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Ultimate HTPC - Budget 3,000 USD Components Suggestions

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January 20, 2010 4:43:12 AM

Hi,

I am planning to build the Ultimate HTPC/Storage workstation which will be running almost 24/7 and placed in the living room. Objective of the machine:

Case, Motherboard, Processor, and Liquid cooling system:
I do appreciate helping me out picking the right case, motherboard and proper liquid cooling component to for the processor, video card, N bridge… etc.

Case: Must be specious enough to fit power supply, cooling component and motherboard including all the cards and easily access all mentioned in case of maintenance required

MOBO: must have enough slots and space for cooling equipment and the rest of the cards that’s installed on it.

Processor and RAMs: we’ll decide on that once we pick a Mobo

Power Supply: Athena Power AP-RRP4ATX65 658W + 658W mini redundant Dual AC Hot-Swappable mini redundant Power Supply - OEM

Network:
- Bluetooth Network
- Support of Infrared
PCI Card vs. USB? Suggestions appreciated?

TV Tuner:
Current Setup: Satellite dish with 3LNBs (1 LNB per satellite) signal from all LNBs then funnel into one cable which is connected to Humax IcordHD receiver
TV Tuner requirements:
- Play HD TV
- Being able to records other channels from different stateliest while watching a channel.
WinTV-NOVA-HD-S2?
WinTV-HVR-1600?
WinTV-HVR-2250?
ATI All-in-Wonder™ HD?

Video card:
- HDMI Support
- Memory suitable for a moderate gamer
If not included as part of the Motherboard, is the Geforce 9400GT sufficient to run 24/7?

Sound:
- Current system is 5.1 channels
If not included as part of the Motherboard, PCI Express® Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ Xtreme Audio is good enough?

Hard Drive:
- 1TB (Count 2): Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31000340AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB

CD Drive:
- DVDRW/Blue Ray: Pioneer Black Blu-ray Disc/DVD/CD Writer SATA Model BDR-205BKS - OEM


Universal Card Reader
SABRENT CRW-UINB 68-in-1 USB 2.0 Internal Card Reader w/ USB 2.0 Port supports SDHC/VISTA

Remote Control:
Universal Remote Control (will I be able to wakeup window vista/windows 7 via the remote?)
Logitech?

Wireless Keyboard and mouse
Bluetooth: diNovo Edge


PS. The more i research the more confused i am :cry: 

Thanks
January 20, 2010 1:46:13 PM

Fill out http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...

ATM I have no idea what you actually want. If you just want a HTPC to play/store some movies on, then you don't need anywhere near $3000, in fact you can make a great HTPC for $800 or less.

You definitely don't need or want the hassle of liquid cooling for a HTPC sitting in your living room.

However, it also looks like you want to game with this pc? I'm not sure, exactly so go fill out that form.

At the very least you don't want 7200.11 HD's. They're very poor performing. Go with 7200.12's or Spinpoint F3's.
January 21, 2010 1:37:24 AM

For that kind of money I'd build a separate server chock full of disks and have it live somewhere cool and remote and then build a small silent HTPC based off the new Core i3/i5 stuff for under the TV. Others can speak to the tuners but I don't think those need to be inside the HTPC either.
Related resources
January 21, 2010 3:07:29 AM

banthracis said:
Fill out http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...
ATM I have no idea what you actually want. If you just want a HTPC to play/store some movies on, then you don't need anywhere near $3000, in fact you can make a great HTPC for $800 or less.


Thanks for your reply Banthracis, here is my feedback:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: (April 2010) BUDGET RANGE: (3,000USD Before Rebates)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: watching TV, watching movies, Downloading movies, office work (AutoCAD, Photoshop, MS Office), surfing the internet, and moderate gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor and speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: www.newegg.com or www.ncix.com
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: I would like to use an Intel CP, Asus/Gigabyte MOB, ATI/Nvidia Video Card, minimum 5.1 sound this most likely included in Mobo, TV-Tuner with IR receiver (suggestions?), Blue tooth network card (PCI/USB?), Hard Drive: 1Tb WD/Segate (Count 3), It would be nice to have the ability to watch blue ray movies but then I’ll have to figure out what to buy for a sound card, Case something fancy, durable and roomy enough to fit all components.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 46” Samsung - 6 Series 1080 Full HD
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I live in a studio apartment so I don’t have the luxury to build a separate server and place it elsewhere; that’s why I was thinking about liquid cooling to reduce noise while watching TV or sleeping. this machine will act as HTPC/storage server/workstation and will be on 24/7

Thanks again fro your help.
Tarek
January 21, 2010 3:10:47 AM

Dougie Fresh said:
For that kind of money I'd build a separate server chock full of disks and have it live somewhere cool and remote and then build a small silent HTPC based off the new Core i3/i5 stuff for under the TV. Others can speak to the tuners but I don't think those need to be inside the HTPC either.


