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HTPC first timer

Last response: in Systems
November 10, 2009 1:57:16 PM

Anyone with experience building HTPC's;

I have been extremely intrigued by the idea of building an HTPC, they seem rather versatile for a very reasonable budget. So far I have priced out what appears to be a decent rig for price/performance. I have never built an HTPC before, mostly gaming PC's and a home use machines for clients--that being said, I could use a few pointers when it comes to HTPC hardware (as far as what is necessary or not necessary).

Edited specs (thanks Shortstuff_mt):

Case/PSU -- Antec Fusionremote
CPU/Mobo/Video -- Athlon II x2 2.9ghz/Gigabyte HDMI combo
RAM -- OCZ Obsidian 4Gb DDR3 1600
HDD -- Samsung Spinpoint F3 500Gb
Optical -- LG Blu-Ray

Bottom line price is $509.95 right now...which is acceptable; however I am open to suggestion here. I am really trying to keep price/performance in line here...but if I were to go a bit above and beyond I would keep it on the graphics end.


(Shortstuff, I found a similar combo with a 2.9ghz cpu rather than 2.8ghz for about $15 cheaper! Sweet.)

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November 10, 2009 3:56:01 PM

If this is a strictly HTPC build then you have gone overboard in a couple areas. I would check out this combo deal: $145.99 (Athlon II X2 245 + Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H combo)

You don't need a separate GPU for a HTPC. The integrated GPU on the 785G board is an HD4200 and is plenty for Blu Ray playback.

I would get a retail Blu Ray drive since they come with playback software, OEM drives do not.

LG Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Combo LG Blu-ray Reader & 16X LightScribe DVD±R DVD Burner - Retail $129.99

I would spend some of the money saved by not getting a GPU on an Antec case with remote.

Antec Black M FusionRemote 350 Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail $99.99


Antec Black Aluminum / Steel Fusion Remote Black Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail $139.95

Do you think you'll want to have to option of recording TV in the future? If so, you might want to step up to a bigger HD. HD content takes up about 8GB/hour.

I know it's not NEEDED for a HTPC, but you might want to consider stepping up to 4GB of RAM.

OCZ Obsidian 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model OCZ3OB1600LV4GK - Retail $78.99 - $20 MIR

What OS are you planning on using? I've had great luck with Windows 7 on my HTPC. It worked much better than Vista out of the box as far as supporting my TV tuner cards and included codecs.

Here's a combo for the above RAM and 64-bit Windows 7.
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November 10, 2009 3:58:54 PM

Thanks for the quick responses! I was pretty sure I kinda had some overkill as far as the board and CPU go--but is onboard video really good enough? I have never tried to get away with on-board video because TBH, video cards are fairly cheap--but do a better job.

I will check out these links and re-post once I have a new configuration that seems acceptable! Thanks :) 
November 10, 2009 4:07:01 PM

Didn't see your question about OS! I have nearly every microsoft OS on hand in both 32 and 64 bit--I plan to run Win7 Ultimate 64 on this HTPC though. It is really efficient, and why not use the latest OS yah?

Thanks a ton for the good advice. I was going to run 4 gigs of memory originally, but was trying to keep costs around 500 since it is strictly going to be an HTPC. Now that I have a better priced cpu/mobo/video situation I can get a better case and more ram! :) 

November 10, 2009 4:13:48 PM

Looks like my new price will be $509.95 which is less than two dollars higher than my originaly price--with a much better setup. Very nice! Thanks, both of you.
November 10, 2009 4:16:51 PM

Yes, the 785G will easily handle Blu Ray playback. I think the money saved from not getting a GPU would be better spent upgrading to 4GB of RAM and the Antec Fusion case which comes with an 80+ certified PSU and remote.
November 10, 2009 4:17:31 PM

dirtdiver said:
Looks like my new price will be $509.95 which is less than two dollars higher than my originaly price--with a much better setup. Very nice! Thanks, both of you.

No problem. Good luck with the build!