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Help a newbie build a new HTPC system.

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January 29, 2010 5:47:31 PM

Hi guys,

Been reading up alot getting myself back to speed on today's tech. Last system I built was a AMD XP2500 so you can imagine how overwhelm I feel. However, with that said, I'm willing to give it a go. I'm buying my first place and I want to set up a nice entertainment system. I would like to hook this unit up to a 47-52 inch LCD. It will be primarily used for watching movies and playing games when I have time. I have a laptop that I use for work so I don't need your normal desktop. I understand that there are special considerations wrt motherboard and card profiles when you go this route and spacing does become an issue. The case I'm looking to use for this build is a Lian Li C37.

With component will I be limited to? Last Gen motherboard and video cards etc?

Can someone recommend a good ~1500 build?
No requirement for crossfire. Will be running full 1920x1080 on the big screen. I will probably pick up the Intel SSD but would like to stay on budget as I have other considerations to think about at the new place.

I'm in Canada.

Any help would be most appreciated.
January 29, 2010 6:13:08 PM

zxexn said:

With component will I be limited to? Last Gen motherboard and video cards etc?


I am not sure what this means. Are you saying you can only use component video? Does your TV not have HDMI?
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January 29, 2010 6:23:07 PM

I meant that with the form factor considerations in mind, will the components I choose have to be different than the mainstream ones and if so, what will I have to sacrifice?
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January 29, 2010 7:46:07 PM

With that case, any card would have to be low profile. That does limit you in terms of games but not in terms of using your PC as a multimedia PC. That case can take up to a micro-ATX motherboard so no issues there. You'll get 4 expansion slots, 3 of which are useful (2 PCI and one PCI-e).

If you don't want to be restricted to low-height/profile cards there are other HTPC-style cases worth considering such as:

Antec Black Aluminum / Steel Fusion Remote Black Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Pair that with a nice PSU such as:
CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

As for the rest of the components, with your budget if you want decent gaming and HTPC features, you're probably looking at something like a Core i5-750/P55/ATI HD5770 combination. Again, that won't fit in the case you've selected so you need to decide what to give and take here.

If you must have that case then a Core i5-650/H55 combination is going to be your best bet you just lose the ability to play higher-end games.

Either combination I would go with 4GB DDR3 1333Mhz RAM.

Besides the SSD, what other storage do you need for movies, music, etc.?

What about wireless keyboard/mouse?

And, don't forget you need an operation system like Windows 7.
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January 29, 2010 8:21:06 PM

If you truly want to game, I suggest you go with Dougie's i5-650 suggestion for now and use the onboard video until a low profile HD5650/HD5670 comes out (should be soon). Right now the best you can probably get is a low profile AMD HD4650. Otherwise, you'll need a larger case.

Also, I highly recommend a modular PSU with a small case like you've selected. Something like one of these:

Seasonic M12 II 500W EPS12V 20/24PIN ATX Modular Power Supply Active PFC 80PLUS 6PIN PCI-W 120MM Fan $125 CAD

Enermax Liberty ELT500AWT-ECO 80+ 500W ATX12V V2.31 20/24PIN PSU W/120MM Fan CrossFireX SLI $116 CAD
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January 29, 2010 8:43:35 PM

Ah, that's what I was afraid of. I'm looking to play the next gen mmorpgs so horse power won't be a huge issue but the 4650 is rather weak. I may have to wait until later in the year when the low profile cards become available. Now a question, are low profile cards similiar in power to their normal counterparts or are they gimped like their laptop counterparts?
As for keyboard and mouse, it'll be a wireless combo. 128 Gbs will be plenty as I don't have that much porn. Is the I5-6xx models designed for these small form factors or can i fit a normal i5/i7 in there?

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January 30, 2010 12:09:51 PM

Hi,

There are htpc cases that mount the video card horizontally with an adapter which will allow you to keep a slim case and any video card you want. Something like these:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811163081

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811112185

Unfortunately I don't think those have enough power to feed a high end video card. The PC-C36B power supply is 300 watts and it looks like it's a standard sff desktop size so maybe you can find a more powerfull one. I have a htpc in the PC-C37B case but I use it for hd media and audio, no games. So onboard geforce 9400 graphics is enough for me.
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February 8, 2010 10:56:21 PM

Best answer selected by ZxExN.
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