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Is this a good HTPC build? (Noob)

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September 21, 2009 1:52:42 PM

QUESTION: Is this a good build? If not, what to change and why?

USAGE: Movies (DVD/BD), Music, TV...ABSOLUTELY NO GAMING!!!!

PARTS:

Lian Li PC-C32B
MSI 785GM-E65
AMD Phenom II x2 550 Black
Mushkin $GB DDR3 1333 (Pc3-10666)
Corsair CMPSU-650TX
WD Caviar Blue 320GB
Seagate 1TB USB External
LG CH08-LS10 BD Combo
ATI TV Wonder HD-650
Asus Xonar HDAV1.3 Slim Sound Card (Future???)
Fans: SilenX IXP-54-09, Scythe S-Flex SFF21D, AeroCool Streamliner 140mm
Windows 7?
Cyberlink PowerDVD
Slysoft AnyDVD
ArcSoft Total Media Theater?


Thanks

More about : good htpc build noob

September 21, 2009 3:48:45 PM

No feedback? Can I assume this is really a good build? Keep in mind that movie playback is both DVD and BD, and TV viewing is both analog and digital channels.

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a b B Homebuilt system
September 21, 2009 6:28:59 PM

The build will work, but there are a few things I'd change. I haven't had good long-term reliability luck with MSI. I would get this CPU/motherboard combo instead:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $181.99 (AMD Phenom II X2 550 + Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H combo)

The 650TX is a very nice PSU, but major overkill for your build. A 400CX would work fine.

CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail $49.99
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September 21, 2009 8:21:54 PM

shortstuff_mt

I was actually considering that M/B...!!! I was just concerned that the SATA ports might get blocked if I put the ATI TV Wonder or Asus Xonar HDAV1.3 slim sound card later. I forgot to mention that in the original post.

As for the power supply, I chose the 650w because on most of the comparable builds people were using 700w-1000w power supplies. I thought I was being conservative...lol

Will take your comments.suggestions into consideration.

Hey, what's a good CPU cooler for the AMD Phenom IIx2 550 Black?

Thanks for your help.
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September 21, 2009 9:56:08 PM

why not switch to the Athon II X2 240, save money and electricity

really you won't need an after market cpu cooler, stock will plenty

drop the PSU down to Corsair 400w, 650w overkill
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 21, 2009 10:05:04 PM

pmaisn said:
Will that fit in the Lian Li PC-C32B without a problem?

Good catch. It would be very close. The cooler is 6.25" high and the case is 6.5" high. Sorry, we just had a new baby about a week and a half ago and I'm running on minimal sleep. I'm sure you understand if you have kids. :) 

Anyway, the CPU will come with a HSF like mindless728 said. You don't need an aftermarket cooler unless you're looking to upgrade the stock unit.

This cooler is only 5.5" high and should fit fine if you still want an aftermarket cooler.

Cooler Master Hyper TX3 Socket 775/1156/AMD 130W 92mm "heatpipe direct contact" CPU Cooler RR-910-HTX3-GP - Retail $19.99
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September 21, 2009 10:49:10 PM

mindless728 said:
why not switch to the Athon II X2 240, save money and electricity

really you won't need an after market cpu cooler, stock will plenty

drop the PSU down to Corsair 400w, 650w overkill



That makes sense mindless728, since a HTPC doesn't need a whole lot of processing power.


shortsuff_mt also mentioned that a 400w PSU would be adequate.


Thanks for your help.
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September 21, 2009 11:20:42 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
Good catch. It would be very close. The cooler is 6.25" high and the case is 6.5" high. Sorry, we just had a new baby about a week and a half ago and I'm running on minimal sleep. I'm sure you understand if you have kids. :) 

Anyway, the CPU will come with a HSF like mindless728 said. You don't need an aftermarket cooler unless you're looking to upgrade the stock unit.

This cooler is only 5.5" high and should fit fine if you still want an aftermarket cooler.

Cooler Master Hyper TX3 Socket 775/1156/AMD 130W 92mm "heatpipe direct contact" CPU Cooler RR-910-HTX3-GP - Retail $19.99



Yeah, I know how that can get. I have kids too... :D 

Let's switch gears for a moment. What do you think my OS should be? I'm not sure whether to go with: WinXP MCE, Vista 32bit, Vista 64bit or Win7?

What's the difference between Vista 32bit and Vista 64bit? Is there an advantage, considering what I intend to do?


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September 22, 2009 11:37:37 AM

pmaisn said:
Yeah, I know how that can get. I have kids too... :D 

Let's switch gears for a moment. What do you think my OS should be? I'm not sure whether to go with: WinXP MCE, Vista 32bit, Vista 64bit or Win7?

What's the difference between Vista 32bit and Vista 64bit? Is there an advantage, considering what I intend to do?


Have you considered Linux as an OS? If all you want is a HTPC then you might be able to save a bit of money using MythTV. Of course, if you're looking for a easy, minimal fuss install then this option probably isn't for you.
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September 22, 2009 12:34:21 PM

I have absolutely no experience with Linux. I wouldn't have a clue of how to trouble shoot if something doesn't go right. I don't think Linux would be a first choice, but I'll look into it.

Thanks
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 22, 2009 2:46:56 PM

I've used both 64-bit Vista and 64-bit Windows 7 on my HTPC. I would say 64-bit is the way to go. A 32-bit OS can't fully use 4GB of RAM. I would swap the 320GB WD drive for the new Samsung F3 500GB drive for the same price. There's even a combo with the Samsung drive and the version of Vista that comes with a free upgrade to Windows 7.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
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September 22, 2009 5:36:56 PM

I'd also look a little more into that Asus Xonar. I had considered it also since it passes the bluray bitstream, which I was going to use my receiver to decode. But I read enough about how it did not handle DVD/DTS very well. So I bagged it.
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September 23, 2009 1:36:07 PM

Supe_ said:
I'd also look a little more into that Asus Xonar. I had considered it also since it passes the bluray bitstream, which I was going to use my receiver to decode. But I read enough about how it did not handle DVD/DTS very well. So I bagged it.


I believe there are newer drivers that play better/handle DVD/DTS. I also think or read somewhere that the issue maybe OS based (WinXP vs Vista vs Win7), gotta looking that. I did have it as an alternative or future upgrade.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 24, 2009 12:36:55 PM

I'd reconsider the Asus Xonar... the new Radeon 5xxx graphics cards that just came out support full bitstreaming of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio streams.

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3643&p=10

These new radeons make the Asus and Auzentech cards obsolete.

True... AMD has only released the high-end 5-series Radeons for now, but the low and mid end cards will be coming 1Q 2010 (HD5450 etc.) Maybe you could just get by with DD and DTS for now, then upgrade in a few months to a new Radeon card.

Shortstuff: congrats on the baby. My wife is due next week :o 
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 24, 2009 4:00:02 PM

rwpritchett said:
Shortstuff: congrats on the baby. My wife is due next week :o 

Thanks! I hope all goes well with your baby.
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