Well I finally decided that with the advent of so much great HD media that I'd like to build a HTPC for the living room the only problem is I am very new to the hardware game and have only put together one gaming PC before while this time I am looking for a different set of parameters (video, HD video, HDMI) and I am not even sure where to start. If anybody could give me a few suggestions or perhaps point me towards a killer HTPC setup they built themselves that would be great!
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP
BUDGET RANGE: $800
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Watching HD movies on the Samsung
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Wireless Mouse/Keyboard / Samsung LN32B530 32-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV / OS (open to suggestions..) / BASIQ 500watt new PSU (but I am willing to switch it out if neccisary)
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Amazon is preferable but if Newegg.com has a much better price/free shipping, I have no problems with them either.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: I'd like the parts to be shipped from state-to-state in the USA.
PARTS PREFERENCES: Mid-ATX Case by Lian Li, BluRay drive, room for 2 3.5" (believe that is the normal size) hard drive bays, quality fans
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920×1080
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Should be relatively quiet. Willing to sacrifice some sound to stay under budget.
Thanks for the reply! It gave me some ideas... I used your input as a starting point and came up with something significantly cheaper that I think might work just as well. I have a laptop with a BluRay player that I could use to send media to the HTPC. As such I decided to forgo the BluRay reader and TV-Tuner for now and wait until a big sale comes up. Here's what I picked out...
Am I missing anything crucial ? An Infrared card? Or underpowered anything so that I could not view full 1080 HD video without stutter ? Any input would be appreciated... I've got this rolling Micro-Mid ATX case holder thing that I'd like to use to set right next to the television. Hence going against a 'box' which would need to be placed on the ground (no space on the entertainment center) and collect dust like crazy.
Everything is compatible and the it will work fine as an HTPC. I do have a few suggestions though. First of all, Nvidia is not a good option ATM, at any price point. For $50, you can get a much more powerful HD 4650. The 4650 is faster than a 9500 GT, which naturally is faster than that 9400 GT you listed.
Two GB RAM should be fine for now, if you're on a tight budget. Adding another 2GB would be the first upgrade I would make to this system though.
One other thing, why are all those HDDs Western Digital?? I know there are many people who religiously buy Intel/Nvidia/WD systems, but these past few years have seen a lot of change from other vendors. Intel is falling behind on the low-end, Nvidia and WD are falling behind across the board. Right now, the best HDDs are the Samsung Spinpoint F3s and the Seagate 7200.12s. They have 500GB per platter, so they're faster and run cooler, while using less energy. And they're no less reliable than Western Digitals.
Otherwise, the build looks good.
Pumps up the price about $100 but it's possible. Will the setup I have now for $100 less still give flawless bluray/HD playback ? Or is the upgrade pretty neccisary ? I am not going for multiple streams running at once, just something to watch films.
Unfortunately the PSU is bought and paid for a long time ago so no returns are available. As for the SATA DVD player I can't believe I forgot one! Thanks for the reminder, I almost pressed order without it. Kind of hard to install the OS without a DVD-R!
As for the HDs I have a few laying around besides the one I plan to use for the main drive. I don't have much to worry about there.
I'm willing to put in the extra $100 if necessary, but not for 'super performance' I just want perfect quality.
You sold me on the i3, it's not that much price difference and from the sounds of it, and it's the cpu that does all the work sending out HD video anyways. I could use the extra power.
Not to mention I have another PC sitting here that I built especially for gaming so the gpu on the HTPC is of little importance. I just didn't want to burn out the gaming computer running videos 24/7.
This whole system ends up working out quite well I think... 2 computers (one HTPC, one gaming) connected to the Samsung and one DVI output going from the gaming computer to a 20" monitor. This way I could play games and watch HD movies at the same time.
Thanks for the advice I think this is going to be a good setup. I plan on adding more quiet (and large) hard disk drives in the future as money/time permits. As well as a speaker system, but that is to come.
The money I save building this verses my original price point of $800 lets me go up to the mountain one more time before the season is finished! So thanks!