Thanks for your feedback dougie fresh, please see my response to banthracis

January 21, 2010 6:25:23 AM

Hi again, as i am still in the process of research here is what i have in mind so far:

MotherBoard: (please help me pick one from below)
ASUS P5N7A-VM
ASUS M4A78-HTPC/RC
Asus P6t SE

Gigabyte:
GA-MA790GPT-UD3H(rev. 1.0)
GA-H55-UD3H (rev. 1.0)

VGA (Please help pick one from below)
GeForce GTX 295
GeForce 9800 GX2
Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Video Card

Bluetooth network: please help finding the best solution

Power Supply:
CORSAIR CMPSU-750HX 750W PSU

Memory
G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB DDR3 1600

Hard Drive:
Western Digital RE3 WD1002FBYS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (count: 1)
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3EG HD203WI 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (count: 2)

Wireless Keyboard and mouse
Bluetooth: diNovo Edge

Once i deiced on the Mobo, VGA, and blue tooth. I'll pick a TV tuner based on available slots on MOBO. the following step to that is agree on the cooling method and then i'll be able to pick a case.

your feed back is appreicated.
January 23, 2010 6:45:27 PM

Hi again Tarek,

I think part of the confusion most people are going to have with this is your intended use of the system. In general HTPC's are around $500 to $1000 (at most) and usually are part of a home entertainment system used for digital media viewing/entertainment. Gaming brings another dimension to component choice. Many of the components you have listed are overkill for an HTPC so the first thing anybody is going to do to is to help you realize you do not have to spend $3K for an HTPC or an enthusiast gamer system for that matter.

With your large budget in mind, here are some suggestions to think about:

Case suggestion: Antec 1200
------ It will fit just about any mobo form factor, including ATX which is what I would suggest considering your wants. It will hold 9 HDD's and it will accommodate water cooling if you still want to pursue that. It's a monster.
IR solution:
------- Internal using 5.25 bay: Antec Multi-Station Elite Internal IR receiver w/ VFD and remote
With software provided you can choose to use the remote as the Imon remote or as a WMC remote. As the Imon remote you can interact with the OS (move pointer, double click, launch applications, etc) but it is slow and painful. A mouse is much better. My experience with this is that I have the Antec Remote HTPC case that came with a lesser IR version but it works fine. I use WMC so I chose for the software/remote to act as a WMC remote but since the provided remote is ugly and difficult to use (or at least I didn't want to mess with it) I programmed my Harmony One as a WMC remote and it works great. It only works to launch and interact with WMC (you lose the OS interaction). The VFD display shows time and system information as you choose.
------ external with a separate receiver dongle placed somewhere near your TV (just straight out remote function):
1. WMC remote
or
2. Streamzap
Or use any of these two with the Antec internal above.
Possible Bluray: Things to keep in mind:
------ Software. I do not think WMC W7 will natively play bluray, come to think of it you did not mention which OS you prefer. If player software is not bundled with a bluray player you will have to purchase. (I am not entirely sure on that since I have a standalone player and have not messed with bluray on my HTPC) Maybe somebody with more experience can set this straight.
------ Your 5.1 receiver. Does it support HD DTS and HD Master? If it does and you want to utilize that audio then you are going to need something like the Radeon HD5xxx video cards. Maybe not so much the overkill HD 5870. These cards will pass the bitstream from the software player to your receiver over HDMI. BTW, soundcards are pretty much a thing of the past now.
Bluetooth: There are many USB bluetooth adapters out there. I just had to replace the adapter/receiver that came with my Logitech Dinovo because my puppy thought it was a funny looking bone. It works fine with the keyboard and says it can receive up to 7 items.
Multi card reader. Since the Antec 1200 does not have a multicard reader and most of the internal ones that you can get on the market are crap, I would suggest an external USB multi card reader that will support SDHC unless somebody else knows of a good internal.

As far as the main guts I will leave that up to others.

As an example, here is what my HTPC build is:
Gigabyte GA-MA785GPMT with Radeon HD4200 integrated graphics and HD audio.
AMD Phenom X3, 705e Heka, 2.5 GHz
4 Gig Gskill RAM 8-8-8-21
Seasonic 500W modular PSU (just in case I want to upgrade to discrete video card)
W7 Ultimate
Antec Fusion Remote case

I also use a server running Windows Home Server with 4.3 TB storage at the moment with the HTPC, 16" Dell XPS Studio laptop and Mac Mini on the network.

I know this is rather large but as a comparison to your $3000 budget, with the HTPC and the Server I did not spend more than $1200 (most of the server cost is in hard drives). I am also pretty sure My HTPC will run Autocad since I had a much older system running AutoCAD 2000, and my duo core laptop seems to handle Photoshop 7 pretty well, but then I am not a poweruser.
I hope some of this helps you.

January 23, 2010 7:41:14 PM

Supe_ said:
Hi again Tarek,

I think part of the confusion most people are going to have with this is your intended use of the system. In general HTPC's are around $500 to $1000 (at most) and usually are part of a home entertainment system used for digital media viewing/entertainment. Gaming brings another dimension to component choice. Many of the components you have listed are overkill for an HTPC so the first thing anybody is going to do to is to help you realize you do not have to spend $3K for an HTPC or an enthusiast gamer system for that matter.


supe_ can't thank you enough for your time and support.

OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit (unless advised otherwise)

Guys, please assist with the MOBO, Processor, Video Card, TV Tuner and cooling system.

