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Need advice on ~$1000 HTPC

The last time I assembled a PC was about 10 years ago :( so I might be out of touch here. Any help is hugely appreciated.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 30 days

BUDGET RANGE: approx. $1000 After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: HTPC, Home desktop, part-time programming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: None. Completely new build

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, amazon.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel Core iX, WD Caviar Green XXX

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe. It would make sense to have the support if I ever need it in the future

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200 (I use a 1440x900 at work and am satisfied by it). I would prefer to keep the screen size small.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Silent, energy efficient, preferably decent looking :).

The plan is to use it initially as a HTPC next to my plasma HDTV (hence the looks need) with the ATI/ceton/silicondust cable card products.
I also have 2 laptops that I would like to start backing up and the 4 3.5" bays in the case works out good to incrementally add space.
I plan to eventually buy an extender and move the PC to my desk and use it also as a home PC (internet and productivity software) and for some hobbyist programming, so the Natural keyboard is not an immediate need.
I don't game much nowadays.

Here is my current new egg wish-list:

Intel Core i5-750 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor ($199.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16819115215

Intel Core i5-661 Clarkdale 3.33GHz LGA 1156 87W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Model BX80616I5661 - Retail ($209.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115217

nMEDIAPC Black HTPC 5000B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case ($59.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16811204035
I also like the looks of http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811204034 but not sure if it's worth the extra $30.

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory ($84.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16820231277

MSI Radeon HD 4550 R4550-MD1GH Video Card ($44.99 - $25.00 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16814127458
Fanless and low profile card (will it help noise and cooling)


OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W Power Supply compatible with core i7 ($64.99 - $25.00 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16817341016
I used http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine to calculate my current and future needs and it came out to 334W.

GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard ($104.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16813128405

GIGABYTE GA-H55M-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail ($109.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128429


Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5TB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive ($109.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16822136351
$20 more than the 1TB drive

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive ($89.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders ($104.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16832116754
Cable card support

Hanns G HW-191APB Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor Built-in Speakers ($114.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16824254023

Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical ($9.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16826105026

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 ($49.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16823109148

LG Black BD-Combo SATA Model CH08LS10 LightScribe Support ($99.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16827136162

I haven't considered additional cooling for the processor or case and not sure what I would need based on my build. Any recommendations would be helpful.

I started with ATX cases/mobo (USB 3 would have been nice) but the silverstone cases I liked were taking me well over my budget.


Newegg wish-list ATX/mATX with Clarkdale/Lynnfield configurations:

HTPC mATX Lynnfield ($1,044.88) http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=10390994
HTPC ATX Lynnfield ($1,049.88) http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=10390934
HTPC ATX Clarkdale ($1,004.89) http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=10390914
HTPC mATX Clarkdale ($1,009.89) http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=13090252
9 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about need advice 1000 htpc
  1. Best answer
    Since you didn't mention gaming, I suggest you drop down to a Clarkdale processor (Intel i5 660 or even i3 530) and forego the video card. That would require one of the H55/H57 motherboards instead of a P55.

    The Clarkdale video can handle all multimedia and can even bitstream HD audio.

    Also, I noticed your mouse and keyboard are wired. Go wireless so you can kick back and enjoy the media. Check out wireless keyboards with built in trackball/touchpad.

    Maybe consider a Samsung F3 drive over the WD green. Just as quiet but much faster.
  2. rwpritchett said:
    Since you didn't mention gaming, I suggest you drop down to a Clarkdale processor (Intel i5 660 or even i3 530) and forego the video card. That would require one of the H55/H57 motherboards instead of a P55.

    The Clarkdale video can handle all multimedia and can even bitstream HD audio.

    Also, I noticed your mouse and keyboard are wired. Go wireless so you can kick back and enjoy the media. Check out wireless keyboards with built in trackball/touchpad.

    Maybe consider a Samsung F3 drive over the WD green. Just as quiet but much faster.


    Thanks, I have added the Samsung HD and the i5 661.

    Will any of this need any extra cooling.
  3. Don't forget to change the motherboard. The i5-661 will fit into a P55 motherboard, but you won't have video. You must have a H55/H57 motherboard to use the on-chip video processor that is bundled with the i5-661.

    The new Clarkdales run pretty cool. Run with the stock cooler and if you find it getting to hot, then go aftermarket I say.
  4. rwpritchett said:
    Don't forget to change the motherboard. The i5-661 will fit into a P55 motherboard, but you won't have video. You must have a H55/H57 motherboard to use the on-chip video processor that is bundled with the i5-661.

    The new Clarkdales run pretty cool. Run with the stock cooler and if you find it getting to hot, then go aftermarket I say.


    I did change the motherboard to GIGABYTE GA-H55M-S2H LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail ($89.99 )
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128420

    There aren't many H55 mATX mobo's that have reviews.
  5. Yeah, they're only about a month old.

    The board you selected only has 2 RAM slots. Is that going to be enough? No room for upgrades.
  6. rwpritchett said:
    Yeah, they're only about a month old.

    The board you selected only has 2 RAM slots. Is that going to be enough? No room for upgrades.

    Oops! Alright I hope I get this right:

    GIGABYTE GA-H55M-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail ($109.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128429
  7. I have added the 4 configurations as wish-lists in my original post based on the the posts so far.
  8. Best answer selected by rrad.
  9. I created a HTPC using the GA-H55M-S2H Motherboard and an i3 530 processor.

    The problem I have is that the HDMI output is overscanning my Sharp LC42D64U [42 inch] monitor.

    Trolling the Internet, I cannot find any solution to this problem; there are inferences that it is an Intel driver problem, but no real specifics.

    Any pointers to a solution would be appreciated.
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