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Need Advice on Budget HTPC

Last response: in Systems
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October 15, 2009 5:24:52 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: soon
BUDGET RANGE: ~$200

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: DVR/HTPC - we want to have Tivo w/o paying for Tivo

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: PSU (Antec Basiq 430 BP430 ATX 12V 430W), HDD (2 40GB IDE/pATA)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, zipzoomfly

PARTS PREFERENCES: none

OVERCLOCKING: No Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: HD TV

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I don't even know if it's possible to build something like this in this price range, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask. This thing doesn't need to have all the bells and whistles - just record our shows (signal via antenna- if that makes a difference). Smaller form factor would be great, but not at the expense of cost.
I have a P4 3.2 Prescott (socket 478) available for use, but if it makes more sense to upgrade to a newer CPU, so be it.

Any input is appreciated.
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Antec Basiq 430 BP430 ATX 12V 430W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

More about : advice budget htpc

October 15, 2009 5:51:06 PM

AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz
+
GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2
Combo Price: $119.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

mushkin 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800Mhz CL4 - $39.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Case - $19.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - $28.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Grand Total:* $208.96


Do you have a monitor and OS?
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October 15, 2009 6:11:23 PM

I think you could add DVR/HTPC capability to an existing PC for that amount but not include the actual PC as well.
What is the actual resolution of your HD TV?
Does the HTPC requirement include playing DVD or Blu-Ray?
Do you want to watch one program while recording another?
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October 15, 2009 6:32:51 PM

Monitor would be my TV, which is 720p.
For the OS, I was going to do Linux MythTV or whatever it is.
Don't I need a TV tuner card?
Adding on to my existing PC isn't an option since it is (firmly) located on the other side of my 2,000+sqf house.
We have a DVD player for watching dvds, and watching blu-ray would be great but the expense would eat into to cost too much. I have no BR discs to watch. BR would be great later.
Watching one program while recording another would be great, but not essential. This system would mainly be used to record shows that are one while we are away or doing other things. A "watch when we want to" set-up, live Tivo or DVR.
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October 15, 2009 6:57:37 PM

Yes, you need a TV tuner card. Your 40GB hard drives aren't going to go very far, though, since OTA HD content takes up about 8GB/hour. I currently have 5 hard drives and over 2TB of storage in my HTPC and I'm always looking to get even more storage.

I don't know if you need a remote or not. This tuner would work if you don't need a remote:

AVerMedia AVerTVHD Duet - PCTV Tuner (A188 - White Box) - OEM $59.99

Hauppauge makes excellent tuners. My HTPC has both a HVR-2250 and HVR-1600 so I can record 4 things at once (3 HD and 1 SD). The HVR-2250 is a little spendy, but very nice.

Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner 1213 PCI-Express x1 Interface - Retail $129.99
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Best solution

October 16, 2009 5:27:03 PM

I recently put together a nice little budget HTPC system for $350, with everything you want, all from newegg. I was lucky and was able to unlcok the Sempron into a great 2.7ghz dual-core CPU (the prices listed below may have changed slightly since my purchase). I put in an old 320gb drive since I plan on streaming some media off the network NAS:



Mobo:
GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard ($80 - $20 combo discount = $60)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


CPU:
AMD Sempron 140 Sargas 2.7GHz 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 45W Single-Core Processor ($37)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Tuner:
Leadtek TV TUNER HDTV200 H PCI Interface with media remote ($45-$15 rebate = $30)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Budget (but decent) case:
Athenatech A100SC.200 Black/ Silver Steel MicroATX Desktop Computer Case 200W Power Supply ($38)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Stupid various SATA cables and adapters since budget case PSU needed them cause it was cheap ($11)
SATA cables and power mini SATA power adapters

Memory:
Mushkin 2gb (2x1gb) DDR2 1066 ($35)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Wifi:
Rosewill Wireless draft N PCI card (just nice to have it all inside) ($20)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Card Reader:
Rosewill 40 in 1 internal 3.5 card reader (why not?) ($12)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Blu-Ray:
Lite-On 4x Blu-Ray reader w/ PowerDVD 8.0 ($60)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive - an old Maxtor 320 gb SATA drive I had laying around. (free)
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October 19, 2009 6:57:06 PM

Alright, based on your feedback and what I've been able to find within my price range and so on, this is what I've been able to come up with:

CPU
AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspxItem=N82E1681...

Mother Board
GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory
PNY XLR8 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case
AZZA Orion 201 black/silver SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspxItem=N82E1681...

Wireless Card
LINKSYS WMP54GS-RM 32-bit PCI Interface Wireless-G Adapter with SpeedBooster
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Keyboard/Mouse
Logitech Cordless Desktop EX 100 Black 102
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Parts I already have:

Power Supply
Antec Basiq BP430 430W
(I won it in the contest Tom's & Antec had a few months ago. Yay!)

HDD
2x 40gb IDE HDD
(It'll have to do until Christmas)

TV Tuner
Hauppauge card
(Free, from a friend)

Optical Drive
External DVD reader/burner that I already have

That all comes to $215.95, all from Newegg. Any suggestions for improvement?
Any parts I'm forgetting?

I'm shocked at how much more expensive DDR2 has gotten since I built my last PC in July! Yikes!





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October 19, 2009 7:03:52 PM

Just a word of advice. If you plan on ever streaming HD video over your network to your HTPC, you are going to want to have a draft-n adapter. Of course it will do no good unless you have a draft-n router, but if you think you may upgrade sometime in the future, you may want to get a draft adapter now during your build phase. If you are using G to stream HD video on your network, it is going to be choppy.
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