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Basic HTPC; no frills; no serious networking

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August 22, 2009 4:44:12 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Built and OS loaded by October 1, 2009.

BUDGET RANGE: $500-$600.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Download 1280x720 video via wireless; output to HDTV via DVI or HDMI; watching streaming HD video content (sometimes via Flash players); Bluray video playing.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Microsoft Windows 7.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com, Microcenter (close by).

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel.

OVERCLOCKING: No.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 720p 50" Samsung Plasma TV; 10ft seating distance.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This computer is for my parents. Size is one of the biggest factors right now, so Mini-ITX is probably the way to go. My parents currently have a laptop (Sony Vaio @1.8Ghz, GeForce 9300) hooked up to the TV, which they unhappily detach and re-attach every day so they can also use their laptop for other normal purposes.

I was heavily leaning towards the ASRock ION 330 w/ BD. But after some research, I learned that the dual-core atom @ 1.6GHz could not handle the processor-intensive Flash based HD video playing (i.e., Hulu, YouTube, etc.)

I also considered the Mac Mini, but that does not have a Bluray player, and I don't want my parents to contend with multiple OSs on the network.


MY CONFIGURATION: Will this all fit together and work? I have very limited build and general computer knowledge. For example, I am confused about the power supply and RAM "timing." I tried to see if I could fit this mobo into a smaller case, but I can't afford a slim BD for smaller cases.

1) Case: Lian Li PC-Q7 Mini-ITX Tower. $70.00.

2) Mobo: Zotac GF9300-D-E LGA 775 (w/ nVidia GeForce 9300). $140.00.

3) Processor: Intel E5200 2.5GHz. $64.00.

4) HDD: Western Digital Black 640GB, 7200RPM, 32MB. $65.00.

5) ODD: LiteOn 4x BD-ROM SATA. $68.00.

6) RAM: G.SKILL (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2800. $52.00. (No clue what "timing" is. This one is 5-5-5-15. And another is 4-4-4-12 and is $7.00 more expensive.)

7) Power Supply: no clue. How do you choose the right power supply?

Total: $459.00 (without PSU).


Thanks in advance.
August 22, 2009 5:12:28 PM

That gets the job done. I'd suggest a caviar Green instead of black though. HTPCs are on so much, the low power models will save a lot over the life of the pc since performance should be fine either way.

Any objection to an PCI wifi card? They can cost as low as $10, but $20 will get a decent one. And save a bunch on the mobo.

Also, might suggest an AMD 785G platform with lower power DDR3 (1.5v instead of 1.8v) The Athlon II is faster than the E5200 at stock speeds and the 785G will outperform the 9300.

PSU - See my suggestion below. High rating on silentpcreview.com

Here's my build suggestion:
Athlon 250 and Gigabyte 785G $145 http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Lian Li case with 300w seasonic PSU $80 http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
HDD Caviar Green $65 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ODD as above $68 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Ram Crucial DDR3 4gig cas 7 1.5v http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
WiFi adapter $17 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total w/ shipping comes to $471.25
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August 22, 2009 5:38:19 PM

skora said:

Here's my build suggestion:
Athlon 250 and Gigabyte 785G $145 http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Lian Li case with 300w seasonic PSU $80 http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
HDD Caviar Green $65 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ODD as above $68 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Ram Crucial DDR3 4gig cas 7 1.5v http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
WiFi adapter $17 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total w/ shipping comes to $471.25


Thank you very much for your advice! You know, I chose that Zotac board not because it has WIFI (I'll hardwire the system), but because I thought that the case was only compatible with Mini-ITX. But you are suggesting a Mico-ATX mobo. Will that work with this case? If so, I have no problems with going with AMD.
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August 22, 2009 5:44:23 PM

Ahhhh, OPPPS!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Also have to change the ram back to DDR2. The 5-5-5-12 is fine for HTPC.

If you're have to go with mITX, then the intel build you have above is good stuff and the AMD doesn't really offer anything more than just a little faster CPU. I'd just change to the Caviar Green still though.

If you can get away with a slim mATX, that will fit a standard 5.25in drive. The footprint is bigger, but short.
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August 24, 2009 6:30:01 PM

Will the components in this build all fit and work together?


CASE
APEX DM-387 (12.75" x 3.9" x 15.75") w/ 275W PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$50.00

MOBO & CPU:
Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT HDMI (Micro-ATX)
AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz 65w
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$150.00

RAM
Crucial DDR3 (2x2GB) cas 7 1.5v
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$73.00

HDD
Western Digital 640GB Black
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$75.00

ODD:
LITE-ON 4x BD-ROM SATA
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$68.00


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August 25, 2009 1:21:14 AM

The mobo will fit the case. Not sure how reliable or efficent the PSU would be. The drive says it can be vertically mounted (optional.) Not sure what that means or how its accopmlished.
http://us.liteonit.com/us/index.php?option=com_content&...

With effiencency in mind, I'd really suggest the Caviar green over the black.
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