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HTPC build - would these components sing together?

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February 23, 2010 7:00:53 AM

Hi all,

I had a long chat with my friendly PC shop regarding the spec for a HTPC that can do Blu-ray and digital TV reception that will fit onto a mATX board.

Bearing in mind that I'd rather overspec it a little than make an expensive mistake and have to put up with jerky video, we thought that the following spec would handle it easily with a 300W PSU

Not too concerned about budget, but don't want to waste money on massively overspecifying either. Being in the living room, it needs to look good and be reasonably quiet.

The system wont be playing games.

Mobo: Gigabyte G41MT

http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Motherboard/Product...

CPU: Core2 Duo E6500

http://processorfinder.intel.com/details.aspx?sSpec=SLG...

GPU: ATI Radeon HD5450 in low profile bracket

http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/ati-rad...

RAM: 2 Gig DDR3

Case: Foxconn DH-045

http://www.techbuy.com.au/p/133571/CASINGS_DESKTOP/Foxc...

The case needs to be less than 10 cm thick to fit in the cabinet I have in mind.

I'll plug in a tuner card, DVD or Blu-ray, remote control, keyboard, wireless capability, etc... but I see these as 'commodity' selections – whereas getting the Mobo, CPU and graphics wrong will be catastropic.

Can anyone see any problems with this spec? Any and all comments gratefully received! If I go ahead with the build, I'll post pix and a journal!
February 23, 2010 7:47:21 AM

Hi Truhls,

Thanks heaps for the validation!

I googled those cases, and unfortunately, they're not sold here. :( 

Interesting you should say that about the cost of the case - in Australia the Foxconn is definitely one of the cheaper cases that is a cut above the standard beige or black boxes. Most of the metal HTPC cases are in the $200-$300 range.

Fortunately, I'm not really tempted by most of them, since a Silverstone looks (to my eye anyway) like a throwback to 70's hifi amps... any anyway, they dont fit the space.

Sometimes, we're ripped off badly by geography.

I still might build in a ebayed second hand case and if I get everything working to my liking, get a Lian Li like this ... but thats really being a bit indulgent.
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February 23, 2010 10:10:45 AM

I have built a HTPC utilizing the 780g and 785g chipsets. I believe they are superior to the g41 in video and audio. I realize you are putting on a different GPU, but really integrated graphics and a cheap single/dual core can do HD video just like you want.

That's just my two cents, but I think you'd be surprised at how good those integrated chipsets perform for Bluray.

Other than that, your choices are fine - they will certainly work.
February 23, 2010 10:45:09 AM

Ah sorry to hear that, but in Aus you tend to have to go with whatever you can find, but i would suggest a Lian Li if you can afford it, the cases they make are generally worth it. And have quite the longevity to go with it.
February 25, 2010 8:30:53 AM

I'm a bit nervous about the power supply of 300W... will that be enough?

Incidently, I've found a Lian Li PC-C36 Muse HTPC Case for AUD200... I'm really tempted. Are they worth the extra $100?
February 25, 2010 10:34:22 AM

greenbird01 said:
I'm a bit nervous about the power supply of 300W... will that be enough?

Incidently, I've found a Lian Li PC-C36 Muse HTPC Case for AUD200... I'm really tempted. Are they worth the extra $100?


That honestly depends on what you are looking for in a case, if your just looking for a case that will look nice, house everything, and have decent cooling you could easily get a 50-80 dollar case to meet those needs. Lian Li's are generally finer quality materials with generally more features. Lian Li's tend to be made of ALUM instead of STEEL which makes them far lighter but more expensive, thus usually the premium price you get with Lian Li's. But again this just all depends on what you are looking for in a case. Generally anything you find the looks nice with 3ish fans will do the job fine.
February 25, 2010 8:11:33 PM

Meh - I ordered the Lian Li.

I'll beg forgiveness from the wife later.

:love: 
February 26, 2010 7:23:19 AM

Arrived same day! Thanks DDComputer.com.au for the great service.

Obviously, this is only the empty case in the cabinet at the moment, but here is what its gonna look like... assuming I can get it all working :lol: 

When I was building that cabinet from the flatpack (took around 8 hours, BTW) I left the masonite off the back to allow for better airflow through it, to guard against overheating.

I wonder if there are little black plugs that you can buy to put into the exposed firewire and usb ports.





February 26, 2010 7:33:54 AM



I'll bring the pop-corn !!!
February 26, 2010 7:35:03 AM

Dont forget "slimline" optical drive.

=
February 26, 2010 9:10:49 AM

A question about the OS

Sometimes I have dreams about escaping from the Microsoft world and loading it with Linux and MythTV.

But then I wake up and return the reality that Windows 7 and Windows Media Center will probably end up being installed. :whistle: 

I've read a bit about when to use 32 or 64 bit versions of the Windows 7 and reckon that definitely the 64 bit version is the way to go with the hardware and the usage I have in mind

What do you think?
February 26, 2010 9:21:19 AM

First, that looks very nice. I'm hoping it all works out good for you.

Second - there are very few instances of programs not working in Win7 x64. I don't believe there are really any performance penalties to it either. Yes, you only have 2GB of RAM now, but I typically go with x64 when possible these days.
February 26, 2010 10:31:55 AM

Hmm, well depending on what you will mainly use the PC for, it may be interesting to download the Google Chrome OS on a second partition of the main HDD, then choose what to boot into. This way when you wanted to just browse the web, it would load almost immediately :) 

Also looks very nice man :) 
March 1, 2010 8:41:20 AM

Thanks guys - I'm really looking forward to getting this going.

I'm just putting together the hardware order now and am a bit confused by all of the different way DDR3 RAM is described.

Would any 2 GB sticks of DDR3 RAM that are 1333MHz do the job?

I was going to order this:

https://www.instantpcshop.com.au/pcshop/446/index.php?p...


For the other components, would anyone have any recommendations against these?

HDD https://www.instantpcshop.com.au/pcshop/446/index.php?p...
Blu-ray reader/DVD burner combo https://www.instantpcshop.com.au/pcshop/446/index.php?p...


CPU, Mobo as in first post.

This shop doesnt sell the Radeon HD5450, so I'll get that from somewhere else.

The tuners are also baffling - most people thinking that the Hauppauge HVR2200 is best, but it seems overpriced to me - esp since it has no remote control. There is a raging argument on Whirlpool about whether dual tuners that use PCIe x1 slots are any good... also, I've noticed that some of them are PCI rather than PCIe

I'm leaning towards a Compro E700, since its a low profile PCIe and comes with a remote control.
!