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HTPC for 2010

Last response: in Systems
January 25, 2010 4:32:02 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 2-4 wks BUDGET RANGE: $800-$1200 Before Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: HTPC (Streaning mostly some dvd ripping and video encoding)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS


PARTS PREFERENCES: intel CPU preferred


MONITOR RESOLUTION: Samsung 46" 1080p

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Looking for best combo of fast, quite and low energy, would also like hdmi port with atleast 5.1 HD audio


Include a list of any parts you have already selected with descriptively labeled links for parts.

Already have a 8x Bluray drive, Windows 7 Ultimate

Plan to use Antec Black Fusion case


CPU: Intel Core i5-661 Clarkdale 3.33GHz $204.99
Mobo: ASUS P7H55D-M EVO $134.99
GPU: Integrated $0
RAM: G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB $119.99
HDD: Western Digital AV-GP WD10EVDS 1TB $89.99
Case: Antec Black Fusion Remote $129.95
PSU: OCZ Z-Series OCZZ550 550W 80 Plus Silver Certified $99.99
Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual TV Tuner $109.99


More about : htpc 2010

January 25, 2010 5:16:53 PM

You could go with the above build, but I don't see gaming mentioned anywhere. The new H55 chipset boards have integrated graphics that can easily handle 1080P Blu-ray content. A combo like this would work just fine. $201.98 (Intel Core i3-530 + Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2H combo)

A quality 400W PSU would easily power the system without a separate GPU.

CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail $54.99 - $10 MIR
Related resources
January 25, 2010 5:22:58 PM

To be honest, I totally forgot about the integrated grapics...

I still think you should stick with the Seasonic. The reason I choose it (despite the massive wattage overkill) is that it's nearly 90% efficient. That's a lot less heat and a lot less noise.

Another option that's very efficient: OCZ Z-Series OCZZ550 550W 80 Plus Silver Certified. It's $80 after rebate, and at least 85% efficient at any load (the Seasonic is 87% and the Corsair is 80%). Really, any of these would be excellent units.

EDIT: Another option that's in between the Corsair and OCZ as far as efficienty: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W 80 Plus Bronze Certified for $55.
January 25, 2010 11:20:05 PM

MadAdmiral said:
CPU: i3-540 $145
Mobo: ASUS P7H55-M PRO $110
RAM: G.Skill Eco 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $120
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $90
Case: $130. You'd have more board options with an ATX case...
PSU: SeaSonic X650 Gold 650W $160. Expensive, way too much power for your needs, but quite possibly the most efficient.
GPU: HD 5770 $155

Total: $910. This is a true HTPC build. To be better for encoding, drop in an i5-750 ($200) or an i7-860 ($280).

What kinda of case would you recomend and does that change your motherboard choice?
January 26, 2010 12:06:40 AM

I used the one you linked to. I prefer to use ATX cases, as the options for the motherboard are better, but there aren't many HTPC cases that are regular size.
January 26, 2010 12:31:34 AM

Yea, that's why I was wondering if you had any in mind. Thanks for all the great replies.
January 26, 2010 1:15:16 AM

I've got an HTPC as my main computer right now, but I really hated the HTPC cases, so to be honest, I'm probably not the best judge for your needs. I would at least look at the regular cases.
January 26, 2010 11:30:32 AM

The motherboard in the combo I linked to above is a micro-ATX board, so you could go with your original Antec Black Fusion case. The Fusion cases are very nice and have great cooling due to the two 120mm fans that blow across the motherboard.
January 27, 2010 2:13:55 PM

After some more research and everyones responses this what i am currently looking at

CPU: Intel Core i5-750 $199.99
Mobo: Intel BOXDP55WB $99.99
GPU: HD 5770 $155
RAM: OCZ PC3-10666 Platinum RAM - 4GB $84.99 after $20 rebate
HDD: Western Digital AV-GP WD10EVDS 1TB $89.99
Case: Antec Black Fusion Remote $129.95
PSU: OCZ Z-Series OCZZ550 550W 80 Plus Silver Certified $99.99
Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual TV Tuner $109.99

I decided on the mobo because I preferred the two PCI-X slots compared to the PCI slots on the two other boards. I'd really like to have two of the tuner cards but seems all the 5770 graphic cards are going to cover up one of the PCI-X slots. Let me know what you guys think.
January 27, 2010 2:21:36 PM

You might want to make the links clickable by either putting [ url= link ] name [ /url ] (no spaces around the brackets) or just leaving the link by itself...

HDD: You really want to switch that for the Samsung Spinpoint F3. It's cheaper (or the same price) and pretty much better any way you measure it.

Other than that, it's good.
January 27, 2010 2:25:19 PM

Thanks! Do they not make a passive cooled VC so I won't lose the PCI-X slot?
January 27, 2010 2:58:59 PM

They do, but only in the lowest price range. Chances are that the passive heatsink will also take up the extra slot. And I wouldn't stick on in a tiny HTPC case. HTPC cases aren't exactly known for having a lot of airflow.
January 27, 2010 3:06:01 PM

If this is strictly for a HTPC there is absolutely no need for the 5770. If you're looking for a decent HTPC GPU with a single slot cooler, here you go:

XFX HD-567X-YNFC Radeon HD 5670 (Redwood) 512MB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity - Retail $99.99

By the way, the Antec Fusion case has plenty of cooling if you do want to go with a passively cooled GPU.

