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Core i3 - HTPC Build

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January 29, 2010 8:38:51 PM

I have been a long time reader of this website and forum; always great reviews and insight on the latest technology!

I am taking my first jump into an HTPC build. I want to dump Comcast and use Windows 7 Media Center (7MC) to watch network TV (HD over antenna) and stream video from my home server which consists of DivX videos as well as 720p/1080p MKV files.

Are these specs going to keep me happy with no suttering? This isn't going to be used for gaming or word processing or Minesweeper...just media :-) Note that any post-processing / encoding would be done separately on the server.

Specs
* Case: ANTEC Veris MicroFusion 350
* Mobo: ASUS P7H55-M PRO, LGA1156, Intel® H55
* Proc: INTEL Core™ i3-530 Dual-Core 2.93GHz
* Cooler: ZALMAN CNPS8700 NT CPU Coole
* RAM: OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) Platinum Low Voltage DDR3
* HD: WESTERN DIGITAL 750GB WD Caviar® Black
* Tuner: Hauppauge WINTV-HVR-2250

My only remaining item is to find a Bluray drive that matches the case.

Thanks for your input!
-JC

More about : core htpc build

January 30, 2010 2:53:36 AM

A few easy things...

You might save yourself some money by trying out the stock cooling to see if it's sufficient before getting an aftermarket cooler. You can always upgrade later.

Check the ASUS website to be sure that RAM is compatible with your mobo.

If you have a home server do you need a 750GB drive in your HTPC?
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January 30, 2010 4:17:25 AM

I know the 750GB is probably overkill, but it'll help being able to record live TV and such. ....will re-think it tho as you're probably right.

I'm not familiar enough with the stock CPU cooler; always seem to have quieter / cooler systems using an aftermarket heatsink. Will double-check the RAM.

See any issues with playback / usability?
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January 30, 2010 12:48:38 PM

From my own HTPC experience, the OS/apps need about 30GB and recorded HD 1080i content take up about 8GB per hour. So you could probably get by with a 500GB drive which is right in the sweet spot for price/storage ratio. That would give you about 30-40 hours of recorded TV possible before you fill up. If that's enough for your needs you'll be fine.

I have 2TB of HDD space in my HTPC and by far the most space is taken up by ripped media (music, DVD's, Blu-Rays) and not recorded TV, but that is due to my own digital entertainment habits.
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January 30, 2010 7:10:34 PM

One thing to keep in mind. I know you said you'd be interested in dumping comcast, but ceton is releasing a quad cablecard tuner in march that'll let you record/watch up to 4 different channels simultaneously. I think there's another cablecard tuner allowing up to two channels at once, but I forget who's making it. But depending on how good your OTA hd is, you might be fine with what you've got.
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January 30, 2010 7:18:39 PM

Yeah, I was salivating over the Ceton cable cards coming out... until I read about the supposed retail price :( 

Me, I'm perfectly happy with OTA HD and supplementing that with Hulu & Netflix.
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January 31, 2010 1:50:28 AM

I was thinking since you have a home server (WHS?) you'd be dumping your TV shows there instead of in local storage.

This seems to be the HDD recommended on this forum quite a bit:

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Definitely with stock cooling YMMV. The stock cooler on my Athlon 5050e is absolutely silent but the cooler on my Phenom II X3 705e is very loud.
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April 10, 2010 12:13:05 AM

I built an HTPC last Nov and just added a TV card. We dumped satellite 3 years ago. My main issue now is finding an antenna that provides reliable reception. I have to use an indoor one. Right now the $3 rabbit ears are working but I want a little more consistency. I have to move them around a lot to get reception. But I digress.

I'm looking forward to my next build which will use an i3 and discrete video card. I want to build something that has some gaming potential.

I'm interested in what your final configuration is.
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