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Building compact HTPC and need advice

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August 2, 2009 4:22:52 PM

I plan on building a couple of these systems for the following:

- Watch HULU
- Watch DVD and Blu-Rays
- Get a video stream from HAVA video over my home network
- Occasional light browsing
- Occasional ripping

It needs to be QUIET and small form factor. I also want it to boot quickly and make it easy for the family to use. I also don't want it to burn a bunch of power when not in use. It will be connected to a wired 10/100 network in my home. I ultimately will have 2 or 3 of these systems set up and connected to plasma/flat panel tv's.

With all this in mind, I have scoped out the following on Newegg.com:

Mobo (new unit, seems to have superior video, has HDMI which I want)
GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813128397

Either of the following CPUs (not sure I need extra speed/cost for what I want to do):
AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADX250OCGQBOX
Item #: N82E16819103681

AMD Phenom II X3 705e Heka 2.5GHz Socket AM3 65W Triple-Core Processor Model HD705EOCGIBOX
Item #: N82E16819103683

Blu ray/dvd player:
LITE-ON Black 4X Blu-ray Reader SATA Model iHOS104-06 - OEM
Item #: N82E16827106325

Hard Drive (I want a fast boot and was thinking about using a solid state drive for the OS, and a second drive for storage; debating if I need second drive at all or just pulling off of network server):
RiDATA NSSD-S25-32-C04MPN 2.5" 32GB SATA II 3.0Gb MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - Retail
Item #: N82E16820183202

Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM

For the case, one of these 2:
hec Black 0.7mm Thickness SECC Steel 7KJ9 Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case w/270W Power Supply
Item #: N82E16811121068

Antec Black M FusionRemote 350 Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail
Item #: N82E16811129046

For memory, I am not at all sure what to get (DDR2, DDR3, speed, etc.)

For the OS, I will ultimately run Windows 7 on this, but vista or xp in the interim

I would appreciate thoughts on the memory, cpu, cases, etc. and whether or not this whole system "hangs together" or not. If I get it to work, I post my learnings here and how happy I am with it. I don't want to spend a ton of money (say, no more than about $600 per system) --

Thanks for the help!
August 2, 2009 4:44:04 PM

Where will you be getting the parts from? Newegg? For a HTPC an SSD eats up a good chunk of the budget and a good fast standard HDD should give you sufficiently quick boot times. Get a 710, instead of a 705e, it will save you a bit and you can always undervolt the 710 if heat is a significant concern. I would also consider switching the 785g out for the 790gx as im not sure if you need that HD4200 IGP, the 3300 should be sufficient for any nongaming purposes.
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August 3, 2009 2:42:28 AM

Yes - I am planning on buying from newegg. I like the idea on the 710 -- if I stick with the ssd, the extra heat won't be an issue. I like the new mobo so want to stick with it. What speed/type of memory would I need with this configuration? Thanks for the advice.
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August 3, 2009 8:05:21 AM

Possible config for consideration perhaps ^^
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August 3, 2009 6:22:57 PM

You might want to consider a 7200rpm 2.5" notebook hard drive if the SSD is out of budget. They are considerably quieter than 3.5" drives. I have one of the WD green 5400 rpm drives and I think it's too noisy for HTPC.

Also, with S3 sleep you should have your HTPC up and running in about 3-5 seconds after hitting the power button. It's pretty rare that you do a full-on cold boot with an HTPC.
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