Here's a passively cooled 4670 HTPC GPU:

HIS H467PS1GH Radeon HD 4670 iSilence4 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $104.99
January 27, 2010 3:11:07 PM

Thanks for the info! I was trying to stick with the 5770 for the dts, true hd support via hdmi. Would the other cards do this as well?
January 27, 2010 3:24:16 PM

Agree with shortstuff. It's not very hard to get a GPU that supports true HD...
January 27, 2010 3:27:59 PM

I believe he's talking about audio here, not HD video. That's why I quoted the above about the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats.

I think the 5670 would be great for this build. The XFX card linked above has a single slot cooler, so you could go back to an Asus or Gigabyte board. I would avoid Intel motherboards. Have a look at the pictures of the board and then compare it to an Asus or Gigabyte board. Asus and Gigabyte use much higher quality components.
January 27, 2010 4:56:15 PM

Yea, sorry. I was talking about the HD audio Doilby TrueHD and DTS-HD not the video. I think you have me sold on the 5670 now I'll have to look back the other mobos.
January 27, 2010 6:16:04 PM

If you don't want to use any slots for a video card but still want Dolby TrueHD/DTS-MA how about something like the Core i5 Clarkdale/H55 motherboard combo?

Sounds like these chips can be easily overclocked for times when you want the encoding power but otherwise are pretty cool running/low powered for when you're just streaming/watching HD video.

Something like this (unless, again, you live near a MicroCenter and can pickup one of their i5-650 specials):

[Edit] I see this is something like what you'd originally decided. What made you change your mind? Did you decide you want some gaming too? Otherwise, for an HTPC i5-750/HD 5770 seems overkill to me anyway and a lot more expensive for what you say you want to do.
January 27, 2010 6:20:44 PM

I had originally considered that but a local tech said the H55 chipset was flakky at best right now. so I steered clear of them.
January 27, 2010 6:25:10 PM

I think if you read enough forums you'll find it's all really flaky unfortunately. I read about as many nightmares getting TrueHD/MA for both the HD5xxx solution as the Core i3/i5/H55 solution.

If I were doing a brand new build today there's no doubt in my mind though I'd go the core i5/H55 route. I am in the boat where I'll be trying to stick a HIS 5670 into my 780G based rig. I am sure it will be no walk in the park -- maybe not even a swim, bike and run in the park.
January 27, 2010 6:37:01 PM

I think that the original idea of the i3 with a H55 board work would great for this build. I don't know who this "local tech" is, but it doesn't sound like he really knows what he's talking about. I would read some of the online reviews by knowledgeable people before writing it off as a possibility. The integrated GPU on the H55 boards is perfect for a cheap HTPC and does allow Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD over HDMI.
January 27, 2010 9:33:39 PM

That should make a great HTPC with enough power to also do your DVD ripping and video encoding. I know somebody will mention that the green hard drive is slow, but it's a great choice for a HTPC. The build looks good.
January 28, 2010 7:53:17 AM

do you really need a 500W power supply in this machine? Would a 400W supply be sufficient?

I am looking to build a very similar machine so this thread is quite interesting for me as well.
January 28, 2010 9:40:17 AM

A quality 275W psu would be sufficient for this build.
January 28, 2010 1:39:31 PM

Well, I pulled the trigger and everything should be here in a few days. I'll let you guys know how it goes. Thanks for all the help!
January 28, 2010 1:43:31 PM

did you go with the 550W power supply and if so how come you chose such a large one?
January 28, 2010 2:22:18 PM

I did go with the larger psu. One it won't have to work at full capacity and two future upgrades ie. vc or tuners. Just my thoughts.
January 28, 2010 2:23:49 PM

Going with a larger PSU than you currently need doesn't hurt anything. The PSU will only use as much power as the system needs. Like the OP said, it just gives you the option of upgrades in the future.
January 28, 2010 2:28:30 PM

ok, makes sense. Thanks.
February 3, 2010 1:22:33 AM

Ok guys, hope you can help me. I received all the parts today and have put the machine together. I tried to boot and I get nothing! Fans begin to spin up then stop, spin up then stop and continue to do this until i turn the psu switch off. I have tried everything i know to do and any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
February 3, 2010 3:35:19 AM

The READ before posting about boot problems! sticky at the top of the forum was created to troubleshoot this exact problem. If you take the time to perform EVERY step in the checklist the chances are pretty good that you'll find the resolution to your problem.
February 3, 2010 4:49:40 PM

Thanks. I had read over the above mentioned post and I hadn't found the issue. This morning however after reseating the cpu yet again everything fired up and is currently installing the os. What is the best software for stress testing the system?
February 3, 2010 6:52:22 PM

Prime95 is pretty good for stress testing. SiSoft Sandra also has a burn-in stress test. Memtest86 is good for RAM only.

Stress testing is mostly used to validate an overclock. Running at stock you should be OK, but it might be a good idea if you are unsure about your installation.

Keep an eye on your temps while stress testing. Good luck.
February 3, 2010 8:25:21 PM

Or you could just kick back and enjoy your new system!! Have some fun.