I expect this drive to be the first to fail since a lot of data will be (and has been) written and erased. The more wear and tear, the faster something will fail (generally speaking).

3. The 1TB drives are considered "permanent storage" once a movie (or music) has been encoded on the "thrash" drive, it is then moved to one of these drive. Thus saving wear and tear on these drives so that data loss is less likely to happen.

I'm also considering tossing in two 2TB WD HDDs in a RAID 1 setup when these drives are more affordable.
June 16, 2009 10:23:14 AM

Wow, the 5050e uses 20 watts less than the 5200! How large of a performance hit are we talking about?
June 16, 2009 3:54:40 PM

1) If you're not using it for gaming or any demanding operation other than HTPC I would suggest AMD CPU (cheaper), maybe that Athlon X2 5050e 45W proximon suggested.
2) I don't think that NVIDIA card supports multichannel LPCM, a true HTPC needs at least 5.1 or 7.1 LPCM audio (and a receiver), so I recommend using an AMD video card.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
June 16, 2009 6:39:09 PM

droberts said:
Wow, the 5050e uses 20 watts less than the 5200! How large of a performance hit are we talking about?


Not huge, but every bit helps at that level. Let's look around, because it's actually a fairly new CPU:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-64-power,225...
There you go.
June 16, 2009 7:01:43 PM

I've owned Antec Sonata cases for my towers for a long time. Although not designed to sit sideways, they have properties which make them quiet: rubber hard drive mounts, large 120mm fan on the back, quiet power supply. The rubber feet at the bottom will no longer provide sound protection, and putting in DVDs will be awkward.

Would it make sense to use a system such as the Sonata 3 as my HTPC enclosure to reduce noise?
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
June 16, 2009 7:05:00 PM

Yes, and the improved cooling would go a long way to helping as well.
June 17, 2009 3:51:50 AM

Is it too damn much to ask for an HTPC case that's quiet and cool?
I don't care about having any display at the front, and I'm not going to load more than one 5 1/4 drive. I'd like to have fans bigger than 80mm so they don't make a lot of noise!

I'm reconsidering the case right now. I think the Sonata is going to win unless someone can suggest an equally quiet case.
June 17, 2009 1:14:04 PM

droberts said:
Is it too damn much to ask for an HTPC case that's quiet and cool?
I don't care about having any display at the front, and I'm not going to load more than one 5 1/4 drive. I'd like to have fans bigger than 80mm so they don't make a lot of noise!

I'm reconsidering the case right now. I think the Sonata is going to win unless someone can suggest an equally quiet case.


If you consider not using the video cards you already have, and buy a very cheap ATI 4350 and mix it with a low power CPU you can have almost any case you like.

By the way, did you considered what I told you about the 7.1 / 5.1 LPCM audio?
June 17, 2009 3:20:57 PM

Thanks again for the replies. The fusion max looks nice. It's hard to evaluate noise online. One reviewer on Newegg said the fans were a bit loud. I would think this would be the quietest HTPC case!

I did consider what you said about the audio system. My sound needs are very basic right now. I'm only using the speakers in my TV so sound isn't a big concern.
June 17, 2009 6:29:16 PM

droberts said:
Thanks again for the replies. The fusion max looks nice. It's hard to evaluate noise online. One reviewer on Newegg said the fans were a bit loud. I would think this would be the quietest HTPC case!

I did consider what you said about the audio system. My sound needs are very basic right now. I'm only using the speakers in my TV so sound isn't a big concern.


1) Noise levels on antec cases shouldn't be a concern for you, since they are equipped with tricool fans. Those fans have 3 speeds you control manually and the lowest settings are virtually inaudible (but won't give you amazing air flow). That said I wouldn't hesitate on buying that fusion max, even though you can get any cheap case and buy some noiseless fans for far less than 180$

2) I see you're spending good money on good equipment, so I only wanted to tell you that listening to a Blu-Ray on TV speakers is more than a complete waste of money, you can spend about 550-600$ on a more than acceptable receiver, set of speakers and subwoofer and have a completely different experience.

June 17, 2009 8:47:32 PM

Thanks for the reply!
I was never a fan of loud speakers, but your comment is eye opening (who wants to waste money). Now that I live in Washington DC, it looks like I'll be in apartments for a while now, and keeping the peace with the neighbors is important. If I used the 4850 video card that should allow for lossless audio should I choose to get a better speaker system later, correct?
June 18, 2009 1:13:52 AM

yes, that's correct.
By the way, I don't know how much noise is too much noise for your neighbors, but you can consider buying a simple 5.1 computer speaker set for less than 80$. It's cheap, you can control the volume (they're not too loud anyways) and is a lot better than TV speakers.
On a side note, since you have both cards and won't be using lossless audio capabilities, you can use either on either machine and if you ever change your mind you just have to swap cards and install new drivers.
June 18, 2009 1:44:21 AM

Since your end result here is for an HTPC, which Hauppauge card are you looking at? If I may, I'd recommend the 2250. I have it in two of my PCs, one which is strictly an HTPC, and works wonderfully, especially under Win7.
June 19, 2009 1:23:35 AM

I left it vauge because I'm not sure yet. I don't get cable and just have a regular antenna I made myself. The reception isn't great in my current apartment. I'm going to move soon and see how TV reception is where I go before I pick up a TV card, and use the HTPC for movies and games until then. I'll definitely take a look at the 2250. Are you using 64-bit?
June 19, 2009 4:12:01 AM

droberts said:
Are you using 64-bit?


I've used it under both 32- and 64-bit, and it works like a charm. I'm actually considering picking up a second one so I can record more stuff at once. My scheduled recordings are starting to back up...
!