Thanks,
T
January 23, 2010 8:21:46 PM

The new ATI 5xxx series supports protected audio via the HDMA 1.3 ports which is required if you want to actually hear your BlueRay quality audio.

Also, don't worry about a high end soundcard. Just use your on-board realtek and use the optical port.

Probably don't even need to use the soundcard if your just do all your sound over the HDMI anyway.
January 23, 2010 10:48:31 PM

@Tarek,
This is a suggested HTPC build by Tecmo34, Psycho Sykes and obsidian8

Tecmo's recommended builds by usage
See if this is somewhat what you might like.
Listed here for convenience.

# CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 425 2.7GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor Model ADX425WFGIBOX - Retail -- $74.00
# MOBO: ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail -- $95.00
# RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-4GBRM - Retail -- $115
# HSF: Not required <-- Note, using stock HSF. Apparently runs cool enough
# GPU: XFX HD-575X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail -- $138
# HDD (OS): SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -- $55
# HDD (Storage): SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -- $90
# PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX 450W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail -- $70
# DVD: LG Black 8X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 6X BD-ROM 2MB Cache 8X Blu-ray Burner - Bulk Model WH08LS20K - OEM -- $155

Add to that the Antec 1200 case -- $160
OS: You really don't need Ultimate. I only have it because I have a friend that works for Microsoft and he got it for me cheap even though I asked for home premium. I have home premium on my laptop and have yet to find anything in Ultimate that I need over home premium. Some will say you get remote desktop with Ultimate but I seem to have that with my home premium and use the laptop to remote into the HTPC and the server which is headless.
OS: Home Premium 64 bit $104 --- Ultimate 64 bit $179.99

Maybe around another $80 for IR and remote, USB bluetooth and multicard reader (internal or external USB).
that puts you around $1150 before additional drives and water cooling and with W7 Ultimate for OS.

Am I getting close? Anybody else wanna chip in?
January 25, 2010 10:57:14 AM

Supe_ said:
@Tarek,
This is a suggested HTPC build by Tecmo34, Psycho Sykes and obsidian8.


Hi Supe_ i reviewed the links you provided (thank you) and decided to cancel the liquid cooling idea!

Case: ThermalTake DH202 (VJ80051N2Z)
http://www.thermaltake.com/product_info.aspx?PARENT_CID...
Case include: IR receiver & Remote Control, and a Built-in 23 in 1 card reader

Motherboard: ASUS P6X58D Premium
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Intel Core i7-920
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-4GBRM - Retail

Hard Drive:
OS and Programs Drive: Intel X25-V SSDSA2MP040G2R5 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

File Storage and backup drive: Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EADS 2TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb (Count 2TB, total of 4TB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SoundCard: Built on MOBO

Video Card: ASUS/NVIDIA - ENGTX295/2DI/1792MD3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

TV Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Bluetooth network: AZiO BTD - V201
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Any suggestions for a good CPU heat sink? am i missing anything else?

Thanks
January 26, 2010 7:55:47 AM


Ok here is the setup i have inmind:


Item Prince
Case: ThermalTake DH202 (VJ80051N2Z) ................................... $451.52
MOBO: ASUS P6X58D Premium ...................................................... $309.99
CPU : Intel Core i7-920 ............................................................... $288.99
HS : Prolimatech Megahalems Rev.B CPU Cooler ...................... $69.99
HSF : YATE LOON 120mm Case Fan - D12SH-12 ......................... $4.99
RAM : G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 ................................ $164.99
HD1 : Intel X25-V SSDSA2MP040G2R5 2.5" 40GB ............... $129.99
HD2 : Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EADS 2TB .......... $179.99
HD3 : Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EADS 2TB .......... $179.99
PSU : CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ........................................... $109.99
VGA : ASUS/NVIDIA - ENGTX295/2DI/1792MD3 ........................... $544.00
TV Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1850 ............................ $104.99
BluetoothAZiO BTD - V201 ................................................................ $24.99
Total $2,564.41
Thoughts?
Thanks
February 24, 2010 9:44:06 PM

hey there tarek,

sounds as if you got the whole thing nearly down to a t, and i am in the process of building myself a similar setup. I would have personally gone with with the 5870 (which is what i'm getting) or wait around for the next nvidia GTX480 to come out, just for the dx11 compatibility for future gaming, and of course i would have gone with the antec veris for IR, with a cheaper case. if you've built it already i'm curious as to how it handles (ease of use)

my build so far:

Case: NZXT Zero 2 full tower case
MOBO: ASUS P6T-SE
CPU: Intel i7-920
HS: stock (so far, might change)
RAM: Patriot 6GB DDR3 PC3-12800 (1600Mhz)
HD: WD Caviar Green 1TB SATA 64mb cache (not purchased yet)
PSU: CORSAIR 850W
GPU: Radeon 5870 (not purchased yet)
IR: Antec Veris Premium
Fan Controller: NZXT Sentry LX
TV Tuner: have yet to decide
Monitor/TV: Toshiba Regza 46" 120Hz HDTV 1080p
OS: Vista Ultimate 64bit

!